Weekly Coastal Carolina Football Press Conference (at #16 App State)
Sept. 26, 2012
Coastal Carolina Football Press Conference
On hand were Big South Offensive Player of the Week Aramis Hillary, Big South Defensive Player of the Week Quinn Backus, CCU head football coach Joe Moglia and Monte Burke, author of the book "4th & Goal: One Man's Quest to Recapture His Dream." (For more information on the book, CLICK HERE.)
Question: Aramis, talk about your season so far. It seems like you keep having career high after career high, are you getting more comfortable with the offense and that's what is helping you out? What's going on this year?
Aramis Hillary: Coach is doing a great job of getting us prepared. Luckily I'm just the guy in the spotlight - the quarterback position. I think the other two quarterbacks we have could do the same thing with the players we have. The O-line has been doing a great job this year and those guys outside are fantastic. They could go with anybody in the country - Matt Hazel and DeMario Bennett. We got Akeem Wesley back last week and he made some plays for us when Niccolo Mastromatteo stepped down. We will get Niccolo back, he's a great player. We got the freshman Tyrell Blanks who has been stepping up. David Duran has been out and Thomas Pauciello has been stepping up. I really can't take the credit for any of it. We have great players. We have done a great job of getting some great players at Coastal Carolina, and they are making huge plays and making me look real good.
Question: What did your brother tell you to prepare for at App State?
Aramis Hillary: He played five years there. We went to 6 or 7 games every year. That atmosphere is crazy. It's pretty much a Division 1 atmosphere. There will probably be 30,000 fans there. He's told me that they've wrapped the stadium all the way around, and he warned me about that and about how loud it will be, but, like I said, we have to go win a football game - the crowd doesn't really matter. We have to rally together as a team and come up with a win because we've come up short two weeks in a row and we can't afford a third one.
Question: What do you see in their defense that you could possibly exploit?
Aramis Hillary: They have a great defense. They are nationally ranked. They have some great guys...some big guys...some fast guys. We have a lot on our hands that we have to prepare for this week. It's another game, just another college football game, like coach told us in practice, it isn't easy winning college football games. Nobody is really sorry and they aren't going to have too many slow people or too many places in their defense that you can exploit.
Question: Your thoughts about App?
Quinn Backus: This will be my first time going, and I'm excited to go play on a big stage. Like Aramis said, we've lost these past two weeks, and it's time for us to get this bad taste out of our mouth and turn the table around and get back rolling.
Question: How does App paying you guys 100,000 dollars to play them sit with you?
Quinn Backus: We can't get caught up in all the stuff that isn't important. We just have to go out there and play our football and everything will take care of itself.
Head Coach Joe Moglia about Toledo:
We were aware that Toledo was a good football team and had an outstanding offense, a good defense, and that they were good on special teams. I was pleased with the way our offense moved the ball. I think we continue to grow as an offensive team. We do a better job of attacking weaknesses than we did earlier in the season. We are doing a good job overall in ball security. We slipped a couple of times as far as penalties go, but, in general, we have improved significantly there. I was pleased with the way the offense handled themselves during the game. From a defensive perspective, I think it was the single best improvement that we've seen anywhere in our football team over the span of the season. I thought our defense did a good job. We know we still have a ways to go, but there was significant improvement there. We made some good stops where it mattered. From a special team's perspective, I thought we did a pretty good job across the board except for that 8 minute stretch in the third quarter where we had the shank in terms of the punt and then we allowed the big return. Both of those turned into scores, so 8 minutes earlier in the third quarter, we're up 21-17, 8 minutes later in the third quarter, primarily because of mistakes of special teams, we were down 31-21 and we weren't able to come back from that. We didn't give up, we fought back and made it 31-28, but we weren't able to hold on till the end to win. I was pleased with our effort. I'm not big on if it was a moral victory. I'm not big on how many points we scored versus the other points we scored against FBS teams. None of that really means much to me. If we are going to be a national competitor, those are games that we are going to have to be able to win. We've got a shot to be able to win them, and we have to do that.
Question: Have you seen someone step up, or has the team stepped up as a whole?
Coach Joe Moglia: I think the team has stepped up as a whole. I think there were some things that we were struggling with. By simply adjusting alignments and positions and changing some techniques here or there we are giving our guys a better shot to be able to do what they need to do. We still have a lot of guys that are working hard, but, in terms of solid quality depth across the board, we don't quite have that. But our guys are working hard. I'm proud of what they are doing and what their effort is.
Question: Give me a quick breakdown on App?
