Oct. 27, 2015
Press Conference Video
Captains for this week on defense will be Taj Letman and Evan McKelvey. On offense it'll be (Ryan) Yurachek and (Michael) Selby. Those guys have had it multiple times and, again, as I've mentioned many times, each time you go on the road it's important that you take your leadership and your toughness with you. Not only are those guys going to do a great job, but the rest of the leadership on our team will have to do that as well. We're also going to wear the #56 sticker on the back of our helmets to honor Coach Phil Ratliff. He was a tremendous player and coach here and he did a lot for this program. As you know, Brad Lambert, who I have great respect for, has done a great job with that football team so we have to make sure that we're prepared to play. They have the number 3 defense in our conference. When you watch them play, they play extremely hard and they get after it. You have to give him a lot of credit for the way he's got that team playing, so it's going to be a great challenge for us. Like every week, we have to have a great week of preparation here and get ready to go play.
On what Charlotte does best on defense:
They play a three down look, an odd front and they bring people from all over the place. They create a lot of disruption and a lot of negative plays. I've said a lot of times that the biggest compliments you can give a football coach is how hard your team plays and you watch that defense play. I know Brad has his hands on that because he's a defensive coach. The effort they play with and the disruption they've caused has given most teams a lot of problems, including Temple, who everybody thinks is a pretty good team.
More on Charlotte's defense:
They've had a lot of turnovers offensively and hopefully that doesn't happen with us, but their defense creates a lot of turnovers and their offense has had a few. As far as their point production, that's been kept down a little bit, but again, they play hard, they get after it, and they're well-coached.
On first time going to Charlotte:
I think we'll have a tremendous crowd and I'm getting my calls for tickets so if you guys have any extra tickets I need a few. I'm getting a lot of calls for them so I know a lot of our fans are going down and I'm sure we'll have a great turnout. It'll be a lot of fun.
On Hyleck Foster:
He's getting better with the protection part of it, which like I've said, it's easy to put the ball in his hands and let him run with it. That's natural for him, but he's picking up all the blitzes and it will be a great challenge for him this week because of that odd stack. They bring a lot of different people from a lot of different areas so it's going to be a great challenge for Hyleck, Keion (Davis) and all of those young backs. We need to do a good job of preparing those guys this week, but you see him grow. He's feeling more comfortable at the position but he's a natural. Normally with the tailback position it doesn't take long to see if you've got one because they either have it or they don't and I think he has it. I think he'll get better as he goes. We also have to get Keion in there a little bit too because with the way he's played in the last two weeks, he needs to get more carries. Pittman is close to getting back, so hopefully we'll have him with Remi (Watson); at least four of them ready to go on Saturday.
On Foster enjoying the position switch to RB:
He does. He's been on us since he got here wanting to play running back, so he got his wish, he's taken advantage of it and he has to keep getting better.
On Chase (Litton) saying Watson is an offensive coordinator on the field:
I think it's always important to have guys out there who have played a lot of football and Remi is one of our older guys. Cato had great confidence as did (Chris) Jasperse a year ago. Of course Selby gives Chase a little bit of that, but we don't have the older players as a group on our offense the way we had them a year ago. If you looked around at that team (a year ago), there were a lot more, with (Rakeem) Cato, Rock (Devon Johnson) was out there, Jasperse was at center and you had a lot of other older guys in there. Tommy Shuler was at the slot; you just don't have as many of them this year, so he's relying on just a few. Some of those younger guys have to grow up pretty quickly and they're starting to do that.
On being 7-1 with injuries, new players etc.:
I don't think you can take a step back and be impressed with it at this point. I thought we'd be 8-0 to be honest. I didn't expect to lose any of them. I think you look back at the end of the year with all that's happened, but at this point in the season with no open days you sure don't have time to look back and you better be looking forward and getting prepared to play the next game or you're going to get beat. That's just the way it goes and with not having an open date, where last year we had one after four games and another after eight, it gave us a chance to catch our breath. We don't have that chance at all until three weeks down the road so we can't look back. We have to keep looking forward and prepare for each game we play or else we're going to get beat.
(Last year) we had time to get guys who were banged up healed. Now, we don't have that time, that luxury. We don't have it. Guys have to suck it up, they have to go and play with some things that don't feel good, but that's part of the game. For the most part, we're getting that done.
On whether rotating players affects synergy of offense:
It does. We're rolling guys in and out of there. We had a couple weeks there where that offense line was intact and then last week it was Swede (Sebastian Johansson). He should be back today doing some things in practice. Swede will be fine, but you look up and we had (Jordan) Dowrey at left guard and we have Cody (Collins) playing right guard. (AJ) Addison is now at tackle, so you have new guys in there. I thought we started getting some continuity together against FAU and then we lost it a little bit when Swede and a couple of those guys went down in the second half a week ago, so we have to get that back this week in practice but those guys are good kids, Alex will coach them up and we'll be fine.
On Justin Hunt:
He's had a good week of practice which prepared him to go do that. He got banged up a little bit in the first half but he should be fine and practicing today. He went in there and played well, but guys that produce and make plays are the ones who are going to get the ball in their hands on Saturday and he's done that in practice.
On what it takes to play for Marshall:
We take pride in the fact that there is nowhere to hide in this program. If you don't love football and you aren't tough, you're going to have a hard time surviving. You just can't win with guys who aren't tough and don't like ball. You're going to lose games. As far as kids moving on, we aren't worried about guys who aren't here.
On playing freshman wide receiver Raylen Elzy Saturday:
We get guys ready who are here and we plan on playing six more games. It's not a four-game season because, to us, it's a six-game season. We still have half a season left to play. What I never want to happen is that in the 10th, 11th and 12th game of the year, I have to play a guy one game. I'd rather play him six games and get two hundred reps out of him if you can. We owe it to each other and we have too much invested in the team. It's all about winning now. I remember sitting back when we were in the (2011 Beef `O' Brady's) bowl game with Cato as a freshman and had a quarterback leave. My man (true freshman Blake) Frohnapfel came up to me and said if he has to play, he'll play if a kid got hurt. He didn't care, but that's what that kid meant to that team; that he wasn't going to let those other guys down because they worked so hard to get to that point.
On Litton saying he has to get better:
It's great that he isn't satisfied. Great players are never satisfied with the way they play. I'm glad he feels that way because we all have to get better, not just him. We have to become better coaches, better players at each position, and as good as the defense, offense and special teams are playing, we could still get better as a team every day. Hopefully once you get to that championship, you can say it's the best you've been all year. That's a great mindset to have and I hope not only him, but all of our guys have the same mindset.
I think (Athletic Director) Mike Hamrick has done a tremendous job with our schedule. If anybody complains about what we have coming into our place to play and where we're going, then they don't have a leg to stand on in my mind. We have Pitt and Boise coming here in the same year at one time.