Notebook: Sun Belt coaches discuss state of the conference, their teams

Brad Stephens

NEW ORLEANS — Coaches of all 10 football-playing Sun Belt Conference schools were questioned by media on Monday at the league’s Media Day.

It was the Sun Belt’s first in-person media day since 2008. Media days in previous years had been conducted via teleconference.

Sun Belt spokesman John McElwain said the move to a live media day was “another sign to how committed (the Sun Belt) is to communications and press coverage” of the league.

First-year league commissioner Karl Benson said “it made too much sense” to host a live media day.

“Look at the amount of coverage that this event, along with the other conferences this week,” Benson said. “For the Sun Belt not to take advantage of that, we’d be missing out.”

Here’s what several coaches had to say about their teams or the league as a whole:

Mark Hudspeth, Louisiana-Lafayette

Louisiana-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth was a subject of coaching rumors during the last offseason after leading ULL to a 9-4 season in 2011, capped off by a victory in the New Orleans Bowl.

Hudspeth chose to come back to ULL for the 2012 season, and said the league is becoming a source for up-and-coming college coaches.

“There’s a lot of coaches that want to coach in the southeastern United States,” Hudspeth said. “That’s where football’s important and I think that’s what’s attracted so many coaches to this area.

“Now with the 25-scholarship limit across the board, other conferences such as the SEC, they’re not oversigning… Now there’s that many other players out there for the Sun Belt Conference and other conferences.”

Hudspeth was also asked about the state of the league, which is set to lose North Texas and Florida International to Conference-USA in 2013 but set to gain Georgia State and Texas State the same season.

South Alabama is also competing in the Sun Belt in football this season for the first time this year.

The exchange of those schools is equivalent to “swapping apples for apples,” Hudspeth said.

“The teams coming in are very good,” he said. “I think we’re picking up some really good football teams.

Joey Jones, South Alabama

South Alabama is making a move this year that WKU fans are familiar with.

The Jaguars will be playing a full Sun Belt Conference schedule this season for the first time in the program’s