Nov. 13, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
The following quotes have been excerpted from Army head football coach Rich Ellerson's press conference, held Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, in the Randall Hall auditorium.
Army Head Coach Rich Ellerson
(Ref.: opening statement)
"We're excited to play. This will be our last game in Michie Stadium for this senior class, which has done a great job of keeping this football team going forward. They've managed that voice in the locker room and kept us improving from week to week. This team likes itself and loves to compete. They understand this is a special moment. We're playing an opponent (Temple) that we have a history with. We know these guys very well and have struggled against them the last couple of years. We've had some great games with them. They bring all kinds of challenges to the table. We're 100 percent immersed in the preparation for a special Saturday for our seniors."
(Ref.: how the defense is progressing)
"We've made progress throughout the year. We're physically immature at some positions, but we're seeing the game better and playing with more confidence. There's much more precision both visually and in terms of confidence. There's a good feeling right now on our football team that we expect good things to happen when we snap the ball on offense. We also expect good things to happen when our opponent snaps it. It's a tough deal because the scoreboard hasn't said we've done very well, but we've consistently made progress and are playing toe-to-toe with good people."
(Ref.: Temple's offense)
"We obviously have a history against their running back (Mah) Brown and quarterback. Those guys have had days against us. They do things offensively that forces us you defend both the quarterback's legs and arm. You have to play run defense with all 11 defenders, but yet we still have to get some help on the field when they go to throw it. Their system is very challenging. They've done an awful lot of stuff this year. They may feel they've done a little bit too much because they've stopped themselves in instances - penalties and turnovers. What they're doing is well-conceived. We've tried to focus in on those parts of their offense that we think are most challenging for us. We're trying to build a fence around those things, keep our knees bent and hope that we've anticipated them really well."
(Ref.: Eric Osteen kicking field goals for this week)
"The protection is fine. Our timing has to be right. Some of what looks like pressure is a function of basic alignments and timing. If your clock is wrong, there are things you're not going to protect against a real athletic bunch. We are going to give Eric (Osteen) a swing at it; he deserves that. We probably should have made that call a little bit early. (Daniel) Grochowski has had an up-and-down year, but he has started to get into a spiral when he's struggling to get the ball up. I needed to get that done earlier for him. Having Eric in the wings is one of the advantages we have this year. He's very capable and it's so much easier for Grochowski to be able to step back and retool as opposed to adjusting mid-stride."
(Ref.: winning Saturday for the senior class)
"We talked about that on Sunday. We introduced our patch and talked about it being their last time in Michie Stadium. It's a last opportunity to play here in front of their classmates and families. There will be a lot of those `last time around the block' coming up this month. They are very much aware of that. Throughout the course of this season, we've had some great days and some hard days. We've played well and not come away with a W. They've kept the faith and picked themselves and their teammates back up. They've made sure that the voice has stayed right. For a group like that, they're not just letting the clock tick. They're really looking forward to this."
(Ref.: Trent Steelman and Nate Combs managing expectations to start the year versus how the season has gone)
"The team has done a wonderful job of staying in the week. All that stuff is great when you're a month before the season starts, but once it starts, all you're trying to do is be 1-0 this week. Both those guys love to play. They are frustrated as heck that they haven't won more, but they love to play. They can't visualize not being successful given the next opportunity. They've done a great job with that."
(Ref.: expectation of victory when playing a team with a losing record)
"When you're watching and preparing for your opponent, you're not necessarily looking at the scoreboard that they've had. You're looking at what they're doing and how they're doing it. Temple has been playing awfully good people. We've watched them twice - we watched Rutgers play them and now them playing Rutgers. We see how they match up physically with an outfit with somebody who we think is as good as there is around the country. It's tough. Our guys are focused on that. They don't have a great record either, but we believe what we see on the tape. Our older guys know how it feels to play these guys. Last year, that game was a physical a drubbing as I've ever had. Our guys have all kinds of respect for Temple."
(Ref.: reflecting on the senior players and what they've meant to the program)
"I'm a little bit like those guys. We are getting into the final month or so of this relationship and experience we've shared. We've got our heads down. We have a game on Saturday. We're not going to look at all the other stuff that's out there; we're first and foremost getting ready to play a football game. There is a sense of urgency that those seniors are carrying around with them. We were talking about how precious these games are about a month ago. These opportunities are precious. This game that we love and has been such a part of our lives, we're only going to do this a couple more times. When you think about how big a part of their lives this game has been - West Point, Michie Stadium, Army football - get yourself in the moment because it's precious."
(Ref.: preparing for Temple's quarterback race)
"They are going to run their offense. They have four choices, having put a receiver back there in a wildcat formation. I watched all four of those guys play last week at different times. Obviously, their starter has had some great games. He played really well against us a year ago and has the most reps under center, but they have some really gifted guys in the wings. They've all have a little bit different strengths and weaknesses, but they'll run their offense."