Bobby Wilder Weekly Press Conference
NORFOLK, Va. - ODU Head Coach Bobby Wilder met with the media today, below is a transcription of the press conference.
Good afternoon to all our 12th Monarchs out there in Monarch Nation. We’re coming off of an exciting 76-19 win over Howard Saturday night. It was great to be back home. It was great to be back playing in that home atmosphere with the white out. We were really excited to get that first win and also sticking with our theme of ‘the future is now’ and it’s our time to win.
We’ve had our the couple of weeks where we had to grow up and figure each other out but now it’s critical for everyone to understand that the expectation is to win. On our roster right now, we currently have 95 players and only 11 of those are seniors. So to be able to give those other 84 guys who are new to the program that winning feeling and the confidence that what we’re doing works, we will be successful with it if everybody just stays the course.
Speaking to those 11 seniors I feel that we saw some really good leadership come out of them in this football game. Our two senior captains were working really hard at just keeping everybody focused the last few weeks. I also feel like we’re getting some great play out of our other two senior offensive linemen, D.J. Morrell and David Born. Colby Goodwyn also played well Saturday night along with Marquel Thomas. Our kicker Jarod Brown has been perfect on PAT’s and field goals. We discovered Aaron Evans Saturday night; his 76-yard kick off return was great to see. John Darr is our second leading tackler and Paul Morant are doing well special teams wise. As I explained to our team we are looking at the future but the future is now. We have 11 seniors who are contributing and they want to win right now and the new players want to contribute to the win as well. We’re working everyday to get better but I wanted to take a moment and recognize those seniors who here to help us get that first win.
From my perspective I felt like we were a very focused group going into this game on Saturday night. One of the keys to winning this game was to win the turnover battle, and we did, 5-0.
We had 211 snaps and I was please that both offense and defense competed in all 211. Sometimes as a head coach one of the things you have to worry about is when you’re up by so many at halftime the concern is how we come out and present ourselves in the second half. After watching the video closely I was pleased with how we competed in the second half. I wasn’t pleased with some of the mental errors in terms of false starts and five-yard penalties, offside penalties and those sorts of things.
Special teams, critical areas we won the battle for hidden yardage. We dominated the field position with our average drive start was the 40 yard line where Howard’s was the 25. We had not won that the first two games. As far as our new players on our punt team 9/11 are underclassmen, punt block unit 10/11, kick off 10/11, kick-off return 10/11, PAT Block 10/11, the only veteran group we have out there is PAT and three of our senior offensive linemen are in that group. 57 of the 66 guys that start on special teams are all underclassmen. I’m really looking for progress in the case of special teams here. I get excited when these new guys improving in that area.
Defensively this was about redemption. Coming off a game where 52 points were scored at ECU and 47 at Maryland, to have a game where the opponent scored only 19 points and they created five turnovers made them feel really good about themselves. The area we needed to improve on is third down. That’s what led to the 51 plays that Howard had and the yardage.
Offensively we scored the first 11 times we had the ball in this game. We had seven possessions in the first half and all seven were touchdowns. 514 yards and 49 points, you can’t be more efficient than that. Every possession we had in the first half lad to a touchdown. This wasn’t a defense that had given up this kind of points in the past. Five of the seven drives we had were less than two minutes. One of the drives was 76 yards in 11 seconds. It was nice to see those types of explosive plays.
Speaking to this week’s opponent, The Citadel, right now they’re 1-2. This team was 7-4 last year. They beat Georgia Southern and Appalachian State. They are a vey capable senior laden team. They lost at home to Charleston Southern, a very close game. They lost to Wofford. I feel that they have played some good football teams. They’re a triple option outfit and a veteran group; they have a senior quarterback and a senior B-Back so these guys have had some success. Defensively 10-of-11 players are either juniors or seniors. I don’t have any doubt that they’re going to be a tough football team. Defensively they play multiple fronts, multiple coverage’s you normally don’t do that unless you’ve got some veteran players.
