Football Press Conference Quotes

Head coach Rocky Long.
Feb. 24, 2017

SDSU Football Press Conference Quotes | Video

SDSU Football Head Coach Rocky Long

Opening Statement:
“Obviously we start spring practice on Monday and we’re excited about it. Overall, we have some experience coming back at some positions and we’re young in some other positions, so we’re going to have to get a lot out of spring practice with the young guys to make sure we’re ready to go next fall. We’re going to have 95 guys out there, but there’s about six or seven that won’t be full speed or won’t go at all. Probably the biggest situation is that our quarterback Christian Chapman will be out there, but he won’t be able to take a snap or throw a pass because he had his thumb operated on at the end of the season. He’s not ready to go yet. So we’ve moved a punter that was a high school quarterback, Neil Boudreau. We’ll have only two quarterbacks out there; Ryan Agnew and Boudreau will be the two quarterbacks for spring practice. We’re going to have to use some of our GAs and some of our younger coaches for quarterbacks. So some of them are going to have to throw as scout team quarterbacks and all that kind of stuff. It’ll be a little different, a little strange, but we’ll get the work done.”

On if the biggest challenge this spring is the development of the offensive line:
“The youngest position on our team is the offensive line. We’ll have four new starters next year. Going into spring practice, we predict that two or three of them are going to be redshirt freshmen, which makes you nervous a little bit because of the (non-conference) schedule that we play. We’ve got some pretty good teams (on our non-conference schedule). I think they’re going to be really good someday. Hopefully they’ll be good soon. They’re talented kids. They’re big, strong; they just haven’t played.

On whether or not spring practice is his favorite time of year:
“It’s my favorite time of the year because I don’t coordinate the defense. I try to stay impartial (and) unbiased about the way things go. Everybody gets a chance to play, so it’s fun for the players, too. Everybody gets a chance to play, and you actually get to teach them something and work on them getting better without worrying about winning. We get so tied up in winning sometimes you don’t even coach them anymore. You’re so worried about the outcome, you don’t really coach them and in spring practice you get to really coach them.”

On giving advice to the players invited to the NFL Combine:
“It’s an interesting deal in this that world we live in now. When they leave us and they’re potential NFL players, they end up with agents and they end up with workout gurus. And they don’t hang around here. They’re in L.A., they’re all over. They’re in Florida, Georgia. They’re at workout places and stuff, so they don’t ask our advice. It’s interesting. We give them advice for four years and all of sudden they get an agent and those guys have been with them for two weeks and they take all the advice from their agents.”

On coaching teams with inconsistency and the frustration of dealing with that:
“First of all, it doesn’t matter what kind of team you have. You don’t know how they’re going to play. You really don’t. With this age group of young men that we work with, one day they can play like they belong in the NFL and the next day they can play like we couldn’t beat a high school team. As good of a season as we had last year, we had two games like that. We had a good football team last year and we had two games last year where they played like they were high school guys. One of them we lost and we shouldn’t have lost and one we got blown right out of the stadium. And we were the better team, athletically we were the better team. Now I can say that they out-coached us. Well they don’t out-coach Coach (Steve) Fisher. I promise you they don’t out-coach him. And I can’t say that those two games we lost that were like that, they out-coached us. I don’t believe that. At the time, their kids want to play more than our kids did. And so they’re guys played better than our guys did. I don’t think you ever know. I coached a little bit in the Canadian Football League, when you get a little bit older guy, when you have 28-year-olds out there and 32-year-olds out there, you get a more consistent product. When you have 18-year-olds out there and your oldest guy is 21, the consistency is not there. Some teams get on a roll and you get a little momentum going where you continue to play well week after week after week. But you never know which group of kids is showing up. I promise you. We can say it’s coaching, but I’ll promise you Coach Fisher doesn’t get out-coached.”

On what the toughest thing is to learn for an offensive lineman at the college level:
“It’s technique because the speed of the action is much faster than it’s been in their past. We had a really good offensive line the last two years and every kid we’re going to put out there this spring to try and develop into a starting offensive lineman is better physically than those guys we had last year, except for maybe one. Nico Siragusa is probably an NFL guy, the rest of those guys we had play last year are probably not. We’re going to put four or five freshmen out there that are potential NFL guys, but they have not played at this level. All it means is that they’re big enough, strong enough and athletic enough to be good. Their technique is horrible and they’ve never seen the speed that they’re going to play against. And we’ve got pretty good defensive linemen, so they’ll get a really good dose of what the speed looks like, but it’s nothing like game day.”

On how long it takes for an offensive lineman to get comfortable:
“My experience is the offensive lineman and defensive linemen don’t really get into the swing of things until halfway through the season. That’s my experience. They’ll struggle, they’ll look good at times, they’’ll look really bad at times. They’ll struggle like crazy then about halfway through the season, they get it together and then all of a sudden they’re good for three years or two years, however much they have left. They’re good for the rest of the time.”

On what’s on the agenda for this spring:
“Every spring changes. This year it’s to develop the line of scrimmage. But we’re going about it a different way because I think technique and assignments are a lot more important than they have been in the past at the line of scrimmage. So there’s a lot more scout team work that we’re going to do than we normally do in the spring. But we’re going to self-scout, which means the offensive guys are going to scout for the offense and the defensive guys are going to scout for the defense, so they can see things that they’re going to see next season. When you have an experienced team, you just go out there and play against each other and have a good time. It’s like playing in the schoolyard. Well that’s not what this is going to be like. But you still have to have two or three scrimmages where they beat up on each other because at the line of scrimmage if they’re not tough, it doesn’t matter how pretty they look in that uniform. But we won’t scrimmage nearly as much this spring as we have in the past because I think they have to be taught and coached, and they have to learn. But we’re going to scrimmage enough to hopefully make them tough. Yeah, it’s going to be a lot different than it’s been in the last two years.”

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