Full Transcript from Week Four Football Press Conference

Eastern Michigan coach Chris Creighton reacts after a call in the first half in the Eagles 28-17 loss to Ball State Saturday afternoon in Ypsilanti, Mich.

Eastern Michigan coach’s Monday press conference covering Saturday’s 28-17 loss to Ball State and preparation for Army West Point this Saturday. Featuring EMU head coach Chris Creighton, offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer and defensive coordinator Brad McCaslin.

Opening statement from Coach Creighton: “It’s hard to watch the tape [from Saturday’s game] in some ways, and other ways it’s very encouraging. But, had a 17-point lead again, and after a three and out, their first play from scrimmage was a long run and something we put a lot of attention to, and so, we find ourselves in another moment or ‘What are we going to do.’ Defense responded in a big way on that opening series, held them to zero points, even after the penalty and all that. And then, a quarter-and-a-half later we find ourselves up 17-0 and it was good. But, you know, Ball State didn’t go down. They were on their own 36-yard line and a fourth-and-one and had a chance to end things right there, but they converted right there and their quarterback long run followed by three-and-out by us offensively and then another long 96-yard drive right before the half. Still winning 17-14, but I need to do a better job at halftime with letting our guys know really regardless of the score we need to be at a certain state, but we’re winning the game at 17-14 and need to do a better job with the team coming out with the same energy and having the confidence that we did from the very beginning of the game. Our team is learning every week. We’re getting better in so many ways. One of the things we talked about yesterday is that this one hurts. This one hurts deep, and it’s because we’re so close. We’re not at the bottom of the mountain wondering what it’d be like to climb it. We’re climbing it, you know, we’re getting closer. So when you’re not there, but you’re close, it stings a little bit more. And so as coaches we sit around and say, [chuckles] we really need to be careful with this, but, give yourself five seconds and say we’re not too far away from being 3-0, but we’re not right now. So, Ball State, give credit to them being down 17-0 and fighting back.”

Questions:

Q: “Coach, you’ve had double-digit lead in all three games, yet you’re only 1-2, how can you drive it home to your team to finish?”

Creighton: “Yeah, that’s a good question. I think we’re, there’s a lot of ways to answer that. I think of three different scenarios to be honest with you. The first game, when were up 14 twice, I think we felt good about things, and that was not the case at Wyoming, and we did finish that game off. And in this game, we’re up 17 and again, I think our energy got sapped a little bit when they came back before half. Then they got the ball, obviously after halftime, they made those key five-to-six plays a game to change it. But it’s not just one issue. We’re learning every week. And, you know, learning how to win is part of being your best. On a Saturday afternoon, gameday, just the ice in the veins, withstanding the punches, making the plays, all of those things become habits and become a mindset and we’re gonna have that, and we’re getting there. But, obviously, haven’t been able to do it two out of three times thus far.”

Q: “Army is 0-3, and all three losses were very close, so do you think there needs to be a little more emphasis on playing all 60 minutes as there might be some desperation coming from Army?”

Creighton: “Oh man, it’s absolutely going to be 60 minutes. I mean, every single one of our games has been 60 minutes, that’s why our offseason theme was E-60. That’s what we train for. We’re in shape for it physically and we have to be able to stay balanced emotionally and stay focused mentally for 60 minutes. We know that Army is a team that is going to play for 60 minutes, and we love that.”

Q: “Coach DeBoer, your thoughts on Brogan [Roback’s] performance Saturday?”

DeBoer: “I think when we were able to balanced in the first half, have a good mix of run and pass, you know when you have a lead, I think he did a nice job. At the end, we’re throwing it pretty much every down, the pass rush picks up a little more and I know there’s a couple he’d like to have back, but it is what it is. He’s competing his tail off. He’s trying to make plays. And we talked a lot about it last night just taking what they give you and those completions and putting those completions together one right after another, I know he will come back out this week and do a better job with that.”

Q: “Darius Jackson had seven carries for 97 yards. Do you think there will be more emphasis on giving him the ball more, especially after him getting that 63-yard touchdown and showing his explosiveness?”

DeBoer: “That’s one of those when you look at the stats afterwards, and those are one of the things that just jump out at you, both him and Shaq [Vann] not getting carries. I felt good about where we were at after the second quarter. I think they were both at five or six each and I think we had well over 200 yards of offense. The defense put us in real good position for one of the drives to be able to get a field goal. But, 17 points and feeling good about production even if it wasn’t consistent, going back to the first quarter, probably the first time we’ve had a slow start. Had a few miscues and just assignment errors stalled drives, a couple penalties, which we hadn’t had in the previous game, any of those, penalties or missed assignments. But in the second quarter we felt good about the momentum we had. All of a sudden the third quarter happens, and we don’t move the ball. We had a six-play drive and then all of a sudden the fourth quarter and you’re throwing it because you’re trying to play catch-up. So, it happened fast. Looking back on it, I can see why he didn’t quite get as many carries there at the end playing catch-up, but it’s certainly something we have to have as a better, more consistent run game with D-Jax and Shaq getting touches. We found ways to give DJ a couple touches in the pass game, and he’s out in space. The checkdown is a big deal for us with DJ and Shaq, and getting those guys out in space is something we’ll continue to do on Saturdays.”

Q: “[Left tackle] Cole Gardner got hurt a little at the end of the game Saturday. Is there any reason to worry there?

DeBoer: “I think we’re planning on him being back, that’s the plan. I guess I haven’t heard anything today on his status. It’s not a severe injury, it’s something that I’m sure will be sore.”

Q: “Coach McCaslin, walk us through your thoughts of the 20-play drive Ball State put together Saturday. Obviously rather frustrating, but give us your thoughts during.”

McCaslin: “Yeah, it was frustrating. We had a couple opportunities to end that drive. The third-and-seventeen was definitely one of those. We made a couple plays to put them in that situation and have a set-back play, and they get a fourth-and-one and converted on two fourth downs on that drive and had a couple third down plays. We definitely needed to respond in that situation in which we responded previously in the game and didn’t get the job done.”

Q: “Army is going to run a lot with the triple-option. Is there going to be more 8 or 9 guys in the box or more base defense?”

McCaslin: “Yeah, the numbers game is an interesting thing, because depending on what an offense lines up with, that’s how many guys we put in the box, that’s just a rule of thumb. So, that’s not going to be a dramatic change in terms of who we are. Now, how we get to things is going to be different and ultimately what we’re talking about with Army, an option-type offense it’s going to be assignment football. It’s going to be one-on-one assignments, responsibilities. If you tackle the fullback seven times, and he doesn’t have the ball seven times and the quarterback just ran for 15 yards, and you go tackle the quarterback, the fullback is going to run for 30 yards on the play you don’t tackle him. So, you’ve gotta do your job every single time, be consistent, and you can’t become impatient when playing a team like this. You have to do your job each time as the plays come to you.”

For the entire press conference, including questions from EMU media relations, click this link: 


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