On the win over Stanford this past weekend: "We enjoy it from the end of the game until the next morning around ten o'clock, when we start working on the next opponent. Our players get to enjoy it until Monday's meeting, so they get to enjoy it for a couple days, and then hopefully they don't enjoy it anymore and their minds are set on the next opponent."
Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 | 5 p.m. MT
Colorado Springs, Colo. | Falcon Stadium
CBS Sports Network
Ben Holden (pxp), Aaron Taylor (analyst), Jenny Dell (reporter)
On the team's mindset after gaining national recognition through back-to-back wins: "I don't think we're in that [hangover mindset]. I was wrong at this point last year. We had a very veteran football team and I didn't think they would fall into that and they did. I don't think this year's team will. We don't plan on doing it, but that's more them than us. The coaches are all on the right page. We had a staff meeting at 10 a.m. on Sunday morning and we were all on the right page 15 minutes later. If they weren't, they are after I talked to them. Now the team, we can talk to the team all we want just like we teach players and try to get them to do what we want them to do. They are strong-willed young men. They do what they want to do most of the time."
On how big the win over Stanford was for the program: "I thought it was an awful big victory and it was great for the program when I saw everybody rush the field. I thought that was really cool. Since that time, I haven't asked for feedback and I don't look for feedback. I'm worried about Air Force. I don't have a feel for or an opinion on how big a victory that was for our fans or the media or anyone else. I've moved on. I got more important things to do than worry about that game."
On if the postseason is the time to reflect on the accomplishments made: "Yeah, I'll tell you, last year I really enjoyed our bowl game because it was the last game of the year and we played really well. And I enjoyed that for quite a while."
On the biggest challenges that Air Force presents: "It's the first team our offense has played where they will play man coverage and blitz everybody from every direction at different times. They have a good idea of what we do on offense, so there will be a lot of run stunts and run blitzes that will make it difficult for us to control the football. And for our defense, we're playing against the triple option, which is impossible to get ready for in three days. Last time we played them in 2015, they had over 300 yards rushing and we were lucky to win the game 27-24 so they present all kinds of problems. Plus, they are really good guys; They are really tough and they have the right attitude about life. They are serving us so I have great respect for them."
On what coaches around the league think about Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun: "Well, I think every coach in the country is impressed with all the academies because we realize those are special kids. Special kids that are willing to give up some personal freedoms in order to work for their country eventually and protect all of us, so we have great respect for them. I think that at times, they don't have as much time as we do for practice and meetings and all that kind of stuff because of the demands that they have, but I also think they are special kids. They can get a lot done in a short period of time because of the discipline they are forced to have and the discipline they probably had before they got there. Their attitude is unbelievable or they wouldn't be there, they are motivated guys, they are confident guys, they are tough guys - what else do you want as a coach? What Troy's done with this team since he's been there is really impressive."
On the triple option: "I hated it as a defensive coach, but I think that it's the best offense that has ever been designed. I've said that many, many times because you don't have to block everybody. Decisions by the quarterback eliminates defenders without them even being touched, so that allows other people on the offense to block other guys. The quarterback, just by his decision-making, eliminates two or three defenders, so they have huge advantages when they are blocking everybody else."
On if the recent string of success will be enough to convince people that SDSU has arrived as one of the better West Coast teams: "Well, I don't really worry about what other people think. Speaking as a coach, no, it's never enough. It's never enough until you win every game. Great players are such good competitors. That's the way they think. Olympic athletes aren't satisfied until they win the gold medal. We're not satisfied until we win every game and I don't worry about what the people watching think."
On Air Force practicing the triple option at full speed and risking player injury: "No, once they get it down and have it pretty well designed they have what we call a triple option book. Anything you do on defense, all they have to do is flip their book open and they know how to block it and how to attack it. They don't cut block in practice and a lot of times they'll practice and it's all timing. This time of year, they are going against scout teams so nobody is getting hit. It is just they read the right guy, anticipate what we're going to do on defense and get the timing down. Just like when we're practicing against it, we don't run it at the full speed that they are going to run it against us on Saturday. We don't let our scout team cut block or any of that kind of stuff so the first time any of our players get cut at the line of scrimmage is on game day. In this day and age nobody cut blocks except triple option teams, so even growing up in high school, none of these guys have had to deal with any of that kind of stuff. So they are going to have to deal with it on Saturday, probably because we have so many redshirt freshman out there it'll be for the first time in their lives."
