Weekly Press Luncheon Quotes
Oct. 8, 2007
GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina University Head Football Coach Skip Holtz addressed members of the media prior to this week's game against UTEP. The following are selected comments:
"We had some breakdowns on the punt and kickoff teams. [UCF's touchdown on the opening kick] was not the way we wanted to start the game. We knew that [UCF] runs the ball well so we wanted to come out and score some points early to get them out of their game but 10 seconds into the game, that plan was out the window. Our kickoff return team is doing a nice job right now and Chris Johnson is a big part of that. The ten guys in front of him are creating big holes for him. Chris is hitting the seams and holes and it is an entire group effort.
"Injury-wise, Marcus Hands is still out with a shoulder injury. I am concerned about Jeremy Chambliss, Pierre Bell and Quentin Cotton. They will not be able to practice this week and are all questionable for this weekend. It throws a wrench into your defense when you take your two top linebackers and top backup out of the mix. Offensively, Josh Coffman is still out and we will play the wait and see game with Jonathan Williams and Willie Barton. Barton is more probable at this point.
"I can't say enough positive things about Chris Johnson. He is really becoming a complete player. It has been nice seeing him develop as a player and a person. He has gained weight and confidence. Everything is starting to slow down for him and he is making cuts that he hasn't made in the past. We have talked about some things such as seeing the flow of the secondary, not just the defensive line. It was nice to see Rob Kass back. He has been patiently waiting for his opportunity and has done a good job with it. He has earned a lot of respect with the way he has handled adversity. He threw the ball better in the second half. Our offensive line continues to develop and I thought they played really well against a good defensive front Saturday. Sean Allen probably played his best game and Doug Palmer also played well. Fred Hicks and Stephen Heis both had good games at center and Matt Butler continues to shine at left guard. Stanley Bryant had his first start and I was impressed with the way he played, coming in as a walk-on tight end. Jamar Bryant continues to get better as well as our entire receiving corps. Davon Drew is rapidly improving not only as a receiving tight end but also as a blocking tight end.
"Our defensive line did not have one of its better games. Zack Slate continues to show up as the energizing force. It was great to see Khalif Mitchell finally play an entire game healthy. I thought he was making some things happen out there. At the linebacker position, it was probably one of the worst games we have played since I have been here. We are trying to get that figured out right now through evaluating film and talking to players. After having Bell switch positions and do well last week, I don't know if he was just confused this week with some of the things UCF did but that might be due to his injury. We didn't have the productivity that we needed because of UCF's running game. Our secondary played one of its best games so far. Dekota marshall and Travis Simmons stepped in as freshmen and really played well. Travis's interception after the blocked punt was one of the changing points in the game. Leon Best keeps getting better and his move from safety to corner has been positive.
"I don't think our punting game was particularly strong. Matt [Dodge] is capable of much better than what he did Saturday. I understand that not every punt will go 60 yards but we need to get more consistency out of him. Hopefully that will come with experience and just getting more reps on gameday. I thought Ben Hartman did a nice job of kicking the ball. It's unfortunate that we had the procedure penalty on his second field goal."
"I think they went through some changes two weeks ago and have five starters on defense out right now, including three defensive linemen and their top corner. They want to make every game a track meet. They don't want to play protective football but want to start scoring points right off of the bus. However, their defense does have nine interceptions on the year. They have given up some yards but have made the stops when they have had to. Their special teams feature some great returners as their free safety is averaging 12 yards on punt returns. That is scary for us with the way our punt and kick coverage teams are playing right now. They not only pose problems on film but also with the travel required to just get there. We have had a physically and emotionally tough six weeks and traveling will take that much more out of us as we go all the way to UTEP.
On Keeping Up With UTEP's High-Scoring Offense:
On Todd Fitch And What He Brings To ECU:
On the Offense's Progression So Far This Season:
On UTEP's Balanced Offense: