We spoke with Zack White, Chief Editor of CockyNation.com, to get an update on Jacksonville State and their fan base.
Q: When JSU fans saw Liberty on their schedule, what was the reaction?
Zack White: The instant reaction was a positive one. Due to Liberty’s religious standing and popularity nationwide, fans have marked this game as a key one in our programs FCS history and arguably the biggest road game in the John Grass era.
Q: Jacksonville State made the FCS championship game last season, falling to North Dakota State, how much has that experience helped this year’s team?
ZW: Players and coaches continue to state getting back to Frisco is the goal. They didn’t play to their potential in January, and they want redemption. A desire to build on the previous year has been a hallmark of Coach Grass’s coaching style.
Q: Head Coach John Grass has very limited collegiate coaching experience, yet since he took over at JSU, the Gamecocks have had 3 of its most successful seasons in school history. How has he been so successful so quickly?
ZW: It’s a combination of factors. 
Most notably, JSU has a distinct geographical advantage being in the hear of the SEC and can lure transfers from those teams. 
JSU is one of two true football schools in the OVC, a conference historically bad at football. 
Prior to JSU, Coach Grass built a strong network among Alabama high school coaches. He’s leveraged those relationships to recruit top talent in the metro areas of Alabama as well as Georgia.
The most underrated reason for Grass’s early success is his coaching staff. He has a lot of experienced guys from bigger programs and other FCS schools.

Jenkins, photo courtesy NCAA.com

Q: Eli Jenkins has put up some gaudy offensive statistics. What should we expect out of him Saturday?

ZW: Due to injuries in other areas, Eli has carried the offense through three games. Anything short of 250 total yards would be considered a disappointment and likely a loss.
Q: How has Roc Thomas adjusted to his new team and teammates?
ZW: Although we aren’t aware of what goes on in the locker room, it appears Roc hasn’t missed a step on the field. He played for Coach Grass in high school and understands the system. He’s a local guy, so JSU was always going to be a good fit for him.