Sept. 18, 2012
The following quotes have been excerpted from Army head football coach Rich Ellerson's press conference, held Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2012, in the Randall Hall auditorium.
Army Head Coach Rich Ellerson
(Ref.: opening statement)
"There's no rest for the weary. That improvement you look for from the first week to the second week, we certainly realized some of that on the offensive side of the ball. We're still looking for it on defense and could play better in the kicking game. We have another really challenging opponent this week, going down to Wake Forest. They had a rough game last weekend, but have two very impressive wins to start the season to include North Carolina. They have a balanced offensive attack; we will see the best thrower we've seen so far this year in (Tanner) Price. He's an athletic lefty who is a real operator with a go-to receiver in (Michael) Campanaro, who is a little bit of a nightmare. They run two running backs with almost the same number of carries who will give us fits in that part of the game. Defensively, (head coach) Jim Grobe is used to looking at Georgia Tech and Navy, comes from the Air Force Academy. He knows what he's looking at with us."
(Ref.: going up against two solid throwing quarterbacks in back-to-back weeks)
"We're just young enough on the defensive side of the ball that we're not going to do a lot, but we're going to defend his (Tanner Price) arm a little more than we'll defend his legs. The frustrating part about last week was you picked your poison and really leaned on your opponent's run game. They still hurt you with the quarterback's legs and the run game. Obviously, you're going to leave yourself short in the passing game and they got to us. This week, they have more of a balanced attack so we're going to have to be a little more balanced on defense. We're not going to try and defend everything on every snap, but we are going to have to play this quarterback and this offense a lot differently than we played last week's."
(Ref.: looking at Wake Forest's 52-0 loss to Florida State last week)
"You're watching people and physical match-ups. If you're talking about us on defense, yes, we can look at everything they've (Florida State) done. Offensively, you're going to be little bit different. Rather than looking at last week so much, you have to kind of archive what they've done in the past against teams who run our style of offense."
(Ref.: mentality of bouncing back from a loss like Wake Forest suffered last week)
"They (Wake Forest) will play well; they'll compete. They have two great wins under their belt and are a prideful bunch. They are a mature football team. They'll also look at some of the things we're doing on defense and are licking their chops. We need to be on-point."
(Ref.: how an improved pass rush will help the secondary)
"In our world, there's somebody always open. I don't care who is playing defense, that's pretty much universal. Somebody will get open; the question is can you get to that quarterback and make him feel you before he finds that open person. This quarterback (Tanner Price) is very athletic and good with his eyes. He has a quick delivery and doesn't make a lot of mistakes. It will be a challenge for us. Pressure always has to be part of it, but we don't have the experience level on the defensive side of the ball to try and bring too much to the table. We're going to do some things and create some indecision, but we have to play within our package. We have to be able to get better from these last couple of games."
(Ref.: confidence in the secondary coming into the Wake Forest game)
"There are some young guys who have been on and off the field who are going to get a bigger piece of the pie this week. We have some young guys who lack for experience, but there's only one way to get that. We'll see some of that this week."
(Ref.: use of the passing game when the run game is being as productive as it was vs. NIU)
"It all depends on how your opponent is going to play you. The passing game is there, we've worked really hard at it and it's available to us. Again, your opponent is going to pick its own poison."
(Ref.: how to address 41-40 loss to NIU last week)
"We're at an institution where winning is a way of life. What we're fighting to do, given the nature of the team and the schedule we have, we have to be able to dim the scoreboard. We have to get back in the moment. We have to focus more on what wins rather than just focusing what the scoreboard says. The scoreboard is an accounting tool and is most meaningful when the game is over. I'm not trying to tell our football team that they need to be okay or feel good about what that scoreboard says, but they need to feel better about how they competed, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Having said that, as a football team, we have to find one more play and it can come from any phase of the game. We have to approach it holistically. There's more room to grow on defense than there is on offense, but it doesn't take a lot of imagination to find yourself feeling pretty good against a really good football team. We need to recognize and feel good about the growth that we've made. We need to be able to validate in our own minds that this is doable; it's not a 100 yards away. We just need to find a way to take one more step."
(Ref.: playing on the road for the second time this season)
"We'll be fine on the road. This is the most important game of the season and the reason is because it's the one we have this week. Right now, the guys are battling through a Thayer Week. We did so much in the offseason in terms of our scheduling, the summer training and how we prepare for a week like this. It will be especially tough on the freshmen and sophomores who are still carrying a disproportionate load on this football team. It'll be important to see how well we handle that and how fresh we are. We like to practice and play. They were miserable suckers on Saturday, but Monday, the sun came up and we had a good practice. They know they can be a good football team. They can't say they are one right now, but we're doing some things right. We just need to get more right."
(Ref.: how concerned he is with being 0-2)
"We have our head down and are trying to be 1-0 this week. This is a resilient bunch. They're together and like to play the game. We played a really good football team on Saturday, and they demonstrated that they can compete on that field. They knew the job was dangerous when they took it. They wanted that challenge. We're at that point in the season that everybody, no matter what the record is, better be in the moment."
(Ref.: his assessment of the offensive line)
"They are playing really well. Obviously, they were playing against a very gifted opponent last week and were out there a very long time. They're sore this week, but they were very productive. They're right and combative. They don't win them all because they're lined up against some really good people on the other side of the ball and they're going to win some too. This is a group that likes to play, knows what it's doing and is anxious to play again."