Bobby Wilder Press Conference
NORFOLK, Va. - ODU Head Coach Bobby Wilder met with the media today, below is a transcription of the press conference
Wilder Opening Statement
Hey everybody, good afternoon to all our 12th Monarchs out there. Today is a special day as we honor our very special guests. We’ve got some folks here with us today from different branches of the military and our program would like to honor those in the military. These are some very special guests and we are honored that we get to enjoy lunch with them today and show them the facility. We want them to feel like they are part of the football program here at Old Dominion. You’ll also get to see these special guys on game day. These are our heroes right here. What they do allows all of us to do what we do so we are extremely grateful. Everyone here and back home please join me in a round of applause. Its’ great to have you here with us guys, thank you for coming.
Today we’ll talk about our game this past weekend. We suffered the worst loss we’ve had as a program to Maryland, 47-10. This loss will challenge us as a program, it will challenge our mental toughness and everything that we’re about, but it’s a challenge that we will take head on for sure. Talking about this game I felt that we were out coached. I felt like we were outplayed by a better football program in Maryland, the better football program for right now not necessarily in the future. We hurt ourselves early in this game with some turnovers. Three of our first four drives we turned the ball over and that caused us to lose momentum and lose confidence as a football program. Defensively we did not show an ability to stop the run in this football game. They really controlled the football game with their ability to run the ball. So we were really put ourselves in a bad place early in this football game.
Speaking to our special teams, we didn’t make a difference in this game. We lost the battle for hidden yardage by nine yards, which meant that we were nine yards behind in field position throughout the game. Defensively the best thing I can say that happened in this football game, and there were some good things that happened in this game, we got some good game experience. There were 29 defensive players that played in this football game, 15 of those players were playing in only their second game and five true freshman played. So we’re getting a lot of good game experience. I say good game experience and by that I mean the guys are getting to play in the football game. Mentally right now we’re not feeling very good about ourselves because of the loss but we’re gaining valuable experience as a team.
We allowed 587 yards and 47 points which is far too much and if you’re wondering how can I seem like I’m encouraged right now, I’m encouraged from the standpoint that we have great football coaches that are developing our players. We’re a work in progress on defense but we’re going to get better, I have complete confidence that we’re going to improve on defense.
On offense we had 23 guys that played in this game, nine of them playing in only their second football game, three of those guys are true freshmen. Again I am encouraged from the standpoint that we’ve got good coaches and we’ve got good steam. Our guys are only going to grow from this game on offense. This is not the norm of who we are offensively, we just ran into a very good defense in this game that took advantage of us putting ourselves in some poor situations.
Speaking to this week’s opponent, Howard. Right now they’re 1-1, at this point they have a better record than we do, right now we’re 0-2. We made it very clear to our football team that we’re playing a team that is better record wise than we are. Our philosophy has been and will be that we respect everybody we play and that we won’t fear anybody. We’ll take the same approach into this game that we have taken in the last two. Howard has some very good football players, some talented players. They have a really good quarterback who is a dual threat guy. They’re very athletic so we’re going to have to have a very good week of practice on both sides of the football. My biggest message to our football program right now is that we need to improve as a team and we’ll take that approach into this week and I’m confident that we will get better.
Q. “Is the emphasis on keeping things in perspective as much as possible, given the fact that you guys are so used to winning?”
Bobby: “The most important thing we need to do right now as a program is to stay the course. We have to keep using our blue print for success that’s worked in the past. Our players know it and our coaches know it. As I said at the start of the year, the thing I want to see from the first play to the last is for us to get better. What happened Saturday isn’t the norm around here, never have we been beaten so soundly. There is never a better time than when you’ve been hit with adversity to stay the course.”
Q. “What was the mood of the team when you all met yesterday?”
Bobby: “Disappointed, shocked, curious. There were a lot of different feelings and I expected that. Of the 70 guys that traveled to the game 35 of them are new. 35 of them haven’t tasted a victory yet. Then we have 35 other guys who are used to winning so it’s a mixed reaction right now. What we have to do as a program is stick to what we have been doing. We have to show we believe in what we’ve been doing.”
