Head Coach Rich Ellerson Press Conference Quotes

Rich Ellerson

Rich Ellerson

Oct. 8, 2013

The following quotes have been excerpted from Army head football coach Rich Ellerson’s press conference, held Monday, Oct. 7, 2013, in the Randall Hall auditorium.

Army Head Coach Rich Ellerson
(Ref,: opening statement)
“Eastern Michigan is a challenge. They are a bunch of guys, especially on the offensive side of the ball, that we have seen before, and they competed with us a year ago. They, like us, have struggled against some very high quality opponents like Penn State and Ball State. They do a few things that Boston College does, especially in their run game. They’ve got a back that was a nightmare for us a year ago. We have to go back and correct and fix some things that were a challenge for us last week, and we have to do it while we’re recovering and recuperating and getting some guys back on the field. We have a lot of work to get done this week on a couple of levels. First and foremost, we have to be excited to play because they will be, and it is going to be a hard fought football game. We can’t wait.”

(Ref.: coming out of the BC game)
“We had no turnovers and one penalty and they only had one turnover. Just like we’re hard to beat when we don’t turn it over, they are really hard to beat. Defensively, we had some challenges. We knew we were going to be in a real physical contest, and we would put a lot of people on the line of scrimmage if that’s what it was going to take. We did but we didn’t use them efficiently. We got in each other’s way a little bit because we were playing too much on our side of the ball. Some of the physical challenges we had, especially on the edges and specifically on that tight end play, were tough. I think the inside guys did a good job. I think Jarrett Mackey did well on the edge, but I think we struggled at the defensive ends, at linebacker and with consistently getting the ball out on the ground once we got our shoulders out downhill. That will encourage our next opponent.”

(Ref.: what Eastern Michigan will take from the BC game)
“They are going to be encouraged by the things that they have been seeing because they will be able to see the similarities in their style of play. Conversely, we have to get some things straight to be able to hold up.”

(Ref.: big plays against BC)
“We don’t have any plays that are designed to get three yards, so we are not surprised when we nail somebody. It was good to see Larry get a long run on a long field against a quality opponent. It was good to get the ball over somebody’s head. I’ve seen guys wide open before but I have never seen them that wide open, or when the ball is thrown that well and is so easily caught. That’s encouraging because those are opportunities.”

(Ref.: improvements at the mid-way point)
“We have things to work on, of course. The challenge is staying aggressive in the practice environment while we’re recovering. We have been in some real physical, hard-fought football games, and we have to be pragmatic as we look at our week of preparation. That concerns me in continuing to improve and continuing to get better. We need to keep the same people out there a couple weeks in a row. We need to practice aggressively and fix negatives and reinforce positives. There isn’t something that every coach in the country is thinking about differently. Again we’ve had six weeks in a row where we have faced some quality opponents in some physical contents. We’ve been dragging people kicking and screaming at the end of the game, and we haven’t finished on top of the score board as much as we want to, but we have a lot of football in front of us. We’re excited to play the game of the year. We’re going to play the game on the year this weekend and that is on Saturday.”

(Ref.: the team’s record)
“To be 3-3 or 4-2 at this stage of the game is beyond us, and it’s not where we wanted to be. We were close in a couple of them, and we battled well, but that wasn’t us. Now that doesn’t mean that we can’t be an awfully good football team. They are wonderful team that is passionate and love the game. There is something about this football team and about its prospects that we can’t lose sight of for a second. As coaches, and as players, we have to be creative and pragmatic in the practice environment to make sure we are giving ourselves every opportunity to play our best football on Saturday. We need to make some corrections and fix some things we haven’t and keep the barrel rolling. It’s not going to be easy. The trainer is playing too big of a roll at this stage of the game.”

(Ref.: the quarterback situation at practice)
“Tomorrow (Tuesday), probably Kelvin. Kelvin and Tevin will probably be taking the majority of the turns. We think by mid-week we will have Angel up and rolling.”  

(Ref.: dictating how you want to be playing the game)
“We’re not going to take a knee after we make x amount of yards. When we go out there and score fast we are not going to bat an eye. We play a style where when we play that type of opponent then we want to create a shorter game. We want to be productive and stay in bounds. We don’t necessarily anticipate that we are going to rip off those huge plays, but we’re not surprised when it happens. We were down Josh (Jenkins) in the first half and we wanted to make that half a short half because we didn’t see their punting unit until the first part of the second half. The good news is we were scoring right there with them. We were going hand in hand in the middle of the third quarter.”

