Head Coach Rich Ellerson Press Conference Quotes

Head Coach Rich Ellerson

Head Coach Rich Ellerson

Nov. 25, 2013

The following quotes have been excerpted from Army head football coach Rich Ellerson’s press conference, held Monday, Nov. 25, 2013, in the Randall Hall auditorium.

Army Head Coach Rich Ellerson
(Ref.: opening statement)
“We are looking forward to playing. It’s been a couple of weeks. We’re excited to play, and we know Hawai’i is as well. We are talking about these guys, and they haven’t won but they have played so well. They have taken everybody to the last play, and the past couple of weeks they have taken a couple of teams past the last play into overtime. They are a very competitive team that will play like there is no tomorrow because for them there is no tomorrow. This is their last game and all the emotions that go along with that will be in play. As we said, we are as hungry as we have ever seen a football team. We are excited to play, and we are looking forward to the game. Certainly there is some excitement associated with the travel and all of that, but we are focused on the content itself.”

(Ref.: facing Hawai’i)
“If you watch them play, you see their scores and who and how they played, and you would know you are in for a football game. You have to believe what the tape says and know this is going to be a knock down, drag out matchup. It is awkward having the two week bye because it is almost like bowl preparation in the middle of the season. We have had enough issues with health that is hasn’t necessarily been unwelcome and we’ve used it. We’re obviously tired of practicing these guys and were excited to start playing them again. Will we be rusty? It doesn’t look like that. We have practiced well and we were able to stay fundamental for a little while. Early on we were focusing on preparation for Navy like you would in a preseason week, but for all of this week and all of last week it has been all Hawai’i. We are getting comfortable with our plan, and like I said, we have stayed fundamental. We are healthier than we’ve been, although not as healthy as I would like to be, and we are looking forward to playing.”

(Ref.: Hawai’i’s multiple offense)
“They are opportunistic. They are accomplished, and they are very aggressive. They play without fear. The Hawai’i quarterback had a hot hand last week like I have never seen, which says something about the whole team. This was a team that was on the road at altitude in below freezing weather, playing out of their shoes, putting up 600 yards and 56 points in regulation. Again, this is a team that can come at you in a couple of ways. In the course of the season they played some great defense, especially against San Diego State. They are searching for that one play and that chemistry that will correlate with success just like we have at times. It is going to be a great game.”

(Ref.: the weather being a factor)
“If you look at the weather, we’re looking at possibly playing in a storm so who knows. Whatever it is we will be fine. Right now we are a relatively healthy, well conditioned football team, and if it is a little bit warm the guys won’t mind.”

(Ref.: choosing to attend Hawai’i)
“It was football, and it was also the sense of adventure. It is absolutely unique, and I am a water guy. When I am in Hawaii, I am going to try and be in the water as much as I can. I had a lot of fun playing and doing other things.”

(Ref.: the status of Raymond Maples)
“I don’t expect that he will be able to play this year and the only rationale of him being here in 2014 would be frankly how they resolve his medical situation. Right now it is still up in the air. It is obviously really frustrating for Ray because we thought he would be able to get back, but there have been setbacks. As I said, there is still a diagnosis out there to be determined.”

(Ref.: the status of Larry Dixon and Hayden Tippet)
“We will have to wait and see because Larry will not be able to go or at least that what we perceive. Hayden Tippet is struggling to get back in the mix. He has been practicing but not necessarily a lot and not at full speed. That is problematic.”

(Ref.: why the line has been so consistent behind Michael Kime)
“They have stayed healthy and have been able to stay together. It is a relatively experienced group and, knock on wood, they have stayed healthy. They take advantage of all of those reps and the better you play, the better you get. There are some gifted guys that are expert at what we do, not necessarily what everyone else does on the offensive line, but they love to play the game.”

(Ref.: playing defense versus Hawaii)
“I think you watch those guys play against Wyoming and you tell a young secondary that don’t think that they aren’t going to take some passes and aren’t going to make a play. You need to be resilient. We have some change-ups so we have some things to do, but in the course of the contest, they are going to make some plays. You need to be able to absorb those plays, dust yourself off and try to win the next snap. I think you see some of these guys when they get explosive and that is one of the challenges that the secondary guys have to do. You have to try to hold off the arm of the receivers and then you have to turn around and have great run support against a really physical running back. It is a tough day against those guys because they force your secondary to go long in the run game and obviously they pose a challenge all over the field with their throwing game. The fact that they are coming up with a lot of yards and scoring points is not an accident. They are well practiced, they have good players, they have a system and they are good at it.”

(Ref.: what you’ll remember about playing in Hawai’i)
“I really don’t know. I’m focused on the game and the team. I don’t think I’m going to get lost in the moment. I’ve been there a few times. It’s not going to be new. I know what the locker room looks like, and I know what the stadium looks like. The field is still 100-yards long, so I think we’ll be okay. My focus that evening is going to be on that moment and that challenge, and it’s formidable.”

(Ref.: coaching at West Point)
“Clearly, you’re going to need to embrace the West Point developmental journey. That’s why the guys come here and that’s why the institution exists. What we’ve got to do is find a way to mesh that larger experience with the ever-evolving world of D-I football. It’s not easy, it’s entirely unique. I think we’ve made some real progress, but the proof is going to be on the scoreboard. That will validate what we’re doing internally. We’re giving ourselves a chance to be competitive on the football field, while we are being successful at the other things you need to be successful at here.”

(Ref.: what was attractive about coaching at West Point)
”I have a familial history here. I’ve always followed Army football because of my father and my brothers, that’s what we did growing up. When I had to opportunity, it was exciting.”

(Ref.: how the team feels after having three weeks off)
“It’s been a little bit like preseason practice. We’re practicing as well as we have in months. I’m frustrated that we’re not healthier, but we’re as healthy as we’re going to be. We’re excited to play and we’re well-practiced. The good news is we’ve got a chance to play Saturday.”

(Ref.: getting overly excited about playing in Hawai’i)
“Some teams handle it better than others. There is that concern, but I think we’re mature enough and professional enough that we’ll be able to handle it. The big discussion is how to manage the time change. Because of the Thanksgiving break, we’re going to have a chance to go out there and acclimate a little bit. What we planned to do initially was to position ourselves on the west coast and fly out Saturday for the game then come right back and stay as long as we could on New York time. What we’ll try to do is change our clocks on Tuesday. By Saturday, any of the ill effects of travel should be long gone.”

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