Tom O'Brien Comments On Army Win
Sept. 11, 2000
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - Tom O'Brien Teleconference Sunday, September 10, 2000
Last Sunday after West Virginia, you said that none of the offensive players graded out positively. The assumption is that is different this week.
"Well, we have not graded the film yet. With the off week, the team has today and Monday off and the coaches are out recruiting. But, just looking at the game, the ball was spread out between a number of different players and we had good possession time. It was the type of game that we came off the football and we were a much more physical football team and I think that helped us. We had a 12-play drive that we only got a field goal out of, and another 12-play drive right before the end of the half and got another field goal out of it. We made a couple of drives there at the end of the half and we got a quick score in the third quarter. Then we made another 12-play drive and got a touchdown out of it. Now, those drives covered 60, 77 and 62 yards and used up a good amount of time, except for the two-minute situation at the end of the half, and from what everybody tells me, on television we scored anyway. So, I think that if we can play offense like that then that's what we want to do."
What was the encouraging aspect, was it the fact that you were able to score big-time plays-you're getting some big-time production from guys like Dedrick (Dewalt), and from your defense?
"The defensive score was funny because at halftime, it was so hard for (offensive coordinator) Dana Bible to get to the press box, it was so far to go, that as he was walking out he says he might not be there, you guys might have to be ready to call the first couple of plays (on offense). Well they were there, and he called that play. I would never have called that play, but I thought that it was a great call."
Really, you never would have done it?
"If I was calling the plays, I would never have called the play that he called to start the half."
The fullback wheel?
"It was his call, it was a great call and it was a great way to start the half. Obviously it was a well thought out call. I don't know what I would have called, but that wasn't at the top of my list when I thought about it. When he called it I said, 'Whoo, we're going deep!' So, I thought that it was a great way to start the half and like I said afterwards, the same thing happened to us at West Virginia, when we dumped the ball off to the back in the fourth quarter. Army tried that the first play and Curtis Bolden makes a nice interception and runs it in. That was great for him and it was great for the defense."
Those two plays, the 37-seconds and you counted the other field goal that you scored at the end, you have 17 points in less than a minute.
"And it could have been 21."
Did it show that Jamal Burke was in, are you anxious to see the tape on that?
"Everyone's told me that at worst it was interference, but I don't know. I'm just happy that we won."
Coach, did your team come out of the game healthy?
"From what I know, Lenny Walls has a sprained ankle. I don't know how bad a sprain it is but he couldn't come back in the fourth quarter at the end of the game."
So he'll be re-evaluated later this week, and the guys who haven't played, like Marco Williams, Is he expected back this week?
"I don't know if I'll get him this week, but I hope that by next Sunday, or Tuesday at the latest, we'll get both Williams and Garay back."
Coach, last week you said "The players didn't say 'boo' on the way home from West Virginia," what was it like this time?
"I was on the defensive bus, and they were exhausted. It was another one of those days where the sun wasn't out, but it was a very muggy day. We haven't had much of that weather, but it seems like the two Saturdays we've played we've had the muggiest weather of the year. I think that they were tired. I ride on the first bus with the defense, so I don't know how they were. They were excited after the game, they knew that it was a great accomplishment for them and it was great to get that first win under our belts, but most of them were asleep."
Under most circumstances, a coach would be happy doubling their offensive output from one game to the next. You guys almost tripled your offensive output. Is there a sense either from the team or from yourself and the coaches that yesterday's team was the real offense?
"Well, I said, and I mean no disrespect to Army, that we weren't playing West Virginia. We were playing a bunch of gutty kids who were put in a very difficult situation, you have to understand that. Those guys played Monday night in the same type of heat that we played in at West Virginia. Then they go back to West Point and they probably get there between midnight and 1 a.m. They have to be up at 6 a.m. to go to class and they're taking at minimum 17, 18, 19 hours and they have to go to class, there's no such thing as cutting class there. To think that they were going to be in peak condition, and I think that our drive there at the end of the half, I think that they were done by then.
"Now, I think that it's great that we can take advantage of these things, and I think that we did a tremendous job. I think that you have to do that in that situation. I think that we got a team down and we drove the stake in their heart, but it's a far cry from doing it against a team in our conference than doing it against an Army team that's rebuilding and retooling their whole offense while trying to play us on a short week when they were terribly disadvantaged. I want to keep it in perspective that it was a very good win and we did many things right, but let's not get too excited over it."
One unique thing that jumped off of the stat box was 12 different players had at least one reception. Do you think that that exemplifies the kind of depth that your team has?
"Well, I think it just shows the way that Dana likes to throw the ball. We call passes that weren't progression, we play a lot of different tight ends, we play a lot of different receivers and a lot of different backs during a game and if a quarterback makes a progression and goes 1-2-3, you better be running the right route because you're liable to be getting the ball. That's what's good about the pass offense that we were in, it keeps their attention and makes them go. The only thing that I couldn't figure out was Hasselbeck's 14-21 and St. Pierre is 6-8, but they got us 20-30. Nobody else threw a pass. The fumbled snap has to be the team pass they have on the score sheet. They can credit that to me, it'll be the first pass that I've ever thrown."
Any comment on the job that Doug Goodwill did being put into a tough situation for his second game ever starting in place of Garay?
"Well I think he did well. He came up with a sack and I think after the first couple of series where they came out as we expected them to by showing us a couple of different formations and some different looks that we didn't expect, once we caught up to them I think the whole defense played well. They go downfield and score seven after the opening kickoff and then one field goal, and then they pull the trick play on us going down the boundary on the old fumblerooski there on whatever . . . third down it was, but then they don't score again until there's two seconds left in the game. I think that he did a great job and I think that all those guys did well on defense. I think it's a lot to ask of him, but I think that we're a lucky class he just started and I hope he doesn't level off now that school started."
There was a comment made on TV that Goodwin was perhaps the fastest learning defensive lineman as a true freshman to come into BC. Is he the fastest learner that you've dealt with?
"Well, he's the fastest learner from this group. That's why he's playing right now. Plus, he was the best conditioned and in the best shape and was able to execute the best in practice. I think he's going to be a heck of a player. He's 260-270 pounds. Right now, he's got good quickness and plays with low padding and is very strong. I just can't project what he'll be like two or three years from now. He's going to be a great lineman."
You said a week ago that there wasn't a single player on the offensive side that you graded positively. How about this week?
"Well, like I said, we didn't work today. The team was off and the coaches had gone recruiting and I haven't looked at the tape yet and I won't see it until tomorrow morning."
Eyeballing it, were there any players that you were particularly pleased with?
"We had a back that rushed it for 100 yards. Our quarterbacks had a very high percentage and threw for a lot of yards with three TD passes from the starting quarterback, so obviously they played a lot better."