Army-Navy Press Conference Quotes

Thomas Holloway was one of three Army captains that traveled to Philadelphia Wednesday afternoon.

Thomas Holloway was one of three Army captains that traveled to Philadelphia Wednesday afternoon.

Dec. 4, 2013

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The following quotes were excerpted from the Army-Navy Press Conference held Wednesday, Dec. 4 at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field.

Head Coach Rich Ellerson
(Ref.: what makes the Army-Navy rivalry stand out)
"It's a moment in the world of college football when everyone can reflect on who these young men and women are, and these institutions and their absolutely unique mission statements, and look at what a rivalry can be. While we are fierce rivals, we also share some commonalities, and one of those things is a passion for the game and the values of what the game demands."

(Ref.: the effect of last year's game on this year's contest)
"I'm trying to squelch that. There are a lot of back stories to this football game. My message to the guys is that this is the first time these two teams have played. There are some guys on this team and on their team that played in last year's game, but this 2013 has never stepped on the field against this 2013 Navy team. There is a story and a history associated with this game, but that doesn't step out between the white lines. Maybe that can help you in your preparation. Maybe that's part of the culture that has brought you to this point, but when you get to the game, play the game."

(Ref.: what he sees with this year's Navy team)
"This is as good, if not the best Navy team we've faced. I think they are a solid offensive football team, but with their quarterback, it's different. They're playing about as good of defense as we've seen."

(Ref.: Raymond Maples's injury-plagued season)
"It's obviously been very frustrating. He got hurt early in the Stanford game and hasn't been able to get back. Unfortunately, that's been a theme with this team and senior class. It's heartbreaking for him because we thought he was going to be able to make a run at it late in the season, but it hasn't happened."

(Ref.: his assessment of the Army team)
"It's a team that has had some ups and downs. We've taken some tough shots. When I talk about our firsties and our leadership, I'm going to talk about our resiliency. We've had so many guys who have played so much football for us who have had to miss games for one reason or another. They keep coming back, and they keep coming back. They keep bringing that enthusiasm. In my time as a head football coach, I have been a part of some close football teams, some teams that have bonded to one another especially well. This team takes that to another level. That's' a reflection of these seniors. They've decided they are going to believe in one another and believe in what they're going to do. It doesn't matter what happened yesterday. It doesn't matter what happened last year. They are going to get to the moment and put their best foot forward."

(Ref.: building that tight-knit bond)
"The key is those seniors. They made that decision, and it was a palpable one. They didn't come from a dysfunctional background or a dysfunctional team, but they decided they were going to take it to another level. It began last January and went all the way through the offseason, summer training and fall practice. It also went through the ups and downs of the season. You never know what this game is going to throw at you, and these guys used all that adversity to bond themselves that much closer together."

(Ref.: keeping the team's emotions in check with all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the game)
"I don't think we get caught up in that. We know there are a lot of bells and whistles going off around us, but we're able to focus. I don't think it's especially challenging, or it better not be."

(Ref.: if a victory versus Navy qualifies as a successful season)
"You play this game, and you live life, one day at a time, one moment at a time, and this is a great opportunity. It's the most important game of the year because it's the only one we get to play. That's what I was telling the guys this morning. If you want to talk about what's important in this game, it's the fact that this is the last game this team of 2013 will get to play together. It's the last time the vast majority of these seniors will get to put a helmet on. That's important to us. For us, for the internal family, that's what it is about. After everything we've put into this, everything we've experienced and everything we've sacrificed for this football team, this is the last time playing the game together. That's the motivation. Oh by the way, it's against our rival and there are a lot of other talking points, but that's what is at the end of the spear for us. Even that, you have to leave on the sideline when you step out between the white lines. When you step out there, you have to play the next play. When it's all said and done, we're all playing football."

(Ref.: if he feels any added pressure with the losing streak versus Navy)
"To be honest with you, no. You do this one thing at a time. You can talk about outcomes and what is going to happen, but if it is not somehow or someway going to impact our preparation then leave it off the table."

(Ref.: the Army quarterback situation)
"I would call it a work in progress. The good news is that we have two guys who we have a lot of faith in."

(Ref.: building on the second half versus Hawai'i)
"I told the team after the game that they have a choice. You can choose to be the team you were in the first half, or you can choose to be the team you were in the second half. And it is a choice because so much of it is how you handle adversity. Hawai'i didn't stop making plays and they didn't stop being big and strong in the second half, but we handled it better. When they made a play, we dusted ourselves off and tried to win the next one. In the first half, I felt that when things weren't going our way, we were carrying that around like it was a weight on our shoulders as opposed to just playing the next snap. Later on, the guys just kind of let it go and started having some fun. We won the third and fourth quarter, but we were down so badly in the first half that we couldn't bounce back on the scoreboard. Sometimes the look on your face when your opponent makes a play will tell you how you're doing. If you can handle them making a play and stay on balance and not start to freak out or get down on yourself or get down your teammates then you'll be just fine. Unfortunately, we've had too many opportunities to learn that, but I think that's what you saw in the second half."

