Jeff Monken Press Conference Quotes: Buffalo
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Army West Point football head coach Jeff Monken met with members of the local media on Tuesday afternoon for his weekly press conference inside Nowak Auditorium. The Black Knights head into their second leg of a three-game road swing when they travel to Buffalo on Saturday afternoon for a noon kickoff on CBS Sports Network. (Ref.: Opening statement) "Good afternoon. We're getting ready for a rainy day of practice here to get prepared for Buffalo. We're coming off a really tough, emotional loss this past weekend. But it was a heck of a battle and Oklahoma's got a great team. They made some terrific plays down the stretch to beat us and got us stopped on offense. When we looked like we had a chance to have the winning drive there at the end, they made a stop and got the ball back. After going to overtime they again just made some plays down the stretch but it was a great effort by our team and I was really proud of them. The important thing for us is to transition to this week. We're playing an undefeated team again for the fifth week in a row so it certainly doesn't get any easier. This game will be a great challenge for us. We lost to them two years ago and we had to come from behind in the fourth quarter to win it last year. "They've got the best team that they've had in many many years. I was a coach on the staff there during the mid-90's and it's not an easy place to win. Coach (Lance) Leipold, just the job that he's done – this guy is a proven winner. It's not a surprise that he's winning and he's got them undefeated right now. He's a terrific coach and they've got some really good players and it will be a great challenge for us. Our guys I hope will practice really well, really hard and be prepared. We're really excited about this opportunity. It's a big game for us." (Ref.: On moving on after a tough loss) "I have confidence that our team will practice hard today and get prepared. They know what's at stake. This is a very competitive group of players and they desperately want to win just like they did Saturday night. I promise you, nobody else besides the guys in our room gave us a chance, but everybody in our our room went into that game expecting to win. That's why we're disappointed and that's why we don't get excited and happy and wear our arms out patting ourselves on the back because we went to overtime with the No. 5 team in the country. We're pissed and I am too. So I am confident that this team is going to get ready to practice this week. If they don't, my shoe will be right on their backside. So, that's how we'll get ready." (Ref.: On the importance of the Oklahoma game for QB Kelvin Hopkins Jr.) "Every time he plays is important for him to gain experience and gain more confidence. I think all the way around, just the way he played and how effectively he ran the ball. He threw some good passes. Certainly the interceptions weren't his fault. They weren't anybody's fault. He got some pressure on the first one, on the third down play, and he got tipped and picked. On the fourth down play, he had to throw it. He couldn't take a sack there. He couldn't throw it out of bounds. He had to throw the ball where somebody had a chance to catch it. Unfortunately, their guy caught it and ours didn't. So, I think he's really improved and done a good job leading our team. He's getting better each week and that's promising. I hope he'll continue to improve." (Ref.: On what's impressed him the most about Buffalo) "I know where they came from. Just from every challenge that they have in Buffalo. The school is a challenging school academically and having coached there, I know classes aren't easy and it's a challenging school to get into to begin with. The facilities have never been as good as a lot of other schools that they play, even in their conference. Despite all that and what they may see as a challenge, they've overcome that and have gotten themselves to a 4-0 start, beating some really good football teams. We know how much respect we have for Temple having played them the last couple of years. Those are just battles. To beat Rutgers, a Big Ten team, like they did on Saturday, Eastern Michigan who took us to the wire last year and a tremendously improved football program, I'm really impressed with what they've done. I think he (Lance Leipold) is an outstanding coach. He's got a great staff and they've got some really talented football players. That's just something that they've done. They've built that over the years that he's been there."