Bobby Wilder Press Conference (Video and Transcript)
By ODU Athletics
Below is the transcript of the Bobby Wilder press conference.
Good afternoon everyone, good afternoon to all our 12th Monarchs out there in Monarch Nation. Coming off an exciting homecoming win. First of all, a big thank you to all the fans and 12th Monarchs for tremendous support and loyalty. I’ve felt for nine years we have the best fans in the league and I think that was proven again on Saturday. Something I addressed with our staff and our team yesterday in our team meeting , we’ve traveled to almost every other school in the conference and I really don’t think there’s any other fans like we have, and it was great to have all the alumni back, former players, so it was really a great way to end homecoming weekend with a win.
The key to this one was winning the turnover battle for the first time this year. The fact that we did not turn the ball over, the only other time that happened was a win on the road at Massachusetts, and we also won the explosive plays. There weren’t a lot of them in this football game, we reduced the number we were allowing and had just enough on offense. The key to the game was clearly the ability to contain Hasaan Klugh, their quarterback, he had been averaging 200 yards a game going into this game, we held him to 92 yards total. The focus of our game plan on defense was about stopping him, which I felt like we did a really good job of defensively.
Offensively, we continue to improve on completing passes right now. Both quarterbacks Blake LaRussa who started, and Steven Williams combined to complete 66% of their passes in this game. Another solid effort by our special teams which continues to help our team. We converted a fake punt in this game which was critical not only to keep a drive alive, but for field position.
Defensively outstanding, the best performance we’ve ever had here at Old Dominion. They ran a total of 49 plays on offense for 231 yards and you really can’t ask for anything more than that. We held them to 2-of-13 on third and fourth down, which is something we’ve really worked hard at trying to improve all year. As we keep telling our players if you get off the field on third down, that reduces the number of plays in the game, so the defense was able to stay fresh in this game. I mentioned the quarterback, that was critical holding him to 92 yards, and this was really an overall great effort by our defense. Our assignment football was outstanding, our gap integrity was the best that we’ve had this year and it’s critical when you play a triple option team, a team that runs the zone read as affectively as they have. We gave them four different looks off the edge and tried to keep them confused, and then the guys were excellent assignment wise.
Offensively, not the points we would of liked to have seen, I thought this was a four to five touchdown game for us. We ran 79 plays, 326 yards and just could not get the explosive plays that we needed to get, our longest pass was 19 yards, our longest run was 13. Credit to Charlotte , they’re very good at tackling particularly in the second and third level. They’re the third best team in the nation at allowing the fewest amount of explosive plays, so we could never get that explosive play that we needed in this game. The good news is we kept the ball for 39 minutes, that contributed to the ability to convert offensively to hold on to the ball and the defense getting off the field. The frustrating part of this game is we had seven drives that crossed the 50 yard line. Generally when you have seven drivers that cross the 50 yard line you’re going to get more than two field goals. That was the most frustrating part was just the inability to convert once we got across mid field and a lot of that had to do with in second half being 1-of-8 on third down.
The bad news from this game injury wise, we lost two players for the year. Jeremy Cox had multiple fractures in his clavicle that will require surgery, that will be season ending. Chad Hendricks dislocated his knee cap and they will both be out for the remainder of the year. So those guys will get surgery as soon as possible and hopefully get as healthy as they can as soon as they can and be back next year.
This week we travel to Miami to play a much improved FIU. As I told our team yesterday, this is not the team we played last year. This team is 6-2 right now, they’re 4-1 in the league, they’ve won three in a row. Starting three weeks ago they beat Tulane at home, then they went on the road to Marshall and beat Marshall 41-30, and then they won an absolute slugfest this past Saturday 14-7 over a very good San Antonio team. I don’t think you can give enough credit to Butch Davis the job that he’s done there. This is a guy that has been a part of winning Super Bowls, he’s won a National Championship as a head coach and they’re playing very good football right now.
They protect the ball, they run the ball, they play smart in all three phases, they don’t beat themselves, which is a reflection of the job the staff is doing. They’ve got a veteran quarterback which you can’t say enough about having a guy who’s been a four year starter Alex McGough. He’s playing his best football that he’s played this far in his career. Defensively, they’re playing very good, I mentioned they only gave up seven points to San Antonio this past week, they held them to 260 yards. Clearly we’ll need to play our best game of the year this year against a Florida International team that’s undefeated at home in 2017.
Q: How much do you feel your guys needed this and how different was the mood on Sunday? A: We absolutely 100% needed this, we would have taken a 2-0 win, we would have taken it any way we could get it. It was just about getting a win and the mood was celebratory in the locker room after the game. We didn’t care what the score was, it was just about getting a win. It’s a strange place that we’ve been in the past six weeks, it’s something that we’ve never been in before, but the resolve of the players and coaches is something that I’m really proud of. We definitely needed the win, the mood was 100% better yesterday.
Q: You guys have been kind of snake bit at running back, Jeremy Cox and Ray Lawry out earlier this year, who steps up in that spot? How do you see Ray trying to get back to 100% and manage him to keep him healthy? A: You just mentioned a critical aspect of it that I was talking with the staff about yesterday and this morning, is still managing Ray Lawry because he’s still playing hurt. Between the hamstring and the hip pointer which isn’t fully healed he’s still banged up right now. We have to do a good job managing Ray with his practice time and his game reps. Gemonta Jackson will step into that number two role that Jeremy was in. Josh Marriner will step up into it, we’ll have to find creative was to get Isaiah Harper more involved. He’s not a traditional tailback, but there’s things that we can do to try to get him the football more particularly on the perimeter. There’s just not a lot of guys there right now at that position. Brandon Sinclair was starting to emerge from the North Carolina game and on and then two weeks ago he hurt his hamstring. We’re hopeful that Brandon will be back this week, which would like to get him back in there for the last three weeks of the season because he was certainly improving.