JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Aug. 28, 2017) – The ETSU football team began game week on Monday as the Buccaneers held their weekly press luncheon to preview the season opener against Limestone on Saturday night.
Head coach Carl Torbush, redshirt junior quarterback Austin Herink (Cleveland, Tenn.) and junior defensive lineman Chris Bouyer (Rock Hill, S.C.) met the media inside William B. Greene, Jr. Stadium.
Below are comments from Coach Torbush, Herink and Bouyer.
HEAD COACH CARL TORBUSH
ON THE OVERALL EXCITEMENT OF THE SEASON AND OPENING THE NEW STADIUM
Obviously, the season openers the last two years were big, but this one has a different feel to it. This one should be even more exciting, but again, I don't know if you can measure the excitement. The first game of the season always has a lot of excitement. The guys are excited to finally play an opponent and the fans are also ready for the season to start. The thing I'm most excited about is to see this stadium filled to the brim and make sure they are the 12th-man. If we do what we're supposed to do in that stadium, it will be a loud stadium. I saw that the other night when we had our scrimmage. The student body was there and they made a lot of noise. We need to make sure we use that to our advantage – I think we will.
ON GETTING ACCLIMATED TO THE NEW STADIUM
The one thing we wanted to do was make sure we got in our stadium early, and we were able to do that. We practiced in there about five or six times now, so I think we're acclimated to it. We scrimmaged in there last Thursday night, so we should know what to expect come Saturday. We tried to simulate as many game-like situations that we possibly could, so I feel very, very comfortable with it. We're not playing in a environment that we're not accustomed to, because we've tried to get acclimated in every form or fashion from passing to running to just a little bit of everything. Our players know what it's going to be like. The thing I'm excited about is to see this stadium fully filled, making a lot of noise, and seeing how loud it can possibly be. The thing I'd be most proud of is having the opposing team call a time out because they couldn't get the call in.
ON THE PLAYERS BEING TOO FIRED UP SATURDAY NIGHT
We’ve tried to address it as much as we can, but you deal with that every year. I would hope not. I hope these guys have enough maturity and enough age about them now. They've been through a lot over these last two to three years. They've seen what happens in these moments. There is going to be a lot of excitement because it's the first game of the season. There is going to be a lot of excitement because we're in a new stadium, but the main thing we need to do is play on an even keel. What I don't want to do, and I say this every year, is we don't want to play a football game before we ever get out on the field. Then all of a sudden, you lose all your energy and all your juice. If you're not careful, you're tired at halftime. It's not because you're out of shape. It's because you used so much adrenaline up getting prepared for the game. I think this group will handle that very well because they've been there and done that.
ON THE DEFENSIVE LINE BEING ONE OF THE STRONG POINTS ON THIS TEAM
I think if they stay healthy, I feel strongly that our defensive line will be a force to be reckoned with. I think back to those guys going out to Montana State. That was as big a football team as we are going to see on the FBS level. Our guys went out there, matched up and fought hard. I felt like, as far as the maturity and physicality of a football team, it showed us that once these guys did grow up we were going to have an opportunity to be special. I think if our defensive line stays healthy they have a chance to be a factor in every ball game we play.
Limestone is a little bit like we are. They've been in existence now for four years, where we've been in existence for three. They started out at 2-9, went 2-8, before going 5-6 last year. The thing that concerns me is they've got most of those guys back. They played Catawba and Carson-Newman extremely well, which I know what type of football programs both of those have. We know we'll have our hands full going in the first ball game. Their head coach, Mike Furrey, played quite a few years of pro football and he's done a really nice job of building that program and getting them where they need to be. If you look at them personnel-wise, they've got a very veteran football team coming back. They also brought in a lot of transfers.
When you look at them, you start with their quarterback, Ivan Corbin, who's a returning all-conference player. He’s a talented quarterback. Obviously, he runs the football team very, very well.
Joshua Simmons is a two time All-American defensive back. The thing that concerns me about him is three of his eight interceptions last year went for touchdowns. That just shows he’s a ball hog who can make a lot of things happen.
Defensively, they're a team that gets a lot of turnovers, so obviously they're ball hogs. They rely on turnovers a great deal. Offensively, they have a solid running game, but I do think it starts with the quarterback and receiver. We know we'll have our hands full going in this first week, but that's how it's supposed to be.
JUNIOR QUARTERBACK AUSTIN HERINK
ON OPENING THE NEW STADIUM
I think it makes everything final. Kermit Tipton was a great place for us to go for the first two years, but this is our field and our place to call home. It's definitely something we are all excited about and we cannot wait to open it up on Saturday night.
ON GETTING ACCUSTOMED TO THE NEW STADIUM
It kind of felt like when we played at Bristol (last year) and getting accustomed to playing in that environment. We had one practice there. But like I said, we've already had five or six practices and still an entire week of practice to go, so I don't think it will be a huge adjustment. We play in a different stadium when we are on the road so I think we will be okay.
ON THE PRESSURE OF THE FIRST PLAY ON OFFENSE AND COMPLETING THE FIRST PASS
I think with the first play of every game there's a lot of, ‘You just want to get it out of the way.’ I'm sure this will be no different. There may be a little bit more on it since it's the first in a new stadium, but I think it’s a great opportunity. This is something we have to be excited about. Most people do not get this opportunity to open a new stadium. Taking advantage of this opportunity is something we are all excited about.
JUNIOR DEFENSIVE LINEMAN CHRIS BOUYER
ON OPENING THE NEW STADIUM ON SATURDAY
I'm glad it's here. Kermit Tipton will always have a special place in our heart, but now that we finally have a place to call home is very special. We dreamed about this opportunity and now it's a reality. We really appreciate the donors and the fans for sticking with us and keeping their commitment to this program. Now that it's here, it’s time to ball.
It's exciting to have the field out and everything. Like Austin (Herink) and Coach Torbush said, it's good to just finally have a home. We're getting accustomed to it every day, so when the first game comes, it won't be much of a distraction. It’ll feel like second nature to us.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HEAR YOUR COACH TALK ABOUT YOUR POSITION AS BEING AMONG THE STRONG POINTS OF THE TEAM?
It's an honor to get noticed by our head coach. We bring a lot of energy and have a lot of chemistry on the defensive line. Most of us been together two, three years and we're a good, solid group.
We have a lot of fun. When you come out to practice, you'll see a lot from us. There’s a lot of jumping around and dancing. We are just trying to pump up everybody and be the heart of the team.
WHAT IS THE STRENGTH OF THE DEFENSIVE LINE?
The way we communicate. We have the size. We have been together so long. We hang out with each other outside of football. We make sure that we beat each other on and off the field. We just have really strong chemistry.
The Bucs take on Limestone Saturday night at 7 p.m., from William B. Greene, Jr. Stadium.
For more information on Buccaneer football, visit ETSUBucs.com.