SDSU Football-North Dakota Postgame Quotes
Sept. 15, 2012
Press conference with:
Q. On being nervous going into the game with North Dakota:
COACH LONG: I'm glad you caught that, because I said at beginning of the week that they have scored 55 points a game and gained over 500 yards on total offense. That's hard to do against a scout team, but nobody wanted to listen. Well, guess what, they are really good on offense. That quarterback is amazing and then they have some receivers that are very difficult to cover. The biggest factor was if we played zone and rushed four, we couldn't even get close to the quarterback. So that means they are pretty good up front, too. If we blitzed some guys, we could get there pretty much and make them throw on time so we missed a few throws but they had a couple receivers that are as good as we'll play against. I said that at the beginning of the week, too, and nobody wanted to listen. But they have some receivers that we have a hard time covering, and we didn't cover them very well a couple of times. It's good that the offense had a good night. Before we go too crazy, I told the defensive players they weren't talking to the press tonight. That's my decision, not theirs, but before we go too crazy, the defense did score. They did score and the defense did stop them on the last drive to preserve the win. So I've been around this a long time, and whenever you're supposed to and in everybody's mind you're supposed to beat somebody bad and you don't, everybody is going to be a critic. Well, guess what, a win is a win. They were good enough to beat us. I told you that at the beginning of the week, too, and you didn't want to listen to that, either.
Q. Are you happy with the performance?
COACH LONG: I'm very happy with the way the offense played. Disappointed with what the defense did. The defense seemed to struggle all night. It started when they threw a five yard pass out there and we missed the tackle and it goes for 14 yards. We have a guy come free on a blitz and the quarterback never sees him and we don't even touch the quarterback. And he completes a pass down the field for about 30 yards. So obviously we weren't making plays. You've got to give them credit. Some of them, some of that is them. You can play zone coverage if you can get heat with four guys and then it's harder to throw and catch. If you can't get there with four guys, eventually he scrambles for a first down or he throws it for a first down. So that forces you into playing man coverage and blitz. If you fall down in man coverage or you get confused in man coverage, it's a huge play. We got caught in that old deal where we can't play zone and we blitzed and got beat in man coverage a couple of times. Maybe the trick play got them started, too, because we were all right until the trick play.
Q. What were you most pleased with on the offensive side?
COACH LONG: I thought they responded to everything that was thrown at them. They would catch up and get it close and the offense would go down and score and make it not close. So they responded every chance they had to.
Q. What was the mind set of the guys on the defense in the locker room after the game?
COACH LONG: I think they are very disappointed they didn't play well. It's interesting that one week you play as good as you can play and the next week you play poorly. You tell me what that is. Now, some of it is the different scheme. We didn't have the problem last year, but when you play against a triple option and then all of a sudden somebody is going to throw 50 some passes at you, that's a huge turnaround in three days. It's not a huge turnaround in three days if you can rush four and get to the quarterback. But if you can rush four and not get to the quarterback, it's a huge problem if the week before you played the triple option.
Q. Was there anything in specific you were trying to do on defense?
COACH LONG: We started out trying to play zone coverage and rush four, because we didn't want to give up big plays. Obviously that wasn't working, so we started blitzing. That didn't work any better, either.
Q. How much of a factor did their offensive line play?
COACH LONG: I thought their offensive line played great because when we were rushing four, we didn't seem to even get close to them and then if we had everybody covered, he scrambled and we didn't tackle him until he got sufficient yards to keep drives alive.
Q. What made Hardin so difficult to stop?
COACH LONG: If you give a receiver that's as good as Hardin time to run routes, he's going to get open. So the only way you stop that is to get to the quarterback and I've just been mentioning that we couldn't get to the quarterback. When we did blitz, all the receiver has to do is make one quick move and if he's a little bit better athlete than you are, he wins.
Q. Is there a certain rhythm you have with Walter?
Adam Muema: I think the goal is just Walter and I switching off and staying fresh. It's hard to adjust to two of them, so we pretty much just pounded the ball the best we can.
Q. Did you enjoy this game as much as you have any of your college games?
Adam Muema: It's just a win to me. I'm excited just to be out there. There's nothing different.
Q. Did you feel like you guys had more pressure with all the points being scored?
Ryan Katz: Yeah, every week we come out trying to score as many points as we can. This week we were clicking. Going to have to pick up the defense a little bit. But it's a team game. They are going to have to do that for us some weeks and we have to pick it up on our end.
Q. What was working for you guys?
Ryan Katz: I think everything. I don't know how many times we punted the ball, but we were running the ball well. That's where it starts. Up front, I think when you get the running game started I think it opens up things down the field. It gets our guys in one on one coverage's and that's what it was tonight and you know, like I said, the run and pass game was working well.
Q. At what point did you look at the scoreboard and ask why North Dakota was still in the game?
Ryan Katz: You can do that, but I mean, in the game, you know it's in the game. You can't really do that in the players' eyes. You guys might be thinking that, but a win's a win for us. We got a win and we are looking forward to next weekend.
