Army vs. Fordham Postgame Quotes

Oct. 29, 2011

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Head Coach Rich Ellerson
(Ref.: opening statement)
"Managing that environment was the focus. We have one way to play and we weren't going to be talked out of playing that way by the crowd, by the scoreboard or the weather, or by the Fordham football team. I think the guys managed that. It was an emotional day for a lot of seniors playing their last game at Michie Stadium. It was an opportunity for all of those guys to play and play a significant role, and that was a good thing. I'm not sure how much you can take away from that technically or in terms of personnel, except they were able to recognize what needed to be done and they did it. They managed that adverse situation just fine. I don't think the weather will ever be a problem for that group. The guys who were there on that day will never have to wonder if the weather is a problem or not. They're just fine."

(Ref.: whether or not he had coached in a `snow game' before)
"I've coached in similar conditions. Colder, actually. I don't know if I've ever seen that much blowing snow in a game before. When you're in the Canadian League in the playoffs, you're going to see a little of that."

(Ref.: the play of Army's offense)
"If we could be productive handing the ball off, obviously that was the way to go. Obviously, it was going to be a tough day throwing the ball downfield, and they were daring us to. They had a lot of guys up on the line of scrimmage. Even with the option stuff, you didn't want to be dealing the ball any more than you had to on the perimeter. The good news is that when it was called for, the guys managed it just fine, which is positive."

(Ref.: the play of Army senior QB Max Jenkins)
"That was good to see. Obviously, he's one of those seniors we were talking about earlier. It was important that he go in and was the wily, confident, old veteran, and he went in and did all that. If I have any regrets, it's that we didn't get Angel (Santiago) into the game a little bit sooner. Having said that, I'm not sure that the reps were as meaningful, because of the conditions. We weren't quite as fast and on the edge as maybe we'd typically be playing, so I'm not sure how much he'll miss that extra series that he might have gotten."

(Ref.: the play of the Army defense)
"Obviously, they played well. We were playing a team that wants to throw the ball a lot on a day when it's really difficult to throw it. The conditions played in our favor, with regard to that. I thought the guys played well. We have a lot of young guys out there, and I think every time they get up they're playing a little bit better and that's important."

(Ref.: the play of Army freshman LB Geoffrey Bacon)
"Geoffrey's a guy that we think has a great future in this system. There are still some challenges out there. He's got to let it go a little faster. He's trying to make sure sometimes and sometimes you have to trust it and let it go. He'll do that as time goes along."

(Ref.: the Army offense not skipping a beat without junior QB Trent Steelman)
"That was fortuitous. When you run this style of offense, you have to know that can happen. Anybody can go out there and twist an ankle and not be there, so you have to be able to have guys step up, and they certainly did. We talked about Max. He's had 1,000 reps, he really has. He's played in many games in critical situations, so I'm not surprised that he went out and handled that situation just fine. You think about the situation and the conditions. That's the mature, confident, unflappable guy that you want in a situation like that."

(Ref.: whether or not he was surprised by the margin of victory)
"I didn't know what it was going to be like. I really didn't. When you watch (Fordham) play on tape, they're competitive, they ran well. You just couldn't predict how you were going to match up physically, and that was really the difference in the first part of the game when we wanted to see if we could, obviously, take a little air out of the ball and be more secure with the football. We were able to get a lot of movement up front. We were able to manage that thing and get four yards and six yards and 12 yards and then bust a couple of long runs. As you could see, we couldn't run away from their back end. They were able to hang in there with us. They had a hard time staying on the field offensively, and I think the weather was a factor in their style of play."

(Ref.: whether or not the run by sophomore RB Raymond Maples on the first drive put Fordham back on its heels)
"That's a power running play. We're trying to outnumber you in a physical manner at the point of attack and that gets Ray started. When he got into the secondary, it's not like he split the safeties and went all the way. There were some opportunities to do that. Early on, we could see that we matched up physically. It gave us a chance to hand the ball off and take some of the air out of it. We didn't have to pitch the ball on every third play or every second play to possess the ball and move the ball. That, ultimately, is part of the reason why we didn't have the ball on the ground. On a day like that, if you had to pitch the ball a lot, odds are you might have some on the ground. They couldn't throw the ball downfield. The conditions wouldn't allow them to be effective doing it. We were able to pitch the ball a few times and did it well. We made some big plays doing that, and that's rewarding in those conditions. That's encouraging."

(Ref.: the confidence he has in Army's quarterbacks if Trent Steelman has to miss the Air Force game)
"I still think between Max and Angel, we have an awful lot of offense. We can run our offense. I think both of them bring a little bit something different to the equation, but we're not going to call different plays with different guys in the game. I think both those guys bring an awful lot to the table. There's a better and better supporting cast."

