Postgame Quotes - Army vs. Vanderbilt (Oct. 10, 2009)




Army Head Coach Rich Ellerson

"Today was a hard fought game that we were fortunate to win. I'm not surprised it was hard and went that way. I'm not surprised it came down to the last play and then some, but I'm also not surprised we found a way to win. Black Knights stepped up and made plays throughout the game and in every phase of the game, as did Vanderbilt. It was kind of a storybook ending for a week that we have been through. Obviously, it was a heart-wrenching game a week ago (vs. Tulane), but we came back with a purpose. I love how these players are a reflection of their coach and I love what I see in the mirror. How they stayed together and how important this is to them, the effort and their ability to reload, believe in one another and in what they are doing and grow and get better. There were a 1,000 things we have to do better and can do better and will do better, but my goodness, what a great day to validate some things that these guys have embraced and made their own. I couldn't be prouder."

(Ref.: getting a win after the team's previous troubles this season)
"We have had our (good) days, and we've had our other days. It is a process we have gone through, but these guys haven't blinked. They have taken the lessons to heart, cleared and moved on, but at the same time they have brought the lesson forward. They went to practice with a purpose and got better. They believed in one another and in what they are doing. They love to play the game and care about one another. It is a beautiful thing. We get to enjoy it for about 30 hours and then it is back to work, but it is important because, if they needed any validation or anything to help their beliefs, or helped the cement set if you will, they got some today."

(Ref.: the play of the defense)
"If our defense will play like they have been playing, we'll have a chance every week. We played well and have done a good job of building a fence around our opponents' offense. We have some play-makers and some guys that do a beautiful job of clearing because the other team makes plays and gets themselves in scoring position, but we don't freak out. We just reload and play the next play. It is not perfect out there by any stretch, but we do enough right, play hard enough and are resilient enough to give us a chance every week. Our offense was also able to move the ball a little bit against the best defense we have faced. So there is a lot of growth going on there as well.

(Ref.: the confidence in freshman PK Alex Carlton)
"Alex is a 75% field goal kicker. Even last week when he missed at the end, he was still 3 for 4 on the day. He's done a solid job. I watched him closely in practice this week and he didn't blink He is a mentally tough young guy. He isn't like some kickers that are so unconnected. He is very connected. He (took last week's miss) hard so today speaks to his mental and emotional toughness. We aren't surprised that a West Point cadet is mentally tough and able to do that, but that really speaks volumes about his quality and character."

(Ref.: the play of sophomore LB Andrew Rodriguez)
"He plays a position where he makes plays for us before the ball is snapped with the calls and decisions he makes. To be as productive as he has been at that position is really remarkable."

(Ref.: the play of the offense)
"We found some plays but it is still a little frustrating because we feel like there is a little bit more there than what we are getting. I think the guys are going in the right direction and recognizing the adjustments. We were able to block a little bit and handled the ball reasonably well, even though it wasn't perfect. In the first half, we committed ourselves to throwing the ball a little bit more and wanted to make sure we kept that part of our game alive and not allow them to play with all 11 guys at the line of scrimmage. We didn't have great success, but played against their defense as well as our defense was able to hold down their offense. That was the key. I feel like it looks like every week we are just that much more confident and secure and there are just that  many more guys see and play together.

(Ref.: what the win means to the team)
"What is rewarding is seeing the guys buying in to what we are saying. This is just another stop on the journey, but it validates a lot of the things we have been working so hard to do since we got here in January." 

(Ref.: the play of sophomore QB Trent Steelman)
"He is growing every week. He made a great, tough football play on the goal line. There are still going to be a handful of plays that he is going to want back. That is how it is always going to be in an offense where the ball is constantly going through his hands, making reads, pitching off different guys, or throwing the ball. He is having to make a lot of decisions in a split second as the ball is snapped. He has adjusted to the speed of the game and has taken on a large amount of responsibility remarkably. As a ball carrier, he is one of our more talented weapons. He can break a tackle and make people miss. We couldn't be more fortunate that he is here doing as well as he is."

(The play of the defensive line against a much larger Vanderbilt offensive line)
"They are a physical bunch. If you heard me talk about our football team in the spring, I felt like that the strength of our football team was our defensive front. That is a good sign because that is the case with most good football teams I have been a part of. They are a relatively mature group of play makers that love to play the game. They will look at the game tape and be proud of some things, and see others that will break their hearts. Their resilience and ability to line up and do it again in the face of adversity when something bad happens is a great attribut

Sophomore K Alex Carlton
(Ref.: the emotion after the game-winning kick)
"I was just very happy. You can probably say it was the complete opposite feeling of what I had last week. I was just happy to be able to contribute to a win."

(Ref.: the scene on the field after the winning field goal went through)
"After it went in, it got kind of crazy. Everybody was hitting me on the head. It's a great feeling."

(Ref.: comparing his 51-yard field goal with the game-winning kick)
"When I hit both of them, they felt great off my foot. In pre-game warm ups, I hit one from 52 going the other way. You can never tell what the wind is going to be like down there. It's all over the place in that stadium. Thankfully, the wind was at my back, and I hit it and it went in."

(Ref.: comparing the difficulty between his two field goals)
"I don't know. The pressure was definitely was more on the game winner, but 51 yards is pretty long for me. I'd have to say the game winner just because of what was on the line."

