Darnell EMU Game Quotes

Head Coach Gary Darnell talked to the media following the Broncos 33-31 victory after a 39-yard Robert Menchinger field with 12 seconds left on the clock won the game. Coach Darnell talked about the feeling of almost losing another close game, about finally winning a close game and about Menchinger among other things.

Were you sitting there thinking, "Oh my God, I got to spin another one for these guys?"

"I actually try to think through things and I couldn't have. You probably would have gotten a no show today. I don't know if I could have handled it, seriously. I would have, but it was because I think we had invented every way you could not win one. We prepare for interceptions and they get a touchdown. I don't think I've ever felt as hollow when they signaled touchdown. First of all, from where we stand we thought the ball was incomplete on the touchdown pass. Then I thought Tony Carr had it and then I see this guy over there just real slowly he kind of goes like this (slowly raising both arms), nah, he can't be. So, we worked our way through that. What was, I guess in all the emotions that you have about those last three minutes you had it all, because on offense we had a chance to just do a routine drive. Do the things; play action passes and all that sort of stuff. You go time to take it down and that didn't work and then we had to punt it away or they got the ball back at mid-field. We had the two time-outs and just did a great job at time management with the defense. To Eastern's credit they new exactly what was going on. They had to make a first down or otherwise it was going to take themselves to punt. Then after that, when we got the ball back with 58 seconds left, there's not but one thing when you get a two-minute drill like that. There's only really on philosophy that you need to make sure, that's to make the first, first down and so we knew we only had to get down to the 25-yard line, that was our, we call it the kick line. We had to get it to the 25-yard line and we were struggling. Then when Ty (Tyrone Walker) caught the ball and took it down there, when I saw it was inside the twenty and then when, I guess it was 16 seconds left, just in my mind we actually maybe could have run one more and set up a little better. I just didn't feel…It's been too much of a season to take any chances. Just line up and kick it."

How does it feel to finally win a close one?

"I don't think the emotion is all there yet (laughing), but I just think these are the kinds of things that propel you. Good, bad, or indifferent we've kind of done stuff here in streaks. Once we get the winning combination going again I think we'll start dialing. I don't think we're there yet but by having won, in particular having won a close football game, I think it certainly gives us a chance to start to cycle again and that's a little bit blast statement knowing the defending MAC Champ is coming in here. But still, it makes some changes things to the point you're really looking forward to this next game as opposed to there was a moment there you might be thinking that wasn't going to be any fun next week."

Coach, can you talk a little bit about this Eastern Michigan team, because I know that some people are going to be sitting there saying that the Broncos played down to Eastern Michigan's level.

"I try to get people to understand this is a rivalry game. These guys, this is it for them. I mean this was it and our record wasn't very good. They had a better record than we did. Coming in here they had their reasons to believe but they were wounded. I know they're wounded somewhat but still, yet this is, when you just put it all out there and try to win one like they did and then execute the things and the you feed them a little bit by not doing some things you're suppose to. But then it stops to cease being us not doing the right things it becomes them. I think it switched, maybe we played good and they weren't. Then all of a sudden, when they started playing good, they took over. I mean they took the game over and then we finally got it back, but we didn't get it back until 58 seconds left either. Actually, I'd say the last three minutes because we did make the stops that gave us the chance to get the ball the one last time. But, that was classic clock management and it wasn't they did anything wrong. It was just they needed to do one more little thing right. One more 4-yard run or something like that and the game would have been over."

Back in Tim Lester's day, when he was first here, he was losing, losing, losing, losing; they win that game against Bowling Green in overtime. He wasn't the same after that. Are you hopeful that maybe this could do something to…?

"I don't think we're there totally yet. But, I do feel like that's how it works around here. We have to have a little bit of supportive things. I don't like the term "front runner," but we needed a boost of confidence that if we do all the right things that it can happen and I think we can build with that. No doubt we can't. The one thing that's happened, our running game keeps showing up a little bit more, little bit more, and we can depend on it a little bit more. So, we have more things to actually draw upon now than say eight games ago."

