JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 14, 2016) – ETSU football held its weekly football press conference on Monday as the Bucs are gearing up for this weekend’s season finale against Samford.
Head coach Carl Torbush, senior defensive back Tavian Lott (D’Lo, Miss.) and sophomore running back Jajuan Stinson (Knoxville, Tenn.) met the media to preview this weekend’s game with No. 18 Samford. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at Kermit Tipton Stadium.
Below are comments from Coach Torbush, Lott and Stinson.
HEAD COACH CARL TORBUSH
We're getting ready to deal with a very dangerous opponent. Samford is a team who can light the digits off the scoreboard. We have to do a good job on both sides.
You all better bring your lunch, because it's going to be a long football game. I have no doubt in my mind that they will throw it at least 50 times. Coach Hatcher and his staff come out of the Hal Mumme and Mike Leach family. I've been there and done that before. Everything they do doesn't look real complicated. They just throw and catch, throw and catch, throw and catch.
The most impressive thing with Samford if you look at their Mississippi State game they had about 670 yards of offense – with over 400 of those yards coming via the pass. It was not fluke. They did what they needed to do, and when you watch them, they were very scary. Their quarterback, I'd say he's a gunslinger. He throws it from every angle. He throws it sidearm, over the top, and he gets rid of it quick. He’s only a sophomore and has thrown for over 3,500 yards and 30 touchdowns this season.
They throw a lot of routes that turn into big plays. They'll throw a lot of hitches, bubbles and rub routes. They are the types of routes that go for five to six yards, and before you know it, they have gained 15 or 20 yards after the catch.
They have some receivers that do a really good job of making plays. Karel Hamilton is their top receiver and he leads the FCS with 14 touchdowns. He has over 1,200 receiving yards and 96 catches on the season.
We can't get all bent out of shape and frustrated because of their completions, because they are going to complete their passes. They're completing about 70 percent of their passes. We have to limit the big play and get off the field on third down.
Defensively they're solid, and they're sound. They have an outstanding defensive staff. They have coaches who have been there a long, long, time. Their former coach Pat Sullivan is great friend of mine. Coach Hatcher came in and has done a great job getting that program where it needed to be, and he has taken it to a different level from there. Their defensive coordinator was there during Pat's years and he knows what he's doing. They're going to try to make you take the ball the length of the field. They feel like if they can do that, it will make you bleed slowly. By that time, they hope you're behind by two or three touchdowns and are going to be in a lot of trouble.
They're an exciting team to watch if we weren't playing them. Our players are going to be excited about playing a team of this caliber. We're dealing with a team who is ranked in the top 20 in the country right row. They are 7-3 and playing to get into the playoffs so they are going to come in here with only one goal in mind.
We know what we're dealing with. It's a game that our players are already excited about because it should be a chess match. We're going to have to do a good job on defense. We have to make sure we tackle once they catch the ball. We can't get frustrated when they do catch it because they're going to complete a bunch of passes. We also have to make sure if they do score then they take a long time to get down that field.
This is a great opportunity for us to see where we are at the end of the season and where we need to go as we prepare for spring practice. Again, we're taking baby steps right now, but I think we took a big step last week with the win because it was a game we could have lost.
ON SAMFORD GIVING UP 215 RUSHING YARDS A GAME
When you look at it, in the games we have won and played well, we were able to run the football and gain a lot of yards. When we can establish a strong run game and win the time of possession, we have been in line to get the win. Samford doesn’t care about time of possession. They'll run off 45 seconds, as long as they get seven points, they'll be satisfied with that. We can’t let that happen. We need to make sure that we move the chains, and convert on third down. If we can do that, we will give ourselves a chance to score points and win the game.
The worst thing we could do is get behind by two or three touchdowns then not have a chance to catch up because they are not going to slow down. If Samford gets a 21-point lead, they're going to run their offense, and their offense is get it, move it and get in the end zone.
ON SENIOR CHAD PRITCHARD
Chad has a really neat story because when he first tried out for us we cut him. It shows we weren’t that smart because he came back again, and he made the team. Most guys, if they got cut the first time, they wouldn't come back out. We had tryouts again the next spring. He came back out and was determined to make the team. He's a good athlete, impressed me and made the team. Now Chad’s a starter, and it’s a great success story.
It goes to show if you can make up your mind and want to achieve something you can do it. You don’t take 'no' for an answer, and you keep fighting and plugging. Chad has done that, and right now he's he will have a recommendation from me for the rest of his life. Not only because of his athleticism, but more so, because of the type of young man he is. He's going to graduate, he's a good leader, and he's a good person.
ON PLAYING THE GAME AT KERMIT TIPTON STADIUM
We're very, very appreciative of Johnson City and Science Hill for allowing us to use Kermit Tipton Stadium the last two seasons. I don't know what we would have done if it wasn’t for their help. There are a lot of colleges in the country, even on the FCS level, that would love to have that Kermit Tipton Stadium as their home field. We've been blessed in that respect. We've had great crowd support. There are great areas for tailgating, and there are a lot of positives to Kermit Tipton Stadium; however, it's not on our campus.
It's going to be an exciting time, when our stadium is done and when we're in that new stadium for the first time. I have had the chance to walk around the construction site and it's very, very impressive. It's something all of us will be proud of for many, many years. It is a big-time looking facility.
SENIOR DEFENSIVE BACK TAVIAN LOTT
ON PLAYING A PASS HEAVY SAMFORD TEAM
We're very excited for the challenge in playing Samford this weekend, especially the secondary. These are the games that we look forward to because we get to showcase our ability to cover. It will be a big test.
ON BEING A SENIOR AND SEEING THE STADIUM CONSTRUCTION TAKE PLACE
I wish I could be here to play in it. The stadium looks great. It’ll be exciting for the guys to play in the stadium next season.
SOPHOMORE RUNNING BACK JAJUAN STINSON
ON FOCUSING ON THE RUN GAME SATURDAY VS. SAMFORD
I’m really excited for it and the challenge. I'm sure our other running backs are excited for it too, so hopefully we can run the ball well, eat up l the clock, gain some yards and turn them into touchdowns.
ON YOUR FIRST TOUCHDOWN RUN ON SATURDAY
I pretty much jogged in. The offensive line did their job by opening a huge hole, and I was able to walk in for the touchdown.
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