Army Head Coach Rich Ellerson
"Today was a hard-fought game. The lesson in today is just how hard this game is and how much respect you have to have for it, and your opponent. Those guys played their tails off. To our credit, we made one more play, but there is so much to be learned. If you ever allow yourself to think it isn't going to be hard, this game will wake you up in a hard way.
"I always talk about turnovers and kicking game and in practice I always emphasize turnovers and kicking game. While we had some guys make some plays in the kicking game, I thought we got clobbered. (Freshman PK) Alex Carlton was spectacular. We didn't run the offense the way we wanted to, but thank goodness we can throw it a little and (Senior WR Alejandro Villanueva) had a career day. We made enough plays to win, but we gave up over 300 yards rushing, we turned the ball over four times and gave up unbelievable field position on kickoffs. We do all the things the game will punish you for doing, and somehow, some way managed to be successful. We have to learn. We have to grow. We talked about turning the scoreboard off and having more fun, but today, I don't think I have ever seen a team more aware of the score, more aware of the time and situation, and less focused on the positive results of their actions as I saw today. To beat a team like VMI, we have to play well. We have to play on the edge. We have to focus on the positive outcome of each play. The good news is we made just enough plays to win and we need to be able to feel good about that. "
(Ref.: whether today's team continued to show improvements from the rest of the season)
"No. We had some guys play remarkably well and made enough plays to be successful. I also don't mean any disrespect to VMI - they have played well and have moved the ball all year when they haven't turned it over. If, in our hearts, we did not give them enough respect, if we thought they are not the kind of team like we have been playing in the last few weeks, if we allowed that to creep into our thinking, then you end up in a game you are fortunate to win. That wasn't our offense today. Thank goodness we had some guys step up and make some plays. Alejandro Villanueva has been growing. You would think he has been doing that his whole life the way he played out there today. We couldn't have gotten a win today if there hadn't been some growth. But, we only punted one time and turned the ball over that many times and the scoreboard looked like that. There is not that much physical difference between VMI and ourselves as we want to think there is. We played out of our minds against Rutgers and in the first half against Air Force. If we didn't think we had to play that same way against VMI, then we are very fortunate to have won."
(Ref.: junior DE Josh McNary running down the VMI quarterback on a long run to start the 3rd quarter)
"We talk about playing with great effort from snap to whistle. Assume that you are going to have to make a play, regardless of where you are going to show up. If (McNary) had hesitated, and thought, hey that is somebody else's job to run him down, then the quarterback would have been in the end zone. That speaks well of our habits. We do have an effort ethos. We do expect that we are going to have to make the play because, we did."
(Ref.: in the fourth quarter when VMI was driving)
"What we were doing was focusing on stopping them on the next snap. That is all you are trying to do. There are clock considerations and keeping people in-bounds, and our guys did a good job of doing some automatics in those critical situations when we needed them to. We were talking about somebody making a play, and their quarterback made a play with his legs. It was hard-fought. Both team were making plays and giving themselves chances to win. We just made one more."
Junior DT Mike Gann
(Ref.: VMI’s final drive that reached the Army 34-yard line)
“What’s going through my mind is, ‘Win the game.’ We’re out there on defense so we expect nothing less. We actually enjoy those situations. That’s what we thrive under. There is nothing like going out there and knowing that it’s up to you to win the game. VMI had some fight in them. I respected that. They got after it. Going out there with the chance to win the game for your team is a feeling like no other.”
(Ref.: what the win says about the team)
“It tells me that we have some work to do. I think they had over 300 yards rushing, and as a defense, that’s unacceptable to us. Hats off to VMI. They came out and played hard, but we have to play harder. You play the games to see what’s going to happen. That’s why you play them. I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t come out and play the way I know our defense is capable of. It’s alright to play as hard as you can and say we gave everything, but I don’t think we lived up to the type of defense that all of us think we have. We need to figure out what happened, get in on the film and work to get it right.”
(Ref.: getting the fourth win)
“A win is a win. We have to look at the film and see what we did wrong, but we’re sitting in here with a victory on the sheet. I know how it feels to beat VMI, and I know that I’d rather be on the winning side. We ended up pulling it out, and that’s what is important – getting that ‘W.’”
Junior DE Josh McNary
(Ref: being on the field needing a stop to win the game)
“Those are situations we like to be in. Those are really the defining moments of our season. That’s where our defense gets our identity. It really defines us when we’re able to stop them in crucial situations. The fact that we were able to do makes me really proud.”
(Ref.: chasing down VMI’s quarterback on the 68-yard run)
“I may have gotten a piece of him, but I forgot who it was next to me, had a good angle on him and got there as well. What happened initially was that I got sealed by the tight end and the ball hit outside of me. He had a wide open lane with green grass in front of him and nobody to stop him. That’s part of our defense. We embody that swarm concept. I was doing my job.”