Q. Would you feel pretty confident every time going out there with the ball?
Ryan Katz: We have a nice mentality tonight. Like I said it all starts up front with the big guys. They were coming out, run blocking really well, pass blocking really well and everyone just feeds off their emotion. They played well tonight and we are going to need that.
Q. On about Gavin Escobar:
Ryan Katz: He's a big target. He's had a lot of catches for this program. When guys want to play him one on one, he's going to be the guy. They are going to have to double team him. Today he got behind the defense and he just got up on the ball and he made plays. He did a good job.
Q. As a quarterback, you watch the receivers from the sidelines, what did you think was so hard for the defense to stop him?
Ryan Katz: He's a good receiver. They probably had good chemistry. I didn't know too much about him going into the game. I didn't prepare for their offense. But he looked like a good receiver. Quarterback had time, and you know, made the throws.
Q. Was the heat a factor at all? It was 97 at kickoff.
Ryan Katz: It was? You've just got to play. Can't really wear white at home. The heat was fine. We dealt with it. Stayed hydrated so it went well.
Q. What was the mentality in the locker room at half time?
Ryan Katz: We are a separate locker room than the defense, but we just had to keep it going. Offense wise, we have to do this every week. We have to go out there and try to score every possession we get. If that's not your goal as an offense, then I don't know what to tell you. But it's going to happen. The defense was struggling a little bit today, but we had to pick them up. They are going to have to do the same thing for us in the future, so that's why it's a team game.
Q. On his success running the ball:
Walter Kazee: The offensive line just did a great job opening up holes and our wide receivers did a great job blocking outfield so it wasn't really that hard to find an opening.
Q. How did it feel to get your first touchdown in a San Diego State uniform?
Brice Butler: First, I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and my teammates. Without them, none of that would have happened today. It felt good as far as everything's concerned. Just seemed like everything worked out right on that play and Katz threw a good ball, linemen were blocking and the running backs were blocking in the backfield. The only thing I had to do was catch the ball.
Q. Did you feel impatient with yourself at all, not having a catch yet? Were you antsy to contribute?
Brice Butler: As a competitor, you want to help the team as much as you can. And first two games, I didn't catch any balls, but it doesn't matter because we run the ball really well and we have great receivers out there. Ezell Ruffin had a great game last week. If that's how it falls sometimes, that's how it falls. As a receiver, it's kind of tough because you never know how the game is going to go. The first two games, it didn't go my way. It worked out well last week and we won 45 7. It's fine. This week it worked out to where I caught a couple of balls.
Q. Is the play you scored on indicative of what you can do on offense?
Brice Butler: Yeah, I like to go deep and I've been doing it for a long time. As long as they want to throw it, I'll be happy to do it.
Q. Were you guys expecting it to be the track meet it turned into?
Walter Kazee: We knew they were going to come out and play, because obviously they came and played. We didn't expect it. We knew it was going to be a game, but we didn't know it was going to come down to the end. They played a really good game and we just had to finish and we finished.
Q. Did you guys ever really feel comfortable with the score at any point?
Walter Kazee: We're pretty comfortable whenever our offense can move the ball passing and running. So we just have to help our defense a little bit. But offensively, we're fine.
Q. Did you guys ever feel like you were in control of the game?
Brice Butler: I felt like we were fine. We jumped on them pretty good early, and as Walter said, we were scoring every time pretty much. If it's going to be a track meet, the thing that the offense has to do is help the defense out by scoring points. If it works out that way, we'll take the reigns and we'll do it. Whatever it takes for the team to win, we're ready to do it. I'm proud of everybody today and nobody really put their head down, and we just kept on pushing through. That's what Aztec football is all about.
Q. Do you like playing in kind of shootouts like this?
Brice Butler: It doesn't matter. I would like to win games like we did last week, but wherever it falls, a win is a win. The only time it really matters is if you lose. We got the W tonight, so however we are going to get it, we'll get it.FastScripts by ASAP Sports ...
Senior quarterback Marcus Hendrickson
On Leon McFadden's interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter:
I thought (McFadden) was going to be in straight-up man (coverage). But it was cover two. I saw it, I threw it, and he made a great play. He's a good player.
Junior wide receiver Greg Hardin
On facing Leon McFadden:
I wasn't matched up with him all the time, but he's a very good player for obvious reasons. He's got a whole bunch of accolades and he's a really good player.
Senior defensive lineman Devin Benjamin
On stopping SDSU's rushing attack:
Their backs for sure were definitely shifty. But in terms of us form tackling and not stopping our feet at the point of contact, just the little things when tackling, we have to get better at those things defensively as a whole.
On facing SDSU as a whole:
They're definitely the best team we've played this year. Give props to them for winning the game. They had a really good game plan. I definitely think we could have won the game. I think our defense could have bailed us out a couple more times. We'll just go back to square-one and try to get better.