JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Sept. 19, 2016) – ETSU football held its weekly football press conference on Monday as the Bucs are gearing up for this weekend’s Southern Conference road game at Wofford.
Head coach Carl Torbush, junior defensive back Paul Hunter (Denton, Texas) and junior offensive lineman Alex Rios (Tucson, Ariz.) met the media to recap last Saturday’s win over Western Carolina, while looking ahead to this weekend’s matchup with the Terriers.
Below are comments from Coach Torbush, Hunter and Rios.
HEAD COACH CARL TORBUSH
I want to say a big thank you to all the fans that showed up on Saturday and helped us break our single-game attendance record. We had a great crowd and it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It will be a game people will remember for a lifetime and the outcome made it even more special.
I want to say ‘Thank You’ to Jerry Caldwell, Bruton Smith and everyone at Bristol Motor Speedway for making this possible. They went above and beyond to make this experience a reality.
We were able to get a win over an outstanding football team. The game featured a lot of highs and lows. I appreciate how our team fought and came back from the adversity it faced early on. We didn’t get too high or too low. We were able to get the turnover and score right before half to regain momentum and make up for the bumpy start. To score on our last five possessions to end the game is difficult to do against any team, and I am proud of our effort.
This was a great win for ETSU, the athletic department and the community. I am really glad to be part of this program.
Our defense stepped up in the second half and made the adjustments to stop Western Carolina from moving the ball downfield. We were able to control the clock and keep their offense from getting the ball. Our offense was also able to convert on third down. Going into the game, I thought if we could control the time of possession, convert on third down and limit our turnovers then we would have a chance to win the ballgame. We were able to do those three things, and our guys showed a lot of heart and grit to pull out the win.
Our special teams continued to impress. JJ Jerman made his two field goals and four extra points, while Marion Watson had three more punts inside the 10-yard line. We were able to flip the field and forced Western Carolina to go the entire distance of the field.
The offense was able to spread the ball all over the place as 10 different receivers caught a pass. That makes it difficult on defenses so they can’t focus in on one player. We have 10-11 different receivers who can make big plays and help us win games. Drake (Powell), Hunter (Wike) and Chad (Pritchard) all had long catches, while Vincent (Lowe) gave us some key receptions.
Jajuan Stinson continued to show he’s a steady runner. He hits the hole hard and gains positive yards in a hurry. He got stopped on his last touchdown run at the end, but his quickness and athleticism helped him slip past the defenders to find the end zone.
Going into the game we knew Western Carolina had a lot of skill players on offense. Their quarterback is a dual-threat guy, and we went into the game trying to stop the run. I thought we did a great job doing that, as we were able to hold Detrez Newsome to 11 carries for 32 yards. Their receivers are very long and athletic, but our secondary was able to make plays and for the most part shut them down. We had nine pass break-ups and that shows what kind of athletes we have in the secondary.
ON PLAYING WOFFORD
We are getting ready to play another good football team this weekend. They remind me of playing Army, Navy, Air Force, Georgia Tech – as they are very sound in what they do – and they do it very well. If we don’t take care of our job, they will make us pay.
Their offensive line is very nasty. They get after you and try to get you on the ground so their running backs have a chance to hit the hole and run.
They average over 300 yards a game rushing. Whenever you rush that many times, it gives your team a chance to win every game. They also have a top-10 defense. They beat Tennessee Tech to start the year and just shutout Johnson C. Smith this past weekend. Their only loss came at Ole Miss, but it wasn’t a big blow out (38-13).
We know it’s a great challenge ahead of us this week. We have to play to the best of our ability week in and week out. We have to be humble in what we are doing and work as hard as we possibly can. We have to move forward. We are 2-0, but there are still nine games left on our schedule. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. I like the direction we are heading.
Coach Ayers was the coach here at ETSU and he’s a very close friend. I have a lot of respect for him. He’s very straightforward. Our players think I am old school. He’s even more old school. Coach Taylor played for him, and he’s like a father to him. You can’t stay 16-17 years at one place without doing things the right way. That says a lot about someone’s character.
ON AUSTIN HERINK BEING NAMED SOCON PLAYER OF THE WEEK
This is a great honor for him. Austin has turned into a great leader on our team. If he’s not playing well, he is always remaining positive. Our offensive line has done a tremendous job giving him time to throw the ball, plus his running ability is key. He does a great job on our read option and keeps the defense honest.
ON THE PLAY OF THE OFFENSIVE LINE
Our offensive line never gets the credit they deserve. We would not be where we are without their strong play. Coach Losey does great job getting them physically tough and mean. Coach Johnson has also played a big impact in making the line bigger and stronger. Austin (Herink) has been playing well because of the protection the line has given him, while our running backs are playing well because them too.
JUNIOR DEFENSIVE BACK PAUL HUNTER
ON SATURDAY’S WIN
In high school, I played in Cowboys Stadium, so I wasn’t thrown off by the size of the venue. It was still an exciting day and it felt great to get the win.
I missed the entire third quarter because I was dehydrated and it was tough to miss those plays. Kevin Ferguson stepped up and made some big plays for us.
We practiced there on Thursday, so Coach Torbush gave us 5-10 minutes to get the excitement out of us. Once we did that, we just went out there and played ball.
ON PLAYING ANOTHER RUNNING TEAM IN WOFFORD
Like Coach Torbush said, playing Kennesaw State to open the season will help us. During the entire fall camp all we had in our mind was stopping the triple option. It’s good we have experienced that in week one against Kennesaw State. We have to stay disciplined with our eyes on every play so we don’t get beat on a long pass play.
JUNIOR OFFENSIVE LINEMAN ALEX RIOS
ON PLAYING AT BMS
It was a unique experience, but it will be something I will always remember. I am glad we got the win.
ON BEING 2-0 AFTER FIRST TWO GAMES
I didn’t know what to expect coming into this season. I’m glad I am here and it feels good to be 2-0. We can’t get complacent and need to continue to work hard and put in the effort. I am excited for the challenge this week.
PLAYING FOR COACH LOSEY
Coach Losey has the saying ‘JUICE.’ He has a lot of passion, and it spreads throughout the entire team. His passion is something the team feeds off of.
ON PLAYING WOFFORD
It’s going to be a new challenge this weekend. They are very good football team. On game day, it will be our team versus their team. We have to be prepared for a hard-fought game and bring it on every play.
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