Citadel 28, WCU 21 — In Their Own Words

Tyler Renew made his college debut.

Reaction from Citadel and WCU locker rooms after Bulldogs 28-21 win:

Citadel coach Kevin Higgins:

On Ben Dupree playing the whole game:

Aaron Miller only practiced half of one day because of a sore foot. We figured Ben would get most of the snaps and it worked out that we didn’t have to use Aaron in the game.”

On freshman punter Eric Goins’ run for a first down after dropping a snap:

“Eric was heads up on that play. I wasn’t sure if he was just going to punt it after he ran a few steps;  most freshmen would have. But he’s athletic enough to get that first down, and that was big.”

On the final interception by Julian Baxter:

“We were in man defense and we brought an extra rusher. We got pressure on the QB and made him reverse field. Then I got nervous that someone would be open down the field. But we had a lot of people aggressively going for the ball, and that was the key.”

QB Ben Dupree on playing the entire game:

I can carry the load. When Aaron is here, it helps a lot. But I’m a senior and now I’ve got to step up. Last week, I played like a sophomore and I knew that. They say it’s how you bounce back that shows your character, and I think I showed some character today.”

Punter Eric Goins on his run for a first down:

“It was pretty much my fault. The ball was pretty slippery and went right through my hands. I thought, I’ve got to make something out of this now. I played quarterback and safety in high school, so I’ve got some speed. Enough, I guess.”

WCU Head Coach Mark Speir:

Opening Statement:
“Congratulations to The Citadel; they came in here and did a nice job. They played a good football game and executed on offensive, created on a turnover and a touchdown on special teams. They shut us out in the first half and created a hole too deep for us to climb out. I’m proud of the way our guys fought back, but we made way too many mistakes in assignments and alignments and that is our fault as coaches. It is inexcusable and we did not give ourselves an opportunity to win. I’m proud of the way we fought back. We gave ourselves a chance to tie it up in the fourth quarter, but The Citadel stepped up to the occasion. We didn’t and they won the ball game.”

On stopping The Citadel’s option offensive attack:
“We had a great week of practice. Sometimes you get youth in there, but we are proud to have them. I’m not making excuses at all, but you can’t simulate that against a team that knows how to run it. Especially in the first half we were bad out of shape. To be honest with you, some of it was our older guys. I did not think our secondary fit very well, or our linebackers. I guess we let the moment of the game get too big for us, and that is my fault. Especially in our back seven and that showed up in a big way. Our back seven are some of our older guys.”

On the team battling back in the second half:
“My opinion of this team has not changed. We are going to be a good football team, no question about it. We have good athletes, we have good people, good students character guys. It is our job as coaches to get them over that step. It is like teaching a baby to take the first step. Those other steps come a whole lot easier. Our biggest issue this year is we cannot get off to a fast start. We haven’t scored in the first quarter and we give up big plays in the first quarter. Then our guys settle in and start playing.”

“We have to continue to keep the energy these guys play with. We have to continue to focus on our schemes, our disciple and our composure. That is what I thought we lost in the first quarter and that is my fault.”

On the start of Saturday’s game, costly penalties:
“The first half we are driving down in the red zone and we had a holding and personal foul, which I believe was a hands to the face. We find ways right now to self-destruct on offense and that’s something we just have to continue to coach to continue to teach these young men the game of football. They were confident and it was a somber locker room. They expected to win. This was the first our players had no disbelief about coming in here and winning this ballgame. They are hurt . I told them we have five more Southern Conference games. All of our goals are still ahead of us and it starts Monday, cleaning it up. You can’t expect to win a ball game with double-digit penalties. It is something you have to clean up.”

 

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