Oct. 1, 2013
FOOTBALL PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
Head Coach Rocky Long
"We have an important game this week. I think Nevada is a good football team that is on a roll. They've played really well the last two weeks, especially on offense. They've scored a lot of points and they're 2-0 in conference play, which is pretty important. So this is an important game for us."
On if Nevada's offense is the same despite having a new coach:
"It's the same (scheme). I think they're offensive coordinator is the same. They're a little bit different on defense. Last year, they were mostly an odd 3-4 front. They're a lot more 4-3 this year and they're playing a little more zone coverage than they did last year."
On how big it is to start conference play on television:
"I hope it's as exciting as (the SDSU-Nevada) game last year. When you play on national TV, you hope it's a good game. You hope it's exciting for everyone in the stands and everyone that's watching on TV. If you're on national TV and it's a very competitive, exciting game - win or lose - it's going to help your program. You can play well and attract fans and recruits. It helps to win, but if it's an exciting game, it would help both teams."
On how much of an emotional lift the team will have from playing on national television:
"I think players get excited about national TV, but not nearly as excited as they did five years ago. Almost every game we play is on TV. Being on Friday night is a bit different. You lose a lot of fans that would watch that game or come to the game because they're watching high school football, as they should be. So what you get is a lot of pro football fans who watch a lot of Friday night (college football) games."
On if he likes playing Friday night games:
"I think TV rules. Whenever they tell you to play, that's when you play. But I'm a traditionalist. I think high school should play on Friday, college should play on Saturday and the pros should play on Sunday. That's obviously not the way it is anymore, but I wish it was."
On running back Chase Price's injury status:
"He's going to try to practice (on Tuesday), but he still has trouble lifting his arm to catch the ball, so I would say he's not playing this week."
On the importance of fullback Chad Young to the running attack:
"Chad is really important to the success we have (running the ball). He's also our best pass protector in the backfield. But his blocking for the running game is critical. He's one of the key blocks in almost every running play we have."
On if there are many walk-ons who have become important cogs to the team like Young has:
"You see it once and a while. You don't see it too often, but I've been coaching a long time so I've seen it happen numerous times. (Young) has earned a scholarship very early in his career here though."
On if he'll use the same defensive strategy from the second half of the NMSU game this week:
"No because the offenses are different. In last week's game (against NMSU), they normally run the pistol (offense), but you didn't see hardly any of it. What you saw was a spread formation and (NMSU) throwing ball around the field. So we had a package for the pistol part of their offense and we'll continue that package into this game. The things we changed at halftime were for the passing game and pressure on the quarterback. It had nothing to do with the kind of things Nevada does."
On if his team needs to play against big schools to get motivated:
"I don't ever judge the emotion of a football team. I thought they were excited on Saturday. Does that mean they play well? No, it doesn't mean they play well. But being excited to play is something that almost happens automatically because they practice all year long and get to play a guaranteed 12 games. College players get excited about playing every week, but it does not mean they play well."
On if there is a drop off defensively without injured Jake Fely:
"I hope Josh (Gavert) plays really well because (Fely) is one of the best defensive players in the conference. He's the best defensive player on our team. So it's a dramatic shock to our defensive system. Now hopefully (Gavert) steps up and plays at the same level (Fely) did, but that would be hard to do."
On what he wants to see out of the offense this week:
"I want to see a continuation of the way we played in the second half (against NMSU). I'd like to be able to run the ball efficiently, which takes away a little pressure from the quarterback and allows the receivers more chance to get open. I'd like to see that from the start of the game all the way until the end of the game."
On if Adam Dingwell will be the backup quarterback this week:
"Dingwell is still having trouble with his back. I thought he looked a little bit better at practice on Sunday, so I asked, and our quarterback coach (Brian Sipe) thinks it's just as painful as it was before."
On if starting quarterback Quinn Kaehler has improved the past two weeks:
"I thought he played in the second half against New Mexico State the same way he played in most of the game against Oregon State. The last two minutes of the Oregon State game and the first half of the NMSU game kind of looked the same, too. So is he improving? I hope the second half is an indication that now he has settled down and is in the groove."
On why he believes Kaehler struggled in early in the game against New Mexico State:
"We can get technical about this. New Mexico State changed their entire defense for our game; the way their front lined up, the way they covered. They had some double coverage on (wide receiver Colin) Lockett the way we had never seen before. They purposely took Lockett away. The way they lined up in the front and the stunts they are nothing like what they've done before, so it took a while to get used to the different coverage. New Mexico State pulled out all the stops to play really well in that game."
