Oct. 20, 2007
– HEAD COACH Chan Gailey
On Tashard Choice’s diagnosis:
“He obviously couldn’t finish the game. I’m hoping it’s short-term but I don’t know. We’re just going to have to wait and see. They’re going to do some more tests today, tonight and tomorrow and then I’ll have a better idea.”
“He spoke to the team at the half. I don’t know what he said; I wasn’t in there.”
On the running game in Choice’s absence:
“I thought our patchwork offensive line did a good job. We had some guys come through. Grant had a good day; he really ran the ball well, especially in the second half.”
In the second quarter, was the offense rattled by Choice going down?
“Well, you’re trying to get everything figured out with what direction you’re going to go. We had a plan, but we hadn’t practiced it all week, so you’ve got to regroup and get things organized. I thought the coaches did a good job with that at halftime.”
On Army WR Jeremy Trimble:
“You’ll probably have to ask the players; it felt like they misjudged his speed a little bit. He got behind us. We let him back there when we normally shouldn’t. That’s not the plan obviously and we shouldn’t do that.”
On Georgia Tech FB Mike Cox:
“He ran the ball four times. That’s great; it’s good to have him do that and he blocked supremely well again. I thought he did a super job; it was a good day for him all around. He’d been blocking, now he got to run the ball a little bit.”
What was the thinking behind going five-wide today; just spreading the offense?
“No, we were trying to win the game. We thought if we spread them out; we’d gain an advantage in numbers. The way they were playing against five-wide – we saw some other teams do it – so we thought we’d gain an advantage and we were able to get some big plays out of it, early in the game, especially.”
Did it look to you like Taylor Bennett got in a rhythm with that set?
“I don’t know if rhythm is the right word, but I think he was comfortable with it, which is good. There’s a lot of ways to get to that, not just five wide, so that will be something to look at in the future.”
What was it that made Rashaun Grant successful in a game like this?
“He has good vision and he obviously has good speed. When he gets a couple of choices of creases, he normally can make a great cutback move. I saw a lot of that today – good cutback moves – and that’s what he’s been best at. Because he is quick and he’s got a little burst. Once they get running one way he can get there the other way. So I think the line blocked good right at the line of scrimmage and when he got in the secondary he was able to make his moves.”
What did you do different – offensively – in the second half?
“We made some adjustments with some blocking schemes to run the football. We said we had to go back out and run the football. We made the adjustment to concentrate on about four runs, and those four runs were really successful.”
RUNNING BACK Rashaun Grant
The way Tashard has been playing, when you see him go down, what goes through the minds of backups?
“Being backups, you immediately kick into game and take a different mentality towards the game. When he’s playing, you are more relaxed and you are kind of riding his back because you know he’s going to make plays. When it’s your turn, you automatically switch into game mode and you’ve got to try and make plays.”
What did he (Choice) say to you guys at halftime?
“He just told us to go out there and play like we know we can. He told us that he’d be alright and just told us to go out there and play hard.”
Do you get the sense that if he’s not going to be on the field?
“I’m not sure. We’ve got a by week coming up and he told us that he’s doing to be alright.”
Three years ago you had 128 yards against NC State, how long ago does that game seem and is it bittersweet?
“I can remember it like it was yesterday. It was 3 years ago. Not bittersweet. You go out and play, play hard when you get a chance. It’s all for the team.”
What make you different as a running back now versus three years ago?
“A little wiser, a little stronger, a little bigger.”
Do you think people are going to look at this and say, `oh, it’s just Army’?
“There are some that will say that, and some that won’t. But Army came out and played hard, they play everybody hard. You’ve just got to go out and get what you can get. You’ve got to run hard, got to block, everybody had to do their job in order for us to win this game today.”
Was this a statement game for you?
“No, not really. We have three or four backs who are capable of running the ball. And, whoever has the ball, we’ve got to run hard and do what we can do. Running back is a tough position, so I wouldn’t consider it a statement game because you could go out there next weekend and not play well. You’ve got to stay focused and play hard.”
With all those running backs, does it give you a cushion, or it is competition?
“It’s a little bit of both. It gives you a cushion in game because you have people who are capable of making plays when you need them. In practice, it’s competition. You know you’ve got people behind you that are capable of playing so you’ve got to go out and make plays.”
Assuming the worse case, you are now the starting tailback for the rest of the season, are you ready for that?
“I feel like I’m ready. I’ve been playing here for 5 years and I’m older and stronger and bigger and I think collectively as a whole, the running backs that we’ve got, collectively as a whole can handle the load.”
QUARTERBACK Taylor Bennett
What goes through your mind when you see your running back laying on the field?
