Postgame Quotes - Army vs. Rutgers (Oct. 23, 2009)




Army Head Coach Rich Ellerson
"The message to the football team is, we played along with a very good football team and we could be out there right now lining up to kick a field goal to decide the outcome - if we did the things to help us win. Everything we have talked about from our season standpoint is still in front of us and still achievable if we start doing those things. If you drop a snap and have a punt blocked for a touchdown, if you turn the ball over three times, you can't beat O'Neill High School. On the other hand, if we win the turnover, even by one, and it is a push in the kicking game, that has a chance to be very interesting. We are doing some of those other things. Our defense settled down and did some of those things you need to do to win a football game. We didn't get a lot of pressure. We knew that it was going to be a hard day if we didn't. Even with that, we battled back into it. Offensively, we got some things settled down. We can run the triple option. We can get the ball pitched. There was some positive stuff there. However, the things we are not doing preclude any of that being positive. The good news is we get to play again and it doesn't take a wild imagination to visualize us being successful.

"They were run supporting very aggressively but then they backed off when we were able to hit some of the throws we were attempting and ran our offense. It wasn't a mystery. We hit a big play on a mid-line option. We hit a couple triple options where we got the ball pitched. We had a hand-back that went for a touchdown. It is just our offense. There is nothing magic about it. They lined up and essentially played the defense we anticipated, but they are very good at it. They are hard to block, tackle well and are fast. When we are operating, we can move the football.

(Ref.: success with the pitches on the outside and the downfield blocking)
"Getting the ball pitched in recent weeks hasn't been the issue. We blocked the perimeter a little bit better than we have. I think our wideouts had a good day in terms of blocking the perimeter. We are consistently going to get better at that part of the game. We have a quarterback that can operate. He sees it well and is making good decisions and is getting the ball in the right hands. The difference between success and failure on a couple of those plays is a degree or two. We are gaining on that. What is so frustrating now, something that we have been reasonably solid with is not turning the ball over a ton. That is a deal breaker. It doesn't matter how well you do that other stuff, it is over.

(Ref.: what was said to the defense in the fourth quarter when Rutgers was pushing for a score)
"We talk consistently about turning the scoreboard off and focusing on the next play. We like playing this game and play it for a reason. We thought we had lost that focus and I wanted to make sure that voice in the huddle was the right one."

(Ref.: the Army pass rush in the second half)
"I didn't think we had a great pass rush. I thought we had some individual instances where those guys were winning those one-on-ones. But give them some credit. We were rushing five and six guys at a time and they were handling us. We knew they were a veteran bunch up front and they played like it."

(Ref.:QB Trent Steelman's big runs during the game)
"We felt like we have been very close to some output like that, but we need to be more consistent with that because the opportunities are there routinely. You have to have everyone on the same page. You have to have those few degrees of separation between two to four yards and 20 to 30 yards and we started to realize that tonight. That is the encouraging part of this thing. If you leave those fundamentals behind that determine winning and losing, it is all for naught. We are gaining on it, but we can't take a step forward and then take two steps back. When you start turning the ball over, that is the difference."

(Ref.: What takes longer to turn around, the offense or the defense)
"Offense takes reps and takes time. Defensively, we walked into a mature outfit. Those guys had been successful. While we run a different system, we were able to tap into some experience and reaction systems that were in place. Offensively, with the amount of people that are doing some things this year for the first time, there is still a lot of teaching going on in practice. There are still some details and fundamentals that are still being addressed."Junior LB Stephen Anderson

(Ref.: cutting the lead to 17-10 in the third quarter)
"It wasn't a matter of sticking with them. We believed we could win throughout the whole game. Coach Ellerson does a great job of making us believe, and we do believe. It just came down to missed tackles and turnovers, and they had more big plays than us. They had a blocked punt. I had a chance to have an interception and I dropped that. Little things add up. They just made more plays than we did."

(Ref.: what needs to be done to turn things around)
"We just have to keep going back to work. It's not a matter of what has to change. We just have to work. Coach does a great job of putting us in the right position. It's just the execution of the offense and defense with our precise decisions. It's going to turn around, and we're going to tip it the other way."

(Ref.: stopping Rutgers on 4th-and-1)
"They did the same play two times in a row. They lined up on the third down and we weren't ready as a defense for them to do that quick sneak. Mike (Gann) got a great push up front and stopped it short. On the second one, we heard the same call, and we just went to the sneak. He tried to jump and we hit him in the air and stopped him."

(Ref.: his playmaking ability)
"To be honest, I should have had 20 (tackles). I just missed tackles and missed opportunities. It's really just fitting in the defense. There are a few times where I'll shoot the gap or shoot an area where I think I can make the play. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. I need to get better at using my instincts and when I do make a decision, go 100 percent and don't worry about getting chipped off or worrying about where I fit as much. It's just a matter of seeing and doing it rather than thinking about it."

