Oct. 29, 2013
SDSU FOOTBALL PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
SAN DIEGO -
Head coach Rocky Long
"We have an important game this week, as all of them become more important as the season goes along. New Mexico is one of the top rushing teams in the country, I think they're ranked third. They have two guys on their team that are in the top three in our league in rushing. They run a pistol option offense and have had great success running the ball. They have the best kickoff return man in the league, the best punter in the league and the best punt team in the league. And if you want to go by comparative scores, they beat New Mexico State by 49 (points) and we beat them by 10."
On punter Joel Alesi's performance this season:
"Joel has had a good season so far. He's really helped us with field position and all that. He's much better than he was last season. I think he's put a lot of extra work in and has more confidence because he's done it a lot more."
On if having a good punter gives the defense more confidence:
"I don't know if the defense even thinks about it, but I know it helps the defense whether they realize it or not. Field position is a huge factor in whether or not you play good defense. It's much harder for them to score the further away from the goal line they are."
On what kind of game he expects on Saturday:
"When you watch film, just because teams run the ball, doesn't mean it's a grind-it-out style game. New Mexico scored 28 points in the first half against UNLV and had over 300 yards rushing in the first half, so that's not grind-it-out. Every running play was a big play. (UNM) ended up with over 500 yards rushing in that game. But they're going to run it a lot and use play-action passes to try to get a big play in the passing game. I would much rather they grind it out and get three or four yards a carry instead of 30, 40 or 50 yards per carry."
On the team's morale following Saturday's close loss:
"I don't know yet. (The players) were real quiet on Sunday and we didn't practice (on Monday), so hopefully they'll be over it by today. They better be."
On his confidence in the team for the rest of this season:
"I think if we prepare the same way we did last week and go into the game with the same attitude, we'll be just fine. If we don't prepare the same way and don't have the same attitude, we'll be in trouble."
On how he see's the defense matching up with New Mexico's option offense:
"I think it's difficult. Just like a with a great passing attack, (UNM) is so good at running the ball that you have to adjust your scheme to try to prevent them from having that kind of success running the ball. Unless you're a dominant, physically gifted football team, you have to adjust your base defense to take away what they do best. That means you have to get more people at the line of scrimmage, which works, but also gives them the chance for a lot of big plays. All they need is a seam, and a three or four yard gain turns into an 80-yard gain because you don't have deep safeties back there to prevent the big play."
On if it's a big difference game-planning for Fresno State one week to New Mexico this week:
"Yes, it's about as big a difference as you can get. One week you have a team that throws (the ball) 80 times and doesn't want to run it, to a team that runs it 80 times and doesn't really want to throw it. It's a big challenge. Obviously, you have to go into it with a different attitude. The attitude of dropping into coverage and rushing the passer, as compared to getting into a three-point stance and trying to not get knocked off the ball and be more physical. When you play against a passing team, the game is not nearly as physical. It's more of a skills game. Now this week will be a physical game."
On if he still has friends at New Mexico:
"Oh yeah, I still have a lot of friends at New Mexico. Several work in the athletic department. It's not any different (than other games). The first year I was the head coach here and we played New Mexico, I think that was a very strange feeling, but that was a long time ago now. It's not any different than getting ready for any other game."
Senior linebacker Nick Tenhaeff
On how the team has rebounded after Saturday's tough loss:
"I think it takes time. Nobody wanted (the game) to end that way. Sunday was a tough day watching the film and seeing how it ended. A bounce here or there would have changed the outcome. But you have to have a short memory in this game, so we're progressing forward and getting ready for (New Mexico)."
On how he feels the team played on Saturday:
"I think we played good enough to win, but just didn't have it at the end and (Fresno State) made one more play than we did."
On how he thinks the team will respond after the loss:
"I think we're focused, we're driven and we're going to move forward. We'll have a chip on our shoulder after that (loss), because we probably just gave up our shot at a conference title, and that's what we wanted. So we're definitely coming with it this week. "
On if it was gratifying to play that way against Fresno State after the way last season's meeting went:
"I think we believe we're a good defense, so we expect to play well and hold teams to low scores. So it was just an expectation. We didn't feel like we played over our heads."
On why he thinks the defense had more success rushing the passer on Saturday:
"We had an extra week to prepare. Coach Long set us up with a great gameplan, and it took (Fresno State) a little while to adjust to it, so that might have helped."
On having to change focus to a running team this week:
"We just went from Air Force to a big passing team. Air Force is obviously a run-heavy team, so it's not something that we haven't done before and we can't prepare for. So we're ready for it. It presents a great opportunity for us. Coach Long will provide us with the edge that we need, and we just have to execute all week to get ready for it."
On if the Fresno State game taught him anything new about the team:
"I think we've expected to play like this all year, we just haven't been able to put it together for four quarters. We've been hit and miss. Hopefully we'll continue putting full games together."
Junior quarterback Quinn Kaehler
On if there's anything he can say to the team to get them ready for Saturday's game:
"I don't think there's anything we really need to say. I think we all kind of have the same goals. We want to win this week and focus on winning every other week so we can make a bowl game. Everyone is pretty upset the day after a game like that, but we were all working out and watching film (on Sunday). We were getting better that day, and we're over (the loss) today. We're going to practice hard."
On what was going through his mind in the final plays of overtime:
"Just the same thing that goes through your mind during every other drive, especially in the fourth quarter. We felt like we had to score on all those possessions. So we knew we had to score, so we were just trying to get first downs and get the ball into the end zone. Unfortunately, it didn't happen."
On if he was surprised the coaches settled for the field goal late in regulation:
"No. We felt like it was the right thing to do and we trusted in our kicker. We ran out the clock so (Fresno State's) offense couldn't get one last shot at the end of the game. It was one play, and we were either going to win the game or go into overtime. So we feel like that is a good situation for us."
On if he talked with kicker Seamus McMorrow after the game:
"You just talk to him like you would any other day. Nothing has changed with our relationship or anything like that."
On what he saw on the controversial fumble return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter:
"I thought (wide receiver Ezell Ruffin) was down. And then I was just in the position when he started running and the referees didn't blow the whistle or wave their hands, and I had to try to make a tackle."
On how big of a momentum shift the fumble return for a touchdown was:
"It was a momentum shift, but I felt like we got it back on the next drive when we scored and got the onside kick. I felt we had all the momentum going into the end of the game."
Sophomore offensive lineman Jordan Smith
On if Saturday was the type of game the team can build off:
"Definitely. I think we played great as a team for four quarters, (Fresno State) just made one more play than we did. It stinks, but we have to come back because we have a game this week against New Mexico and five more games with a chance to make it to a bowl game. So that's what we're looking forward to."
On his reaction to the field goal getting blocked late in the fourth quarter:
"The guy jumped and blocked it. He's 6-9, there's nothing you can really do about it. I knew we had to go to overtime, so I just focused on that, because I knew we still had a game to try to win."
On what he saw on the controversial fumble return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter:
"I was obviously trying to block for (Ruffin) because he was still running, and when he went down, I was standing right there, but I thought he was down. I was just standing there waiting for (Ruffin) to get up, and all of a sudden, the guy starts walking away with the ball. I thought he was going to hand the ball to the referee, but then he starts jogging and then he took off. I wasn't really expecting that at all and I wasn't anywhere close to tackling him. It just wasn't a play I was expecting to be called a fumble. To be honest, I really don't hear the whistle very often when the player goes down. You just see them go down and you expect the play to be over. Sometimes they blow the whistle and sometimes they don't. They didn't blow the whistle so the guys on Fresno State continued to play."