JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 23, 2017) – The ETSU football team held its weekly press luncheon to preview this Saturday’s Southern Conference game with No. 8 Wofford. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at William B. Greene, Jr. Stadium.
Head coach Carl Torbush, redshirt junior quarterback Austin Herink (Cleveland, Tenn.) and redshirt junior linebacker River Boruff (Sparta, Tenn.) met the media inside William B. Greene, Jr. Stadium on Monday.
Below are comments from Coach Torbush, Herink, and Boruff.
HEAD COACH CARL TORBUSH
We are getting ready to play a really good Wofford football team this weekend. They are extremely well-coached and Mike (Ayers) has done a great job building up Wofford’s programs over the years. He's a tough guy, he's a tough man and he's a great competitor. He’s been very successful and you can see that by the amount of wins he has, he has worked really hard to get there. Wofford has a really good football team and we know we will have our hands full this week.
They are coming in here at 6-1, but six of their seven games have been decided by a touchdown or less. They finally lost last week by three points to a very good Samford team. They know how to play close ball games. That's one good thing they do on offense and defense. They don't get all bent out of shape in pressure situations.
Offensively, they will get a true flexbone with double wing sets, but they'll go to a one-back set from that, and they'll to a two-back set during the shotgun or under center. So they give you a multitude of looks offensively and they do a really nice job with it. They try to get you outflanked and they've been able to do that. They rush for a lot of yards, which also means they can eat up a lot of the clock. About 70 percent of their offense is run-oriented, but when they throw, they turn into big plays. They want to lull you to sleep, run, run, run, run, and then throw it over your head for a big play.
Defensively, they're very sound. They do a great job with what they do and they have most of those young men back. Their defensive front is really talented. Last year we were not able to move the football on them very well as they shut us out.
We know it's a great opportunity for us. We have been given some extra time to prepare for Wofford, so we are using that to our advantage. We're looking forward to the challenge. We should have a great crowd this week. The weather will be absolutely perfect for fall football. I think it's a great time for us to see where we are and where we need to go.
DID THE BYE WEEK COME AT THE RIGHT TIME OR WOULD YOU HAVE LIKED TO PLAY LAST WEEK AFTER THE PERFORMANCE FROM WESTERN CAROLINA?
Obviously, we would have liked to go into the bye week on a win, especially at this time of the season, but we needed an open week to regroup, get a chance to heal up a little bit, a chance to see where we are and evaluate where we need to go. If I were making a schedule, I would have had an open date last week.
What we try to do during the open date is go back to alignment, assignment fundamentals and techniques, which we were able to do that. We practiced Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and gave them a long weekend off. We return to practice today, which we normally don't practice on Monday’s, so that gives us an extra day to prepare for Wofford.
I think the open week came, like I said, at a good time for us. We were able to get some of our bumps and bruises healed up. I think a lot of our guys were able to catch up academically. It was a good time to sit back, see where we are as a football team, where we need to go these next four weeks and I'm excited to see them back.
DOES HAVING THE BYE WEEK GIVE YOU SOME EXTRA TIME TO OVERTHINK YOUR OPPONENT?
No, not for a team like Wofford. The reason I say that, is because they have the same coaches and players from last year, so we have a pretty good idea of what they are going to run on offense. Obviously, having those two or three extra days should help us prepare for the triple-option attack. We feel like that to have those two or three extra days, it's a matter of tuning things up, getting healed up and knowing what we need to do to get better. But there's no doubt, playing a team like Wofford, this was a perfect time to have those two or three extra days to prepare for their option attack.
ON WHAT KNOCKING OFF A TOP-10 TEAM WOULD MEAN FOR THIS YOUNG PROGRAM?
It should get you excited. This gives us the opportunity to see how much improvement we have made and see where we are by playing another top program. I think we have been close to that several times this year, but we haven’t been able to pull the trigger and get it done. Again, this is another great opportunity for us. It gives us a chance to knock off a great football team and gives us an opportunity to see how much we have grown since last year.
