Oct. 2, 2012
The following quotes have been excerpted from Army head football coach Rich Ellerson'spress conference, held Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012, in the Randall Hall auditorium.
Army Head Coach Rich Ellerson
(Ref.: opening statement)
"Boston College. This is the most important game of the year, first and foremost because it's this week. They are a different challenge. We're watching them play some pretty impressive people on tape. Their record (1-3) is a reflection of their schedule. This will be the most sophisticated passing attack we've seen so far. (Chase) Rettig is a practiced quarterback, who is very confident, has tremendous arm strength and go-to receivers. They are still very balanced and will run the ball and do some things in the run game that have been troublesome for us. Like a lot of people in college football, they're very creative in their sets and motions. They'll look to create match-ups and disadvantages numerically. We're handling that stuff better and started to play a little bit better on defense a week ago (against Stony Brook). We're still a long way from where we need to be, but we got everybody on the same page. Offensively, if we can execute our offense and take care of the football, we'll create problems for them. Boston College will have a plan. Georgia Tech is in their conference (Atlantic Coast Conference). We're just unique enough that if we operate and do all the things good football teams do, we can be competitive."
(Ref.: is there a danger of this team giving up at 0-4)
"No. They won't do that. They're coming to grips with just how difficult this game is. As you know, we've got some guys playing a lot football for the first time. They have to manage some of this stuff. These are not the outcomes they've been visualizing. They have to deal with it, put it aside and go forward. The only challenge that will see us not continue to play well is (1) if we can't keep the same guys on the field because of injury situations or (2) we stop having fun. You have to be enthusiastic and look forward to the next opportunity. If you can put all the garbage and all the other voices on the side, just think about who you're with and what you're getting ready to do, you get excited about this. We had an especially early practice this morning and it went especially well. They were glad to see each other, zeroed in and excited to play."
(Ref.: status of senior QB Trent Steelman)
"He was obviously sore on Sunday, but we'll know more about how he is compared to last week tomorrow morning."
(Ref.: Boston College coming in to Michie Stadium with a 1-3 record)
"They are a well-prepared, well-coached football team. They're looking forward to playing next Saturday. Because of what we do, we force them to zero their eyes. We present a different enough challenge that their coaches will respect us, whether or not we deserve that. They'll see enough things on tape that will make them take pause, dig in and compete."
(Ref.: whether he liked the body language on the field against Stony Brook)
"To be honest with you, I did not. I talk about that outside voice. We have to let other people's expectations stay on the sidelines. We knew what that football team (Stony Brook) was. They were able to look at their opponent on tape and know they were in for a tough one. At some point, at some level, our team puts too much value or pretence on that `ESPN voice' - what they popular culture thinks about what a football team is. It steals that ability to just focus in and realize you have a heck of a chance to compete with a quality opponent. That's a good a back (Stony Brook RB Miguel Maysonet) as we'll see ever."
(Ref.: concern that the team may not be getting his message)
"It's a constant tug-of-war for me to make sure that my voice resonates throughout. There are a lot of voices around these guys and a lot of people pulling at them. All of them are well-meaning, but there is a disconnect between the reality of what Saturday represents and the challenge that is out there on Saturday. I have to make sure they are hearing our voice (coaches) and living in our world rather than trying to keep a foot in both worlds."
(Ref.: how do you make that voice be heard)
"You work hard. We're finding out how painful failing that test is. If there is some good news, it's that we have the right guys on this team. They'll circle the wagons, they'll hold on to each other just a little bit tighter and draw inspiration from one another. We'll start playing the game for all the reasons why the game exists. If we do that, we're competitive. We still have to do all the things that a well-coached, well-practiced football team does. Having said that, when you turn the ball over five times, it's tough to win. The good news is, in some other areas, we took a step forward. In that one crucial area (turnovers), we took a giant step back. We were stunned by that, because that has not been us the last couple of games and hasn't been us in practice. It's just not us."
(Ref.: frustration with the 0-4 start)
"We're passed that and focused on the next game. We're trying to be 1-0 this week. Period. The record is for somebody else to think about, write about or talk about. That's part of my mantra. I can't let the guys go there. We're doing everything we can to be 1-0 this week, and nothing else is relevant."
(Ref.: committing four turnovers last week against Stony Brook)
"That's not us. I'm not going to get into what happened in each instance, but we just don't do that. You can watch us practice for days and the ball doesn't touch the ground. Those were fundamental mistakes. We drop a pitch or screw up a mesh. We've done that 10,000 times and never seen anything like what happened on that particular play. We have people trying to leave the system or do something heroic. That is never going to work in our system. The precision has to be right on. It's a painful lesson to learn, so let's hope we're paying attention."
(Ref.: coaching a team out of a losing streak)
"You put it on the shelf and try to be 1-0 this week. If you try to be 1-0 this week, you might be. If you start worrying about things that happened three weeks ago or what might happen a month from now, there's no chance."
(Ref.: progression of sophomore DE Robert Kough)
"Bobby has a chance to be as good a defensive lineman as we've had since I've been here. He's not there right now, but he has that kind of ability. He's a classic example of one of those guys who's playing in his third or fourth game, but each time he is more and more comfortable. He knows what it feels like to play well. They key is to keep him out there routinely. We do have some gifted young guys out there who can do some of the things we're asking them to do, but you have to be able to stay in the environment and grow."
(Ref.: assessment of junior WR Patrick Laird)
"He can come in and be a force as a tight end-like blocker. He's not going to run by you, but he does a good job of fighting for the football."