Head Coach Rich Ellerson Press Conference Quotes

Rich Ellerson

Rich Ellerson

Sept. 23, 2013

The following quotes have been excerpted from Army head football coach Rich Ellerson’s press conference, held Monday, Sept. 23, in the Randall Hall auditorium.

Army Head Coach Rich Ellerson
(Ref,: opening statement)
“We’re hurting. Boy, are we frustrated. The good news is that we get to play this week, and we’re excited to play. We’re anxious to get started with our preparation tomorrow. Louisiana Tech spreads you out on offense and they have a few quarterbacks that have played in the first couple of games. I think the freshman started and played the whole game against Kansas, and they really outplayed Kansas last week. If they played Kansas 10 more times, they would win all 10 of those games. They have an elusive running back, a small guy that gets lost in there, and they run zone read because of (quarterback Ryan) Higgins’s  legs. Defensively, again they have a good defensive outfit. We have been struggling so much with some of the defensive fronts that we have faced in the last couple of weeks and this looks like another one. When (defensive lineman Justin) Ellis comes in and shades our center, he outweighs him by 100 pounds. That’s not the first time that’s happened to us of course, but we are really going to be challenged this week. We’re back to fundamentals. We don’t know who they’re going to have lined up out there on defense. They could be looking at tape and seeing what we have struggled with on defense, and they could emulate that. They could get in an eight-man front. They could go into a 4-3. They can be doing a lot of stuff, and we’ll probably see more than one of those things. We are going to prepare generically, which may help us. We’ll get back to the fundamentals, and not be too smart or too tricky. We need to run our offense and be ourselves.”

(Ref.: which team has an advantage playing at a neutral site)
“The team who plays the best. This is about guys who know they’re right on the cusp of getting something done, and we feel the same way. We are anxious to play. Again, it’s the team that goes in there and plays the closest to their best self. We struggle with those unforced errors even though some of those errors were forced last week. They have hurt themselves with some unforced errors as well. We’re talking to ourselves, and we’re determined to get this thing done.”

(Ref.: on the quarterback situation)
“A.J. is not going to be able to practice much during the week because he got rolled up a little in the game. It’s going to continue to be competitive, and we are just going to have to see where everybody is at the end of the week.”

(Ref.: on the running back situation)
“(Raymond) Maples, no, and for (fullback Larry) Dixon, the expectation is that we will have him for limited reps starting tomorrow.”

(Ref.: talking to the  players about how hard it is to win)
 “It’s tough. It’s hard to win a football game no matter where you are. What makes it hard to win are those things that we talk about all the time. And we’re playing good teams. We respect the game, and we know how hard it is to win. We’re doing the hard things, but not all the hard things. We can eliminate some of those penalties. We can eliminate some the challenges on defense/ They guys certainly know it’s hard to win a football game, but they are willing to do just that.”

(Ref.: on learning how to win a football game)
“It’s not complicated. We have it written all over the wall. The things that correlate with success on the football field don’t change, but they have to experience that and recognize that the scoreboard is lying to you regardless of what its saying. All that matters is the next snap and all that matters is the next opportunity. Those things that we put on the wall on the next snap, in the next game, are all that stands between you and success at the end of the day. It’s not a mystery at all when you slow it down. Basically, there is a feeling missing and there is an experience missing. There is no substitute for habit. Winning is a habit, and we’re battling like crazy to make that happen.”

(Ref.: on changes in the offensive line)
“We need to go back to the practice situation. There are generally three guys fighting for two spots so in terms of who gets the first snap in the game goes back to health issues and how that is plays into the equation as well. We just need to practice without having that (penalties) happen. You look at a couple of them, and I’m not so sure that isn’t what we’re looking for. I mean we’re right on the edge of where we need to be when we play against these folks. So we need to be careful where you make changes. The other side of jumping offsides every 50 or 60 snaps is not getting off the ball. Some of those false starts when we’re jumping and twitching, those are silly and we’re better than that. I’m not sure if some of those things that we’re doing to try and mitigate the challenges maybe worked against us in that regard. We were playing against some good folks and that maybe had us jumping out of our shoes a little bit trying to over compensate for the challenges that we faced. You have to go out and practice aggressively and intensely and make those things happen.”