“To be honest with you, I didn’t see him on the ground, I was throwing the ball on the sideline. I heard he was down, but I saw him at halftime and he had a smile on his face, so I’m assuming that it’s ok and that he’s going to be alright. If it is up to him, he’ll play.”
If he’s not alright, what does this offense have to do to make up for him?
“I was just talking with Wes, who said it best when he said we have a 3-headed monster if we don’t have Tashard. We’ve still got Dwyer, Rashaun and Jamaal and they all bring something to the table that we are all going to be pretty confident in. I think they’ve all shown that in games. I hope Tashard is healthy and I hope we get him back, it would be good if we do, but if not, we’ll be alright.”
From the time he got hurt until halftime, was the offense rattled?
“Yeah, we were a little frustrated in the first half. Things weren’t going as smooth as we like, but that’s kind of been the way it’s been for the past couple of games. Second half, we came out once again and took care of business. I guess it comes down to how you finish the game, and we ended with a win, so all is well.”
What do you think about the 5-receiver set?
“I love it. I guess it hasn’t been seen around here in awhile, but it was something that we put in and we executed it fairly well.”
Were you surprised that you were still able to run the ball for over 200 yards without Tashard?
“No, not really. We have a great group of talented running backs, a lot who could start at other schools, and it says a lot that we have such great depth at that position.”
Was it strange handing the ball off to Mike Cox?
“Yeah, but I’m happy for Bull. We finally give bull some carries. He’s been on us for awhile about that. He almost broke the one for a touchdown, it was good to get him some carries, I’m happy for him.”
FULLBACK Mike Cox
“No, not as bad as I thought I would be.”
More yards today that you had in the rest of your career combined, what does that feel like?
“Felt good. I haven’t had that feeling in a long time and was actually wondering how much the coaches were going to run it this week. I know everybody on offense was hounded on me saying that we weren’t going to run it, but I knew it was a great play and I’m just pleased I had a chance to show my abilities.”
So you practiced it a lot, but you weren’t sure you would use it?
“Yeah, I figured we might use it, but I didn’t think I’d get to carry the ball as many times as I did today.”
You were out there with Tashard when that was going on, can you tell us what happened?
“Definitely a scary moment for me and I can’t imagine what was going through his mind. I was talking with him on the sidelines and he said it was something with his knee and he came and spoke and got everybody up at halftime. We weren’t playing as well as we should have been and he got us all in there and told us that it wasn’t bad that he’d be back and we needed to play like we should.”
ARMY HEAD COACH STAN BROCK
You seemed to play with a lot of confidence and executed well in the first half, but not so well in the second half.
“It was disappointing in the second half. In the first half, I thought we came out and played well enough to be in the game, and that’s how we have to play. We have to play to the best of our ability all the time, and I felt like we did that for 30 minutes. We came out in the second half and had the questionable turnover, my opinion, and I haven’t seen it on tape, and then it just snowballed. It just kept getting worse and worse.”
“They’re a very good football team. We understand that. We’re probably not a good enough football team when we give them such a short field to work with. They’re a good team, and they beat us in the second half.”
The turnover looked like a simultaneous catch.
“There’s nothing I can do about it. It is what it is. They call it what they’re going to call it. We have to move on, learn that those are no big deal and play football.”
Next year you will get Georgia Tech at home. Do you look forward to having a team like that at home?
“They’re a good football team, but we do play better at Michie Stadium, in front of our crowd, and the Corps of Cadets are there. There is just a bigger sense of pride with the kids. Home field is a big advantage for us, but we have to (be able to) win when we travel.
“It’s a challenge to win any game we play. We’re not in a position to show up and beat anyone. We have to go out and execute and play to the best of our ability to have an opportunity to compete.”
Did they do anything different defensively in the second half?
“They bring a lot of pressure. We know that. They bring it about 80 percent of the time, not based on down or distance. They just bring pressure. Sometimes you hit it, and sometimes you don’t. That’s how pressure teams are built. They give some up, and pretty soon they start closing them down. They’ll realize we’re trying to run some plays, and they’ll bring their ends up. They took some things away from us, and our execution probably wasn’t as good as it should’ve been. But, again, they’re a good football team, and we probably didn’t play as well as we’re capable of doing. You put those things together, and it’s probably not going to look very good.”
Tech was able to gain a lot of yards on the ground even after Choice went out of the game.
“They did. They’ve got a good offensive line. They bring that other quarterback in there and move some people around. They run that quarterback draw. Everything has to go perfect. Again on defense, we have to execute everything to the best of our ability. We felt like we did in the first half, but in the second half, we might have been reading a little too much.”