Nov. 11, 2008
Holy Cross Head Coach Tom Gilmore
On keys to Saturday's game: "Obviously it's going to be important for them to stop our passing attack."
On getting Dominic Randolph to Holy Cross: "I think it's one of the great stories of college football this year and really for the past couple of years. Here's a kid coming out of St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati at a school that had some long time connections with Holy Cross. Here's a kid that's behind one of the most heralded quarterbacks in the nation and he's not a starter, plays wide receiver. He was on our recruiting list because coaches out there told him about us, but he wasn't a kid that we knew a lot about. Fortunately he came out one day of our summer camp and we got to work with him up close and personal, and really liked him as a kid, thought he had some good skills, but to be quite honest with you, he was very unproven. He only had two games that he started in high school as a quarterback, so we had very limited film. But we really liked him and it was one of those things that during the recruiting process he was still on the list when it was all said and done, and we brought him out and everything worked out. Even early in his career here, he walked in, got hurt in the first quarter of our first JV game and didn't play at all as a freshman, either. He came out in the spring of his freshman year and really impressed us in spring practice and I have to admit I thought he was the starting quarterback right from that point, but it wasn't until halfway through his sophomore preseason that we really realized that we had something special in the kid, and not only from a physical standpoint but also from a mental standpoint from a poise standpoint. He possesses a lot of those intangibles that you really like to see in a quarterback."
On whether the team where he thought it would be when he took the job five years ago: "As much as I'd like to say it, I think we probably progressed at a better-than-expected pace early on. Holy Cross had just suffered their worst season in its history; they were 1-11 in 2003 and if you won a few games your first season coming off a year like that, I guess you can count yourself lucky. For me, anything less than undefeated season is unacceptable but we did win three games the first year. We've really made a lot of progress as far as turning the attitude around, the work ethic, the way we're doing things and so on. We just really created an environment that we raised the expectations. My second year we had a winning season. We were 6-5, we had beaten Lehigh who was ranked tenth in the nation that year at the time we played them. A lot of people would have been celebrating in the streets, but I think one of telling signs of things to come was that the players were excited to win the game but they were really upset coming up short and not winning the Patriot League title and only wining six games as compared to 11, so we knew we had a good situation going at that point from an attitude standpoint and I think the players and coaches have worked very hard to get to the current state we're in where we're probably not where we'd really like to be, but at least we're in the position now that when we line up against anyone on our schedule, we have a reasonable expectation of being able to win the game. My first year here I don't think we had that reasonable expectation. We were certainly outclassed by people like Lafayette my first year here and we really weren't as competitive as we would have liked to have been at that point."
On Colgate's cancelled game vs. Georgetown:
"To be quite honest with you, I think the tragedy of the whole thing is the players at Colgate and the players at Georgetown don't get to play that game. That's a missed opportunity for them. When push comes to shove, I think the people that have the chance to win the Patriot League title will have that opportunity and I still think it's going to be settled on the field. If we can win out, it's water under the bridge, if Lafayette can win out it might be water under the bridge, and certainly if Colgate wins out it's water under the bridge. I don't think anyone really can be complaining about that. You have to look at it on the surface and say hey, that's a college football game those players aren't getting to play."
Head Coach Frank Tavani
On Holy Cross: "They score by the minute, I think, when you're watching it on film and we certainly have every game. They're capable of scoring from anywhere, long or short, middle or whatever, so you've got to try to get them off balance a little bit, obviously bring some pressure but then be able to drop in coverage and hopefully create a little bit of confusion and hopefully try to get (QB Dominic) Randolph as rattled as you can. I'm not sure how possible that really is."
On defensive approach against a team that throws the ball a lot: "It still presents the same issues because you can't completely ignore the run because I think they run the ball better and more than what we've seen in past years. You still have to be able to handle the run or they're going to slice you up in there. You've got to be able to line up in coverage, you've got to be able to throw some different looks at them, get some pressure on them, flush them out of the pocket, but sometimes he can be more dangerous then. A lot of third down plays I've seen on film, he gets chased from the pocket and he makes even better throws and they're touchdown strikes on third down, so they convert third downs quite well and they convert it with points. You got to keep changing it up; you can't keep giving them the same thing every time or he'll start to zero in pretty quickly."
