Football Press Conference: Robert Morris
Football Press Conference: Robert Morris
Monday, September 19, 2022

Bucs head north to face Colonials in non-conference action this Saturday

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Sept. 19, 2022) – Members of the ETSU football program addressed local media representatives Monday during its weekly press conference, looking ahead to Saturday’s non-conference contest at Robert Morris on Saturday, Sept. 24 at noon in Pittsburgh, Pa.

ETSU head coach George Quarles was joined by a pair of juniors in wide receiver Einaj Carter (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) and defensive back Quinn Smith (Cincinnati, Ohio) for today’s press conference.

Below are comments from Coach Quarles, Carter and Smith.

Head Coach George Quarles

What do you know about Robert Morris?

From what I’ve seen on film, defensively – pretty aggressive with two really good inside linebackers. Offensively ,they lean a little bit more on the throw and they are playing two quarterbacks right now. They don’t run it a great deal, they only average about 35 yards a game rushing. They’ve played two good opponents in Miami (Ohio) and Dayton. This will be their second home game and they are a good opponent, but like I keep telling our guys, it doesn’t matter who we play. It’s about us and what we can do to fix us and eliminate mistakes. I was proud of our guys for hanging in there Saturday night They fought the entire way and stayed behind each other the entire time. They did the things that will be rewarded – we just have to get out of our own way.

Talk about the defensive pressure struggles on offense last Saturday?

I thought the offensive line, as a unit, we had a few breakdowns. I thought there were also some times where we got out of there a little bit quick where maybe we have to trust a little bit more. I think it was a combination of turning a couple of guys loose, we got beat a couple of times and there were times where we need to stand in there a little more and trust that the backs will pick up that extra (blitzer), which they did. We’re our own worst enemy right now. Furman’s a good football team and they do a lot of good things, but I still say if we do what we are supposed to do and eliminate some mistakes, we are winning that game. Nobody wants to hear this – and I hate saying it – but it’s a fact that we’re just a couple of plays away from being 3-0 and not 1-2. But we are what our record says we are and what the film says we are. 

When you got the ball back with two minutes left, did you think ‘this is it?’

Absolutely, and that’s what we talked about in the huddle – this is two-minute drill…we practice two-minute drill every Thursday. It’s one of those drills that’s hard because the defense knows what situation you’re in. Ironically, last Thursday, we had a little bit of success in practice. We were able to go down and kick a field goal – and it’s one of those things that’s kind of hit or miss. That first first-down is the hardest thing to get going. Maybe we were a little greedy on that first play because we could have checked it down and got a little something going there. We had all three timeouts and saved those a bit…and of course they popped the run which made the score look worse than it was.

How much will third down conversions be a focus in this week’s practice?

Yeah, it’s that and red zone. Both of them, if you look at the numbers, are not very good right now. That’s where you make your money and where you finish drives. We made a couple of 3rd and longs, like Tyler (Riddell) took off running on 3rd and 10 and makes a first down. Usually, when you make a third and long, percentage wise, you’re going to get a score at the end of that drive, and I think that’s the one where we threw an interception on the five yard line. That’s the concern every week – something we’ve worked hard on. We’ve got to continue to work hard to come up with a better plan and execute. 

How much do you talk to the team about how close you are to being a good team?

That’s all I know to do. I think the worst thing we could do would be to blow everything up and start over. I really do think we’re a couple of plays away from everybody being here talking about a 3-0 team and how exciting things are – but that’s not the case. We just keep reminding (the players) that we’re a couple of plays away. We’ve got to finish and execute. We have to do the things we are coached to do to get to where we want to get to.


Defensive Back Quinn Smith

Do you like facing pass-heavy teams as a defensive back?

We definitely love when they throw the ball. I think it fits more into our defensive scheme, especially because our run defense is really good. But yes, I’m a DB so I love the pass.

What do think has been working so well on the defensive end?

I feel like just listening to coach and everything he says and doing our job – trusting each other and that each person is going to do their jobs. It always just comes down to trust.

Do you feel that this team is just a couple of plays away from being 3-0?

I just feel like we got to trust each other and keep the good energy and good vibes around the locker room and outside the locker room – building team chemistry.


Wide Receiver – Einaj Carter

How important is it to keep your head up knowing your just a couple of plays away?

To me, it’s really important. Like you said, if you watch the film, we’re a couple of plays away from being 3-0. You don’t really want to say that and look in the past, but it’s true. When you look at the film, we’re just a couple of mistakes away. We hurt ourselves a lot and I truly believe we are right there.

How did it feel to find the end zone a couple of times Saturday?

It was great. I told Tyler to just trust me, and I trust him. I was in the transfer portal so I didn’t really get to go through spring ball, so this is my first time playing ball since last fall, so that felt good. 

Talk about your decision to come to ETSU and wear the Blue and Gold?

When I came on my visit, everything felt real genuine. That was a big thing for me and Q (Quinn Smith) was actually my host, so I hung out with him and got to see a lot of things. I felt like this was the best place for me. I could see myself living here after I finish football.


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