Postgame Quotes - Army vs. Tulane (Oct. 3, 2009)




Army Head Coach Rich Ellerson
"In a game that comes down to the last play like that did, we all need to understand that there were 150 plays leading up to that last play and there were at least 50 guys and 15 coaches that had an opportunity to impact the outcome of that game just as much as (Army placekicker Alex) Carlton did. So many of the things we didn't do during the course of the game that impacted the outcome were infinitely easier than what we asked him to do at the end.

"We give Tulane a lot of credit. It was a hard-fought game and they made one more play than we did. That one more play could have been in the first quarter or the fourth quarter. There were many, many opportunities. Obviously, it is very frustrating. We could be a good football team because there are enough things that we are doing well and we are competing and playing hard. But we are not playing with great situational presence or precision, particularly on offense and in the kicking game. Defensively, we continue to battle. We still see those plays that break our heart a little, but we are doing more right than wrong. We are continuing to give ourselves a chance every week on that side of the ball. I feel like we are treading water a little bit on the offensively. In the absence of firepower, we need to have precision and discipline, and that lack of consistency is frustrating."

(Ref.: dealing with a tough loss such as this)
"We stay together. We focus on all the things we have done in the preseason and in practice to keep this thing together. These are the times where that other voice will try to sneak into the loop. We won't allow it. These guys all understand the challenge and will stay together and hold on to one another. Every player and every coach, particularly myself, will take responsibility and we will find a way forward. We need 50 guys trying to make that one more play."

(Ref.: the play of the special teams)
"The most disturbing thing was our inability to cover a kick. They kept getting the ball out across the 35 yard line and that is unacceptable. We aren't covering great. We have been better than that. I thought our punt block/return outfit did a solid job because obviously, we don't want the ball dropping around out there. I thought our kick-off return team did a great job blocking and Damion (Hunter) did a good job running. When we needed plays, those guys came up with a couple for us. None of the drama happens if those guys aren't doing things well."

(Ref.:the play of DE Josh McNary)
"He plays a position in this defense where, if we don't talk about him or aren't hearing his name, we aren't any good. But we are and we are playing well on defense. We aren't going to pat ourselves on the back and excuse anything because we had opportunities on defense to win that game as well, but we are playing well on that side of the ball and giving ourselves a chance. We need one more play and it can come from a lot of places and that includes the defense."

(Ref.:adjustments made by Tulane in the second half)
"They created some plays for themselves and did things that they are notorious for doing well. But some of the big plays they made in the second half were where we weren't precise in our paths and we are up the field a bit where a play that should go for nothing, went for a bunch. Especially on the edge like that, you are going to pay for going at a guy's feet instead of going through his hip. That is the difference between a tackle on their side of the ball and 40 yards."

(Ref.: QB Trent Steelman having fewer carries in the second half than in the first)
"We are an option team, so the opponent is going to determine who gets the ball. With the exception of one or two calls, those are all option plays that are putting the ball in (Trent Steelman's) hands. We don't mind putting the ball in (Steelman's) hands quite a bit, but there was no conscious move away from him in the second half."

(Ref.: troubles coming out and playing well in the second half)
"I wish I could explain them. It is especially frustrating because, historically, this style of play on both sides of the ball gives you a chance to do that. In this type of offense, it is usually a strong suit for us because it is so adaptive. In my estimation, we are identifying where the opportunities are and seeing the challenges. But that was especially frustrating coming out in the second half and going three-and-out on the first two possession of the second half. That is unacceptable."

Sophomore K Alex Carlton
"It was a little right of center, probably right on the right upright. I would prefer the left hash, but anywhere, it's my job to put the ball through the uprights. I pushed it a little bit and kicked it straight and it went right."

Junior DT Mike Gann
(Ref.: the team's feelings following the loss)
"It hurts, obviously. All of us as brothers, we're all hurting right now, but we know what we have to do. It just hurts."

(Ref.: taking responsibility for the loss)
"Make no mistake, it's not the kicker's fault. There was stuff all over the field, myself included, that could have done better. There were lots of opportunities to change the outcome of the game. We're hurting as a team for sure."

Senior WR Damion Hunter
(Ref.: his final kick return that put Army in Tulane territory)
"I knew I had to make a big play. Throughout the game, the blocks were there. I have to give credit to the blockers. I knew I had to make a play and put the ball in touchdown or field goal position. I hit the hole and ran as fast as I could."

(Ref.: the positives that can be taken from the game)
"There are some things we can build on. All we have to do is go back to practice and hit the drawing board. We just have to keep working on the things we do. We have to take the positives. I know there are a lot negatives, but there are some positives out there. I think if we build on those things, it will be a real good game next weekend."

