Postgame Quotes - Army vs. Ball State (Sept. 19, 2009)


Head Coach Rich Ellerson
"Today was a hard-fought win. I give Ball State a lot of credit. They battled throughout and played really well in all phases of the game. We were fortunate to be successful. If not for some plays in the kicking game and on special teams, we would have been in some trouble. Those are the plays that make a difference in most contests and this one was no exception. I'm really proud of the way the guys continued to battle. They had some bad things happen and we battled back and played well when we had to. In critical situations, guys stepped up and made plays and that is the sign of a maturing football team. We may not be the most dangerous, explosive team right now, but we are continuing to get better and becoming more efficient."

(Ref.: the play of the defense)
"They are kicking themselves because they gave up some yards, but they didn't give up points and they scored. They did all the things good defenses do. They played great with their backs to the wall. We got a stop in the fourth quarter and guys were stepping up in a critical situations and making plays. When, at times it looked like the other team had the momentum, we were able to settle down and battle ourselves right back into that control."

(Ref.: staying with the offense the whole game)
"The mantra on the headset the whole game was 'run our offense, trust our guys, we're getting better.' I feel like sometimes we are our own worst enemy. We get a little bit too creative and make something that is not there happen and that is when we get way behind. We are not going to be afraid of our offense. We are going to run it and be better. We have to get better or we won't be singing many Saturdays if we don't. The good news is, we are growing and we were successful and we didn't shy away."

(Ref.: Alejandro Villanueva's two catches and his overall play)
"The first one was third and a mile and we just said 'let's see if we can let the big guy be the big guy. There are just some good things that can happen in those situations. Ideally, we don't want to be in a lot of third-and-twenties, but the good news is we still had a chance. The other, the free safety was a little too aggressive and we had one of those plays where it looked like our guy had dropped out of a helicopter. That can happen when you catch a defense leaning a little too hard. The good news was we were able to throw and catch and finish the play.

"He also made some plays at the end where he was able to, what we call 'crush' the outside linebacker. He is more than a speed bump out there. It is like someone built the Berlin Wall when you try to get out of the box when he is cracking. That created some of that space on the perimeter for us. The good news is, that part of the experiment is working. It will continue to be a challenge, but his presence will force teams to defend that part of the field."

(Ref.: Stephen Anderson's play)
"He is a great competitor. He loves West Point and the Army. He loves his teammates and he is not shy about saying it. He brings a lot of passion to the game."

(Ref.: his first win at Michie Stadium)
"It is great to win a hard-fought game like that. I enjoy that a lot. It feels right. If feels like, that is the way it should be. We know it is going to be hard, but we know we are getting better and we look forward to a lot of days like this."

(Ref.:the interceptions Army came up with)
"We have a mantra that says, when the ball goes in the air, it belongs to us, whether we are on offense or on defense. I credit our defensive staff for using some different packages and getting a lot of secondary guys involved in the game. We were playing with five and six defensive backs and trying to match up personnel and they did a nice job. From a plan standpoint, we had a great one."

(Ref.: QB Trent Steelman's toughness)
"He took a shot, came to the sidelines for a bit and then went back in. Physical toughness is not his problem"

Junior LB Stephen Anderson
(Ref.: the defense's performance)
"One thing we definitely focused on all week was winning at home and making sure the Corps sees us. They give us great support. We came out here and just flew around the ball. Everyone was swarming around the ball. There's probably five or six guys that could an assisted tackle on every play. It's good to have (a swarming defense) because you get in situation where you can make plays and rely on others to make plays."

(Ref.: defensive adjustments made during the game)
"We didn't make too many adjustments really. They did a bunch of things to try and mess with our eyes. We just had to stick to our fundamentals and our techniques. Other than that, there was a maybe a shift on the defensive line, but we stuck with the game plan we had going into the game. It's a great game plan. We believe in everything these coaches tell us. We believe in these coaches second to none. We just have to keep swarming to the ball."