Coach Joe Moglia: From an offensive perspective, I think they do a wonderful job in terms of their overall schemes and their execution. They've got a really good, strong power game that attacks inside and kind of off-tackle. They do a good job of reading where you are weak or where you are overplaying. They will do a lot of pulling and crossing, a good, solid power game. What they do better than other teams that we have played, they have a very nice perimeter attack that is both where we will see option or a bubble type of screen. Now, we have been somewhat vulnerable on our perimeter, and they certainly would have seen that on film. So, for them to be able to have those inside run fakes and then be able to attack the corner quickly, aggressively with good execution on an option or a bubble, means we have to be really ready to prepare that. All we are doing there is we are going to have a simple priority in terms of what our assignments are. They have a good offense. They have a good, solid quarterback and an excellent running game. They have young, but agile, tough, athletic linemen. Good solid receivers that are not afraid to block downfield. We've got to be incredibly disciplined, especially in the perimeter game and the passing game with these guys. From a defensive perspective, they are not afraid to come with pressure. Their defense up front does as good of a job as anybody we've seen of just making sure that all the gaps are accounted for, scraping properly, not making too many gap errors. Part of the reason for that is when you run a power game yourself offensively, you are always bringing in an extra fullback, an extra tight end, and extra guard. That gives you an extra gap. The defense always has to account for that. If you aren't seeing that on a regular basis, that's an area where all of the sudden you slip and don't see that and then we aren't protected. Their front is very sound in terms of their movement and athletic ability and they aren't afraid to hit you. From a special team's perspective, I think they are solid across the board. They are solid with the punt game. They are solid with their punt, block, and return game. Again, we can't have a lapse in our special teams against these guys. They are a good, solid football team across the board.
Question: What attracted you to write this book on Coach Moglia?
Monte Burke:I'm fascinated by people who chase goals which seem impossible. I knew about Joe from working at Forbes Magazine, I knew he was the CEO at TD Ameritrade, then I heard that he retired, then I heard that he was trying to get back into football and become a college head coach for the first time which was his life long dream. He had legions of people telling him that there was no way that he could ever do this. He had been out of the game for almost thirty years, he had been in finance. That really intrigued me and just to watch how hard he worked on it, how focused he was, and how long he worked on it, and also to see a person who has overcome doubters everywhere in his life. A lot of people doubted that he would get out of his rough neighborhood in New York City. When he went to Merrill Lynch, he was a football coach. He was ten years older than most people who were entering Merrill Lynch and they were like there is no way this guy could succeed. He doesn't have any training in finance, he doesn't have any experience and he did. He was the top rookie salesman and he became the top salesman in the whole firm. When he took over TD Ameritrade, it looked like it was done and no one thought he could succeed there. He built it up, skirted the entire crisis in 2008 when his competitors were losing billions of dollars. He's overcome a lot of doubters. It's a motivational story, it's inspirational.
Question: Does this ever get surreal to you coach?
Coach Joe Moglia: I remember growing up and working in my father's fruit store. Then I remember when I had the opportunity to coach when I was in college when I was assistant JV coach at Fordham Prep. I remember thinking how lucky I was to be able to coach and do something I really enjoyed as opposed to working in my father's fruit store to be able to support my family and put myself through school. Then when I got my first head job at 22 I remember being so proud to be able to put "Head Football Coach/Teacher" on my taxes. Then we fast forward a bit to when I made the jump from high school to college and I could coach full time and concentrate on that. I remember thinking "How lucky am I?" Then I did make the decision to be on the institutional side of Wall Street, while I was well behind anybody and didn't know how to spell the word "stock" I caught up reasonably quickly but I kind of understood the business. I had the skill sets for the business and I loved doing what I was doing. Over time, almost every step of the way, every time I go back to New York City and I see a cab driver go by or I see some guy unloading a truck, or when I go by some little fruit store, there is no question in my mind that my life could have gone a lot of different ways. When I think about it, I think about how fortunate I am to have had two things that I have the skill sets for that I really love doing in terms of a coaching career and a business career in finance and most guys don't get the opportunity to do one thing that they really love. The surreal part of it for me is how lucky I am. With our team we try to emphasize how there are people dying in the world. There are people fighting for our rights. We should appreciate it. We are able to play college football do you know how lucky we are? Appreciate this, be grateful, take it in, and show your appreciation by giving it the best you can.
Monte Burke: One last thing that Joe kind of touched on. His story was compelling in the way that it is the two parts of the American dream. The first part is that you can make yourself into anything that you want and that's what he did. The second part of the American dream that people don't talk about very much is this is a place where you can re-invent yourself and it doesn't matter how old you are. He did this after the age of sixty. These two parts of this American dream intrigued me.