This is a very disciplined team being a military school. If you look at the penalty chart they’ve only had six penalties in three games and that speaks to their level of discipline as a team. As I said to our players, I have great respect for the military schools and I always talk to them about the amount of respect that we’ll show them in this game because these are the guys that in the future will be protecting us and our freedoms when they graduate. This will be a challenging game for us and one that I’m excited that we get to come back to S.B Ballard to play.
At this point I’ll take questions.
What about a triple option offence makes it hard to stop?
First off it’s something you don’t see very much. If you see it more than once a year that’s a lot. It’s completely different than anything else you face. It’s not something that a lot of people run, it’s not something that a lot of high school kids want to play. They want to play what the norm is. Because you see it so rarely that’s what makes it so challenging. If you look at The Citadel the last three weeks they have outscored their opponents 24-0 in the first quarter. That normally comes from the other team just trying to adapt and that’s why the first quarter of this game will be critical for us. We’re going to have to know that the first quarter is going to take a little bit of time to get used to it. That’s why the other two teams they have played they just jumped on. I watched that video and the first half and their teams are just trying to figure it out.
Overall did this win give the team the shot of confidence that was needed?
That was the biggest thing we needed coming off of those two losses, was to get a victory. I worked a lot last week with the players on their confidence. I made them repeat to me ‘I can and I will’. I can have success and I will have success. Since we’re such a new team we needed that victory for those new guys. It was a sigh of relief from our sidelines and a boost of confidence for our players.
What was the atmosphere in the team meeting Sunday?
Everybody had the opportunity to feel good, for the 95 players and all the coaches to have that feeling of a good week at work was awesome. Guys were very excited and for all those new guys to have a win here at Old Dominion was critical. It was critical for confidence and for everybody to understand that what we’re doing works. I felt like everybody stuck to the plan and it worked.
Have you done any prep work for the triple option?
We started working on it back in the summer. The Citadel was a team that defensively we spent a lot of time on. Our coaches have been working with the players so that they understand at least what the basics are. They do a few things differently, some of the blocking schemes, they’ll run some toss plays, and they’ll do some things a little differently. Their coach is a smart guy, I think he understands his personnel and he tries to fit his schemes to those players, not unlike most other military schools. Their coach is a veteran and I think he has a real good feel of his personnel.
Will they throw the ball?
They haven’t thrown it a lot but they will. During the first game their tight end is wide open down the field with no one around him and the quarterback just misses him. So when they do throw it’s extremely dangerous. This offense forces you to have a lot of main concepts and that’s why its critical to have the guys take a class this week on reading keys and how to execute those keys, we’ll try and free up some different players. You have to force the quarterback to throw the ball at different times during the game, that’s the best opportunity to create turnover’s. When the quarterback has to pitch it quick that’s when you see the turnover’s. The most important part is that we have to tackle.
Is it like comparing a rotary phone to a cell phone when you look at offenses?
There will be two completely different offenses on the field. While yes, we’re going to have to stop The Citadel they’re also going to have to stop us. Just like we don’t see and prepare for their offense they don’t see our offense in practice. They’re going to have the same challenges this week trying to run what we do. They didn’t recruit a quarterback like Taylor or David Washington so they’re going to have to run the system. There will be two defenses on the field, trying to get a crash course on the speeds of the system.
How have you and the staff measured progress in these last few weeks?
The biggest thing the staff and myself have wanted to see was improvement by positions. We were looking at the new guys in particular in this game and we were able to take away that we got better at every position. I feel like we got better at special teams in the game and defensively and offensively. The big thing is the difference was the speed, the speed wasn’t what it was from ECU to Howard, Our mistakes that we made at ECU and Maryland exposed us and I don’t feel that they exposed us as much this week. This game our players had a better sense of accountability and a better sense of guys handling their responsibilities all across the board at every position. I feel that we made progress this game in all three phases.