Senior QB Max Jenkins
(Ref: Playing in today’s weather conditions)
“It was definitely a ball. I kept saying it was like Christmas. It was my first snow game and a lot of other guys’ first too. How could you not get a little excited? You saw the snowballs flying at the end of it. It is what it is, so you might as well go out there and embrace it.”

(Ref.: Challenges of playing in today’s weather conditions)
“You have to focus on the fundamentals - getting the quarterback-center exchange and ball security. The backs did a great job holding onto the ball. That’s a big thing you have to focus on. Of course, your footwork is a little off. We just beared down and had some fun out there.”

(Ref.: Making his first career start on Senior Day and being the Brigade Deputy Commander)
“I’m blessed, and it was a great opportunity to get the start. I relied on (Raymond) Maples, the line and everybody out there. I didn’t have to do much aside from taking care of the ball. As far as being the Brigade Deputy Commander, it’s just like everybody else here. We’re busy all the time, whether it’s with school or leadership positions or football. It’s about managing your time and getting after it.”

Senior LB Alex Rodriguez
(Ref: Maintaining focus and intensity when holding a big lead)
“We talk a lot about turning off the scoreboard and just playing each play as its own. It didn’t happen today, but in a lot of games, it can turn on any play. Any time there’s a big play, the momentum of the game can turn. That’s why we focus on a single play at a time and that’s how we play if we’re up, down or tied.”

(Ref.: Playing in his final game at Michie Stadium)
“It was a lot of fun and pretty memorable last game. I know I speak on behalf of all the seniors, it was a great one to go out on. It was a whole team effort with the offense running the ball so well. Special teams was pinning them (Fordham) inside the 20 in those conditions. The defense came away with a shutout. It was a great memory.”

Sophomore SB Raymond Maples
(Ref.: Getting involved right away from the first drive)
“I just got good blocks from the offensive line and I was just following behind them. Wherever I got was based on being behind them, so all the credit goes to the line.”

Junior LB Nate Combs
(Ref.: fumble recovery for a touchdown and making adjustments playing in today’s snow)
“I don’t know if there were many adjustments really. They (coaches) said just to make sure we had our feet underneath us. I didn’t really even think about it when I was out there though. The fumble recovery –
I read a basic run play. I went back there off the edge. We’ve been preaching getting out to the ball and we do it every day at practice – turnover drills and everything. When I got around that corner and saw him (Fordham QB Ryan Higgins) step up, so I just went for the ball. It stuck to the ground because of the snow and the ice. I just scooped it up and thought I was going to get caught. I slipped a couple times into the end zone.”

(Ref.: Sliding into the end zone after scoring his touchdown)
“Honestly, sir, I got a little overzealous. Sometimes, that happens. As coach always preaches, be the Army team and don’t get a selfish penalty. I got one of those and you’ll probably never see me or anyone else on the team do that ever again. I promise you that.”

Fordham Head Coach Tom Masella
“We were slugging uphill once the weather turned because we’re a team that likes to throw it and they’re a team that’s a downhill run team. We were in trouble as soon as we got to the field and I saw it.  They’re a good football team and we had to play well, but we didn’t have a chance offensively. It’s not conducive to what we do.”

(Ref.: Army running up the middle)
“That’s their offense. They’re a downhill team. They run the wishbone. They go straight ahead and we like to throw it. There was no way we were going to be able to do much on offense throwing the football. We’re not that type of offense. Once I saw the field coming out here I knew we were in a lot of trouble and weren’t going to generate much offense. We knew it would be hard for our kids defensively because they run downhill and we’re kind of banged up, like I’ve said all year.”  

(Ref.: Physical mismatches)
“It’s a mismatch because we don’t have healthy players. It’s a mismatch. We knew that coming in that it was a mismatch. Let’s face it, for us to have a chance we were going to have to score some points and once this weather was like this our offense pretty much went out the window.”

(Ref.: Rotating players)
“I wanted everyone to play and get an experience. We had about 20 kids not make it up here because the third bus broke down and it didn’t get up here. Everyone that was on here on this field that had to bear that was going to get in the game and certainly they all did except one, Mike Marando, our kicker, I wanted to get him in our game but he was afraid. He thought he was going to screw up. I said, “It’s 55-0, there’s not much we can screw up at this point.’ Everybody deserved to get in the game.”

(Ref.: the West Point experience)
“I was really disappointed in the fact that it was not what it could have been for our kids. That’s just the way our season has gone. It’s not the experience I wanted them to take away from coming up to West Point, but it’s no one’s fault but Mother Nature’s, so you can blame Mother Nature for this.”

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