Lembo's Language is a weekly article, where chief football reporter David Polaski dissects statements made by Ball State head football coach Pete Lembo in his press conference.
Lembo: “We’re going to give Jack Milas a shot this week at quarterback. That has more to do with trying to give our offense a little spark and a little lift, maybe some energy … I think the world of Ozzie Mann … these guys are not chess pieces on a board, and we care a lot about them.”
David: After five weeks with Ozzie Mann at quarterback, the coaching staff decided that redshirt freshman Milas will be the quarterback this week. So far this season, the offense has struggled. Although Milas hasn’t taken a snap during a game, Lembo said he’s shown the playmaking ability in practice to warrant becoming the starting quarterback.
“What about Jack’s game made you think he could provide that kind of spark?”
Lembo: “Going back to [Jack Milas’] freshman year on the scout team and in some of the scrimmages we had in the fall, you saw flashes of some of the playmaking ability, and doing some things on the fly that make you say, ‘Wow, there’s some great potential there.’”
David: This spring, Milas was given an equal opportunity to compete with three other quarterbacks. At times, Milas showed ability to move the ball downfield, and sometimes he looked like a quarterback without much experience. Ultimately, the staff chose Mann because of his consistency, but now with the offense struggling, the coaches are hopeful that Milas will be able to give the team a spark.
On defense, Ball State will have a great play and then one that’s not so great. Does that have to do with injuries and what needs to happen to find that consistency?
Lembo: “It never helps when you don’t have certain guys in the lineup … we challenge those guys to go in there … half of the time those [backups] feel like they should be the starter, so go in and play like it.”
David: Ball State has suffered a rash of injuries on defense this season and the effects have been clear, as the team has struggled to slow down Army, Toledo and Indiana State. Lembo doesn’t make excuses for injuries, as he expects the backups to come in and provide the same level of skill as the starting players.