On if the attitude of the team is more important than getting to 3-0: "I think if you have success it helps recruiting. It's still going to come down to who fits in our program. Just because he has five stars by his name doesn't mean a darned thing to us. To us it comes down to if he can play and if he can play then we have to find out if he fits into the way we do things. To be honest with you, our players do that. When we recruit them, our players tell them exactly how it's going to be and we get the ones who fit in and we don't get the ones who don't fit in. Now we won't ever win the media polls where I see that ticker tape on ESPN where Ohio State has fourteen top 500 guys and the number one guy is this and the number two guy is this. We won't get any of those guys, but I wouldn't mind playing them."
On Air Force's game against Michigan: "I think they frustrated the heck out of Michigan. Michigan didn't know where they were coming from and the Air Force guys came hard and aggressive. They made it very difficult on Michigan to move the ball. I think they frustrated them."
On quarterback Christian Chapman's performance on Saturday versus Stanford proving he's more than a game manager: "A long time ago to us as coaches, he proved himself. If you look at his record as the starting quarterback, it's pretty darned good. As a coach looking at it, he proved that to us a long time ago. I hope he proved it to everybody else. Not many quarterbacks when they are harassed like that and are under pressure like that and get knocked down that many times come back and lead a game-winning drive and make several throws that are very important right before he gets hit. That's a pretty good indication you've got a big time quarterback if you ask me."
On how he's feeling after taking a few hits against Stanford: "Yesterday I kind of felt the brunt of it, but I'm feeling good now. I've been in the recovery room and the training room getting right so I'm feeling good now and [ready to] start preparation."
On people that label him a game manager: "You can say what you want, at the end of the day it's your opinion. But I think what I've done here is win games and I want people to notice that. I'm just going to keep playing with my boys and if I keep winning championships, I'm going to have a good career here."
On not getting too high after a big win over Stanford: "I think the guys here saw what happened last year and learned their lesson. You just can't get complacent. Beating Stanford doesn't mean it's the end of the season. We need to keep this thing rolling; We need to prepare for Air Force. It's our first conference game and our goal here is to win a conference championship. They are our step to getting there so we can't take them lightly. They are a good program and we're playing them at their home. They win a lot at home, so it's a big task at hand just like [Stanford]. We've got to get after it."
On what happened last year versus this year: "I think last year people got to a place where they realized they were happy to be in the top 25. Even last year, people weren't taking any games lightly, but last year we had more of a bravado about our team and there was more of a realization that we are a really good team and we're the team to beat. This year, we've come in and from the beginning of the season people were asking a whole lot of questions: we have a young team and how are we going to perform? So this year I think it's different because from the beginning we started off as, `let's see what you guys can do.' I think we have a lot to prove this year and being in the top 25 doesn't really end anything."
On students on campus coming up to them following the big win: "I feel like ever since I've been here at least there's always been that kind of recognition of ,`oh, you play football, cool.' Especially after last week people want to say, `you guys just beat Stanford, good job' and even some of my TAs from some of my classes were talking about how they saw the game and they loved it. Especially on social media, you see it a lot. It's really good to feel but everyone in this program and everyone on the team realizes it's the next week and we're going to have to keep it up because just beating Stanford isn't going to make us have a good season. We love that recognition but now it's a point of keeping it rolling because you don't want to have, `oh, you guys did great against Stanford' and `oh, you guys are losing now' so we have to keep it up for the rest of the season."
On feeling pride after the game: "I definitely do because I feel people are taking recognition of what we're doing here and what we're building here and what we have built here. Seeing all the people come up to us and have this great pride in us just shows how much this program means to the city of San Diego and this `One City One Team' aspect of everybody loves to see us doing well and what we're doing for the fans, they give us what we could give them. Every time they bring us up, we try to feed off that energy and make plays to help them so they can continue to support us. The fans really help us a lot, so we always love to see that."