Football Press Conference: Chattanooga
Football Press Conference: Chattanooga
Monday, September 26, 2022

Rail Rivalry recommences Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Greene Stadium

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Sept. 26, 2022) – The Rail Rivalry returns to Johnson City this Saturday as ETSU football welcomes in-state rival Chattanooga to William B. Greene, Jr. Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Local media members assembled Monday at the stadium for a press conference ahead of this week’s game.

ETSU head coach George Quarles was joined senior offensive lineman Joe Schreiber (Chanhassen, Minn.) and junior linebacker Stephen Scott (Greensboro, N.C.) during today’s press conference.

Below are comments from Coach Quarles, Schreiber and Scott.

Head Coach George Quarles

How much have you heard about the Rail Rivalry since you started?

Anytime the rivalry has a name – like the Rail Rivalry – it’s pretty big. Obviously, we’re both on the same side of the state in East Tennessee, we both recruit a lot of the same players and we both compete hard in every sport, especially football. They’re picked to win the league this year and ETSU won the league last year – it’s a big game.

Does this game bring a little more intensity than some of the others on the schedule?

I think so, especially for our guys. We’ve got to be a little bit more careful and keep our emotions in check. We talked last night as a staff about how important this game is to so many of our guys, and they felt last year our guys got a little too hyped up at times. When you’re too hype, you make poor decisions. You don’t do some of the things you normally do. (The games on our schedule) are all big, and this one is big for lots of reasons.

Talk about Chattanooga and what they do as a team.

Chattanooga is a really talented team. Defensively, that front is really stout. They are tough to run the ball against. They are coming off a tough game against Illinois. Offensively, they seem to be playing much better this year with a quarterback transferring in from Eastern Michigan, who’s playing really well. It’ll be a big challenge, but I’m more concerned about us as a team than I am who we play.

How affirming was it to put together an all-around complete game against Robert Morris?

My message to our guys is that we’ve been close – a couple of plays away from being undefeated. I still believe we are a good football team when we do what we are supposed to do, when we make plays and take care of the football. I thought that showed up Saturday. Clearly, the big play was Erek Campbell (Memphis, Tenn.) blocking the punt because once he blocked the punt, everything snowballed in a good way for us and a bad way for them. I believe in our guys and I believe we do some good things. They are a competitive group. They love to be in these big games, and I know they are excited for this one with the top ranked team in the Southern Conference coming in here on a Saturday night. I’d be shocked if we don’t get after it, play really hard and hopefully play really well.

Talk about the importance of line play, especially against a team as strong up front as Chattanooga?

All the games are won up front. You can throw it, catch it and all that stuff, but you have to block people and you have to beat blocks and you have to tackle people. That’s going to be the key to the game: Can we control them a little bit up front? Their defensive front and offensive line – they’re big. Can we move people well and can we defend the run? At the end of the day, that’s what they want to do. They want to run the stretch and outside zone and play action off it. We’re very similar in a lot of ways schematically. I do think that will be a key to the game – both sides of the line.


Offensive Lineman – Joe Schreiber

Talk about the challenge of facing a defensive front as good as Chattanooga?

Those guys are good players. I got a chance to play them last year and I thought we played well against them. Going into games like this, I tend to worry less about them and more about us and handling our business every day. I feel like when we handle our business in practice during the week, it doesn’t matter who we’re going against.

What does this rivalry mean to the players?

It means a lot. Like Coach Quarles said, any time there’s a name on it, that makes a little bit of a bigger deal. We haven’t had a chance, since I’ve been here, to get that rail. I know our guys are really hungry for the opportunity to bring that thing home.

What’s it like blocking for someone like Jacob Saylors?

It’s a lot of fun. It makes my job pretty easy. I mean what doesn’t he do well? He’s explosive, he’s fast and I think he has great vision. He finds the open hole and makes plays. There’s not a lot more you could ask for in a running back.


Linebacker – Stephen Scott

What does this rivalry mean to the players?

I would say it’s a pretty big game. I see us as one of the top tier contenders, so this is really a big one for us. They beat us last year, so we really want that rail back.

Do you feel like you’re closer to where you want to be after last week’s win?

Yes, it’s really just the little things in practice that I feel like we need to sharpen up on and fix that are keeping us a little bit away from getting those W’s. We’ll fix those things, hold ourselves accountable and move on.

Can the defense and the rest of the squad take the momentum from last week into this week?

The way that we played last Saturday was really good. We were up and came out with this type of energy, and we need to do the same thing this week. It’s a big week. We just need to have a good week of practice and come out fired up ready to play like I know we can do.


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