Wofford is not going to come in here taking us for granted. They're going to come in here this week with all guns loaded, and feeling like they need to come back and make a statement. They just got beat. They didn't like getting beat. It ruined that season, that they felt like they could go undefeated. You look at what they did in the playoffs last year with most of the same players back. We know we're going to have our hands full.
AUSTIN HERINK – R-JR. – QUARTERBACK
ON THE BYE WEEK
I was able to go back home to Cleveland, Tennessee and enjoy the weekend. It was good to relax, get away for a bit and enjoy some home cooking. I watched a little bit of college football on Saturday, but it was just a good time for some R&R and to get ready for the rest of the season.
ON FACING WOFFORD’S DEFENSE
I remember leaving that game last year (at Wofford) on the bus ride home, and it felt like a train had hit us. That team was really good defensively, so looking at it a year removed from the game, you can say, "we have made a lot of improvement." But there's also a lot of respect we have for that Wofford defense and what they were able to do against us. After each season, I like to go back and look at some of my best performances, but also some my worst games. I know that's one film a lot of us looked at quite a bit. So I can't wait to go in there this week, talk to Coach (Mike) O'Cain about the game plan and how we plan to attack them.
SAMFORD HAD SOME SUCCESS PASSING THE BALL IN ITS WIN OVER WOFFORD; WILL YOU LOOK AT THAT FILM FOR SOME TAKEAWAYS FOR THIS WEEKEND?
Absolutely. As a defense, Wofford is pretty much, "we do what we do." Obviously, Samford had some success moving the ball last weekend. Anytime you can see a team have some success offensively moving the ball, you are going to look at what they did and apply that to your game. We will analyze the tape and see what worked for Samford and what didn't work, and put that into our game plan.
THOUGHTS ON THE FIRST SEVEN GAMES OF THE SEASON
We are sitting here at 3-4, and we would like to have a few of those games back. Overall, I feel like we have made some improvements offensively. This year, we are a lot further along than we were last year. It's good to look at that and say, "we have gotten better, but obviously there's great room for improvement." We need to continue to build off of what we have been doing and work on getting better. Some improvement has been made, but there’s still a way to go to get where we want to be.
THE GOALS FOR THESE LAST FOUR GAMES
Winning out is obviously the main thing. You want to win every game, but if you want to break it down to just the molecular level, like coach said, we haven't been very good on first down. Offensively, we have to put ourselves in a better position so Coach (Mike) O’Cain doesn't have to call these long plays for 2nd-and-13 or 3rd-and-25. We need to get in a spot where he has numerous plays to call and where we can take advantage of the defense. Ideally, we want to be able to end each possession by putting points on the board and putting the ball back in the opponent’s court. We want to win out, but if you want to break it down, we want to improve on controlling what we can control and become a better football team.
RIVER BORUFF – R-JR. – LINEBACKER
ON THE BYE WEEK COMING WHEN IT DID
It was honestly the most long awaited bye week I think I've ever had. We have been waiting for this thing the entire time we've been playing. It was good. I went home for a few days and hung out with the family and enjoyed some home-cooked meals.
You always look forward to the bye week. We put in a lot of work in the off-season and preseason camp, so this is the one weekend we get to give our body some rest. It doesn't matter if you hit as much the week before or you run as much. It's something you always look forward to.
ON HAVING THE EXTRA TIME TO PREPARE FOR WOFFORD
Any extra time you get to prepare for a three-back team is a bonus. We couldn't ask for anything else because it's just such a difficult offense to play against. Everything they run happens quickly, so having the extra time to prepare for us will get us ready for Saturday.
WILL THE SUCCESS YOU HAD AGAINST THE CITADEL HELP AS YOU PREPARE FOR ANOTHER OPTION OFFENSE THIS WEEKEND?
The positive in The Citadel game was we played our responsibilities. We had a lot of guys hitting the exact gaps they needed to, hitting the people that they needed to, and did it at the time they needed to do it. As long as we just continue that and work our best to stop that offense as much as possible, we should give our offense the chance to be on the field and win the game.
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