Sept. 29, 2009
Last week was a good win for us. We have a lot of things to clean up, but there a lot of things we can teach off of. But it was a good win and a nice confidence boost for us. Our opponent this week had a nice confidence boost as well with the nice win they had, but we are excited to get back home and take on the defending Conference USA champions.
On the similarities between Marshall and ECU programs:
Coach Holtz has built a nice program down there, developing that program. He has done it the right way. He has a really nice coaching staff and a really good football team. We like to think we have done the same here at Marshall.
On the energy of the fan base:
We are so hidden in our office that it is hard to get a pulse of that, but if the Quarterback Club meeting this morning is any indication of that, it's pretty good right now. We are going to need our fans this Saturday, that's for sure. You talk about the two team's mirroring each other. This game is always a great game, but the crowd is always the X factor. Hopefully our fans will be the X factor for us on Saturday. Get a good night's rest on Friday night and get your tailgate started early on Saturday because we are going to need the crowd. ECU will have a good crowd here, they have a good fan base, but it's going to be an exciting crowd here. We are going to kick off a great college football Saturday, and there are a lot of implications in this game.
On the winning team this weekend having a leg up:
I don't think you can say that this early in the season. If this was a little further into the conference schedule you might be able to say that. But (conference games) are all big and important. But this a big game coming out of the East and it's with the defending champs.
On the developing Marshall/ECU rivalry:
On the performance of the offensive line:
They have taken care of business of the past couple of years and that makes it exciting because right now we are striving to accomplish the things they have already accomplished.
You heard me say this in the beginning of the season, that the most surprising unit was the offensive line. They have not let me down, and they are getting better each and every week. They are going to need to get even better this week with ECU's front seven coming in. They are well coached, fundamentally sound and it is going to be a good test for our offensive line.
Do you feel like they are going to make you pass?
I imagine that is going to be their M.O. We will see if we can open things up. We have to stay balanced. That's what they do, they are a very balanced offensive football team.
On Skip Holtz and his work on building the ECU program:
They play great defense, solid special teams, and very balanced on offense. He has done a great job recruiting as well. When he came in he had a group of core players, and he has done a great job developing those core players. Now they have been in the system for three or four years. They have had no turnover on their coaching staff and it shows.
On Coach Snyder's confidence in Brian Anderson:
I am very confident in him. You guys are at practice every day just like me. He will have that game at some point in time. Will it be this weekend? I don't know, but when it come times for him to carry the team I have all the confidence in the world he can get it done. But that is why you have to stay balanced. But if you don't have to stay balanced, like last week, then don't change it if it works.
On ECU's secondary:
They are comparable to our secondary, but a little more experienced. Van Eskridge has been around forever. It will be interesting to see what their strategy is in the first half.
How do you address the chop block issue?
It has been the referees' point of emphasis. There have been some suspensions for quarterback blows to the head, and I saw some horse collars called on TV this weekend, so I am sure they are looking for the chop blocking too. It a matter of communication though. This weekend it was on an offensive of lineman and not the wide receiver. Someone says "I am going to cut this guy," but someone else says "I am going to take him over," then you have someone going high and someone going low, and that is a penalty. The other ones we have gotten cleaned up. I thought Aaron Dobson did a great job blocking for us on Saturday. He is such a big body. He's young and doesn't know that wide receivers aren't supposed to block and just catch, so hopefully we can keep using him before Coach Goebbel teaches him he is just supposed to catch the ball.
On ECU's quarterback Patrick Pinkney:
He's been there forever. He's operating that offense very efficiently. They have played some good football teams and maybe that's why their numbers aren't where they will be, but this is a good offense. He just manages the game. He takes what the defense gives him. You take away this, he is going to go to that, or vise versa. He's a little bit like Brian. We are comfortable with Brian because he is getting us into the right plays. I'm not just talking passing plays, I am talking running plays, too. That was a little bit of our downfall last year down the stretch. We weren't making that happen, and this year we are and I don't see that changing in the foreseeable future.
On Lee Smith's ability to block:
Lee Smith is a man-child. He's a phenom when it comes to blocking. He has soft hands and can catch the ball too, but having him on the end helps. At some point in time we are going to throw him the ball, too. But blocking is his primary role. And the good thing is everybody knows it and they have to stop it.
On the UCF-ECU game this past weekend:
It was what you would expect. It was a physical football game, just like you will see this weekend. UCF turned the ball over too many times last week, and you can't go on the road and expect to win with turnovers, its not a winning formula. But it will be interesting to see this weekend, maybe it will be a shootout, maybe it will change. I know the past couple of times we played it has been that way.
