Head Coach Rich Ellerson Press Conference Quotes

Rich Ellerson

Rich Ellerson

Sep 9, 2013

The following quotes have been excerpted from Army head football coach Rich Ellerson’s press conference, held Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, in the Randall Hall auditorium.

(Ref,: opening statement)
“We’re a frustrated outfit at the moment. We took a step back from that opener where we were playing so well and so competently with respect to the ball being off the ground, with respect to penalties and with respect to the kicking game. All of those things took a step back, and in some cases, two steps back. So as we get ready for Stanford, that loss is going to want to steal the conversation, but it can’t. We have to keep our eyes on the goal. We have to be the poised and confident football team so we can find out how we match up. The truth is when you have the ball on the ground that much, you’re penalized that much, and fail to do some of those things that we need to do in the kicking game, the score reflects those things opposed to the match-up. I am not saying that we are a better football team than Ball State, but I’d like to find out how we match up with Ball State. The truth is you can’t see through the lack of core competencies to get to that. We are a still a good football team that plays hard, but we took a step back in that core area that we were talking about growth. We were not a mentally tough, poised and competent football team. The good news is we have a game this week. We have a week to prepare. We have a week to practice, and we have to find those things in the practice environment that will help us fix what needs to be fixed. We’ve continued to work hard and practice hard, and we have to make sure those things that we are doing in the practice environment carries over into the game.”

(Ref.: how to take on Stanford)
“As I said, we are going to focus on doing things right. Obviously, we are going to have a plan. They have an offense and we have a defense. They do a lot of the same things that we’ve seen, they just do it in different proportionality. They are going to have I-backs with three tight ends on the field. They are going to challenge you physically like you’ve never been challenged. They are a powerful football team. They will get into that run look, and run zone read with three wide receivers. They have what we’ve seen before, but they are going to do it in larger proportions. My goal for the football team is going to be to lean forward and come out of your shoes at these guys. One of the things that helped us in our opener is that they came out flat footed with their offense and defense and we played with decisiveness and aggression. We took a step back in that regard. If anything comes out of this contest it is that we have to be coming out of our shoes. We have to have our eyes right, leaning forward and come out on the assault. Then let’s see how we match up. We don’t match up well on paper, but we have these unique systems that give us a little bit of an opportunity. We were talking earlier about how we don’t know some things like how they punt the ball. They haven’t punted the ball yet so we don’t know. There is a good reason why they haven’t. We have our challenges.”

(Ref.: quarterback this up coming week)
“We are going to pay attention as we go into the practice environment. Obviously, we do some things at quarterback that have given us some mistakes. Angel is not the only one we have. A supporting cast contributes to that effort. We can’t play like that. We have two snaps on the ground, a forced fumble and we’re throwing interceptions. We have another mental breakdown before the half, and then we have another delay of game with A.J. (Schurr) so it’s a team effort there. I liked when A.J. came in the game. He can do all of the things that we want at quarterback. I will say what I said in the beginning of the season; don’t be surprised if you see two quarterbacks.”

(Ref.: what to say to your team on playing against a top-five team)
“We’ve got to focus on ourselves, and we have to focus on what we are not doing right. Get those things right that we are doing day in and day out, and we’ve been routinely getting right beginning with spring football. We have got to make those things carry into the game. We cannot allow ourselves to be induced into thinking that we are something other than what we’ve been. I want to see what it looks like when we go out there and try to be our best selves because that wasn’t our best self on Saturday, not even close. That’s what I want to see. I don’t care who shows up for the game on Saturday. We have to be ourselves. We have to run our offense, run our defense and be that poised, present competent outfit on every snap. Then we will see what the scoreboard looks like. It’s going to be tough. If we do those things, the scoreboard will be interesting. If we don’t do those things and try to go out there and have some out-of-body experience it will get away from us quickly. “

(Ref.: on the team before kick-off at Ball State)
“I felt about them like I felt about them all week. I felt like we were in a great place, I really did. I’m not going to attempt to psychoanalyze my football team, but I think that we get it. We failed to bring those things from the practice environment into the game with us. All I know is that you have to do it right. You have to do it with a tempo. You have to do it all week long. Again, we’ve been doing it that way for months and we haven’t had a ball on the ground in the mesh for weeks, literally weeks. That just makes us crazy. We work on not hitting people out of bounds and not hitting players in the back more than any team in America. We make sure our guys experience that decision every day. We originally eliminated those plays from our docket and then just to have it come out of nowhere is frustrating. Like I’ve said, you have to purge that experience and put it out because guess what, there is a great football team coming into town. It gives ourselves a chance to play a game that we love to play so we have to prepare well, be determined, stay in the moment and be the team that we have been practicing being since March.”