On last season's defensive success vs. Holy Cross: "As you look at last year's game, you look at time of possession. We controlled the football, we had a good ground game, threw some excellent balls where we wanted them and that's what opens things up for us, making people try to stop that punishing ground game and that opens up the rest of the field for you. If you look at last year's game, hopefully we can copy it to some degree. You shorten the game by controlling the football and keeping their offense off the field. What happened was we got ahead and then they ran it even less. That's their offense. They'd rather spread you out and let him deliver the ball and I'm sure if I were him I'd be doing the same thing. He's a big gun and you ought to use it."
On depth of the team through injuries: "It kind of reinforces your recruiting. You're really looking at the big picture every year and the full board and how to fill in and where you're going to have some issues. Fortunately we've been able to have enough talent in those spots, particularly in that running back spot, but that was difficult. Just the last couple of games prior to Bucknell, just putting personal groupings together and we were really limited. We were really piecing things together; there's only so many things that one group could do and it was quite a puzzle for the staff to put together. I think the offensive staff did a great job with it. You see the difference when you get a veteran back in the lineup and we start pounding that ball the way we want. That opens up an awful lot and you get a back like Tyrell last week with 30 carries and 169 yards, then the quarterback throwing efficiently and throwing for three touchdowns you should be successful."
On the Holy Cross-Harvard game: "Harvard is Harvard and no matter what points they give up their offense made up for it. What it tells you is Holy Cross is a very good football team and you've got your hands full. I think that's what the film points out. Really no weaknesses to try and take advantage of. We'll come out with a good game plan as we always do and try to keep them off balance, put some pressure on them and hopefully pressure them into some mistakes. He has thrown I think 14 interceptions this year, as well, so we'd be more than happy to be the recipient of more than a few of those."
On Holy Cross's defense: "Again, they're putting their defense out there faster than the defense would like to go out there. That's the other side of them scoring points in bunches the way they do. It's easy to look at that and say they're not playing strong defense when in fact they're winning the kind of games they're winning. They beat Brown who I thought was as good a football team as we've seen on film, who beat Harvard. They're a strong unit and I think a better football team than a year ago, defensively particularly. They've got some new people, they run around, they're very aggressive up front. Again, our game is try to dissect someone's defense and see where we can take advantage in the run game and hopefully open up our pas lanes for us. Again, we want to be balanced. it's not like we want to run nine times and throw it once, but we'd like to maybe run it six and throw it four. So we'll try to keep that balance and maintain some ball control and protect the football. We've been pretty good about that."
On returning home: "It'll be good for everyone, sleeping in their own beds, and hopefully we can get a little bit of hostile crowd. We're really reaching out to the student body and the community. This is as good a football game as is going to go on anywhere this Saturday and it's championship football at Fisher Field."
On generating interest in the game: "Lafayette's not quite like going down to Liberty where there's 8,000 in their student body screaming at you. I think they get pumped up for certain things. We're going to sit in Farinon Student Center from noon to one on Thursday and Friday with the cheerleaders and myself and some of the players and just try to generate a little bit more excitement about the weekend. Heck, people probably think football is over. There hasn't been a game here in well over a month, so we hope they're not just waiting until the week afterwards. For us, it's all about Saturday. That's what it's all about right now."
Junior Tailback Tyrell Coon
On major, coursework: "My major is Anthropology and Sociology. For my major, I'm taking Intro to Sociology and Cultural Anthropology.
On his career-high number of carries vs. Bucknell: "Last year I came close to it (30). The Lehigh game I ran 29 times. This past weekend was my career high in carries. It felt real good. The past few weeks I haven't been able to play to my full ability because of an ankle injury, but after this past week I'm really confident and happy."
Junior Defensive Back Carlos Lowe
On major, coursework: "I'm a Business and Economics major. Currently the class I'm taking in my major is Financial Accounting."
On watching Holy Cross on film: "(They're) Not really scary. I've been watching a lot of film already and I'll continue to do that for the rest of the week and learn everything I can about the quarterback I'll be facing and come out and practice hard."
On whether he'll be covering WR Jon Brock: "I'm not really sure yet. I'm sure I'll find out today but we'll treat every receiver equally and just try to lock him down."