(Ref.: the defense's identity after three weeks)
"We had to establish ourselves this game. We want to be a dominating defense - not just out of the independents, but in the nation. That's one thing we harped on all season. What kind of defense are we going to show this week? We need to prove to ourselves and everyone else that this defense can be dominating. We just stayed more consistent. (Donovan) Travis came up with two huge picks that kept them out of the end zone and put one in for us. That's the main thing we had to get to."

(Ref.: Donovan Travis' interception return for a touchdown)
"Last week we felt like we let one slip away. The offense got us a lead and we feel like we need to hang on to those. Donovan (Travis) made a huge play, and we were waiting for someone to make a play. We harp on that in the huddle all the time - who is going to make a big play? Donovan stepped up big and we got the 'W.'"

(Ref.: the double-eagle flex defense)
"It's an attacking defense. We try to shoot gaps. We're an undersized defense across the board. We don't have 300-pound tackles, but we do have big Mike Gann. Vic (Ugenyi) and those guys do a great job of penetrating. We have Josh (McNary), Marcus (Hilton) and Brad (Marren) on the ends that are quick guys and can make guys miss. A-Rod (Andrew Rodriguez) does a great job shooting gaps too. It's pretty much an attacking defense - shoot gaps, create chaos on the other side of the ball and make running backs stutter their feet so they can't get a full head of steam. We just have guys filling the gap the running back chooses. We just attack the ball and swarm to the ball."

(Ref.: being in the middle of all the action)
"This game is fun, with or without the big plays. I was really getting my feet wet the first two games in this defense. I didn't really like I was getting a good grasp of it. I got with coach (Payam) Saadat this week and talked more about my mindset and my mentality. What was I doing wrong? We went over game film and I was able to make the transition this week. I just needed to get to the ball. You see the film and you could give an assisted tackle to five or six guys on every play. I was lucky enough to be the first guy there. It's a lot of fun. You have to play this game with passion. It's contagious. The team sees it. It just makes the game that much more fun."
(Ref.: being 2-1)
"We'll have a short time to live this feeling up, but when we come in tomorrow, it's all about Iowa State. It feels great to win in front of the home crowd. It feels great to give the Corps of Cadets something to be happy about and give the Army fans something they've been waiting to see for awhile. This where we turn the corner for this program."

Junior SB Jameson Carter
(Ref.: Army's six fumbles)
"You always want to protect the football, especially in your own end zone and especially at the end of the game. We did have some mishandles on the football, but we feel like we're an attack offense. You're always going to be going forward and attacking. There was an extra emphasis on ball security. We have five keys to victory and the turnover battle is one them. We made those mistakes, but you just have to clear it, forget about what happened in the past and run the offense."

(Ref.: adjusting to the new offense)
"It's a new offense, but we believe in the system. We believe in our coaching staff. We're going to come back next week and get back to the grind."

Freshman QB Trent Steelman
(Ref.: coming back into the game after taking a hard hit to the midsection)
"It was just one of those things. I got hit in the gut, and it knocked the breath out of me. I went over to the sideline, did what I had to do and came back in. You're going to take shots as a quarterback in this offense, and you have to prepare yourself every game. Just get in the right state of mind to take those shots. I was good after that."

(Ref.: Army's fumbles)
"In this offense, coach (Ellerson) emphasizes we have to get the ball kicked to our slots. For the pitches that were on the ground, I take full responsibility for them. It's one thing we have to work on. When we do get the ball pitched, we get yards. We're hard to stop."

Junior FS Donovan Travis
(Ref.: the interception return for a touchdown)
"They were doing a lot of bootlegs and play action, and I'm responsible for any crossers and any deep posts. I saw him looking at him (the receiver). I didn't think he was going to throw it because I thought he saw me. I just stepped in front of it, and then after that it was clear cut to the end zone."

