Oct. 16, 2012
The following quotes have been excerpted from Army head football coach Rich Ellerson'spress conference, held Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in the Randall Hall auditorium.
Army Head Coach Rich Ellerson
(Ref.: opening statement)
"Another week; another challenge. Eastern Michigan, like us, has had a tough year which is largely reflective of their schedule. They're coming off an incredible effort against Toledo. Offensively, they're about as explosive as you'll see - over 300 yards rushing and over 300 yards throwing. (Sophomore running back) Bronson Hill kind of came out of nowhere. He has 35 touches on the year with 28 of them coming last week with over 200 yards. They found a guy who's explosive. They do things in their run game that have been especially challenging for us. (Tyler) Benz has taken over the last two or three games as their quarterback. They'll still bring in (Alex) Gillett, whose legs have been a dominant part of the offense over the years. He had great success running the ball a couple of years ago against us. Benz has come in and done a nice job not turning the ball over and throwing the ball really well. He can really scoot. They have a great go-to player at tight end as well. They are a real challenge for us defensively, where we've struggled quite a bit. Defensively, we're not exactly sure what we'll get. They haven't seen us for a couple of years. Obviously, they'll look at some of the things we got last week, and we have to think that's going to be on everybody's short list of ways to line up against us. We have to prepare generically and have to be productive on offense to have a chance. We have to be able to eliminate, minimize the big plays from their offense. They've been a pain for us so far this year."
(Ref.: Eastern Michigan's mentality coming in looking for its first win of the season)
"They're looking at that tape (against Kent State) and thinking they have a great chance this week. There are things that we do, particularly on offense, which will be a concern for them. I would think they are looking at our defense and what we've been doing and are licking their chops a little bit. We've won the last couple of times we've been out there, but they've been hard-fought games that have come down to the final possession. We expect it to be that kind of a game again. In fact, we hope it's that kind of a game again because that means we're in it. We have to go out there and play better than we have. We have some challenges physically, but we have to be more proficient and competent offensively and defensively - regardless of how they decide to line up. We got a little flat-footed last week against Kent State. We were struggling physically and then found ourselves being less than competent in some things we should be able to do week-in and week-out. We have to be able to go out there and execute the handful of things we're trying to accomplish routinely. That will force our opponent to be doing the right things and then be physically superior. Then I can take it. What's driving us all crazy here is not the track part of it, or the physical maturity, it's those things that should be fundamental to our style of play that aren't being executed routinely in a competitive environment. Yeah, we're young, but I'm sick of saying that. We have to get better and get better now."
(Ref.: how a player like EMU's Bronson Hill hides on a roster before last week)
"Holy cow, you've got me! Presumably, he's been like that in practice. Son of a gun, he's another guy like we saw last week (Kent State's Dri Archer) who can finish a run. Unlike last week, he's 210 pounds and not a little guy. If he hits a crease and gets downhill, you're going to pay heck getting him on the ground. He has four touchdowns and they are long runs. He's a dangerous guy. It's also how they block. They use that tight end aggressively and do some things in their run game that have been tough for us. Obviously, we're working hard at it. But we have to be able to see it better and get people on the ground. We have to be able to bonus players so we're not consistently putting a guy in space against a great player."
(Ref.: status of senior quarterback Trent Steelman)
"He's good. He's healthier than he was last week, and last week he was healthier than the week before. Right now, we need to keep the arrow up for him physically."
(Ref.: how he can keep the team playing together through a tough start to the season)
"We practiced this morning. Guys want to play and be better. Guys are frustrated, but know they can do better. They look at the tape and see the same things we do. I'm angry with myself. There are some things that are iconic and unique to our offense and defense. There are things that should be an advantage for us structurally as we go into some of these games. They are killing us because we're not routinely executing those things that are fundamental to our offense and defense. In a game like last week's, when we're in over our head a bit physically, we have a chance if and only if we can execute these relatively unique styles of play. We're playing at a level where you can't go out there, line up in the same stuff and snap in and snap out. You have to give your opponent some change-ups and be able to execute. The change-up has to hurt them, not you. We've been way too good at fooling ourselves and not nearly good enough at causing them a challenge."
(Ref.: possibility of changing schemes)
"No. We've built this fundamental foundation based on a reaction system that is our style of play. That's where there is a disconnect. Some of those things that we routinely rehearse, when we go into a competitive environment with the lights on, they're not there when you need them. That's not an indictment on our system as much as it is on our ineffectiveness as teachers and adjusters. We're trapped here, but we might need to step back and look at how we've personneled this. Maybe we're asking the wrong guys to do the wrong things. Offensively, that's not the case. We've done everything we need to do to be successful in that game. We just weren't able to do it when we weren't necessarily anticipating having to do it throughout the week. It's something you keep dusted off and are ready to go to. My goodness, we looked like we'd never seen it before. We want to be a little more nimble than that, because with our styles, we're going to get things that we don't necessarily anticpate routinely."
(Ref.: increased playing time for freshman quarterback A.J. Schurr)
"I felt like there had been opportunities for A.J. to play. Frankly, those situations where your quarterback has taken enough shots and you're more than two possessions out of it, he needs to play. We had a couple of those opportunities in the past and we didn't put him out there. We can all see there's a reason we're excited about A.J. The guy really has some upside, and there's no substitute for actually going into a game environment and running this stuff."
(Ref.: assessing the offensive line)
"Last week, frankly, wasn't one of our best days with the offensive line. Give Kent State some of the credit for that. We physically lost a couple of the battles routinely. We didn't block a lot of guys. The center position continues to be a strength for us. Both Ryan (Powis) and Will (Wilson) have played that position well. We just need everybody across the board playing that well, including at the A-back spot. As you know, it's not just the offensive line blocking in the option, it's the receivers and the A-backs too."
(Ref.: Eastern Michigan head coach Ron English's style of play)
"He's a great competitor. His team reflects his personality. In the wake of a really tough season where they've played competitively against some really good people, they continue to battle and get better. They're coming into Saturday expecting to win, just as we're going to go in there expecting to win."