Head Coach Rich Ellerson Press Conference Quotes

Rich Ellerson and the Black Knights face Western Kentucky Saturday afternoon.

Rich Ellerson and the Black Knights face Western Kentucky Saturday afternoon.

Nov. 4, 2013

The following quotes have been excerpted from Army head football coach Rich Ellerson’s press conference, held Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, in the Randall Hall auditorium.

Army Head Coach Rich Ellerson
(Ref.: opening statement)
“We’re hurting, and we don’t have a lot of time. We have to turn this around because we are going to face a team this week that is very different from the last two weeks. Their running attack is as productive as anyone in the country, and defensively, they have already seen our style of play when they went up against Navy earlier in the year. They ran a version of our defense against Navy and had great success. Again, they have a belief system built around us and have already had a shot at it. The good news is we have an idea of where they are going to be, but they have some really good folks along the front that are going to be tough to handle. Defensively, we have to get a really good back on the ground and to hold up a very efficient passing attack. Bobby Petrino is a little bit out of character or out of personality right now because he is taking advantage of a very gifted running back and a determined running game. They are multi-dimensional and have multiple personnel sets that are potentially problematic for us in both formations. We have to shake this thing off, get ourselves looking forward and have some fun.”

(Ref.: how to shake off last week’s loss)
“Again, maybe as I said, things like the CIC and bowl eligibility are off the table. We play in two games where we had really high expectations for ourselves as well as high expectations that were placed on us and we didn’t handle those expectations very well. We didn’t play as well as we wanted to or coach as well as we wanted to coach. Maybe getting ourselves back into the underdog mentality is where we need to be in order to let it go and have some fun. Nothing in this game happens without enthusiasm and frankly, we were as tight as a drum, at least on the defensive side of the ball, and that shows. When you are tight like that, you are fractured and that’s what we saw, we saw some fractures.”

(Ref.: what needs to be done to see results)
“We have to do some soul searching and what have you but as I said, we have to have fun and loosen up. At the end of the day, it’s a game. It’s a fun game, a game that we love and a game that we are good at, but we have to let it go and play. We are our own worst enemy in multiple situations. We are doing some things that are giving us the chance to be competitive. We are running the ball well and not turning the ball over and that gives us a chance. If we could do a couple more of those things right, start playing a little more on the edge and start playing more consistently in the moment of the football game, we can still play.”

(Ref.: never having played Western Kentucky)
“That doesn’t affect us, not really. I mean you’ve seen their jerseys and you’ve seen their name before. In the game, every time you face a team in college football, it’s a new critter every year.”

(Ref.: the schematics of last week’s game)
“What’s frustrating, and this is on me, is there is the same play and the same defense with all the same players on the field. Sometimes were just fine and sometimes were fractured. It’s the consistency of play not the inability to play. It’s not the inability to be right, but the ability to be consistent and have enough guys. Everyone is not going to be perfect on every play, but enough guys that are doing what I ask them to do is where it counts. That’s where I have let these guys down, in not getting them to play consistently together.”

(Ref.:  changes to improve consistency)
“If there were one or two things that would be too easy and we would have done that by now. I do think that part of the challenge right now is the consistency of personality. We have had so many guys come in and out of the lineup, and it’s been hard time trying to keep the rust off. We have to draw the line in the practice environment in what we need to do to keep this thing together fundamentally, but at the same time we have to give the guys who are playing on Saturday those meaningful turns in practice so their eyes are relaxed and focused in the game environment. That has been problematic because we have had a hard time getting some of the guys into the practice environment that we are counting to play on Saturday. We’re in that bind again and it’s not getting any easier. With the bye week, we were able to get a little healthier but we took another step back on Saturday.  It’s not magic. It is players that are well practiced that have good experiences, play well together and not be so tight, and that’s too hard right now. It’s not that we are doing a lot, but right now the game doesn’t come easy to us with the turnover we’ve had.”

(Ref.: Geoffrey Bacon’s play against Air Force)
“I was concerned about how well he’d be able to get people on the ground with his hand clubbed up, but he tackled better than what you’d expect. He struggled having been out for five or six weeks, that was hard for him. Play in and play out, there are some plays he desperately wants back, but he isn’t the only one.”

(Ref.: which is more frustrating defensively: a big play or a long drive)
“The one big play that does such a huge body of work can fracture you. They put together a 15-play drive, but they didn’t do that very often. That’s hard to do. They need some calls, they need some penalties and they need some help from us. When they can go out there and run the power play for 75 yards, it’s like ‘holy cow.’ We saw the power play a lot on Saturday and it’s not a problem except for the one time.”

(Ref.: outplaying Air Force in the first half, but still being tied going into halftime)
“I think defensively, we were frustrated with how the first half ended. Losing Julian (Holloway) in that series and letting them out of jail at the end of the first half, we forfeited the momentum. Offensively, we could not generate one of those giant plays. We had to operate all the way down the field. Things happen and that’s what got us a little bit in the second half. Offensively, we score some points and if we can kick a field goal or two, then we’re good for 30 points against those guys if we don’t turn the ball over. What we needed in the second half was a drive. What we needed not to do was have negative play or a penalty.”

(Re.: the senior class that you’ve been with for all four years)
“I love our team. I don’t always love all the things our team does. Our seniors have done a great job in trying to manage the team. I give the seniors credit. We were in a good place emotionally going into that contest and we worked really hard to keep that together. That group has been banged up. We’ve got some guys like Hayden Tippett, Thomas Holloway and Raymond Maples who have been right in the middle of our efforts. They haven’t been able to get out on the field with us these last few weeks and that’s killing them. As hard as they work to keep their focus, they’re not out there between the white lines to help that effort. They’ve been though an awful lot together, and they’ve bought into what we’re doing. This is another great challenge for them. We’ve been dished up something we didn’t want, but we’ve got another challenge and an opportunity to play. That’s hard, but frankly, we’ve got the right guys on the job.”

(Re.: Raymond Maples’s status)
“It doesn’t look like it’s going to turn around for him. I think they’re looking into some other possible maladies that may be haunting him a little bit to try and get him over the hump. The smart guys are saying it will be anywhere from six to eight weeks.”

(Re.: inconsistency with special teams)
“Daniel Grochowski has been on a bit of a roll. I don’t think he’s struggled that much as a placekicker. As of late, he’s been kicking very well.”

(Re.: the strategy with having two weeks off before the next game after Western Kentucky)
“We have that somewhat routinely before Navy, so we know what it’s like to have two weeks off. When you get that two-week block, that’s your bowl practice. Even when you’re going to a bowl game, it turns around so quickly. Coming out of the Navy game, our guys are getting ready to go on leave, and then if you play in January, it’s right back at it. Any bowl practices that you’re going to get where you’re going to be able to help your young guys along fundamentally, it will be during that double week.”

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