Jeff Monken Press Conference Quotes: EMU
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 back out on the road for a noon contest with Eastern Michigan on Saturday. That game will be carried live on CBS Sports Network with Ben Holden and Ross Tucker on the call. (Ref.: Opening Statement) "Good afternoon everybody. It sure was a heart-pounding game on Saturday. We were very fortunate to win the game. We had ourselves in decent position going into the fourth quarter, and, frankly, they just outplayed us in the fourth quarter. They had 215 yards to our 12, and that's tough to watch. I feel like we can play better. We have to be able to make some plays. We've made some plays in similar situations this year, we just didn't manage to do that on Saturday. "And that credit goes to Miami (OH). Those kids made some plays, and their quarterback is one of the toughest competitors we've faced since I've been here. He had that never say die attitude. Even on that very last play when he was getting sacked, the cannon was going off and a couple of our guys on defense jumped in the air with their hands up, and he managed to flip it out there to the running back who just about scored. Fortunately, we had a few guys who were still playing and went and got him down. I guess they didn't hear the cannon. But what a finish it was. Their linebacker (Brad Koenig) had 23 tackles, he was all over the place. "We did some good things and had some guys play really well. John Abercrombie, I can't say enough about him. Just the poise he had to step in there and make the kicks in overtime for the field goal to tie it up and the PAT. It was a big kick since we won by one point. I thought there were several other guys as well who played really hard and really well, but there were some guys who we know are capable of playing better. That's our job as coaches, but I'm really thrilled to get a win and be positioned where we are going into this Eastern Michigan game. "I think this is one of the best teams we've played. If you look at their games this year, everyone one that they fell short in was a close game. So they're an outstanding football team and well-coached. I can't say enough about what Coach (Chris) Creighton has done. To see where that program was before he took over and where they are now, it's really amazing. I know he's got the attention of everyone in college football with the transformation of that program." (Ref.: On the Army and Eastern Michigan rivalry) "We are two very similar programs, especially in where we were a few years ago to where we have come. I think our team is an improved football team. We are far from a really good football team. We are just a hard working bunch of guys. We have been able to gut out some victories and we have managed to do that the past few times. "Against them last year, what a game! It easily could have gone their way, but we made a miraculous stop at the end on the two-point conversion. Two years prior when we were up there, it was a real back-and-forth battle. To see that program build and the talent level that they now have speaks to the job that their coaches have done and how hard their players have worked. It is not easy to turn the culture of a program. It is driven by those players and how much they are willing to put into it. Clearly the Eastern Michigan players have invested a lot in that program." (Ref.: On Eastern Michigan Quarterback Tyler Wiegers) "He gets rid of the ball very quickly and has a strong arm. They are different with him now than they were at the start of the season. That's probably the most impressive thing when watching their offense, how they've been able to transition what they're doing with the ball and still move it so effectively. Wiegers makes very good decisions and he's better on his feet than people give him credit for. The guy he was backing up to start the year was a really good runner and I think everybody recognized that, but I've seen him on the called run plays or even some read plays where he pulls it down and runs around the edge and it is impressive. "He's a good athlete, and being a guy that has as much experience as he does, nothing is going to faze him. It doesn't matter how you line up on Saturday on defense, he'll sort it out. He has great coaches that will have him prepared. They'll make adjustments and a guy who has that much experience is going to be able to handle it. Facing a veteran quarterback, much like the one we faced on Saturday, is always a real challenge. That's certainly an important piece of the offense just like it is for us."