As we went back and watched the video, really impressed with East Carolina. As I said after the game I thought they were a good football team and I do today. Equally impressed with Marshall. I think probably East Carolina, Marshall probably along with Central Florida are the best teams in Conference USA, and Central went up and beat Penn State here this past weekend.
It’s a good football team, very skilled people, averaging 46 points a game, over 500 yards per game of offense. The receivers are quick and fast. Offensive line, I think is very very good. Their defense I think is very much improved from last year. It’s a new coordinator I know that Scot Loeffler’s worked with at Florida and so forth. They impress. I think they’re really really good. They won their first couple of ball games. Lost to Ohio and I think they turned the ball over 3 or 4 times there early. That got them in a jam up there.
This is a really good football team coming in here Saturday. And we’ve got to continue to improve ourselves that’s the key thing. As you looked at the video I thought we did some things better. The key to us is that we continue to improve each and every week.
Wide Receivers’ Improvement
I agree with you, Coach Moorehead has been working with them after practice, catching a lot of balls using the JUGS machine there. I think it’s a matter of concentration. We’re hoping to get Charley Meyer back this week. I think he’s a very, very dependable guy. He’ll help that situation also. I think it’s just hard work and concentration. That’s the key for them.
On Demitri Knowles bouncing back
He’s really just used his ability. He’s extremely fast, but he’s got really good hands. Sometimes I think rather than catch it with his hands he tries to use his body to help him catch it. But when he catches it with his hands, he’s got good hands, it’s about him using his ability really.
Difficulty running the ball
They had eight people around that box most of the day. That’s tough, but still we can get hats on people. It’s just a matter of executing a little bit better. I think the other side of that is people are going to commit eight people to the box and you’ve got to be able to throw it. I thought we did a fairly good job of that. Their scheme, certainly they were going to shut down the run and make us throw the football. I’d like to think that we’ll get to the point to where if we get a hat on every body that we’ve got a shot to pick up some yards.
On whether teams will dare VT to beat them through the air
I don’t think that’s a question. I think most people probably take that approach. But I’m hopeful that we’re dangerous enough that you’ve got to think about it.
On whether Marshall has changed their tempo
I think they’ve probably changed it up a little bit. I think they’re extremely good. They spread you out and they’re throwing the ball around. They’ve got a quarterback that’s I think completing 64% of his passes. It’s kind of like last week, you’ve got an offense that can do it. I think they’re probably better overall on their offensive line which really helps them. I think they rush the ball a little more than East Carolina does. I think it’s like 240 yards a game they’re averaging rushing and over 300 throwing, but they’re more balanced in there. You put all those things together I think it’s a tough outfit to defend, there’s no question about it.
On Marshall QB Rakeem Cato’s improvement
It’s just experience. Experience is a wonderful thing. The more you’re in an offense the more you know where to go with the ball. The quicker you do that the more accurate you become. One thing kind of leads to another. They’ve got them a good scheme. Like last week, they know what they’re doing. Generally speaking you’re going to have to stop them, they’re not going to beat themselves.
On the decision to start Brent Benedict
How we practice is always a factor in our offensive line right now. I like competition. I wish we had a few more people competing. Like I told you last week, I really think Alston Smith is going get in there and give us another really good player. A really good player. Benedict has been a little more consistent than Gibson, so that’s why he played last week. Let’s go back and see how we practice and go from there.
On experience on defense
I think certainly again experience is a wonderful thing. We’ve got some good players and most of them are experienced. We’re kind of like Marshall too. I think they’ve got a lot of defensive lineman that play and run them in there and we do too. I think that helps you when you keep people fresh up front. It really helps you overall defensively. So I think us and Marshall are very similar in that regard. When you look at Marshall, and the stats [say they are] fifth in total defense I think in the country and sixth in rushing and fourteenth in sacks I believe. They’ve got nine sacks. They’ve got some impressive defensive stats themselves.
On whether Facyson and Kendall Fuller are aided by experienced players
It does, there’s no question having three guys that have got experience. Then you’ve got two guys there that don’t. Those two guys are really talented kids. I said after the game Saturday they’re not only very athletic, but the game makes sense to them. They’ve got a good feel for the game. I’ve been impressed with those two kids. I think they’ve played at a high level and particularly being freshman they’ve played at an extremely high level.
On whether Antone Exum will play on Saturday
No, I think he’s going to get checked here. I’m not sure exactly when he’ll be back. We’re not sure right now.
On whether he’s worried about Cody Journell
No, there’s no worry with Cody. He just got on a bad roll there the other day. We went back out and kicked yesterday and he was extremely good. He’s done it too long. He’s knocked too many right down the middle of the goal post. He’s going to be just fine. I don’t worry about that a bit.
On whether Beamer could pinpoint what went wrong with Journell on Saturday
He went back and looked and maybe I think his plant foot got him in trouble a little bit. Then he hoodwinked one and then all the sudden he got worried about that and he pushed the next one right. So then it kind of got going back and forth. I think every golfer knows you hit a big old hook and now you’re trying not to hook it and all the sudden now you’re slicing it out there. You’re leaving it out there. You don’t get your club face closed. He got in to that a little bit.
On the state of special teams
I think our kickoff coverage team has done a lot better here the last couple weeks. We made some changes on our punt protection and coverage team. I think we’re better there. We had one returned on us and we got a low kick to the up back, not to the deep return guy, but to the up back, and all of a sudden that thing started coming back at us. The other kicks, there were four more or five more in the game we executed extremely well. Downed a couple of punts inside the 20 and one inside the 10 I believe. That team performed very well. Other than that one kick, and the low liner was what got us on that a little bit. I think we’re working on it hard. Did a little extra work on the kicking game yesterday as a matter of fact. I would hope that we’ll continue to get better in that area also.
On not playing J.C. Coleman against ECU
It slowed down a little bit. He’s another one we’ll see how he practices this week and later on we’ll make a decision on that one.
On the seven sacks against ECU
Well it’s a combination. I think our underneath coverage a couple times flashed in front of where he thought he might go with the ball, and now he’s holding it just a second longer than he normally would. We’ve got some guys I think are pretty good pass rushers. James Gayle a great effort, great football game. JR same thing. Dadi Nicolas he’s very athletic and when he gets in the game just extremely productive. It’s a combination. If you can make a quarterback hold it just a little bit longer than he’d like to you’ve got a chance there. I think that’s kind of what happened on a couple of those the other day.
On the improvement by J.R. Collins
He’s playing with great great effort. He’s in there on that punt protection team now. Great effort down the field. Overall playing hard. Been extremely pleased with him. We’ve kind of had a 3 way rotation. Then Wilson will be back this week. He played a couple plays but he was banged up last week. He’s another guy with speed and athletic ability to rush the passer. Keeping those guys fresh like I said earlier I think that’s a big part of it. You’re not playing tired you’re playing fresh and go play.