SDSU Football Press Conference Quotes

Sept. 5, 2017

San Diego State head coach Rocky Long

Pregame Rundown
SDSU Logo     UC Davis
Date Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017 | 8 p.m. PT
Location Tempe, Ariz. | Sun Devil Stadium
TV Pac-12 Network
TV Talent Roxy Bernstein (pxp), Anthony Herron (analysis), Lewis Johnson (sidelines), Michael Molinari (producer)
Radio 101.5 KGB | XTRA 1360 | Fox Sports IE 1350
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On playing ASU this weekend:

“Obviously we’re moving up in notoriety this week because we’re playing a Pac-12 team. It’ll be an opportunity for us to see where we stand as far as where we are with that kind of competition level. I’m sure our players are looking forward to it and the heat’s not supposed to be too bad; it’s supposed to be the coolest day in the last two or three weeks – I don’t know what that is, 98 [degrees] or something – but we played in a hot game last week so we should be fine.”

On preparing the offensive line for sacks against Pac-12 teams:

“Well, I think you’re going to get a different scheme on defense than we played last week so you still have the same problem with the offensive line; they’ve got to recognize the defense and where the pressure’s coming from. Now, we got beat 1-on-1, I don’t know if that’s fixed or not. I assume we’ll get beat 1-on-1 sometimes throughout the rest of the season, too.”

On what the biggest adjustment needs to be made from UC Davis to Arizona State:

“I think the speed of the game. I think that we’re playing a much more talented, bigger, stronger, faster football team with a lot better athletes so the game’s going to be a lot faster than it was last week so we have to be up to that kind of speed. I think we have the talent level to jump to it but they better not think it’s going to be like last week.”

On quarterback Christian Chapman’s performance against UC Davis:

“I thought Christian (Chapman) threw the ball well. I thought he put it pretty close to on the money every time. Now, the receivers did add to a couple of those completions by making good catches; they weren’t easy ones. Couple of times the receivers changed in the air and all that and caught the ball but I thought Christian threw the ball well.”

On the team’s depth at tight end:

“I don’t know if it’s a secret, it’s one of the strongest positions on our team. I think (sophomore) Kahale Warring surprised a lot of us on how well he played last week but (senior) David Wells didn’t play and he’s probably our best tight end. (Sophomore) Parker Houston played a lot last year, too, so we know we have a good tight end right there, but I think Kahale surprised us on how well he played.”

On what ASU was running offensively versus New Mexico State:
“Well, they’re a spread football team, they’ve got great skill at wide receiver, they’ve got great skill at running back and they have an outstanding quarterback. They put pressure on you wherever you want them to put pressure on you. Totally a count system, if you have enough guys close to the box to stop the run, they’re going to throw it. If you have too many guys in coverage, they’re going to run it. And if they can’t really tell whether you have enough guys in close enough for the running game and all that, now you have what they call RPOs in the coaching world -- Run Pass Options. So the quarterback fakes a run, if the guy closes on the run, they throw it out to the wide receivers, if he doesn’t close on the run, he hands it to the running back. On the grease board, you can’t stop it.”

On the running game against UC Davis:

“I think we’ve got a similar game that we’ve had the last few years. I don’t think they’re the same styles but we’ve got our little, small, quick make-you-miss guy as the second stringer this year instead of the big, strong, fast guy that is the starter this year. I thought Rashaad [Penny] had a great first game. I thought early in the game it looked like he was a little rusty. He said he hadn’t been hit since last December and obviously that was on purpose. But I thought he got into the game later on and the offensive line blocked really well for the run, so it got him going, and I think (freshman) Juwan (Washington) is a good change-up.”

On the secondary leading the FBS in interceptions since 2015:

“I guess they’re in the right place. You know, turnovers are an amazing thing and we’ve been lucky to get a lot of turnovers the last couple years. Sometimes that will dry up on you. The other day, it was a scheme deal where one of the players made a good play by knocking the ball up in the air -- we caught that one -- and the other was a bad throw by the quarterback. So if we can get the quarterback to make some more bad throws, we’ll get more interceptions.”

On when to arrive at the game’s site ahead of road games:

“You don’t have the opportunity (to take the team early) and I think the best part about college football is you don’t miss any class, so we try to leave as late as we can so they don’t ever miss a class on a road game. If we’re playing at night, it doesn’t matter what the heat is or anything and we leave a lot later because we don’t need to be in the other town for very long because all we’re going to do is play a football game. So since we’re playing so late at night, we’ll stay here and feed them here and everything and not get on a bus to head to the airport until about four or five o’clock on Friday afternoon. Everybody knows it’s going to be hot; Doesn’t do you any good to be in it for two days. Same with when you have altitude: people talk about going there early enough to get used to the altitude. That takes about a week; it doesn’t take 48 hours.”

On the play of the defense against UC Davis:

“I thought the defense played well for three quarters until we substituted some guys. I think that we had the best athletes out there as compared to who we were playing so you have to play well. I think the athletes are very comparable this week. In fact, you might give the benefit that Arizona State has more athletes than we do.”

SDSU junior defensive lineman Noble Hall

On if the defense will be able to get any pressure on ASU quarterback Manny Wilkins:

 “I think it’ll be a good week for us when it comes to pass pressure, coach changed the defense up a little bit so we get more looks to get back there. I think it’ll be good for us this weekend.”

On the key to bottling up Wilkins:

 “I watched his film. I see he scrambles a lot so defense contain and not let the middle get wide open. That’ll be good for us.”

On any comparables between Wilkins and the Cal quarterback last season:

“Actually I do. The Cal quarterback had a really good arm; he was able to air it out and I feel like Wilkins has the same thing.”

On what it means to get two shots at Pac-12 opponents over the next two weeks:

“I think it’s a really good opportunity for us. The team that we had last year already beat Cal so if we’re able to crack these two teams then we’ll be up to get that three-peat. It’s a good opportunity for us to show out and try to get on the board again in the top 25.”

On how he has been able to get into the backfield more recently:

“It’s a lot about dropping my weight down moving from tackle to defensive end and improving my speed. Speed is everything playing at the defensive line and with the defense that we play. If you’ve got speed than you’re going to be successful with the things that we do.”

SDSU senior wide receiver Quest Truxton

On what it will take to get the offense going again against stiffer competition this week:

“I think it’s just improvement on all fronts. The offensive line did great, Penny almost cracked 200 yards, I think everybody was thrown to and got their completions; we spread the ball around pretty well. Everybody got one, I think, and if we can improve on that and keep moving the ball around and not be completely predictable on what we’re going to do, I think that’s going to help us open it up this week.”

On the ASU defense being able to stop the offense from moving the ball:

“I don’t think they’ll change up much from what they’re doing. We have to look at New Mexico State and they were airing it out and throwing a lot of bubble screens and stuff like that, so it’s tough to get a look at what they’ll do from us. We usually get the same kind of idea from everyone. They like to pack the box. They know we’re going to run it. We know we’re going to run it but we still find a way to pop those open shots on them when we catch them sleeping.

“When it comes to stuff like this in a room with the cameras, everybody likes to hype up Pac-12 and power five schools, but for us I don’t think we pay attention to that stuff. We don’t really care about hype, good or bad. For us, we just go out there and compete and we’re always trying to prove ourselves. Proving ourselves right is a lot more important than proving other people wrong.”


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