Senior OT Michael Kime
(Ref.: preparing for a familiar opponent in Navy)
"It doesn't come down to schemes in this game. It's about who wants it more, and it's about passion. There are so many other feelings that go beyond football."

(Ref.: preparing for the feelings that the game brings)
"You just have to stay in the moment. You can't get carried away worrying about what's going to happen later. You have to take everything play-by-play and second-by-second and just live in the moment."

(Ref.:  talking with some of the younger players about the game)
"I've been telling the younger guys that this is my last rodeo, and I what to go out on top. It's been a lot of fun talking to the younger guys and showing them how big of a game this is. I think they're going to play their heart and soul out."

(Ref.: talking about the game with your fellow first classmen)
"It'll be really special for this group. All of the leaders that have come before us did a great job. I know this game will be as big for them as it is for us."

(Ref.: what makes Army-Navy so special)
"Both teams are playing for so much more than themselves. It's so much bigger than just football when you think about what the game represents. Both teams know that this isn't the final stop in their careers. Some people have college football as the crowning moment of their lives, but for us, we all have that next step where we become commissioned in the military. That's our ultimate goal."

(Ref.: feeling pressure to beat Navy)
"It's not as much pressure as it is motivation. All of these people want us to win, but we have to look at it like it's just another game. If we add all of that pressure, there's no way we're going to be able to pull off the victory. We just have to go into it like it's our next game."

(Ref.: any added momentum after playing such a close game last year)
"We saw how close we were to victory, and it slipped away like that. Some of the emotions are still there for some of the guys who have been there, but we have a whole new group of guys, and they have a whole new group of guys as well. It's a new game every year."

Senior LB Thomas Holloway
(Ref.: the ability to play in the game after missing time with injuries)
 "The most recent thing that really got in my way was last week when I had an infection that blew up out of nowhere. The doctors did a great job of getting me back to normal. Practice this morning was really good. It was good to get back in the mix, and I felt fine physically. The trainers did an excellent job in getting me ready to play. It's just a matter of staying on top of my treatment."

(Ref.: how he ended up at West Point)
"Towards the end of my high school career, I knew that going the military route was something I really wanted to do. I was interested in the academies and even some ROTC options. I applied to Army, Navy and Air Force. I actually started considering Navy and Air Force before Army, but it ended up being the case that Army offered me an appointment after talking with my congressman. I didn't get offers from the other two. I wanted to play football wherever I went, but I didn't get a football offer from any of the big three service academies. So I tried out for the team as soon as I got here. It worked out and I made the team thankfully."

(Ref.: the meaning for this class if they were to beat Navy)
"Yesterday one of my teammates and I were walking to the locker room and I simply asked, `How are you doing?' and he said, `Ready to change history.' That was the first thing that came out of his mouth. I really think that encapsulates our approach and what it's going to mean to us. It's been a fair number of years, and a win would totally change the season and the perception of this team. I think we have all the tools necessary. I think we all have the right attitude moving forward."

(Ref.: the ups and downs of the 2013 season)
"This season has shown us that we can get beat by the unlikeliest of opponents when we don't play our game, but when we do play our game, we can beat anybody. If we focus on our game and the way we do things, and focus on things we can control like practicing really well, that we are up to the task that lies ahead."

(Ref.: the bond between Army and Navy)
"I think one of the things that is unique, and I what I really like about this game is that it's known as America's Game. The rivalry is strong, but it's not one of those where a fight is going to break out because it means so much more than the game itself."

Senior LB Jarrett Mackey
(Ref.: the 2013 season)
"That's why it's been so rough because we have all these expectations for ourselves. We know what Army Football is."

(Ref.: his impressions of the Army-Navy game versus what he thought it was going to be like)
"My freshman year I was riding the bench playing behind Josh McNary. I thought it was going to be a regular game. I'd been in rivalry games in high school, and I thought it was going to be similar to that. The older guys told me it's completely different. I've seen fans stand up and get rowdy, but when we were on the field, it was on a different scale. That's when I looked and thought that this was different."

(Ref.: playing the game in Philadelphia)
"Playing in Philadelphia is great. It's a great stadium and a great city, and I look forward to having my last game here."

(Ref.: the difference of playing a game versus brothers in arms as opposed to a regular opponent)
"It's strange. We have this strong feeling toward them now, but down the road we're going to be side by side on deployments. It's one of those things that bonds you overall as servicemen. We'll have this experience and connection that other military members don't have."

(Ref.: the feeling of having the entire college football world focused on this game)
"It's nice because we are a representation of more than just football. That's what I've come to learn. It's a chance to show the nation what great people we have."


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