Junior SB Patrick Mealy
(Ref.: his breakout game)
“It’s a good feeling, but it’s an even better feeling knowing that the line did a great job. Without them you can’t get any yards. It’s a great team win. We have some things to fix, but we want to keep it rolling.”
(Ref.: running on the outside)
“Here again, it was blocking by guys like Jameson Carter, Ian Smith and Malcolm Brown setting the edge for me. That’s what it all boils down to for me.”
(Ref.: the game-winning drive)
“You have to make a play. You can’t wait for anyone else to make a play. I think all of us were like, ‘I have to be that guy.’ That’s what you think about when you’re behind.”
(Ref.: getting the fourth win of the season)
“It’s a great feeling. A goal is accomplished, but come Sunday we have a lot of things to correct. No one played a perfect game.”
(Ref.: the team’s thoughts on the last Army drive)
“It’s definitely not the team who we’re playing. If you don’t bring your best you can’t expect to compete at the top level. I don’t think we played very well, honestly. When you’re behind any team, you want to be the guy that makes a play to put your team ahead. Everybody on the sideline wanted to be that person.”
(Ref.: the changes that need to be made to have success at North Texas)
“We have to come out ready to play and not come out flat. We need to turn off the scoreboard and plya one play at a time. That’s very important. Stay in the moment like coach always says. All of our brothers are here with us.”
Freshman QB Trent Steelman
(Ref.: his thoughts after the victory)
“It feels good. We have a lot of things to work on still, but a win is a win. We’ll take it. We just have to come out and do the little things better and take care of the ball better than we did today. If we play like we can, we’ll be alright.”
(Ref.: success in the passing game)
“They were giving us the pass today. We were taking what they gave us, which is what we try to do every week. Ali (Villanueva) made some great plays out there. That’s what we need to have on a week-to-week basis. We can throw the ball. It’s part of our offense.”
“It’s a part of our offense. It’s what we try to do every week. Today, they were playing off on the corners a little bit and Ali made some great plays out there. We have the receivers, we have the offense to do this, we just have to balance it out every week. When we do that and take care of the ball we’re tough to stop.”
(Ref.: what wasn’t working with the offense)
“Today, it was pretty much our bread and butter, the triple option. They were doing a really good job disguising how they were charging the mesh. One moment they took the fullback, and the next they would slide off and do what we call a mesh charge and take me. They made it a lot harder than we wanted it to be. Hats off to them. They played a great game.”
(Ref.: breaking the six-game streak of scoring only one touchdown)
“Every score boosts our confidence. We’re still a work in progress. We’re a young team and we have the seniors here to step up in big moments just like they did today. It’s something we have to work on like everybody else. We just have to go back on Sunday, see what we did wrong and get back to work.”
Senior WR Alejandro Villanueva
(Ref.: his third-down catch on the game-winning drive)
“It was a fade, and the safety went over the top. I think they were expecting that play. Trent (Steelman) had some pressure, but he managed to get out of there. He threw the ball, I saw it, and I tried to do my best to stay in bounds and make a play. One of the referees said it was inbounds.”
(Ref.: his growth as a wide receiver)
“Sometimes I wish I had another season as a wide receiver so I could carry on this maturity that I’ve learned. Every game is a new experience for me. I’m just glad I’m learning with my coaches and my teammates on how to be a better player.”
(Ref.: the changes that need to be made to have success at North Texas)
“We need to change the attitude that we have three downs to get 10 yards. Every single play is an opportunity to score a touchdown, regardless of the situation. Sometimes everybody has the attitude that, well we have two more quarters or there’s plenty of time. We’ll do it later, we’ll do it later, and then nobody focuses on the actual play that’s going on which is the most important thing.”
VMI Head Coach Sparky Woods
"I want to congratulate Army - they made the plays they had to in order to win the game. I'm really disappointed for our football team. We did not (make plays).We missed tackles, they broke tackles. We turned the ball over, and we didn't make enough plays. Congratulations to them. We don't have any excuse. If we want to win, we have to play better."
(Ref.: halftime adjustments)
"We talked about doing better. We made a little adjustment on offense and tried to get the ball outside. We were having trouble getting the ball outside. Once we did, we were able to run the fullback dive a little bit. I really don't think it had anything to do with the adjustments. It had more to with missing tackles and (Army) breaking tackles. We made some mental errors is the first two series that got us down and got us in trouble. I was disappointed in that."
(Ref.: his team's preparation)
"We were ready to play, but we were anxious. Sometimes you react that way. We were not a well-coached team at that period (early in the game). Our kids fought back and I'm proud of that but we're not very happy. We really lost the game, and we're not very happy."
(Ref.: playing a fellow service academy)
"I think it's great for college football and great for our country. These two schools are awesome in what they stand for. What these young men are all about is awesome. I hope the competitiveness of both teams shows through. I love playing (Army), because you have such great respect for West Point. We have a lot of pride in our school and we are working hard to make some people recognize us, and be proud of what we are doing at VMI as well."