What happened to Phil Reed today? Was it a precautionary thing?

"I think it was something new today. I know at halftime, it was something different than a shoulder. I just have to feel like he's a guy that the little bit of a "A" injury creates another injury and that's what happens. Your shoulder can be hurt but when you favor it then you hurt a hip. That's truly what happens and when you see these medical reports and they say it's okay for him to play, they're saying it's safe for him to play. But sometimes they won't let a guy play because if they said his elbow is hurt and they'll say "well gees, it's an elbow," but the way you favor that, the way you do things, you change your mechanics then your vulnerable to get hurt. He may be in that spot right now. I got all kinds of hope that he gets back because what did he get today? 44 yards, he's less than 100 away for 1,000. Let's hope he gets his chance to get it."

Did you say anything to Menchinger before he went out for that winning kick?

"Nothing other than life and death type things. It's fairly documented, Anthony has low trajectory and they get a lot of push up in the middle and Robert actually has the quicker lift on his ball. Robert's made some big kicks too. That basically was the exact same kick he made against Central Michigan last year. Same time, same place, same field goal, you know same manner. Robert, his kickoffs have become adequate. He actually had one not good kickoff today where he put it in the wrong place. Other than that his kicking has been going well. He's become a little bit better and part of it's just growing, a growing thing. I know that Robert has the quicker lift, I know that sometimes Anthony Anthony's a little tough guy. He will try to kill you hard. So sometimes when it's a long one and I kind of feel like, unfortunately it's just a feel thing out there. So for Robert right now I feel pretty good."

It wasn't made because Anthony missed that one field goal; it was made just for…?

"Not necessarily. Because if a guys not on, if his guys not on and there was no reason not to try at that point, because the next field goal is a no sort thing. Robert has done a lot of kicking around here."

We got some video tape of you leading the band after the game."

"I was in a band. I played the trumpet."

Do you know what song that was…?

"Our Alma Mater. No, it was the Alma Mater. I think that is one of the great things. Is having Bill Pease and myself as far as the relationship between the football team and the band. Because there is an incredible parallel as far as getting ready, but finally after every game we going man we usually go and shake hands, whatever. During training camp there training camp is the same time ours is and I come over and talk to the band and Bill will come talk to the team next week. There's a lot of respect between the two."

Can you talk about how you went from 24-0 up to 31-30 down?

"I'd rather not, but I will if I must. It picked away. I just kept picking away and picking away and you could see those things happen and honestly you almost felt like you was getting to the loser's limp again. Because you say, "uh-oh, here we go." That's one of the beautiful things that happened today that we went past that. But you could feel it. I went uh-oh, what's happening here now, then because we had the third and was it 3rd and 14? We must have had four guys a hold of the quarterback and he throws it downfield and it gets caught and they make a first down. You see those kinds of things and you think well someone's got to make a play and unfortunately you're trying to make a play. And you're wanting to orchestrate it because of how smart you are and all of that kind of stuff. But realistically it was like man, somebody make a play, just somebody make a play."

Daniel Marks; this is the 2nd game he's seen some extensive action. He was a 22-yard touchdown run short of breaking the 100-yard mark as a redshirt freshman. Talk about him a little bit.

"We like that. We've said all along he had a 100, 100-yard plus game in the spring game and every time he gets out there truthfully the only thing that he doesn't bring to the table that Phil does, Phil's a little bit more effective blocker on pass blocking. How you fit to the offensive line your blocks, Daniel will be a little bit soft on that sometimes. Not because he's courage or anything like that, it's just that making it fit. So that's really the only difference. But Daniel Marks now, he come from one of the fine programs in south Florida. He's a legitimate back."

One question about the officiating. A couple of times this year one of the opposing teams defense got the Broncos to move on the offensive line and the offensive line would get the false start penalty. There was a call tonight where they actually called the defense for illegal procedure. Can you talk about that a little bit? It was early in the first half.