(Ref.: the double-eagle flex defense)
"We have a good defensive front that shoots gaps and makes the ball carrier pick a direction. As you watch film, there is usually five or six guys on the ball. Having great people like that allows me to play the pass more effectively."

(Ref.: his first interception)
"They kept going down the seam. That's how they got the first touchdown. They went to the same play again, and I just read his eyes and got the interception."

Senior WR Alejandro Villanueva
(Ref.: his transition from offensive line to wide receiver)
"I'm still making the transition. I'm still working with the coaches every day before practice. I'm feeling more comfortable every week, but I've got to give a lot of credit to the quarterbacks. They're making great throws. I just have to keep working hard. The transition is still not done yet."

(Ref.: the touchdown drive before halftime)
"It was huge, but again, every play is important. We've just been listening to the coaches and what they say - the most important play is the next play. That's all we did. It was a great call by coach (Ian) Shields. Every time we run that play, I tell him that's his credit because it's a very well-thought play. It was a great play. It was a great feeling to go all the way before halftime."

(Ref.: rebounding from last week's loss)
"It was the most important game of the week. That's all I can say. It's the only game we play this week. Every game is just as important. Ball State is a great team. We know what they did last season, and they've played really hard the past few games. They're a tough opponent. I'm just really glad we came out and played like we know how to play football."

(Ref.: his 3rd-and-20 catch and recovering the Army fumble at the end of the game)
"We've been practicing that play a lot. It still wasn't well executed. I need to get better. I still need to get with coach (Andy) Guyader and coach (Ian) Shields before practice. That whole transition from guard to wide receiver isn't done yet. On the fumble, I just thanked God. Those drills I did with Coach (John) Mumford my freshman year when I was playing defensive end paid off. I just fell on the ball. It was a great feeling to know the ball was secured and in our hands."


Ball State head coach Stan Parrish
(Ref.: costly turnovers)
"We have to take care of the ball, and know where we are at (on the field), and what end of the field we are on.  When you are down on your own nine and someone isn't open, throw the ball away. Red-zone to black-zone, coming out or going in, that's the most important quality you can have is to know what you're doing. "
(Ref.: the loss)
"The kids played hard. We didn't play well in some areas, but we just can't get over the hump. Penalties and turnovers cost the game."
(Ref.: containing the Army option)
"I thought we played well enough to win. We gave up a couple of plays. Kareen (Burch) I thought had an interception, and we tipped it and (Army's Alejandro Villanueva) got it, and we busted it in the coverage. The defense gave us a chance to win the game. We made some plays offensively; (Torieal) Gibson made a couple of plays for us today. We were in there, but being in there and finishing it are two different things."

"In a lot of areas we got better today, but critical errors at critical junctures - we didn't."
DE Robert Eddins
(Ref.: Ball State's play)
" I feel that overall as a defense, the guys came to play. Coming into the game, everybody in the nation knows that Army, Navy and those types of offenses are tough to prepare for. So coming into the game coach told us 'They are going to get plays,' but we tried to eliminate the big plays. I think we did that overall, but besides a few minor things I think we played pretty well."
(Ref.: the team's mood after three straight losses)
"The feeling is the same as after every loss; no one likes to lose. Everybody in that locker room is a winner coming off a 12-0 season, so everyone has that winning aspect. We kind of expect to win, so losing is very hard. In the locker room we just know we have to get better. We're working hard, we know we're there, we just have to jump into the water as coach likes to say and be ready to play harder."
LB Davyd Jones
(Ref.: failing to recover more Army fumbles)
"It's frustrating. The past couple of games, we've caused fumbles but haven't been able to recover them to get the ball back to our offense, and we failed doing that a couple of times today. Granted they were running the option and sometimes they pitched it back, and sometimes we were lucky they fumbled it, but overall we have to get the ball back (to the offense)."
(Ref.: what the team needs to change)
"We just need to win right now. As a group we are getting better, but a win would definitely put us over the hump. However we get it - a win." 


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