Our captains this week will be Malik Gant
and Ryan Bee
on defense, (Jordan) Dowrey and Obi (Obialo) on offense. I told you at the beginning of the year that if we had someone out for the year I would update you and Alex Mollette
is unfortunately out for the year with a leg injury. He is just a great kid and it is a shame, but unfortunately it is a tough sport and it happens.
If you look at this Old Dominion team, coached by Bobby Wilder, he has done a great job holding this team together. I know they are a 1-5 team but if you look at them on film they don't look like a 1-5 team. It all starts with their quarterback. They began starting (Blake LaRussa) against Virginia Tech three games ago. He of course beat Virginia Tech. He threw for almost 500 yards and has thrown for over 1,100 yards in the last three games. They have two big-time receivers that are just as good as anybody in our league. They do a great job at getting the ball to them. They went down to East Carolina and should have won that game. They had a bad call, that shouldn't have been called, and they should have won that game. Then they went down to play FAU as well. They are a dangerous team and we have to do a great job going in there prepared to play this week. I know our team is anxious to go down there and play well and I know we will.
On Old Dominion's environment at Ballard Stadium/Foreman Field:
We have been down there a couple of times and they have great crowds. I don't know what it will be like this week but I am sure by the way they are currently playing that they will have a great turnout. It is a great venue and a great location so I am sure we will take a big crowd as well.
On Old Dominion's 1-5 record:
If you look at them, they started a different quarterback (Steven Williams Jr.) the first three games. Of course he didn't play as well for them as their current quarterback (Blake LaRussa) is doing. They ended up losing all three of the games he played. The thing was, it wasn't like (LaRussa) just walked onto campus. He has been around for three years and believe it or not he started in three games for them last year. I think they were 2-1 with him as a starter just a year ago. He had been there and he has played but for whatever reason he was not starting, but when they stuck him in there against Virginia Tech he kind of lit them up. However, like I said, those two receivers are really good. He throws it up and they go get it. They did it against Virginia Tech, ECU, and FAU. They will be a handful and we will have to do a great job matching up with them and covering those guys.
On Old Dominion receivers' similarities with NC State's:
They have two of them (Jonathan Duhart and Travis Fulgham) that remind me of them. NC State had the one, number three (Kelvin Harmon), who was a really good player and has done well. Both of Old Dominion's guys are really good players.
On Marshall defensive backs needing to win the battle on 50/50 balls:
Unfortunately, we had opportunities in that game a week ago. It wasn't like they weren't covered. We had guys there are far as technique and coverage wise, we just have to make a play. (MTSU receivers) Friday night made plays and our kids did not. Now it is going to be critical that we make plays against (Old Dominion). Their guys will have a lot of opportunities to make plays. If you go back and watch those last three games, you will see that they throw up a lot of 50/50 balls and we are going to have to make our share of them.
On Marshall quarterback Alex Thomson:
I think him playing last week helped a lot. I thought I saw him get more comfortable throughout the game. I don't think that there is any question that getting a game under his belt might help. He hasn't played in almost two years. To put him in that situation and against such an incredible defense, who put so much pressure, was tough. I thought he got better throughout the game and he will be better this week.
On protecting the quarterback:
On a couple of the sacks Alex should have gotten the ball out of his hand quicker, but a couple of them just needed better protection, protection not just up front but with our backs as well. We have to do a better job protecting him. He also was in there for the first time and seeing things for the first time. I believe he will do a better job handling the ball this week.
On Old Dominion defensive end Oshane Ximines:
He is just a really good player. If he isn't leading the country for sacks, then he is tied for it or at least the top three. He puts a lot of pressure on the quarterback and we have to know where he is at all times.
On the importance of a good rushing attack to counter-act Ximines and the ODU defensive line:
The run game helps. At some point you're going to have to get him blocked, a lot of people have struggled with that a little bit including Virginia Tech and FAU. Our guys are going to have to do a great job and get him blocked at some point.
We have to eliminate turnovers. We have to take care of the ball. That is number one in everything we do. Fortunately, we have gotten away with it except against Middle last week. We have to create more on defense and take care of the ball on offense. That's where it all starts. There is no doubt that any time you turn over the ball, that is magnified because that just give them another possession. Friday night with Stockstill, or any good quarterback, that is where it all starts. You give them too many at bats and they are going to take advantage of it. We played those guys three years in a row and prior to this year we beat on them pretty well, but Stockstill wasn't out there. He makes them go and just like any good quarterback, you can't give them extra at bats.
On ODU quarterback Blake LaRussa:
ECU did a good job, they sacked him nine times. That being said, he still made a lot of plays and put them in positions to where they thought they would have won the game. You have to get guys like (Ryan) Bee and Malik (Thompson) with pressure inside. You have to work to get your hands up in front of him.
On Marshall running back Tyler King, who rushed for 165 yards (27 att.) against Middle Tennessee:
He needs to take care of the ball. Other than that I thought he finally got it going. He ran the ball really well. We have to continue to do that. I thought he and Anthony (Anderson) did really well and stepped up with Keion (Davis) being out.
On Marshall linebacker Chase Hancock:
He is just a great kid. A lot of what he does you don't read about or know about because he goes back home (Beckley, W.Va.) to do it. He does a lot of things in his community. That is just the kind of kid he is. That is why he is going to be successful in anything he decides to do. It is important to him that he gives back. His ambition one day is to be a doctor, and he will be a good one.