JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 10, 2016) – ETSU football held its weekly football press conference on Monday as the Bucs are gearing up for this weekend’s Southern Conference versus Furman.
Head coach Carl Torbush, sophomore wide receiver Malik Styles (Dandridge, Tenn.) and sophomore linebacker Trey Quillin (New Albany, Ohio) met the media to recap last Saturday’s game versus VMI, while looking ahead to this weekend’s matchup against the Paladins.
Below are comments from Coach Torbush, Styles and Quillin.
HEAD COACH CARL TORBUSH
Obviously, right now we're 2-3 and realistically we could be 0-5. We got beat by two really good football teams in Wofford and Chattanooga. I think VMI's a lot better than a lot of people give them credit for being. They are extremely well coached. They play really, really hard and are very disciplined. They did a lot of good things on Saturday. They have an outstanding quarterback and some running backs that run the ball extremely hard. They also played really, really well on defense. Obviously, it was a wet field and I think they did a better job of playing in those conditions than we did.
It was a disappointing game and we had way too many penalties. I will take all the blame for that. The number of penalties we had in the first half really hurt us. We were put in terrible situations, and it gave us zero chance to win the football game. After looking back at it, the composure and lack of discipline was not good. That's something we have to do a better job of –both as players and coaches. I think we played really hard. It had nothing to do with effort. I do think there were some frustrations that came out, because we weren't doing as well as we needed to be.
Obviously, I felt pretty good after the Wofford and Chattanooga game, because I thought we had done what we had needed to do to give ourselves a chance to win, but we didn't. At VMI, I felt like we didn’t playe very well in a lot of different ways. The main thing that I'm disappointed about is the lack of poise and discipline we showed, and that goes back to us as coaches. We have to do a better job there.
VMI scored on four of its final six drives in the first half, which gave them the 27-0 lead. After that I thought we settled down a little bit and made some plays, but when you get behind 27-0, it’s very difficult to come back from.
When looking at the overall game, they out-gained us 458 to 262. I think the most disappointing aspect defensively is we gave up 225 yards on five plays. Now, we can't take those five plays away, but minus those plays, I think defense did some good things. The thing that I'm most concerned about is jumping offside and giving them opportunities for extra plays. Those cost us dearly in this particular game.
Coach Wachenheim has done an absolute wonderful job at VMI. He has those young men playing hard and believing they can win. They are a lot better on defense than I think people give them credit for. They blitzed on us more than they have blitzed this season. That's something we've got to do a better job of.
Overall, it’s a disappointing loss, but the most disappointing part of the game is I think we helped beat ourselves. I'm not saying we would have won the ball game, but we'd probably be sitting here talking about some different things if the score had been 17-0 or 17-7, which it wasn't. That's something we've got to do a better job of. I think at times we still show a little immaturity, which we are, a really young football team. We have enough scar tissue and games under our belt right now that we need to be able to be smart, and do things better than we did last weekend.
We have to cut out the mistakes and penalties. For us to win, it's going to be close a ball game like they were the first two weeks. We have to be more consistent. We got to be more mature. We have to make sure there’s good leadership. We have to make sure as coaches that we do a better job of making sure that our players are in the best position to give themselves a chance to win.
The only thing we can do now is take this as an experience that we don't want to happen again. I truly believe every game we play the rest of the season, we have a legitimate chance to win, but we also have a legitimate chance to lose if we don't play up to the best of our ability. Most of the games that we're going to play – if not all of them – are going to be really, really close.
Furman may be 0-6, but they are still a very solid football team. Four of their six games have been against ranked opponents and they have played close games. I think they have a very good football team. Their schedule has been really overloaded at the beginning of the season.
They throw the ball well and they have a good attack. I've known coach Bruce Fowler for many years. He's an outstanding football coach. He is a Furman graduate and loves that program. They will come in here feeling like this is a game they can win. We are going to feel the same, so it ought to be a great opportunity for both teams to see what they can do.
They have 15 seniors on their two-deep, which obviously helps with some maturity. They also have 16 starters back from last year and three of them were all-conference players. Wide receiver Andrej Suttles is a really good player. Duncan Fletcher, their tight end, is very strong and runs well. Then their safety, Trey Robinson, looks like an outside linebacker but plays safety.
