Dec. 10, 2011
Final Stats |
Recap | Final Stats | Notes
Head Coach Rich Ellerson
(Ref.: opening statement)
"Our team played really hard. Our team competed really well. We didn't do the things that correlate with success on the scoreboard. We didn't win the turnover battle. We got crushed in the kicking game, and those are always going to be the strategic determinators of who wins and who loses. The resilience and the toughness of those guys to come back and fight and compete and scratch and kick is a reflection of the senior leadership on the football team. Those guys deserve to feel better than they do right now. As I've told them, those really good young football players we have that are in there that show so much promise are here because of those guys. I didn't recruit them. Those seniors recruited them, and they wanted to follow in their footsteps. They wanted to be a part of this brotherhood. We're going to get this thing turned, and we're going to get this thing right. We're going to have a lot of great days, and when we have those days, this senior class - while they can't feel that way today - they need to take justifiable pride and feel like they're a part of the future success that we know is coming."
(Ref.: on going for it on fourth-and-seven instead of attempting a field goal late in the fourth quarter)
"We kind of knew where our parameters were early on. We have a bunch of seven-yard plays out there. We didn't have one, but I just felt like that was the place to go. I still felt like if we could get them stopped, we had out timeouts, and we could get another possession there. In hindsight, I'll kick it. If you kick it and miss it you're in the same boat, but you still have your timeouts. If you do make it, you almost have to try an onside kick. We've got a lot seven-yard plays in us."
(Ref.: the health of junior QB Trent Steelman)
"Well, at the end he wasn't (100 percent). He was somewhere less than 100 percent, but he was still very effective."
(Ref.: fumble issues versus Navy)
"You've got to keep the ball off the ground. The guys understand how to compete. The guys understand how to try hard. The guys understand how to bounce back. They don't quit on each other; they don't quit on themselves. However, these things that we routinely rehearse in the practice environment with respect to the ball and the kicking game, if you didn't learn anything, you learned how painful that is and how important that is. We're not just killing time out there. It's not just another drill. We're practicing winning. I thought, defensively, our guys were aggressive. They were attacking the football. They were ball-conscious. They did a wonderful job. Offense and kicking game, we've got to get the ball off the ground, period. "
(Ref.: whether today's struggles could be attributed to the youth on the team)
"No, you've got to play better. You don't have to be old to do that; you don't have to be young. You have to do it. That has to be who you are and how you play."
(Ref.: getting called for offside on Navy's fourth-and-one play late in the fourth quarter)
"Well, you're on the edge there. You can sit back there and ask if we were really offside. It was so close to being `We got them'. You're not going to be too conservative in that environment. When you're in third and fourth and one, there are worse things that can happen than being offside. That's one of the bad things, but that's just one of the bad things and it's not the worst one."
(Ref.: whether or not he was surprised with Army's fumbling issues today)
"Yeah, I mean I'm frustrated and disappointed with it. It's a conundrum because the harder you work at it, the more you send a signal that there's a problem and the more you signal there's a problem, the guys can visual the negative outcomes. But, we'll pitch the ball to Raymond Maples 1,000 times and he'll catch 1,000 of them. That just makes you want to scream. Scott Williams is back there because he doesn't do stuff like that. He's not a great, dynamic returner, but you can count on him not to do stuff. Give Navy some credit. It was high-speed contact on the football. It didn't happen in a vacuum."
(Ref.: the importance of Alexander Teich's kickoff return to start the third quarter)
"That was something we adjusted for at halftime and we had a guy. You run real fast and miss. Give him credit."
(Ref.: whether or not he thinks the gap between Army and Navy is closing)
"An inch is a mile. I know we're competitive, but I felt that way last year. I really did. We played those guys tooth and nail. I think they're competitive, don't get me wrong, but that's not the same as saying you're winning. The things that are keeping us from beating Navy are the same things that have kept us from winning a number of games. We didn't need an out of body experience. We just need to do the things that correlate with success on the scoreboard. Right on top of that list is turnovers and kicking game. I wish I could tell you there's something metaphysical, but it's not. It's as black and white as you can get it."
Senior LB Steve Erzinger
(Ref: being in the game until the end)
“It was exciting, just like they said it would be. Obviously, we’re not on the right side, but Navy battled their butts off and did a lot of great things. We made some mistakes that you can’t do when you’re trying to compete against a quality opponent. Hats off to them. The emotions were back-and-forth with the swing of the game.”
(Ref.: defensive thoughts on Navy’s fourth-and-one in the fourth quarter)
“They have a tendency on third and short, fourth and short to just freeze you. It’s a mental mistake. You just have to understand that they are going to do that and not jump offsides. That’s just one of the things you need to learn. It comes with age. It comes with maturity. We played well, but you can’t make those mistakes in key situations.”
(Ref.: playing his last game in an Army uniform)
“Almost doesn’t work, but it’s something I have to live with now as my legacy. It’s not a good feeling. But it’s fun to compete against a quality opponent and go out against Navy in a venue like this.”
Junior QB Trent Steelman
(Ref.: Momentum swinging Army’s way during the game)
“It definitely did, and that’s why it’s such a heartbreaker for this team. We felt, and we knew, we were the better team today, but it was that slow start that really threw us off track. After that, we played as well as we have played all year. We were clicking on both sides of the ball and complementing each other very well. Just to be in it like that and know the game is right there in your hands, it’s a tough one to swallow.”
(Ref.: playing through ankle and knee injuries)
“It was going to be a thing I was going to have to pound through coming into the game, both my ankle and knee, but there wasn’t anything that was going to keep me off that field. That’s part of football. You have to be able to play through injuries. Anybody else would do that in this type of game. I was just doing what any of my other teammates would have done too.”
(Ref.: distributing the ball early rather than keeping it)
“It’s reading the option. I’m going to get what they (Navy) give to us. It’s back-and-forth in the option. Sometimes they were taking the fullback and sometimes they weren’t. Sometimes we designate a play and sometimes we don’t. It just depends on things.”
(Ref.: What he can take away from this game)
“I’m just tired of hearing ‘almost.’ That word hurts more than any other word I’ve ever heard when it comes to this game. Almost isn’t good enough.”
Junior LB Nate Combs
(Ref.: Looking ahead to next year)
“The thing to take away from this is to never feel like this next year. I’m tired of this feeling. I know the seniors would say the same thing. Capitalizing next year would not only help us, but also the other guys who have lost to Navy too.”
Senior SB Malcolm Brown
(Ref.: Thoughts at halftime)
“We knew we were going to keep striking and keep hitting them. We knew the offense and defense would come through even though we didn’t come out (to start the game) as we planned.”