"Defense go called for illegal procedure? Well, we would have lined up offsides."

You guys looked like you were running a blitz and the offensive line moved and the defense got called for it.

"Well, they just missed it if that's the case. They just missed the call and if we encroached and the ball is snapped then you are offsides. That's what it is if they missed a guy. I know one time today their right guard, when they were going in for their touchdown, late. I know their right guard moved and before the ball was snapped, but it didn't get called. It just doesn't get called sometimes, it's hard out there."

With 54 second left, you're on the 20-yardline, you have to go 55 yards at least, no time-outs, what was going through your mind?

"Ironically now, we do our two-minute drill and that's about exactly where we start on that very field. We do that virtually every week because we do it defense is ahead. We say the defense is ahead by two, there's 45 seconds left to go in the game, the kick line is the 25, so you got to get it down to that. It was almost exact, believe me, I'm not smart enough to orchestrate it. It just turned out that way. But that's our…you go ask our guys we do that every week. We usually do it with 45 seconds. We always work with 45 second left and the defense is ahead by two and so you just got to get it down to the kick line, which is the 25-yardline. It was that exact scenario." (Broncos Illustrated can verify this quote since at least one of our reporters has been to most of the practices this season)

Looked like you were going to choke Jermaine there coach.

"I did not. No, I don't remember talking to him. I didn't."

With Munson how important was that for him to have opportunities to win games previously and then finally get one psychologically now?

"Good. I think everybody sees what we have been dealing with, with Chad Munson. He's a talent; he's not there as far as we want to be and as far as our frame system. The question to me that the real aficionado of football would say, "well than, are you all asking him to do too much?" To me, that's what I question. That's the answer we have to have as a staff. Because in our situation, with this style of offense we run, there is a tremendous fine line between doing too much and not enough and I think that's what we battled all year with him. Should we be trying to do more or should we actually be trying to do less until things kind of…? When I get frustrated and I say we're talking about coaching, that's what I'm talking about. I just don't feel like we're matched up sometimes with the things that he ought to be trying to do and totally responsible for getting them done just that way, because we still do a lot."

How much potential do you think he's going to have with a full spring practice under his belt?

"Tons. That big ‘ole building (Seelye Center) sitting right down here, that can make a difference in his career. It can make a difference in this program just with him alone, because he will get a chance. Come January, he will be throwing and he will be doing some stuff we never had a chance to do before. It will be like night and day. I mean it will actually be like night and day for him."

You got the win and maybe it's a big lift then you look at next Toledo. Bigger ball club than you played today?

"They are not a whole lot different though than Northern Illinois. They're not much different than Bowling Green. They're not much different than Michigan. They're not much different than Virginia Tech, we play."

How does this performance affect the defense? They've kind of kept the team in five games, 5 of the 7 losses only to come up short. They were able to get a big stop on that last Eastern drive and the offense was able to get some points off that stop.

"I think one things happened with that. Just by the book this year has been that its never been just an offense, defense or kicking because our defense, even in some of those close games, when it cam down to perform under pressure it didn't actually get done either. So it has really been a team synopsis of everything. It was always offense, defense and kicking. Because the defense could have put the game away today, they didn't, easy. I say easy, they were put in a position to be able to do that because for a while they're doing that and all of a sudden it kind of starts melting away. Offense, we come up with some points at some big times, but then we didn't. Kicking game, we've done some sensational things, but then there's been a couple times we didn't. In my mind it's never been one unit as opposed to the other. It's just which one we had to perform right down, hit…every time and never…in order for us to win and we didn't do it. But today we were able to overcome it. Whether we did or didn't we overcame it."

Tackling was a little suspect today.

"Said tackling was pulled particularly in the first half. That one came up for the open field tackle and that was really disappointing. Then there's two parts to that; there's us and them. We didn't want to tackle as well as we should and they didn't want us to tackle. They looked at me like they didn't want us to tackle more than we wanted to tackle them sometimes."

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