(Ref.: on playing better than they did last week)
“Well, we obviously have to play better than we did last week to have a chance to play anybody on our schedule. With that effort, we wouldn’t have had a chance against Morgan State, especially if we turned the ball over and had penalties like that. We have to be ourselves first, and that’s all there is to it.”

(Ref.: on Stanford’s line-up)
“We obviously have to move a little bit. You know we have good players too. It’s not going to be easy to stop them, but we’ll have a plan. If you defend yourself on every snap against these guys then you’re not defending anything, but that’s not unique to them. You have to punch and counter everything you need to do against a good football team. We are obviously not resourceless, and we can compete.”

(Ref.: comparing the no-penalty, no-turnover game versus Morgan State to Ball State)
“I wish I could explain that to you.”

(Ref.: playing the number five team in the country)
“We can’t afford to be reading the newspaper, whether it’s the clippings about us or about them. We have to be about ourselves, doing things our way, doing things right because that’s when they are consistent on the football field. Maybe that was the challenge. Going into an opener against an opponent that we didn’t know at all helped us focus on only ourselves and what we had to do in our preparation. Playing against Ball State, who we have played against for a couple of years and know them very well, perhaps we were looking beyond ourselves and spending too much time on who they were and what they were going to do. It has to be internal at this point of the game. That’s the way forward.  If there is a lesson to take away from that then that is it. That’s the challenge for us. If we can go out there and play Army football with that poise and presence that we were talking about, if we can do those things, then it’ll be interesting to see what the score looks like. Those are things we can never get back. We will never get a chance to play Ball State again with those things intact. If we’re winning in the kicking game and competitive in all of those things, now let’s see what that scoreboard looks like. We may not like it but it’s going to be a heck of a football game. No one is changing the channel. That has a chance to be a great football game if we can do those things.”

(Ref.: on Stanford’s rushing defense)
“While they have not seen our style of play, their coaching staff is knowledgeable of what we do and know a way around our stuff. They will be well prepared. Obviously, we have the advantage of reading and having finesse with some guys, but you have to block somebody. You still have to run, you still have to make some guys miss, throw the ball, catch and get open. Conversely, on the other side of the ball they are hard to stop, tackle, and hold the line of scrimmage. They are not basic. They will get into some I-backs. They will give you a four-man surface and even a five-man surface. Then they will get into the shotgun and give you four wide and empty the backfield. They force you to prepare for an awful lot of offense, but at the end of the day what they are going to do is run the power. They are going to run into a two-man surface and anything in between. But by golly, if you can’t get that played slowed down, its going to be a long day.”
 
(Ref.: getting the team to believe they can win)
“What they have to try to do is win the next snap. They don’t have to try to win the game. They need the win the next snap, the next situation, the next opportunity. Don’t believe what the scoreboard says good, bad or indifferent. Just get yourself in the moment and try to get a stop on the next snap, get a first down on the next snap, make a play on the next snap, whether it be a sky punt or an extra point, or when you’re defending the off-tackle play, or running the triple option. Whatever it is, let’s execute that on the next play. Keep yourself in the moment, and that’s where we start getting good. I told the guys yesterday, ‘Our mothers love us, but the only people in the room who think we’ve got a chance in this game are in the room.’ Throw that out, forget about it and let’s try to surprise mom on the next snap.”

(Ref.: is motivation more difficult after Ball State)
“We didn’t get hit with a bucket of cold water, we got hit with a bucket. We need to wake up and play the next play. We need to stop worrying about what people think, or what people are saying, or how important this game is. The most important game of the week is this week. The most important game of the year is this one, because it’s the only one we play all week. That was true last week, it was true two weeks ago and it’s true this week. When we get to that game, the most important thing we’ll do is snap the next ball, and that’s it. That’s all there is to it. That makes for a short article. That doesn’t work in the blogosphere, but that’s all there is to it.”

