Sanders talks Bucs next game with Western Carolina

Published 11:38 pm Monday, November 8, 2021

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JOHNSON CITY – ETSU Football held its weekly press conference on Monday, recapping another thrilling Southern Conference victory, this time a 27-20 win over VMI.

Head Coach Randy Sanders addressed the media and was joined by graduate linebacker Jared Folks (Harrisburg, Pa.) and redshirt-junior offensive lineman Tre’mond Shorts (Hampton, Ga.). The trio also discussed the upcoming game in Cullowhee, N.C. on Saturday against Western Carolina.

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Below are comments from Coach Sanders, Folks and Shorts:

Head Coach Randy Sanders
Has your outlook on Western Carolina changed with this three-game winning streak?
“I had a chance to see them fairly early since they played Samford before we did this season. I told our defense at that point that these guys were going to be a real pain in the butt. You could tell offensively that they had skill and really good potential to score points and be a good team. Talking with coaches this season, when WCU was 0-6 it was just a matter of time before they figured things out. To go beat The Citadel, Wofford and Furman tells you that they’ve figured it out.”

What is it about this team that makes the locker room and chemistry stand out?
“We have a very unselfish football team from top to bottom. You look at what Quay Holmes and Jacob Saylors do, or Jared Folks and Donovan Manuel. Every good football team that I have been a part of, as a coach or a player, the offensive line sets the tempo for the team. I think our offensive line in many ways has played well and have set the tempo for our team because that is where Quay, Jacob and Tyler get their chances. Offensive linemen by nature are unselfish. They just go out and play and they worry about the scoreboard at the end of the game. Also, I think that coming off 2020 and the craziness that it was, has made it even better. The guys are simply enjoying playing football.”

How do you game plan for WCU’s dual-threat quarterback?
“From a defensive perspective, you always try and make a team as one dimensional as you possibly can. Now, you can’t sell out to stop the run to the point where you make it easy on him to throw it, or vice versa. He has done really well and he has some dangerous receivers around him to throw it to. That is one thing that impressed me when I first saw them is the receiving core. Rogan [Wells] is a very experienced guy having played football at Valdosta State and Tusculum. Getting him back healthy has made them a better football team.”

Linebacker – Jared Folks
Do you guys ever look at records or do you approach every game the same?
“We can’t look at records and we don’t. This is the SoCon. It seems like every time you line up to play in the SoCon, it is going to be a game. You never know in the SoCon, so you can’t take anything for granted. You have to come out and compete each week.”

What do you contribute to the chemistry of your team?
“To echo what Coach Sanders said, 2020 was a tough time for everyone. So being able to be a part of a team during that time was really big and seeing each other so much. We practiced and you don’t see much of other people. That was key for us to grow and always winning helps. We have been able to compete and the offense has stepped up in a big way this year. We have been able to rely on them and grow as a unit that way.”

Offensive Lineman – Tre’mond Shorts
Do you feel that the offensive line is unselfish as a whole?
“That has always been the case. There is no stat for the offensive line, you just go out and do your job. It is our role to just go out and play. When you think about it, Tyler, Quay and Jacob’s stats reflect our stats. Protection and run blocking is a team thing and we love it.”

How important is the communication when defenses stack the box?
“Any game communication is important with the offensive line because you are trying to work double teams with the tight ends and various formations. The way our offensive functions, communication is how the entire playbook works.”

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