On the Marshall receivers:
We have been running the football pretty well, but they will have their turn. It could come as early as this week. Every yard that we gain this week will be earned in the running game. I know what Coach Holtz believes in, and I know that Greg Hudson is going to try and stop what you do. Those guys are going to play an important role this week whether in the run or pass game.
On special teams play this weekend:
Again, it is going to be the same thing. Every yard on special teams is going to be well earned. There is going to be nothing given because they are a well-coached football team.
On holding Memphis to field goals in the red zone:
I am proud of our guys, they played some solid red zone defense. We have to make sure they continue that on Saturday. I know ECU struggled in the red zone last week and we have to make sure that continues.
On their wide receiver, Dwayne Harris, compared to Freddy Barnes of Bowling Green:
That is a great comparison. He is their go to guy. It seemed like they made a conscious effort to get him the ball over the past three games. It was game planned out, you could see it, the ball was going to Harris. He's a special player, he's very dangerous.
On the comparison of Darius Marshall to Ahmad Bradshaw:
I said it in the beginning of last year - you see the same maturation process coming. I got to see Ahmad from afar in one game his first year, and then I got here, and I got to see him grow. He got bigger, faster and stronger, and I am seeing the same thing with Darius. Is he where Ahmad was, no not yet, but hopefully he will get to that point. He is one of those guys that when the game is on the line, he wants the ball. That is what you have to have. You want that wide receiver who says "throw it to me," that linebacker saying "run at me," that corner back saying "throw it at me," and that tailback saying "give me the ball." That's when you know you have a confident, good football player.
On Cody Slate and Darius Marshall wanting to go for it on 4th-and-one against Memphis:
That conversation was very interesting. I had both of them in my ear, but the smart thing to do is to take the points. As much as you want to go for it, you have to take the points, but it was a very interesting conversation.
On Memphis not having a chance to win the game on the last possession:
That's where I was most proud of our team. We took the game and the clock, and that is what good teams have to do. The two things that came out of the Memphis game were that we got started early and got a little mojo, and at the end, we took the game. Not so much for coaches or fans, but what it does for the offensive linemen and those tailbacks to take the game at the end is a great thing.
On the players' focus after starting 3-1 this season, just like last season:
The Memphis game is gone. We were 3-1 last year, that is correct, but we have the conference champs coming in here. The kids watch the film, and it doesn't lie; they know this is a good football team. So we won't have any problems getting their attention this week.
On what Houston is doing in Conference USA:
Sumlin (Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin) is doing a great job out there in Houston. It is great for our conference. He (Coach Sumlin) hasn't returned my texts, so they must be feeling good out there because we normally talk once a week, but yeah it is good. I am happy for coach Sumlin and Case Keenum, he's doing a great job. He must have really had a great game against Texas Tech because I was shocked when Darius didn't get Player of the Week. Darius is leading the United States in rushing right now.
On the 1992 Marshall National Championship team coming this weekend and staging a benefit for former Marshall player Byron Turner's medical needs:
Yes the '92 team will be here, Troy Brown is leading the charge. It will be a special moment for everyone involved. Our fans have done a great job. That is when you know you have a football program. When people give back to former players, that is when you know you have something special at a school, in whatever sport it is, and it happens to be football for us. It speaks volumes about what this program is all about. We are there, we have reached it. This is a program in the college football world. The biggest indictment is to not invite back success, and you have to do that.
It's been good for me too. We have had some good coaches here. I get to hear from coach Pruett face-to-face, and texts from Jim Donnan each week. It's a little different, because they have been here. They know what this place is about and their advice is really good. It is much appreciated and welcomed, and the same goes with our players.
On Andre Booker and punt returns:
We are blocking for him here. We thought we had a good scheme going in to the Memphis game, and obviously it worked, but it will be a little rougher sailing for him this week.
On Special Teams players we don't normally talk about:
I think they have all done a good job. Rob Henry, Ty Gale, John Youboty, George Carpenter, Kevin Perry, it's their role. It is their time to get on the field and make something happen. Stuart Lips is another one. And it is not just these guys, we have some starters who want to get on these teams, and that is some good stuff.
On ECU linebackers:
My eyes go right to the linebackers by nature. I think those three guys are playing well. There is no tricking them. You have to go block them. They have gotten them more involved this past week moreso than in the first three games.