It's going to be a battle this weekend and I think our players are excited about playing at home. We should have a great opportunity for us to show a lot of improvement made from the previous weeks. We have to go out and have great practices the next three days and get ready to play. Furman is a really good football team.
ON BEING ABLE TO SCORE POINTS IN THE FIRST QUARTER THIS WEEK
It's not much fun playing from behind all the time and that's what we've done in every game we've played. I think it says a lot that we were able to come back the first two weeks and win. It's important for the football team, not only the offense, but the defense and special teams to get out to a lead and figure out how we handle and respond to it.
ON JUMP-STARTING THE OFFENSE
You're not always going to call a perfect play. If we did, we'd score a touchdown every time we touch the football. What we want to try to do as coaches is make sure we give our guys the best chance to be successful by the plays we call. At the same time, they've got to produce once we get on the field. What does that mean? That means the offensive line blocking and keeping them off the quarterback if it's a passing situation, and to make sure they're blocking the right guys on the run. We also have to do a better job creating field position. I don't think we've done a very good job of that over the last several weeks. On kickoff, we’ve been getting the ball on 20, 25-yard line. On a punt, we've been starting at our own 15 or 20. Meanwhile, our opponents have been starting on the 35 or 40, and the 20-yard difference makes the difference in determining an outcome in a close game.
ON THE MOOD OF THE TEAM AFTER THREE STRAIGHT LOSSES
We are supposed to hurt after we lose. When you lose, you're not supposed to be happy. I'd be really disappointed if I saw a lot of laughing, joking, and cutting up after a loss. That's just not the way it is in athletics. It's like I tell our guys, we work 365 days a year for 11 opportunities. Five of those opportunities are gone. We have six more opportunities to put everything that we can together. Hopefully after the 11th game, we have left everything out on the field and become a better football team.
When we don't play well and we didn't play well (this past weekend), there shouldn't be a lot of talking, laughter or anything like that, because I want them to hurt as much as I hurt. When you put in the time, energy and feelings that we do week after week, anytime you lose, you should feel bad about it. After each game, we watch the film, workout, and then we move onto our next game. The worst thing we can do is let last week linger into this week and then it affects us the next game.
SOPHOMORE WIDE RECEIVER MALIK STYLES
ON TRYING TO GET POINTS ON THE BOARD IN THE FIRST QUARTER
Our goal on offense is to have positive drives and score points. If we could get some early points, it would really swing momentum our way.
ON HOW TOUGH IT IS PLAYING FROM BEHIND
It doesn't really change our mindset. We try to come out every week and play to the best of our ability.
ON HAVING TO GRADE YOURSELF AFTER SATURDAY’S LOSS
It puts us in perspective of how our coaching staff sees us. It shows how they see us compared to how we see ourselves.
ON FURMAN TREATING THIS WEEK AS THE WEEK THEY CAN GET A WIN
If I were in their shoes, I would. We are as well. We've lost our last three games, so we are looking to snap the streak. We're going into this week ready to grind, get after it and look for a win on Saturday.
SOPHOMORE LINEBACKER TREY QUILLIN
WHAT IS MOTIVATING THE TEAM HEADING INTO THIS WEEK
I definitely think the fact that we've lost the past three games is all the motivation we need. Furman is another good football team and it will be another challenge. Even though they're 0-6, the talent and great coaching they have shows how good of a football team they are. They've also had one of the toughest schedules in the entire country.
For us, it's another chance to get better. We try to hold ourselves to the highest standard possible. We went back and evaluated film, and there are a lot of things we can build on. There are also a lot of things that we could learn from.
ON FURMAN BEING HUNGRY FOR A WIN
I think almost every team we play is going to mark us off as a win, and that's another reason for us to be motivated. Furman is going to come in with a lot of motivation considering they are 0-6, but for both teams, it's a great opportunity to get a win and have a great game.
ON HAVING TO GRADE YOURSELF AFTER SATURDAY’S LOSS
I think it was a good test for all of us. We have to look at the film and be honest with ourselves, especially after losing the last three games. I think we definitely needed to have serious self-evaluation. I think it was a great exercise for us as a team.
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