The Eagles picked up their first win on the season on Saturday, cruising past UMass 26-7. As always, thanks to BCEagles.com for posting these press conference transcripts after each game.
"It was a good effort today. They had negative 23 yards rushing, second lowest rushing yards allowed since 1991. They just did an unbelievable job. (UMass) had 122 yards of total offense. We had 344 in total offense. We had 153 rushing, 191 passing.
On BC’s offense:
I think our passing attack is really starting to improve and will continue to grow. I think you'll see more and more of that. Our rushing attack needs to get better. For us to rush for 153 (yards) - we want to be over 200 all the time. There's probably 60, 70 yards in there that would put us over 400. And that's where we need to be.”
>>BCI comment: Both the running and the passing games showed signs of promise against Georgia Tech. The passing seems to be a little ahead of the rushing offense right now, though that could largely be due to opposing defenses keying in on BC’s threats on the ground. If the Eagles can keep defenses honest with a continually improved pass game, that should help allow HIlliman and co. to be more productive.
On standout players:
We had 34 minutes of possession to their 25. I thought Patrick (Towles) did a great job leading our team. Jeff Smith made some really tremendous catches for us. I thought Matt Milano on defense – he had eight tackles and a sack. Just some really great stuff happened.
On Mike Knoll:
Mike Knoll came in - Colton Lichtenberg was hurt when we came back from Dublin – and Knoll had to come in and do all phases. He had to kick off, he had to kick extra points and field goals and he had to punt. And I thought he did a great job with all of the above and he took the challenge on. He overcame some early adversity and I'm really happy for him to be able to do that. I think that's important when you're a young player to be able to overcome. He clearly did that.
I'm proud of our team and proud of the way they played. I'm proud of the way they competed. They came back off of a tough loss and a tough trip, and came back and battled and closed out. Now it's all about us getting better, it's about us improving. And that's what we're going to go to work on: the areas that we need improving, we're going to tweak and get better at, we're going to get better at. This is a young team, especially on offense. We're playing 11 freshmen and sophomores. But it's going to grow. It's going to get better and better and better."
On the team's joy after the win:
"You need to enjoy the wins. This is a tough game; it's a tough business we're all in and when you win you need to enjoy the win. God knows we're going to go back and get right back to work. This isn't a program that's going to bask or any of that kind of stuff. But you've got to enjoy the win. And it was important. Really important. To bounce back. This easily could be a different scenario when you come off of what we came off of. It was an emotional, tough loss a long way from home with a young group of guys. And they handled that really well.
What I'm most proud of is that our team has a really great passion for the game of football. That's really what that was. They love ball. They love ball and they're really starting to love each other. And that's pretty cool as a coach to stand there and say we've got a long way to go guys. We all know that – we've got a long way to go. But that's a good starting point. So they had a little fun, a little emotion in there. It's a good thing."
On halftime plans and adjustments:
"At halftime I thought they were starting to wear down. We weren't able to kick our run game into overdrive at that point. And I really felt like that's what bothered me.
Early on, there's a lot of pressure in there. That's why we hit those long balls. But I wanted in the second half to come out and have a long drive and I really felt that would be a critical long drive. And we almost had it. But I forgot what happened but we came up short on one of the third downs. Because I felt like at that point they were worn down going in and if you had a long drive when you come out at the half, you might just start to put that thing away. But we didn't handle that on offense. I remember it now. We had a chance to, but once again we've got to learn how to make the plays available for us."
On his plans for the kicking game:
"Woulda, shoulda, coulda. If we could've kicked the two field goals last week, we would've had a different outcome. We all know it's critical. When you get in the red zone, it's deflating if you come away with no points. You're not going to score all touchdowns. In a perfect world, you'd like to score all touchdowns. But you certainly have to score your field goals.
