Head Coach Rich Ellerson Press Conference Quotes

Rich Ellerson talked about facing Wake Forest.

Rich Ellerson talked about facing Wake Forest.

Sept. 16, 2013

The following quotes have been excerpted from Army head football coach Rich Ellerson’s press conference, held Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, in the Randall Hall auditorium.

(Ref,: opening statement)
“Wake Forest is an old friend. We have seen these guys before and an awful lot of the names that you are looking at on the bylines are the guys we faced a year ago, particularly on offense. (Tanner) Price and (Michael) Cabanaro, they had a big game on Saturday, and they had a big game against us a year ago. Defensively, they are very used to our style of play. They’ve run it themselves in the past and they have seen us before. Witlock is healthy for them as he was not a year ago. Again, there are a lot of familiar faces and familiar styles of play on both sides of the ball. Like them, we have been very frustrated the last couple of weeks, and we have been very emotional and very aggressive as well. You are going to see two very hungry and very aggressive football teams.”

(Ref.: on standing toe-to-toe with Stanford)
“I am not surprised we were able to play. We expected to win, and we didn’t win. We are still certainly fiercely competitive, and we fought very hard. We need to play better. We don’t need to take any solace that some people thought that we were better than we were. We still need to play as good as we think we are.”

(Ref.: on last year’s game against Wake Forest)
“Well, the challenge with the current Wake Forest team is that within the last two weeks they have been a very different offense. They have done a lot of different things. They challenge you formation-wise, they challenge you with the option, with throwing the football, and they challenge you with some power offense. Now I don’t think we’re going to get all of that, but you have to prepare for an awful lot of it because you just don’t know what you’re going to get and what they are going to pull out of there. They were able to execute a lot of offense against us a year ago and a lot of it worked. We’re a step ahead of where we were a year ago, physically and conceptually, but we still have a challenge in terms of preparation. Again, they couldn’t be more different in many aspects of what we saw last week against Stanford so there is some tooling that has to go on this week. We’re trying to figure out how we are going to do that with the limitations of our guys coming out of a very physical football game.”

(Ref.: determining a number one quarterback)
“Angel is still there, but it remains very competitive. We are going to need both quarterbacks in the course of this season, and we are going to need both quarterbacks to carry the load throughout the course of the season. The good news is  that because it is so competitive and we do expect to see both guys, the practice environment benefits from that. There is a sense of urgency in the practice environment which is a benefit of that because we need to get better at a lot of things at the position of quarterback.”

(Ref. :the path forward)
“There is a short list of things that we need to be able to eliminate. There is some low-hanging fruit out there that has frustrated us and continues to frustrate us in critical situations. There are moments in the football game that we absolutely need to put behind us. There are some physical challenges, don’t get me wrong. Every challenge out there isn’t always someone’s eyes and feet. Sometimes it’s just the physics of it. In terms of Saturday and that effort and that emotion, that’s now the baseline. The path forward is up from there. That’s what it feels like to be on the edge, that’s what it feels like to come out of your shoes for 60 minutes. Our emotions did not work against us and now while we’re doing that let’s take another step forward with respect to precision and the details of our assignments. We got back on the right side of the penalty thing. We got back on the right side of the turnover for the game, but we still had the ball on the ground in a critical situation and we need not to do that. We are creating some opportunities on balls that we don’t get. In our kicking game, we make good kicks but we don’t have good field position coming out of our kick return, and on our punt return we give up some significant margins. We have progressed but there are all kinds of room for improvement there. We can put our offense on a shorter field and our defense on a longer field using our kicking game.”

(Ref.: improvements against Stanford compared with Ball State)
“The ball wasn’t on the ground gratuitously. We were genuinely leaning forward compared to when we were on our heels at Ball State. As I say, I think we used the emotions of the game last week as opposed to being used up by them. It was a step forward. We were leaning forward and we were leaning forward together. The week before we were pressing too far, basically jumping out of our shoes and basically leaving the offense, defense or special teams play to make a play. In this game for the most part we stayed within the system. When we did screw up our systems, our emotions weren’t the cause.”