(Ref.: on making adjustments to control to ball longer on offense)
“We’ve got to stop hurting ourselves. There were some of those possessions where we were starting down at our end of the field, at our own 10-yard line, because of things we’re doing in the kicking game. (Ball State’s) average starting position was outside the 40-yard line and ours was around the 20. That’s a long field against a good football team. The good news was, when we were backed up like that, our offense did what a good offense does and got us out from underneath the goal post and gave us a chance to punt. We did a good job of punting until we had a chance to sky punt and flip the tables, but we knocked that into the cheap seats. The thing we have to do is create a shorter field for our offense and when we get ourselves into scoring position, we need to score. We were down there a couple times in the first half when we didn’t score points. We were down there again late in the game, and no points. We got a bunch of yards, but we didn’t get the points at the end of the drive. We have to be able to finish those drives and get in the end zone, and when we have to kick a field goal, we need to be able to kick a field goal. We do those things routinely. You just can’t prove it based on what happened Saturday.”

(Ref.: on keys to defense going into this week)
“We started to compete well on defense when we started leaning forward and we started to challenge our opponent. Sometimes we give our opponents too much credit, and we back away from some of the things we do routinely in practice. As we started to move around a little bit on the back end, we were able to create some confusion for their quarterback. We got him to throw some balls away. We challenged the receivers and found out we actually could cover them. We were able to get some pressure. We were able to do all of those things as the game evolved, but we weren’t able to apply that carryover from the practice environment into the game until we were a good quarter into that football game. We did some remarkable things in that game. We got a goal line stand, we answered a turnover on our own 20-yard line and forced a three and outIf you look at some of the things that happened to us in that football game, with what happened in the kicking game and what happened with the turnovers, we were lucky to hold them to 40. You look at the scoreboards around the country and scoring 50 points is something that’s happening at every other stadium. Our guys will continue to battle and continue to fight. Our effort was not an issue. We were flying around, playing hard and competing, but we were not that poised, competent, focused outfit that we are determined to be.”

(Ref.: on what has elevated Stanford to being a top five team)
“They play within themselves, and they’ve got good football players that are both big and skilled. They’re a veteran outfit. Their guys know their way around the offense and the defense. They’re a physically imposing outfit that knows what they’re about. They don’t make mistakes. They take care of the football on offense. They do a nice job in the kicking game, and it’s hard to find a play against them on defense.”

(Ref.: evaluating Chris Carnegie’s game against Ball State)
“It was good to get Chris in the game. Chris is a guy who started nine or 10 football games for us a year ago and he was off to a great start in training camp. He had that setback and his conditioning level got to him a little bit, so he was in and out of the game on Saturday. The good news was he played well, he played effectively and he got through it completely healthy.”

(Ref.: on continuing to rotate defensive linemen)
“There are guys who are getting the majority of the snaps, but you’re going to continue to see us try to stay fresh up there. There is a difference of how guys play, but keeping our guys fresh into the fourth quarter is going to give us a chance. We’ve got a couple of guys who we still need to see play. We saw Kyle Maxwell go in there and make a positive impact. The first week, he had six plays and this week, he had 19. So we’re still finding out who those guys are.”

(Ref.: on how Jarrett Mackey is progressing)
“He’s done a nice job at the whip linebacker position. It’s nice to see him starting to move around better. He’s healthy again. As you know, he had that horrific injury a couple of years ago, and it’s literally taken this long for him to come back from it.”

(Ref.: on needing to have any tricks up your sleeve for Stanford)
“What we really need to do is make sure our fullback is on his track and is seeing the action key, and our quarterback is confident and precise in the mesh. Those are the things we need to do. We don’t need to draw another play in the dirt. I’m making the argument that we need to dump about half of the things we’re doing so that we’re unconsciously competent with those things. We don’t need another play. What we need to do is get the ball off the ground and try to do the right thing on the next snap, and if we can do that, we’ll be competitive.”

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