ETSUBucs.com | Football Press Conference: Chattanooga

Rail Rivalry begins Saturday at 7:30pm at Greene Stadium

JOHNSON CITY, Tennessee (September 26, 2022) – The Rail Rivalry returns to Johnson City this Saturday when ETSU football welcomes rival Chattanooga to William B. Greene, Jr. Stadium at William B. Greene, Jr. Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Local media gathered at the stadium on Monday for a press conference ahead of this week’s game.

ETSU Head Coach George Quarles was joined senior offensive lineman Yeah scribe (Chanhassen, Minn.) and junior linebacker Stephen Scott (Greensboro, NC) during today’s press conference.

Below are comments from Coach Quarles, Schreiber and Scott.

head coach George Quarles

How much have you heard about Rail Rivalry since its inception?

Whenever the rivalry has a name – like the Rail Rivalry – it’s pretty big. Obviously, we’re both on the same side of the state in East Tennessee, we both recruit a lot of the same players, and we both compete hard in every sport, especially football. They were selected to win the league this year and ETSU won the league last year – it’s a big game.

Does this game bring a bit more intensity than some of the others on the schedule?

I think so, especially for our boys. We need to be a little more careful and keep our emotions in check. We spoke as staff last night about how important this game is to so many of our boys and they felt our boys were a little overexcited at times last year. If you overdo it, you make bad decisions. You don’t do some of the things you normally do. (The games on our schedule) are all big, and this one is big for many reasons.

Talk about Chattanooga and what they do as a team.

Chattanooga is a truly talented team. Defensively, this front is really strong. They are difficult to run against the ball. You’re coming off a tough game against Illinois. They seem to be playing a lot better offensively this year because there’s a quarterback coming from east Michigan who’s playing really well. It’s going to be a big challenge but I’m more worried about us as a team than the person we’re playing against.

How reassuring was it to put together an all-around full game against Robert Morris?

My message to our boys is that we were close – a few games away from being unbeaten. I still believe that when we do what we’re supposed to do, when we play and care about football, we’re a good football team. I thought that showed up on Saturday. Obviously that was the big game Erek Campbell (Memphis, Tennessee) to block the punt, because when he blocked the punt, everything disappeared in a good way for us and a bad way for them. I believe in our boys and I believe we’re doing some good things. They are a competitive group. They love going to these big games and I know they look forward to this one when the top ranked team in the Southern Conference comes here on a Saturday night. I’d be shocked if we don’t follow, play really hard and hopefully play really well.

Talk about the importance of line play, especially against a team as strong as Chattanooga?

All games are won in front. You can throw it, catch it and all that stuff, but you have to block people and you have to hit blocks and you have to attack people. That’s going to be the key to the game: can we control them a bit upfront? Their defensive front and offensive line – they are big. Can we move people well and defend the run? At the end of the day, that’s what they want to do. They want to run the stretch and outer zone and play action from it. We are very similar in many ways. I think that will be key to the game – on both sides of the line.

Offensive Lineman – Joe Schreiber

Are you talking about the challenge of facing a defensive front as good as Chattanooga?

These guys are good players. I had the chance to play against them last year and I thought we played well against them. When I’m dealing with games like this, I worry less about them and more about us and our day-to-day operations. I feel like when we’re doing our business at the practice during the week it doesn’t matter who we’re up against.

What does this rivalry mean for the players?

That means a lot. As Coach Quarles said, every time a name is on it, it makes a little bigger deal. We haven’t had a chance to get that splint since I’ve been here. I know our boys are really hungry for the opportunity to bring this thing home.

What’s it like blocking for someone like Jacob Saylors?

It makes a lot of fun. It makes my job pretty easy. I mean what is he not good at? He’s explosive, he’s fast and I think he has great vision. He finds the open hole and plays. You couldn’t ask for much more from a running back.

Linebacker Stephen Scott

What does this rivalry mean for the players?

I would say it’s a pretty big game. I see us as one of the top tier contenders, so it’s really a big issue for us. They beat us last year so we really want that track back.

After last week’s win, do you feel closer to your goal?

Yes, it’s really just the little things in practice that I feel we need to sharpen and fix that are holding us a bit from getting these Ws. We will fix these things, hold ourselves accountable and move on.

Can the defense and the rest of the squad carry last week’s momentum into this week?

The way we played last Saturday was really good. We got up and came out with that kind of energy and we need to do the same this week. It’s a big week. We just need to have a good week of training and come out motivated to play like I know we can.

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