Because part of our plan to win: play great defense. Right? That's number one. Be able to be able to run the ball. Ok. Win the turnover battle, be great on special teams and the other one in there is score in the red zone. Being able to do that kept momentum alive and we were able to build up points. I think we had three of them in there and that builds up points.
That has to happen in this style of game we play, which is built on playing great defense, now trying to strike a balance with the run and pass on offense, and playing that game, you can't miss those opportunities. We're not into a tempo deal. We're not into go-as-fast-as-you-can-and-score-as-many-points-as-you-can-and-don't-worry-about-the-defense. That's not how we're put together. So those three points? They matter. They matter all the time. We had that first year and that was a big difference for us. And we need to gain that back again. And today we saw some of that."
On his decision to go for it on fourth down and not kick a FG:
"I can't remember what sequence right now, coming into the podium, but I wanted to make sure Mike had another opportunity, I can tell you that. I can't remember exactly what distance it was, but that felt like it was too far. And I didn't want to put him in that position in that instance. I wanted to give him a situation where he could make it and get some confidence thing with this. Just like – I don't know much about it; I don't know much about golf – but there's a confidence thing. And you try to get a little confidence and not constantly put guys in a strange situation when they're young and a little bit inexperienced."
>>BCI comment: Though that didn’t seem to prevent him from having Lichtenberg kick a mid-distance field goal on a wet field when BC had a fourth and short in Dublin... which I’m sure didn’t do much for
On Jeff Smith :
"We saw a lot of it in the spring and in the summer. And then we felt great, but Jeff had an injury that kept him out almost the complete training camp. And so he's just starting to come back into his own now. He missed training camp. Most of it. Not every bit of it, but about three-quarters of it. He missed it. And then Mike Walker missed half of it. So those guys are just starting now and they're talented guys. I know they're going to continue to grow in that mode and we can throw the ball.
How about Charlie Callinan? He made a critical, critical catch. Just made me think about that. I didn't mention him in there because he made such a critical catch, I should've. That was maybe one of the biggest plays of the game right there. That play right there – that big, big conversion where he went up and took the ball way. We haven't seen that a lot around here. Start seeing that more and more and we're going to start seeing that ball go up in the air. It’s confidence.
On the passing attack overall:
"Totally turned the game around. They were low in the box. One of the reasons we didn't run the ball well – we're going to see on the tape we should've run it better. They loaded the box. And now we have the ability to go ahead and strike it. At the end there, we were in that two-minute situation and we were going after it. Because we had confidence in our field general and we had confidence in our throw game. We had an issue there, but our defense covered up for that.
The way I believe: show me. We're starting to get the confidence now to do a little more in those situations, based on what the game is. That was a good experience for us, and even though we had a bad play in there, we'll learn from that and continue to grow."
On the play of the secondary:
"Played well. We had a mix-up on that one play they hit. That was a bust – that was a coverage bust. We had a mix up there. Other that, I thought we played great. We mixed our pressures. I told you the other day we were going to play some four-man rush zone. We couldn't do that before. We've had so much great fundamental development since the spring.
Coach (Paul) Pasqualoni with the defensive line is bringing the defensive line to another level fundamentally. Which means pass-rush technique, and run. We're hard to block because of our fundamental technique. We used to be just a scheme. A scheme, a blitz team. But now, not only can we do that – and we did do that today – but we also have the ability to shut the run down without pressuring. And that was a step our team needed to take and a lot of credit to Coach (Jim) Reid, Coach Pasqualoni, Anthony Campanile on the backend, Coach Washington – those guys have done a phenomenal job.
People say what your defense is going to be. What do you mean? It's going to grow. We've got good players, good coaches and it's going to grow and that's happening and it's going to continue.
Now I'm concerned a little bit. I want to make sure we stay healthy at this point. Strizak got dinged up and I don't know where that's at. Connor (Strachan) – we have to see how that unwinds right now. I'd have liked to get him out of there a little bit earlier, but the situation dictated. How about his effort. To me, his selflessness for this football team is what it means to play at BC.