(Ref.: Terry Baggett’s play against Stanford)
“We have obviously talked about Terry a lot. We’ve seen that when he has the ball in his hands there is a big upside. Now that he is able to stay out there and touch the ball routinely, you are going to see some upside.”

(Ref.: on keeping Stanford close)
“I think we raised the bar on where we can be in terms of how hard we can play, how emotional we can be and how we can manage that emotion, instead of being used by it. That’s important because this is an emotional game. As I told the players, that’s the worst we’ll play for the rest of the year. That needs to be the way it is. When we turned on the tape and we slowed it down, there were so many instances where if we were just a little bit more present and a little bit more right things could have been different. You don’t have to be any faster, you don’t have to be any stronger, you don’t have to be any better looking. You just have to be more right, and we can scratch some of those points off the board, we can stay on the field a little bit longer, we can get in the end zone one more time. Suddenly, instead of a game we played well in, it’s coming right down to the wire, which is where we need it to be when we’re playing teams like this. That’s going to be the way it is this week. That’s the way it was for them last week, and that’s the way it needs to be for us this week.”

(Ref.: on preparing for another good offense in Wake Forest)
“It’s very different. They’re obviously very prolific at different things. With (Wake Forest) you’re going to have unbalanced formations, one back, two backs, three backs, no backs, wide receivers in motion turning into tailbacks, turning into pitch backs. There’s a lot of misdirection in this. The ball disappears, and that was what got us last week. We lost our eyes and gave up an easy one. Wake Forest challenges your eyes and your discipline as much as anybody we’ll play all year.”

(Ref.: on Raymond Maples’ and Larry Dixon’s status for Wake Forest)
“We don’t know. It’s too early in the week to say, other than to say that we’re banged up and we’re going to have to practice judiciously in the early part of the week just to make sure that we’re working with the guys we plan to play with this weekend. We’re going to have to make a call in the next 24 hours on how to practice and who to practice.”

(Ref.: on Josh Jenkins’ maturity at this point in the season)
“In our defense, when you’re playing an opponent that runs the ball so well, it can get very lonely out there on the perimeter. There were 10 guys protecting and he was one on one, and that’s a tough job description. You try not to be predictable and you try to push the help around, but you’ve got to pick your poison. He knows the job. He’s got a short memory and he’s very competitive. He’s got great instincts for the game. It’s a tough learning experience out there on the edge of our defense.”

(Ref.: receivers and running backs blocking ability)
 “It needs to be (a strength). I don’t know that we were especially effective or efficient all the time out there as blockers, but we were right, and that gives us a chance. There are some instances when we’re getting it done effectively, and there are some instances when we’re not. I think the slots have done a better job. Terry (Baggett) has always been good with the ball, but he’s grown as a blocker this year. We’ve got a lot of guys who know what to do, and we haven’t always been getting it done, but we’re in the way.”

(Ref.: on importance of pressuring the Wake Forest quarterback)
“We’re going to try to generate some five-man pressures and things like that. As you do that though, you thin out the back end, especially with this opponent’s propensity to throw the ball in front of you. The thinner the defense is, if it’s getting thrown quickly, the pressure can’t help you, it can only hurt you. If we can generate pressure with three or four guys, that keeps the alleys and little bit thicker and keeps it a little bit less lonely for your corners. The good news last week, was when they were using their base protections, we were able to get pressure. We forced their hand in bringing more and more people into the protection scheme. It’s a cat and mouse game a little bit, but when we’ve had some pressure, we’ve affected the throws and forced some errors.”

(Ref.: on cycling Andrew Schurr and Angel Santiago at quarterback)
“We’re going to go into the week and make that call coming out of Wednesday’s practice. We want it to be competitive out there. We want our guys to feel that there is a real sense of urgency out there to perform and to prepare, especially at the quarterback position. We were able to say going in that we’re going to rotate, and we were able to stick with it. But we’re going to revisit that each week.”

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