(Ref.: on falling into the trap of slowing down to avoid a false start penalty)
“If we do that, then we have no chance. We play fast. When you look at our offensive line and other teams’ offensive lines coming off the ball, it’s night and day. It has to be that way because we can’t win a pie eating contest with these folks. We have to cut and to be athletic, and to do that we have to have the weight on our hands and be able to move in the blink of an eye.”

(Ref.: if the season as a whole getting away from the team)
“Nope. Our heads are down, and we are looking at this opportunity. That’s all that matters.”

(Ref.: on improving offensive consistency and effectiveness)
“I did a poor job offensively with respect to what we had to accomplish last week. We were trying to mitigate some of the missing pieces in the backfield. We needed to have another plan for that nose tackle. We’ve been playing against good nose tackles for the last couple of weeks, but I did not see that coming. We were successful on the defensive side of the ball of adding some things that helped us get through some tough personnel moments. We failed to do that offensively. When we’re playing against good defensive football teams, like we are again this week, we’ve got to find ways to get ourselves on a smaller field. Between turnovers, penalties, and some good work by our opponent, we put ourselves on an increasingly long field. When you’re playing against a good defense, the only way to compensate for that is big plays and we don’t have a lot of big plays in us right now. Some of those big play guys aren’t playing. If we’re going to go down the field at four yards a clip and we’re starting consistently on or inside our own 20-yard line, eventually somebody jumps offside or somebody gets caught holding. We’ve got to turn the field position issues around. We’re playing good football teams and we like to think we’re in a fair fight, but when we’re playing on a 80-yard field and they’re playing on a 60-yard field, that can make it hard. The good news is, that was probably our best effort on special teams. We still don’t win the kicking game, but at least we’re pushing the kicking game. Our kicker is making his shots and we’re punting the ball better, but we still have a block in the back penalty that puts us down inside the 20-yard line. We tried to field a short kick and took a knee on the seven-yard line. It’s things like that that we have to eliminate from the kicking game.”

(Ref.: on possibly losing Raymond Maples for the entire season)
“That’s a possibility, but it’s going to be a while before we know that.”

(Ref.: on playing an opponent in Louisiana Tech that likes to throw the ball)
“You’re talking about (Ryan) Higgins, and what he brings to the equation is also a pair of legs. The biggest difference when he entered the game was their willingness to use him in the zone read. Obviously, he’s not afraid of throwing the ball, and they do spread you out. We saw that last week and three weeks ago against Ball State. We’re playing better out on the corner. We’re getting used to this. The difference will be to manage his legs, rush the passer, and don’t let him ruin your day in a single play. They’re going to throw, but we can frustrate a good quarterback. We did that for most of the day against Wake Forest.”

(Ref.: on what head coach Skip Holtz brings to Louisiana Tech)
“I think he brings a confidence. He’s got great credibility within our profession and I’m sure he does with his players. He can articulate to them where they need to go, and they’ll respond to that. They’re a young football team and they’re going to improve from week to week as they get these first games under their belt.”

(Ref.: on fixing the parts of your game that haven’t been going right)
“We’re going to have to continue to improve. Offensively, we’re going to be looking at some things we’ve been looking at since last spring in preparation for our season. There are some wrinkles about (Louisiana Tech) that are unique, but there are some things about every opponent that are unique. We’re going to have to adapt to whatever we get from them defensively. Some of the things that have been driving us crazy are very fundamental things that have slipped away from us.”

(Ref.: on getting Kelvin White into the mix at quarterback)
“A.J. (Schurr) isn’t going to be available for a lot of reps during the week, at least that’s what we anticipate, but there are some reps to be had and Kelvin will take advantage of that. He can really throw the ball. He’s growing as an option quarterback, but that part of the game doesn’t come quite as easily to him. He’s a different quarterback than the other guys. A.J. and Angel (Santiago) are very similar in terms of their profiles. They both play the game with the same positive attributes. Kelvin’s a little bit different. He’s a good runner. He doesn’t have lightning-quick feet, but he can see and he can sling it.”

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