Army head coach Jeff Monken referred to this past weekend’s matchup against Miami of Ohio as a “Heart Pounding Game.” He was quick to give credit to the fighting spirit of the Red Hawks and said, “frankly, they just outplayed us in the fourth quarter. They had 215 yards to our 12, and that’s tough to watch. I feel like we can play better.” He did not stop there as he added “their quarterback is one of the toughest competitors we’ve faced since I’ve been here. He had that never say die attitude. Even on that very last play when he was getting sacked, the cannon was going off and a couple of our guys on defense jumped in the air with their hands up, and he managed to flip it out there to the running back who just about scored. Fortunately, we had a few guys who were still playing and went and got him down.”
Monken propped up his kicker as well saying “ John Abercrombie, I can’t say enough about him. Just the poise he had to step in there and make the kicks in overtime for the field goal to tie it up and the PAT. It was a big kick since we won by one point. ”
The Eagles of Eastern Michigan and the Black Knights have a lot in common according to Monken, especially when you take into consideration where both programs were just a few years ago. Monken thinks the Eagles are one of the best teams they have faced thus far this season and that his team is “far from a really good football team. We are just a hard working bunch of guys. We have been able to gut out some victories and we have managed to do that the past few times.”
Monken had lots of great things to say about the Eagles quarterback Tyler Wiegers. “He gets rid of the ball very quickly and has a strong arm. They are different with him now than they were at the start of the season. That’s probably the most impressive thing when watching their offense, how they’ve been able to transition what they’re doing with the ball and still move it so effectively. Wiegers makes very good decisions and he’s better on his feet than people give him credit for… Facing a veteran quarterback, much like the one we faced on Saturday, is always a real challenge. That’s certainly an important piece of the offense just like it is for us.”
Malcolm Perry has returned to the slotback position for the time being. This move may not be permanent, but as of right now, the intent is to leave him there for the rest of the season. He is expected to suit-up and play this Saturday as Navy faces Notre Dame. CJ Williams has returned from injury, so Coach Niumatalolo classifies the health of his Slotbacks as “improving” while referencing the encouraging performances from his stable of young SBs that stepped up in the face of a slew of injuries.
Zach Abey is going to play this week, but they aren’t sure where yet. The head coach says he will likely see snaps at both wideout and quarterback. A final decision has yet to be made.
Coach Niumat was very impressed with Houston’s defense, saying they were the most athletic team they have faced yet this season.
When asked about last week’s performance the head coach said he was encouraged with the improvement he saw and pleased that “we started to look like ourselves again on offense.” He also said “we obviously gotta finish, it doesn’t matter how good we do in the first half.” He cited strong first half performances against SMU, Temple and Air Force; however, he was emphatic about his role in ensuring the team can finish games.
Ivin Jasper had similar sentiments about the great starts and lack luster finishes. Jasper said “I look at my self first and foremost” and that the team needs to put a complete game together before they are going to have any success. He said the keys to the game are eating up the clock and scoring points. Referencing the game against Notre Dame in 2016, Jasper said the offense scored every quarter and ran the last 7 minutes of the game off the clock. He expects the team to need a similar performance in order to have any hope for success this Saturday.
Zach Abey said there isn’t really any issue with switching back and forth between receiver and QB, and that getting game reps under center is “like riding a bike.” He is looking forward to getting an opportunity to back out there and finish what they started last season, when the Mids nearly upset the Irish in South Bend
As for the magnitude of the match up, Perry said he’s ”extremely excited…especially since I didn’t get to play against them last year. Getting to play against a top 4 team in the country is huge and isn’t something that every college football player gets to do.”
The first question for Calhoun at this week’s Air Force press conference was: What opened up the game for your team this weekend? He responded by saying that “each game is different…sometimes matchups unfold in different ways…we started well on Friday.”
When asked about the Boise State squad the Falcons face this weekend, Calhoun said they are “very physical, extremely athletic, a bunch of returning starters with an extremely good defense.” He also pointed out San Diego State only had 9 first downs against the Broncos.
The head coach spent a great deal of time talking about how much depth his team has on the offensive side of the ball. He said it’s a great problem to have trying to get them all out on the field, but the reason they’re all out there is because they have earned that opportunity. Calhoun also said the depth of his offense gives them a great deal of flexibility which is important in today’s game, and comes in handy as they are forced to adapt to how the game is played in 2018.
As for the Broncos’ offense, Calhoun was very generous towards the QB from Boise State, Brett Rypien, praising his awareness and ability to get the ball out of his hands. Calhoun said that ability makes it really tough for his defense to get any real pressure on Rypien.
Finally, Calhoun ended the press conference by quoting an Air Force general who once said “there is no limit to how much good you can do, when you don’t care who gets the credit.” Calhoun clarified his comments by adding they would recognize outstanding performances, but he was more interested in how the Falcons performed as a team.