JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Sept. 28, 2015) – The ETSU football team held its weekly press conference on Monday afternoon inside the MSHA Athletic Center.
Head coach Carl Torbush and players Dylan Weigel (Pickerington, Ohio.) and Dalton Ponchillia (Nashville, Tenn.) met the media at the press luncheon as the Bucs head into game week against Saint Francis (Pa.) on Saturday afternoon at Kermit Tipton Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
Below are comments by Coach Torbush, Weigel and Ponchillia.
Coach Torbush’s Opening Statement
I want to congratulate Emory & Henry and Coach Newsome for their play on Saturday. They have a good team and he has done a good job building their program.
We had a chance to win the game but didn’t get it done. It’s disheartening and disappointing, but we have to move on. It’s not fun to lose, but we will use this as a building block for the program. I felt like our players fought hard and played good football, but not for four quarters.
We were not blessed with good field position on Saturday. We caused that ourselves by not getting first downs and having short punts. Emory & Henry also made key plays and made a gutsy call on the fake punt. Even though they didn’t score on that drive, it still swung the field in their favor. We cover those plays in practice each week and should have been able to stop them.
We played well early as we got ahead 14-0. I don’t feel like we got too comfortable, instead Emory & Henry did a good job of fighting back.
On going for it on fourth down in the fourth quarter
One of the key plays was the 4th-and-inches at the 50 in the fourth quarter. We are going to go for it there more times that not in that situation. I felt like we could’ve got the first down, as it was a short foot. I would do it again in a heartbeat. We had a 24-20 lead and I felt like we could have put the game away if we picked up the first down.
Like the Maryville game, we need to make those plays. To be who we want to be and go where we want to go as a football program, we need to convert on those opportunities.
On Saint Francis
We play another good opponent (Saint Francis) this week. We have to continue to work hard and worry about ourselves first. We need to enter game week with some excitement and enthusiasm.
They have played a good schedule and have strong running backs. (Khairi) Dickson was the FCS leader last year and hasn’t played much the last few games, but they have another running back (Marcus Bagley) – the NEC Rookie of the Year – who has received more carries this year. They are a ground-oriented team, but they can also throw the football. They return a lot of starters from last year’s team and are very well-coached. It will be another great challenge for us to see where we are in FCS football.
On building the program and looking to get the first win
We are still looking for win number one and will continue to do what we need to do to progress as a football team. If we play well, things will take care of themselves. Obviously, our players, coaches, and fans want to win. The name of the game is winning. We want to build the program the right way. We said it wasn’t going to be easy. It’s tough to see the hurt in the players’ eyes, but I have no doubt that we will be a better team in the future because of what we are doing now.
We also need to make decisions to build a program on a solid foundation. We want to make sure we have pieces in place to win once we get into the SoCon. Our coaches and players are aware of that and need to continue to work hard.
It’s tough right now, but I can see the light at end of the tunnel. The guys are getting playing experience and learning what it takes to win those tight games. We have a lot of young players who will give us a chance to grow each year. This would be different if they were upperclassmen, but right now we are maturing and growing.
On Dylan Weigel
It’s not often you see that many hits (20 tackles) in one game. He earned those 20 tackles and it’s the most hits I have seen in modern day football. He has great instincts and is a sure tackler. He hasn’t missed many tackles and has been the most consistent player. He’s definitely becoming one of the team leaders.
On Austin Herink
He competed very well and made some good plays, but he wasn’t as sharp as he was in the first three games. He has a great attitude and is a sound leader. He came up to me after the game and said we are going to be fine and will win some ball games.
On Dalton Ponchillia
Dalton had a great game. He had two catches for over 30 yards and scored on one of those plays. Overall, he did some nice things for us.
On JJ Jerman
JJ did a great job as a kicker and punter. I am proud of him and his effort on Saturday. He stepped in and helped swing the field position with some of his punts.
On the defense
We have been more physical these past couple of games and are more sure in our tackling. We still need to get more people around the ball when tackling. We need to get out of the individual tackles and work more on team tackling. The more hits we can put on our opponents, the more we can increase the chances of forcing turnovers. We haven’t been able to force many turnovers during the first four games, but if we can create more sacks, negative plays and cause turnovers those are the things that turn a close game into a win.
On his performance vs. Emory & Henry
I would rather trade the individual stats for the win. We are getting closer and the team can feel it. We need to put 60 minutes together. We had spurts where we were good, but we have to be more consistent with it. We can’t dwell on the past and have to focus getting better for the future.
Relationship with Austin Herink
We are close both on and off the field. We started making that connection last year. We built up the camaraderie by playing catch to get used to his passing.
On Saint Francis
We have a lot of film on them and know they are another good team. They had an impressive win on Saturday and will be confident coming into this week’s game.
On getting 20 tackles vs. Emory & Henry
I want to go out there and help the team any way possible. My job is to play hard and tackle, so that’s what I try to do each week. It felt good to finish with that many tackles, but we are working on getting better as a football team. I think we are learning what it takes to compete at this level and that is what this first season is showing us.
On who he models his game after and playing rugby in high school
Since I grew up in Columbus (Ohio), I’d say I try to model my game after James Laurinaitis. He is a tough, hard-nosed football player and that’s how I want to play the game.
I played rugby for four years in high school and that helped me as well. It helped me be that hard-nosed physical player. I became a better tackler and got to the ball a lot quicker. The no huddle and up-tempo style also kept me in shape during the offseason.
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