Georgia State Head Coach Bill Curry
It’s obvious that what happened today was a failure of leadership by all of us. I’ve seldom felt better about preparation, and I’ve seldom been more disappointed with a result. I don’t have to tell you about the turnovers and allowing them to run through us the times we couldn’t afford that and the incredible foolish penalties. I would love to play a good game against ODU someday, but we seem to save our worst for ODU. So hat’s off to a good job by that team. We didn’t find out today just how good they are because we really didn’t test them. We gave them opportunities at every turn and they took advantage. So we go back to work and correct the foolish penalties, the turnovers, the tackling, the blocking, and the lack of attention to detail and get ready for the next one. That’s what football teaches you.
Can you talk about the decision to wait to bring in Little until the fourth quarter?
We talked about it all along, and Bo (Schlecter) had started out very nervous a week ago and then rallied to play very well. He did some good things today. So we wanted to stay with him a reasonable amount of time before we went to Drew (Little). But who knows. Maybe we should have done it in the second quarter. You can always look back and wonder if things could have been different before the score got to where it was when we finally put him in.
On the blocked punt and the partially blocked punt, did ODU show you something in the special teams’ packages that you didn’t expect or hadn’t seen?
Our punt protection requires that the punter step in a certain direction, and it’s toward the long side of the shield. We are not sure if Matt (Hubbard) did that or not. It looked like he did not. They should not be able to come through the shield like that regardless. The protection should hold up. He’s a wonderful punter. He gets the ball off quickly. That’s not an excuse. It might have been the same if we had Bo in there. Bo had a foot issue. He couldn’t punt today and that’s the reason Matt was in there.
Did you see anything in the warm-ups with the players before the game that led you to believe ‘this is not going to be good’?
No were weren’t flat. We were exuberant. We were bouncing around. We were coming off the ball. We were handling the ball well. We did everything well in warm-ups. But warm-ups don’t count. Everything that would indicate that we were going to play well has been present. We just didn’t. That’s always leadership. That is a failure of leadership.
… On the coaches’ part?
You have to have their attention. You have to know you have their attention. It has to be in the finest detail. It has to been in the details of staying in front of people when you are blocking on kick-off returns and punt returns. It has to be in the subtle nuances of where you throw the ball. Both the quarterbacks that played today have been out there every day so they know what to do. The receivers know what to do. The guys providing protection have been out there every day. There is just no excuse.
Any positives you can take away from this game?
The only positive I can think of is that out of these situations it has been my experience that good teams always rally and fight back to correct it. That is all I can give. We should get a chance to go back and build off this and learn how to not make excuses and feel sorry for ourselves.
Can you talk about the momentum change at the block punt that led to the TD right before halftime? You come out and are inside the 50 in three consecutive possessions and are forced to punt three consecutive times.
That was huge, absolutely huge. When come out in the third quarter and you have the ball, you drive it for a score. We made a big play. We get the ball in scoring position three times and come away with nothing. That is a very deflating thing. We could have just driven ourselves right back into the game. Sometimes you are better off if you do see these things coming because you know that there are some subtle distraction with your team, but I didn’t see this at all.
Did the defense just wear down in the fourth quarter?
Our defense is in shape. They hurt us early in the game as much as they did late. We had long stretches where we stoned their running game. That is what you have to do, just keep doing that. It wasn’t a matter of wearing down. We didn’t wear down in the first quarter and they ran the ball well. We’ve been practicing at this pace since last March. This is not new to us. This doesn’t surprise us. This wasn’t a conditioning thing. This was a concentration thing. This is staying on your feet, keeping your head up, ripping across the blocker’s neck, turning his body instead of yours being turned and tackling the guy. When we did that we were fine. We have to learn to be the same team all the time.
Old Dominion Head Coach Bobby Wilder
We got pressure all day long. Even more so I thought our offensive line really dominated the football game. We were able to run the ball consistently. We kept the able on offense and Georgia State stayed primarily in their three down front. They didn’t bring a lot of pressure and they were playing coverage so they were basically telling us, ‘We aren’t going to let you throw the ball outside to your receivers, we are going to make you run it,’ so that’s what we did. We were successful doing that.
I thought the key to the game and what really turned it were two plays back to back. We were going into score to go up, I believe, 20-3 and we fumbled in the end zone and they brought it back cut it to 13-10 and what got it back again was when we blocked the punt. We blocked the block and Blair Roberts scored. Probably one of the funniest things I’ve seen in 23 years of coaching was Blair Roberts almost wasn’t on the punt block team because he had to go to the bathroom. We almost lost him to a restroom break but he agreed to stay through it, scored a TD. That really turned it when we blocked the punt and scored. That’s when the momentum swung.
Any word on Alex Arain or T.J. Cowart?
I have not heard yet about Alex. He came in for an x-ray on his neck. J.J. Williams also came in for an x-ray on his neck but he was cleared. T.J., right now, we got the x-ray. We are not sure at this point if the wrist is broken. We will know for certain tomorrow, but he did get it banged pretty good. He was going to an interception, almost had it and collided with one of our guys.
Big win here today against a future conference opponent, how do you guys feel coming back?
I feel really good about a football team as I assess us right now. I thought this would be a really big test because I felt like Coach Curry and his staff had a better football team. I thought they were better this year than last year. Height, weight, speed. They are bigger, faster, stronger. For us to dominate the score, the way we did, I’ll need to see the video to see if we dominated the game, but we certainly dominated the score and I think that speaks very well for where we are as a team right now. We needed to run the ball today. That was something we were average with last week. We needed to run this ball this week. I thought that was the difference in the game, the ability to run the ball.
Did you feel like you guys were maybe could have been up a little more than you were early on?
There is no question that the turnovers really hurt us early on. The mark of a good football team is number one taking advantage of turnovers, which Georgia State did, I give them a lot of credit. They took advantage. That was a heck of a play when they scooped the ball up in the end zone and ran all the way down to our 10 yard line with it. That is a mark of a good, well-coached football team, which they are. But I did feel like we should have been up by a few more scores, at 20-17. If you look at last year’s game, they are up 6-0 then turn the ball over four times and then we are up 34-6. We hung in there with it and our motto as a team is play the next play and not get too down when something bad happens. I’m proud of our kids for that. We didn’t get too discouraged with those mistakes.