(Ref.: multiple running backs getting touches)
“When you’re running the option, your opponent is going to determine who gets the ball on every snap. In some of those called gives, we can put the ball in Larry Dixon’s hands or we can put the ball in Terry Baggett’s hands. Terry, by any estimation is a go-to back. He’s a guy you’d love to pitch the ball to in space. He’s a guy you’d love to get the ball to in a power set, but when we’re in a balanced set, our opponent can dictate who’s going to touch it. Trenton Turrentine is doing a soldierly job on the other side. He’s maybe not as explosive as the other guys, but he gets what’s there and he’s a dependable blocker.”

(Ref.: possible changes to the defensive line)
“One of the bright spots has been the play of the interior defensive line. We have some challenges off tackle. We have some challenges between the outside linebackers, strong safeties and rovers. We did not match up well with (Boston College’s) tight end play. That was the group that we were overmatched with a little bit. When they open the door on the perimeter of our defense and get their guys running downhill, the margin for error drops away quickly. We got some guys down and we made some plays, but their ability to translate a good play into a huge play was an issue of leverage. If we’re going to be successful on defense, we have to play across the ball and that’s a physical challenge.”

(Ref.: offensive differences in Kelvin White plays at quarterback)
“There are things that Kelvin does better than the other guys, and there are some things the other guys to better than he does. In our offense, the opponent tells us, a little bit, what we have to do. Kelvin can run our offense. He does it a little differently. We’re inclined to leverage his ability to throw the ball a little bit more, but we’re going to run the same offense.”

(Ref.: Julian Holloway’s emergence as a team leader)
“Julian has a long way to go. He’s an active guy, he’s an athletic guy, and when he’s playing within the framework of our defense, he can really help us. The challenge he has right now is not his ability to run or cover ground, but it’s his ability to play within the framework of our defense on a consistent basis. He has some tackles, which our mike linebacker is going to have the opportunity to, but he’s going to have to make a much higher percentage of those tackles than he did the other day.”

(Ref.: his assessment of the team midway through the season)
“Our feelings are hurt a little bit and we’re banged up a little bit, so we’re going to have to be a little creative and diligent in working to get through these next few weeks. It’s not easy to do right now because there are a lot of guys walking out with an ice pack on. The guys are determined and they’re looking forward to playing. They didn’t want to be pretty good, they wanted to be ‘oh my goodness’ good. But there’s so much still in front of us. It’s a little bit out of character for us to reflect where we are at the halfway point. All of the smart guys in Las Vegas thought we’d be 1-5, and we’re not. If we’re 3-3 or 4-2 at this stage in the game then look out, but we’re not that either. We haven’t dug ourselves a hole that’s surprising or deep, but we haven’t distinguished ourselves extraordinarily. We’ve played just well enough and have done enough things right to make you say, ‘it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to envision a hell of a season.’”

(Ref.: similarities between Eastern Michigan last season and this season)
“They’re running the same offense. They do so many things on offense. They bootleg and sprint out, so they’re a formidable group. Some of the things we saw from Stanford and the things we saw from Boston College are also in their approach. They’ve struggled at times this year, but they’ve also taken your breath away at times. They’re pretty well balanced in their attack.”

(Ref.: things he thought the team would be doing better at this point in the season)
“I’m frustrated with our special team’s play. I’m excited at where our punter and kicker are, but we’ve had a hard time keeping our return teams on the field. That part of our game has hurt us because it shows up in field position. We’ve been playing on a longer field than our opponents and when we’re playing some pretty good opponents, we have to play on a shorter field than they do, or at least the same field that they do. I think we took a step back defensively against Boston College. Certainly Boston College is a big part of that, but part of that is that we had a plan, but the plan wasn’t well enough prepared and we weren’t succinct enough. We got to the point of attack with the appropriate number of people, but we couldn’t divvy them up well enough to be effective. That’s frustrating for us, because we want to continue to improve, but that was not a great effort on defense. They had the initiative and we couldn’t take that back from them.”

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