Junior DE Josh McNary
(Ref.: the team's feelings following the game)       
"We definitely wish we had this one back. This is one we're going to reflect on and think of every opportunity that we could have capitalized on."

(Ref.: his fumble recovery)                                    
"That one hurt. I might lose a little sleep over that the next couple of days. I had that one right in front of me to basically make an easy score. Nobody was in my lane. It's one of those I wish I had back. I mishandled the ball a little bit."

(Ref.: lessons that can be learned from the game)
"This is definitely a reminder in terms of what it takes. In the future, we're really going to have play as disciplined as possible, play as precise as possible and really not allow mistakes throughout the course of the game. We're going to need every opportunity we can get."

Freshman QB Trent Steelman
(Ref.: the offense's lack of precision)
"We were reflecting on it over the course of the week. In the last couple of games, we're at the point where 10 people are doing their job. There is always one play that one person isn't doing the job. That's what he (Rich Ellerson) is talking about, precision on every play. All 11 guys have to do their job and maintain that throughout the game. If we score on two of those field goals that (Alex) Carlton made, it's our game. It's a team effort. As an offense, if we even score on one, we have the game in hand."

(Ref.: Kingsley Ehie's final run)
"What it looked like is he went down, but I don't think his knees ever hit. That's why he kept running. He was just finishing the play. That's an opportunity to score. I think he thought he didn't go all the way down so he just kept on running."

(Ref.: Alejandro Villanueva's lack of a reception)
"He's an effective player. We felt like the running game was working for us today. We kept pounding them and tried to tire them out. The ball I threw to Ali, I wish I had that one back too. It started raining and it slipped out. We felt like we were moving the ball well enough to stay with the run. In this type of weather situation, that's what we try to do."

(Ref.: the positives that can be taken from the game)
"There are definitely a lot of positives in that game. As an offense, we're getting there. Like Coach says, we just have to have all 11 guys give their best effort every play. When we start to do that and move the ball as a unit, we're hard to stop. We just have to get back to practice and work the kinks out."

TULANE QUOTES

Tulane head coach Bob Toledo
(Ref.: Tulane's effort)
"We never gave up and we never quit, regardless of the situation. We kept battling -that's' what we did today, and finally they missed the field goal. I want to give them credit - they are tough and they keep coming after you. I'm proud that they represent our country. I'm proud to be with them (as an American), but I'm sure glad we beat them today."
 
(Ref.: Ross Thevenot)
"During practice this week, right in the middle of team drills we stopped and kicked a field goal; we did that three times this week. We tried to mentally prepare him for that, and then today coming out of our meetings I said 'Ross, you're going to kick the winning field goal today,' and on the sideline I said the same thing. I'm proud of him - he came through when he needed him too, our defense was phenomenal, and we had some offensive guys make some plays."
 
(Ref.: being nervous during Army's final drive)
"I was sweating, but I told our kids after I called a time out that we had to get push off of the outside, a jump up the middle, and we couldn't rough the kicker; we did, and he missed."
 
Senior K Ross Thevenot
(Ref.: missing a kick in overtime against Army two years ago)
"That kick has probably been the kick I've thought about more than any one since I've been playing football. It was such a letdown, especially the way the team had played that day. I don't really want to talk about that one hopefully as much anymore; we can talk about this one a little more, and hopefully everyone will forget about the Army kick two years ago."
 
Senior S Chinoso Echebelem
(Ref.: his thoughts on the game)
"Honestly, two years ago (at Army) was the worst loss of my life, and I told myself that I was going to avenge that loss. As a senior, this was my last chance against Army and I told everybody the whole week that we had to play hard because those guys don't quit; they are a good team. We just responded, and (our coaches) had one of the greatest game plans ever against the triple option."
 
(Ref.: Ross Thevenot)
"Ross is my guy, I remember two years ago. It was tough for him, but for him to come back as a senior and a leader on this team, I just feel really good for him. I'm really proud of him."
 
Junior DT Oscar Ponce de Leon
(Ref.: adjustments against Army)
"We played more of an under front instead of an over front, like most of the defense we had played against Army before. We came up with it, and (our coaches) gave us specific jobs to do, and everyone just had to do their jobs. That was the key ingredient."
 
(Ref.: what the win means)
"Just like last week, it's only the beginning. We are always building and building. Practice gets better as we practice against each other, and the scouts have been doing a great job. All the coaches are very supportive, and this is a great program to be a part of right now."
 

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