(Ref.: the feeling of being carried off the field by his teammates)
"It's a cloud-nine experience. I felt great, and I'm just glad I could contribute to a win. It was a great team effort. Everybody in this room contributed just as much as I did. I'm just glad we got a win."

Junior LB Stephen Anderson
(Ref.: the team's ability to rebound after last week's loss to Tulane)
"It feels great. We're a program on the verge of tipping the right way. We had a lot of guys step up huge today. You can look across the board and we had guys making plays - the d-line, the linebackers, the defensive backs, running backs - everybody was doing their part to win a game. This was the best true team win we've had this season. We're glad for the program and we're ready to tip this thing the right way."

(Ref.: the emotion on the field after the game)
"It's unexplainable. It's a great team feeling. There was nothing that was going to take us apart after last week. Coach (Ellerson) talks about staying together. We stayed together. There was not one point in that game where we did not feel like our brother had our back. As long as there was a down to play, we had a chance to win the game. I think that's the biggest difference in this year's team. We always believe we can win."

(Ref.: the 72-yard touchdown run that was called back after replay determined the runner was down)
"It was like déjà vu. I was so upset that our team fought so hard and it came to that. I pride myself on being a good tackler. I threw him down , and I was sure he was down. I felt his body bounce off the ground. He kept going like any good running back is going to do. He was down. I'm glad he was down. They ran the replay, and thank the Lord, we just ran the next play."

 

 Junior DB Donovan Travis
(Ref.: his interception)
"I think anybody could have caught that ball. It was just a ball in the air. There was great defensive pressure up front, and he got hit and threw it off balance. It landed right in my breadbasket. I'm just sad I didn't score."

Freshman QB Trent Steelman
(Ref.: what it was like on the field after the game)
"It's just a wonderful feeling. We felt like we came together to overcome adversity throughout the game. The good thing about this win is, this is a good team, but we have a lot improvements still to be made. We're only getting better from here on out."

(Ref.: his touchdown run)
"I'd have to say that's one of the craziest touchdown runs I've had from one-yard out. It was a team effort. I had my offensive linemen, Malcolm (Brown), everybody pushing me left and right. I was just trying to find my way into the end zone. My helmet came off because one of the linemen grabbed me by the helmet and pulled me and pulled my helmet off at the same time. It's just another thing that shows what we're capable of and how we work together."

Junior RB Patrick Mealy
(Ref.: what the win means to the team)
"I think it is a testament to our character. Last week was a heartbreaker for all of us. We had two choices, whether to separate or stick together. We stuck together and fought hard in practice throughout the week. Come Saturday, we believe in each other. There wasn't one point in time during the game where we thought we were going to lose. We stuck it out until the end and pulled out a 'W'."

Sophomore LB Andrew Rodriguez
(Ref.: his forced fumble in overtime)
"It was a cutback play. It was a stretch run play that he cut back. I was chasing it from behind, and he popped through a gap. I think he thought I was in. It looked like he let up a little bit. I just attacked the ball, and it came out and rolled through the back of the end zone, luckily."

(Ref.: his feeling when he saw the ball roll out of the end zone)
"I knew it was going to be a touchback, but I wasn't sure if he had gotten past the line when I stripped it. When they challenged it, I wasn't sure myself."

Freshman RB Malcolm Brown
(Ref.: making his first start)
"It was a great feeling. We all came out and worked together to get the 'W'. It's just a great start to a legacy here we're going to make."


VANDERBILT QUOTES

Vanderbilt Head Coach Bobby Johnson
(Ref.: Army's defense)
"They played really well and are an excellent defense. They played extremely hard and efficient and we were just about the polar opposite of that on offense. We had penalties, and were very inconsistent in our execution. When we got big plays, somehow we figured out a way to get a penalty to bring it back."

(Ref.: taking positives from the loss)
"We played well on defense. We came out and we gave them the ball in good field position several times and we hung in there. We got a turnover one time and stopped them on fourth down another time. If we play defense like that we'll be ok."

(Ref.: points taken off the board)
"I think (the fumble call in overtime) was the right call. I challenged it just to make sure. I did not see the interference. We were running a cross and our guy was just trying to get inside the tackle to catch the slant - I'll have to look at that on film. You can't blame it on the officials we had so many chances to win this game you just have to blame yourself."

(Ref.: what the loss means)
"We are in a tough spot. We've got some really good teams we've got to play the rest of the way in, but they aren't going to call off the rest of the season, and we aren't either. We're going to be ready to work tomorrow, and we'll get back on it. We'll give our very best effort, and be ready to stay in it."

WR John Cole
(Ref.: the play of the offense)
"In that drive (in overtime) there were a lot of emotions involved but we really shouldn't have been in that situation. We have to convert and play a lot better at the beginning. It was just sloppy and there were a lot of penalties. We have to do better on the offensive side of the ball."

(Ref.: late offensive adjustments)
"We started throwing the ball down the field and that opens up a lot. We started going and getting the pace we need to go. We are a no huddle offense, but we are not converting on third downs. When you do that, and move the ball down the field, that offense works a lot better, and that's what we showed we could do. If we did that the whole game it would probably be a different outcome."

LB Chris Marve
(Ref.: Vanderbilt defense)
"We played well, but not as well as we would have liked. We didn't limit them enough. I wish we would have gotten more stops, but that's the type of offense they run. We knew coming in that's what they were going to try and do against us. We tried as a defense to execute, and sometimes we did and sometimes we didn't. We just didn't come out on top today."

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