JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Aug. 29, 2016) – Game week is finally here for the ETSU football team.
The Buccaneers open up their 2016 season this Saturday night when ETSU heads to Georgia to face Big South foe Kennesaw State. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m., at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.
In preparations for Saturday’s game, ETSU held its weekly football press luncheon on Monday afternoon inside the MSHA Athletic Center. Head coach Carl Torbush, along with sophomores Austin Herink (Cleveland, Tenn.) and Dylan Weigel (Pickerington, Ohio) met the media to discuss this weekend’s season opener.
Below are comments from Coach Torbush, Herink and Weigel.
HEAD COACH CARL TORBUSH
We are excited to open the season. There’s always a lot of excitement around the season opener. We got to see that this past weekend with North Dakota State and Charleston Southern kicking the season off Saturday night.
I’m glad we get to open up with Kennesaw State, because I truly believe it gives us the best opportunity to see how much improvement we have made since a year ago. Both of us have the majority of our team back and it will be a good test for our guys. We are bigger, faster and stronger this year, but so are they.
Last year’s game was close for a half, but things blew up on us after halftime.
I think it starts out with what they (Kennesaw State) do on offense. They run their system well and run the football extremely well. I thought our young men did a nice job, but Kennesaw State made some big plays. They (Kennesaw) return their quarterback and all their running backs. Trey White is where it starts and he is a very good football player.
Kennesaw State won six games as a new program and they did a nice job in the Big South Conference. Last season’s success says a lot about their team and coaching staff.
ON REDSHIRTING FRESHMAN THIS YEAR
If we have a freshman that is better, we are going to play them. We have several freshmen that have the chance to jump in and play this year. Once we make the commitment to play them, they will play.
ON HOW TO PREPARE FOR KENNESAW STATE
Last year we had the lead late in the first half and then it blew up on us after halftime. We gave up too many big plays and got worn out in the second half. Kennesaw wants to keep you on the field and make you tired. We need to be prepared to tackle and get stops so our defense can get off the field. We also have to do a good job of not turning the ball over and winning the time of possession.
ON NOT GETTING WORN DOWN PLAYING KENNESAW STATE
This year we have more depth so our guys don’t have to be in on as many plays as they were last year. We have several transfers and players who we redshirted last year, so that will help strengthen our two-deep. We have to be smart and use more players so when we get to the fourth quarter we are not worn out. We have to get stops on third down and move the chains on offense so our guys have the chance to stay fresh on the sideline.
OPENING THE SEASON ON THE ROAD
This will be a good test for our guys. We already faced some hostile environments last year by playing at Charleston Southern, Montana State, Mercer and Gardner-Webb, so a lot of our guys have faced what we are ready to see on Saturday night. Kennesaw will have it packed and our guys are going to have to respond. The returning players will have to get the new guys prepared and ready to go. We have experience at the positions we need to be experienced at, and they can handle the hostile environment. We will face the same crowds all season in the SoCon, so it’s good to experience it right off the bat in week one.
SOPHOMORE QUARTERBACK AUSTIN HERINK
ON THE DIFFERENCE FROM LAST YEAR TO THIS YEAR
I think any time you go into the first game you want to see improvement being made. We are excited to start the season and see the growth that has been made from last year to this year.
ON BEING THE STARTING QUARTERBACK
I don’t think I played looking over my shoulder last year. I knew what the situation was going into it last season. I wanted to go out and make the most of the opportunity that was given to me. Our coaching staff knows more about the game than we do. We have to trust the process. I want to go out there, play my best and do whatever I can to help the team.
OPENING UP ON THE ROAD
There are some differences playing on the road than playing at home, but I enjoy it. It gives our team another opportunity to come together because it’s just us. It’s tough playing on the road, but in the end we are still playing the same game and we have to come ready to play.
SOPHOMORE LINEBACKER DYLAN WEIGEL
ON THE CHANGES FROM LAST YEAR TO THIS YEAR
We are a lot bigger, faster and stronger. The guys know their assignments and they are running to the ball on every snap. We have made a lot of improvement from spring to now.
ON PLAYING KENNESAW STATE
Kennesaw State is a good football team. We have to be ready to play on Saturday. We have to go hard for all four quarters. Last year we were young and it was the first game for a lot of us. We now know what to expect and the defense has to make plays, so we can get the ball into the hands of our offense.
Below is video from Coach Torbush's press conference.
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