(Ref.: the physical nature of the game)
"There were a few more guys on the ground because of the conditions, but any time you have a team that wants to run the ball, and we have defensive linemen that shoot the gaps with their quick movements, things are bound to happen. Victor (Ugenyi) and A-Rod (Andrew Rodriguez) put it on the line like any player is going to do on this team. Unfortunately, they got hurt today. Hopefully, they can bounce back and help us out."

Junior DT Mike Gann
(Ref.: stopping Rutgers on 4th-and-1)
"We look forward to that as a defense. It's fun to try and stop them on fourth down. That's what we play for. We're always ready for that."

(Ref.: Rutgers' big plays)
"We have to execute the defense. When guys are out of position, it's no secret. If we have two guys in a gap and there is no one in the other gap good running backs and good teams are going to find the holes and they're going to expose you. You can't be trying to make plays that aren't there or trying to be the hero. Everyone has to do their job. We usually do that most of the time, but it only takes one play. We had them in third down and they get that one play to keep the drive alive. That's all it takes. There's no secret formula. There's no special water we take to turn the corner. It's executing the calls. That's what it is. We have to do it. A few plays go our way, and we execute the defense, and we're sitting in here smiling at you guys."

(Ref: the pass rush in the second half)
"There was no difference in attitude. I'll have to look at the tape to be honest. It gets all crazy. We have to rush the passer in the second half. It seemed like he had forever sitting back there. We're all running and trying to get back there. We'll take a look at the film and see what we did wrong. We have to execute the calls. If we leave a quarterback back there for long enough, he's going to find someone open. That's on any team."

Freshman RB Lonnie Liggins
(Ref.: his 17-yard touchdown run)
"Once I made that move, I knew I was going to score. It's just a mentality I have. I've always taken pride in making my cuts and going in. The line blew them out of the water. It wasn't anything I really had to do to tell you the truth. It was pretty much all the line. I give props to the line. Everyone else is really the one that scored to me."

Freshman QB Trent Steelman
(Ref.: what the offense needs to do to score more points)       
"We're getting there. It's just a matter of finishing our drives right now. Every game we're getting better. We're starting to take hold of this offense, and we're learning what it's all about. I feel like we can move the ball. It's just a matter of finishing and keeping our defense off the field to give them a little rest. We just have to go back to work and execute our plays. It's just one block here or there that we need to make to really spring this offense forward."

(Ref.: gaining yardage on the pitch portion of the option)
"Their outside linebackers were trying to slow play us a little bit. When we did get pulls we are taught to make them commit one way or the other. Our slots are doing a great job of getting to their inside linebackers and sealing them off and sealing off the safeties as well. It's just a matter of me making him commit to me or getting the ball kicked. When we did get the ball pitched, it was big yardage for us. It's all on the interior. That's another thing about our offense. Our slots are getting better at getting to the inside linebackers and the safeties and sealing them off for big plays on the outside."

(Ref.: breaking loose in the open field)
"It feels good to be able to do that. It's what we're trying to do with this offense. We're trying to get our athletes in the open field so we can make plays. I've been looking forward to getting my chance to do that all year and show a little bit of what we can do. It felt good actually being halfway healthy for once. This bye week is going to help us regroup and get everybody healthy and be ready to go against Air Force."

RUTGERS QUOTES

Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano
(Ref.: Rutgers defense)
"I felt we were playing good football when we blocked the punt for the touchdown. The first drive is always difficult against an option team. After the half is always difficult because they know the adjustments better than we do, that's for sure. When you go against a team that runs this (offense) 365, they know the adjustments, then its punch-counterpunch. I think the takeaways were critical."

(Ref.: Freshman QB Tom Savage)
"I think Tom played well. He moved in the pocket well - and that's a very good (Army) defense. They are ranked 17th in the country. They do some different things (defensively), and I thought Tom had a good outing."

(Ref.: Army's defensive line)
"I think the (Rutgers offensive line) played well against a very good front. The thing is the Army defensive line is not only strong physically, and (DE Josh McNary) is as good of a player as there is out there, but they give you a lot of different looks schematically - it's a different defense."

(Ref.: the weather conditions)
"It wasn't quite as bad as it looked. I thought our kids caught the ball well. We dropped a few, but it varied. It picked up at times, and we came out for the second half and it stopped. Our players did a very good job of staying in the moment and not letting anything get in the way, whether it was circumstance or weather, or whatever it was."

QB Tom Savage
(Ref.: his play)
"I know I missed a lot of open guys. I feel like I took a step today getting a 'W' in that first away game. When I was walking out there I kind of got the chills a little bit because I had never been in an away game and it just didn't feel real for me.

(Ref.: the running game)
"We pounded the ball like we planned all week. That's what our game plan is. We have two of the best running backs and one of the greatest offensive lines in the country, so that's all we needed to do in these conditions. I knew eventually it would wear them down. Our line is in such great shape and our running backs are in great shape - they did an awesome job out there."

DB David Rowe
(Ref.: playing against Alejandro Villanueva)
"I always brag about being able to jump the highest on the team, and I think I got a chance to jump tonight. It was very tough, and it was a very hard task to cover (Villanueva) all night, especially with him being more than a foot taller than me."

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