Q. “What kind of talk did you have with Taylor after the game?”
Bobby: “The biggest message I gave to Taylor when we talked was simply stick to what you’re doing. He’s been very successful and we’ve been very successful by sticking to what our plan is. Maryland was clearly a better football team than we are now, and I want to keep emphasizing “right now”. I wanted to make sure with Taylor and everyone else on the football team that we’re going to stick to our plan. I’ll be demanding of myself, the other coaches and the players. We’re going to get back to our winning ways this week.”
Q: “What was his [Taylor’s] body language like? Was he disappointed?”
Bobby: “No, not at all, it was excellent. He’s upset with his performance, I don’t want to let anyone believe that he’s pleased with what happened. For him, since he’s the most watched guy in our program he’s always got to be mindful of that presentation. He does a great job with that and I trust that his presentation will be the same again this week.”
Q. “The fans have traveled really well the first two games, how do you think they’ll be during the first home game?”
Bobby: “Now there’s a great subject! I suspect that there will be 20,000 12th monarchs at Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium Saturday night. The most inspired that I was during this last football game was when it was 47-3 and we scored a touchdown. I could hear the ODU fans behind me. Our fans have been great these first two weeks, they’ve traveled well, and they’ve hung in there. I spoke to our team about it yesterday, the fact that those fans were with us inspiring us and we’re very excited to get with them again on Saturday night.”
Q. “Most coaches say the most progress is done from week one to week two, did you see any progress?”
Bobby: “No, there wasn’t a lot that I can point to. The most encouraging thing that comes out of a loss like that for me is the fact that 55 of the 70 players got to play against an ACC team. They got to play against the best competition that we’ve faced up to this point. 55 of them have gained experience at that level of competition. Now we have to turn that into a positive and make progress from that. But looking at the scoreboard I can’t stand up here and tell you that we’ve made progress from week one to week two.”
Q. “Many of the players said that the games were faster and the hits were harder. How do you duplicate that in practice to try and make progress?”
Bobby: “You can’t duplicate it. It’s not as if we could practice against Maryland. There is nothing I can do to make us look like Maryland, they’re clearly ahead of us right now. What we have to do is take our program plan and make sure that everybody understands that losing is not acceptable. The only way you win is by consistently doing the right things on and off the field. Our preparation has to improve and our practice has to improve and it will. I’m confident we will grow from this experience and that we will get better.”
Q. “Do you think that you’ll have enough time to improve before your next ACC game?”
Bobby: “I’m so far removed from thinking about Pittsburgh (Oct. 19) right now, I’m front and center with Old Dominion right now, even Howard is off to the side right now. Our players and our performance level is what’s front and center right now and then it’s preparing for Howard.”
Q. “What disappointed you most about the defense and what can you do to attack that problem?
Bobby: “What we have to get better at is to be able to play our responsibilities. We have got to handle our responsibilities better. That has to improve first and foremost.”
Q. “What do you do to keep the team in the present and not dwelling on the past?”
Bobby: “That’s a great question. We talked a lot about just playing the next play, be in the moment and try and improve. Our program philosophy is to aim high in everything that we’re doing, try and get better as an athlete a student and a person. But sometimes that is hard, right now they’re in class, they’re not focused on football they’re focused on school and being a student. Trying to keep their confidence up is the biggest thing we’re working on at the moment.”
Q. “What is the most challenging thing that you’ve had to deal with this season?”
Bobby: “We have to make sure that their confidence level stays up, that they believe in each other and that they believe in what they’re being told. You have to make sure that everyone sticks to the plan and sticks together. The only way were going to be successful is through teamwork. Trying to get all the players to be one cohesive unit is the biggest challenge that I and the staff have.”