On if he likes to change strategy from game to game:
"We do different things from week to week. The trouble is you can't put new stuff in when you have short weeks. (Tuesday) is the only real practice we have this week, the rest are just glorified walk-throughs. Next week, we won't even have one practice. You can't expect kids to play three games in 13 days, and expect them to practice like they normally do."
On how satisfied he is in the improvement the team has made in recent weeks:
"I'm not satisfied at all. I've been coaching a long time, I've been here before. So it's not surprising to me. It's disappointing because going into the season I thought we'd be better than what we are. But it not surprising because every team has a different personality and every team develops at its own pace. What's been particularly unsatisfying is that we're not a consistent team. We look good at times, but we don't look good an entire game. We haven't looked good one time this season for an entire game."
On how crucial it is for the team to string together some wins:
"I think our biggest problem is not being consistent. So being consistent and winning another game would help that and would help our confidence too. I'm not sure we're a very confident football team. Winning always gives you confidence."
On if he'll preach to the team this week that this is the start of a new season:
"They all know this is the first conference game and they all know Nevada is 2-0 in conference play. They all know that."
Senior linebacker Nick Tenhaeff
On if it feels like a new start to the season because they're going into conference play:
"I think we're excited to go into conference. Our goal the whole time is to win conference, all season and all off-season. We're not putting the losses behind us. We know that's a part of the team. We have to continue to improve."
On why the team has had problems playing complete games this year:
"I think we come into every game very determined. We're focused throughout the whole thing. We want to start fast. We want to finish hard. It's a tough thing to do. Every team across the country strives to do it. I think it's just something we have to keep working on every day until we put it together."
On if he expects Nevada to seek revenge in the game Friday:
"I don't think there's any extra incentive because we beat them last year. I think they want to win every game the same as we do."
On what they are expecting from Nevada's offense based on what they've seen on film:
"The quarterback is very good. He's a unique player. He's dynamic and that's the guy we're going to have to stop first and foremost to get our defense going on the right track."
On if the linebackers need to compensate for losing Jake Fely:
"Jake has a natural ability to find the ball. It's innate. I haven't seen it in that many guys. Josh Gavert is more than a capable guy to step up and play. He'd probably play more at some other schools but he's just behind one of the best linebackers in our conference. I don't think there's going to be a huge drop off there. Gavert's ready to play. You guys have seen the last couple of games he's played in. I think he had a sack, forced-fumble, seven tackles ... The kid's making plays already."
On if he would be comfortable moving over to a different position to back up Josh Gavert:
"Yeah, I've been playing a little bit of both since Jake went down. I'm a senior. I've played in this defense for a long time so it's not too big of a mental transition."
On if he thinks the team is playing with confidence:
"Confidence comes with wins and I think that we had a lot of confidence coming into the season. We're a little shocked that we didn't start off with a win and that it didn't begin how we wanted it to, but we have a lot of veteran players so nobody on this team doubts what we're capable of or what we can do."
Junior quarterback Quinn Kaehler
On the importance of getting the running game going in the second half against New Mexico State:
"I thought we did a really good job. I think it's important for our offense to have balance. I'm sure most people can see we're a lot more effective when we get the run-game going and it opens up everything else."
On his relationship with Chad Young and what he's like as a blocker and a new team leader:
"He's a great player and a great leader. He comes to work every day and is always full-go. I think he's one of the most consistent guys we have on offense. He's a really important guy to our team."
On how he thinks the team did overall on Saturday against New Mexico State:
"I think we did a good job adjusting to what they did, but I needed to execute better against the looks that they gave us early on. We didn't convert nearly enough third downs in the first half that we needed to. That's just playing our game. It doesn't really matter too much what they're doing, but we have to execute better."
On if the shortcomings in the games have taken a toll on them:
"I don't think it's taken a toll on us. I think it just kind of motivates us. We have to work harder in practice and we have to execute better during the games to play an entire game and to do the things offensively that we need to do to help out our defense and get the rest of the team playing the way they need to."
On if the extra motivation kicked in after the game against Oregon State or Ohio State:
"We've been motivated the entire season. We want to do well each game. I think things have started to come together but obviously they haven't come together completely because of our lack of playing an entire game and moving the ball offensively."
Junior defensive lineman Cody Galea
On if he expects Nevada to seek revenge in the game on Friday:
"I expect them to come out having the same goals as we do. They want to win a conference championship. We do, too. They're 2-0 (in the Mountain West) and it's our first game (in conference). We both have to win if we want to accomplish our goal."
On if they are worried about having to make a quick mental turnaround playing three games in 13 days:
"It comes so quickly you don't have time to worry about it or be concerned about it. You just have to go out there and prepare yourself the best you can to go out and play."