Oct. 22, 2017

Recap |  Final Stats |  Notes |   

Western Carolina head coach Mark Speir:

Opening Statements:
“Number one, kudos to VMI. Coach Wachenheim and his staff, they’re amazing – and they play everybody like this.”

“My big frustration was that we came out very lethargic on both sides of the ball, and then the defense picked it up and played a heck of a ball game. But on offense, we just couldn’t get it going. We kept shooting ourselves in the foot – and a lot of that (credit) goes to VMI. They played great defense. But I’m proud – I told the team, we’ve finally got our program to where sometimes you can get away not playing your best ball. I’m proud to get win No. 6 and to get it on the road. This is a tough place to play; it’s one of our tougher trips. I was interested to see how we would play because it is a hard trip and you’re playing a team that hasn’t won, but you know that they’re a good football team.”

Continuing assessment of Saturday’s game:
“I thought that our defense played well all day long. It hurt us not having Will Horton our kicker as we were giving up field position on the kickoffs. But Josh Gibson came in there and hit some big field goals. He got the game ball after the game. He came in big with that ‘next man up’ mentality.”

“We didn’t have our best week of practice because we had several people not practicing (due to injury). And we’re not good enough to go beat anyone without practicing. But, we wanted to use this week to get healthy and for the most part, I think that we did. I think we survived this week, are getting healthy.”

On next week’s opponent, the Furman Paladins:
“We’ve got a really good Furman Paladin team coming in this week. I know that they’re playing really good football on both sides of the football. I know that we’re going to have to play a lot better than we did this weekend to beat Furman. It’s going to be a huge challenge for our football team.”

“This is an opportunity that a Western Carolina football team hasn’t had in a long time; to be ranked and being the target. And teams like VMI are going to come and play their best football game against you. To be ranked and all that, it doesn’t really matter right now. But what does matter is that people are giving you their best shot. We’ve got to come prepared and give our very best fight each week – and as Cam Brown told this team, we can’t get tired of that fight because ‘the fun is in the fight.”

Looking ahead to Homecoming, 2017:
“I’m grateful for this football team; and I hope that our Catamount Nation is grateful for what these young men are accomplishing. And I hope that they’re grateful enough that they’ll pack E.J. Whitmire Stadium this Saturday because we’re going to need them. We need them as loud as they can be as this should be the largest crowd we’ve had in a long, long time. I’m not going to say that we need a sell-out, but at least standing room only. We’re playing a very good football team and there’s no time like the present – Homecoming weekend, and it ought to be a good football game.”