SDSU Football Press Conference Quotes - Sept. 24

Sept. 24, 2013


Head Coach Rocky Long

Opening statement:
"We've got another game this week; two teams that are desperate for a victory. So I assume both teams will play extremely hard and try to get the monkey off their back so to speak. New Mexico State has moved the ball against everybody both running it and throwing it. They use two quarterbacks. One is a little bit better thrower, one is a little bit better runner. But they do both things. They run the pistol offense. The spread it out and throw the ball around some. On defense, they're basically a 4-3 team even though they do some 3-4 things and some usual things in long-yardage situations. So I think it's a game both teams are desperately trying to win."

On if it's hard to tell how good New Mexico State is at this point:
"It makes it hard to gauge exactly how good they are, but they have been very competitive, especially early in the game. They've been in the game. I think they have a very good offensive line, which allows everything to work well."

On if playing against two quarterbacks makes it easier to game-plan defensively:
"No, it doesn't make it any easier because (each quarterback) does both. One just has a better feel for the pistol (offense), and the other run runs the pistol too, but he has a little better completion ratio and they do a little more spread offense stuff when he's in the game. But they each run both offenses."

On what makes New Mexico State safety Davis Cazares so good:
"He's big, strong, fast and very aggressive. He's an NFL football player."

On how important it is to get a win this week:
"I think a win is very important for both teams. The game of football is based on momentum during the game and during the season. If you get on a winning streak, the momentum allows you to overcome some bad things that happen. If you get on a losing streak, it seems things happen against you that you don't expect."

On what he thinks New Mexico State's defense struggles with the most:
"I think it's a variety of things. They have played against different offenses from week to week, which makes it hard on you. It's hard to lock into a defensive plan and execute it well when you see completely different offenses from week to week. I think it's an issue all defensive teams have unless they have superior front-seven talent."

On if he could see quarterback Adam Dingwell returning as the starter:
"(Dingwell) is still sore, but (junior Quinn Kaehler) will be the starter. I think (Kaehler) played well enough to earn that spot. Dingwell will get some reps this week, but not a lot. We're trying to get his back well. Chad Jefferies will get some of the backup reps as we go, but Quinn Kaehler is the starter."

On what he liked about quarterback Quinn Kaehler's performance last week:
"I liked pretty much everything he did until the last two and a half minutes (of the game)."

On if linebacker Derek Largent is healthy enough to practice:
"He's going to try to practice some today. He wanted to, so we'll see how he moves around."

On how they'll rotate the running backs this week:
"Right now, (Donnel) Pumphrey will be the backup to (Adam) Muema and Dwayne Garrett will get some reps in practice, and I'm sure he'll get some reps in the game too. I think well split the reps Muema doesn't take with those two guys."

On how running back Donnel Pumphrey has held up this season as a freshman and being small in size:
"I think he's exceeded our expectations. We knew he's quick and fast, but if you watch, there are times where we run him in between the tackles. Now, he doesn't break many tackles up in there, but he hits the hole hard and gets whatever positive yards that are there. I think he's good in the open field, he can make people miss and he's one of the faster guys on our team."

On what the team's morale is at the moment:
"Well, I haven't seen them yet today and we don't practice on Monday. On Sunday, they were OK. Obviously, they were disappointed, but the energy was pretty good at practice. Hopefully their confidence is a little higher and they're excited about playing again."

On if he's going to say anything special to the team this week to keep their spirits up:
"No probably not. When you're a coach, you try all types of things to make sure they're going into the next game excited. But in my experience, it's kind of an individual thing. They have to do it on their own. Every player is responsible for getting themselves ready to play. They're competitors they should want to play."

On if cornerback J.J. Whittaker has lived up to expectations:
"I think he's going to be a lot better than he is right now, but I think the cornerbacks have made good progress over the first three games. All of them have. I think they're a lot better now than they were in the first game."

On if there's any one specific area of the team that's made the most progress:
"I don't know. The cornerbacks have been put in a lot of one-on-one situations, and have continually gotten better as the weeks have gone on. They did a much better job against Oregon State, which has outstanding wide receivers. They've made good improvement."

On if his defenses have used more zone coverage due to philosophy or due to personnel:
"It's both. When you start playing spread-option or zone-read teams that run some form of option, you can't cover all three of the aspects of the play in man-to-man coverage. So as more and more teams become option type teams, you have to play more zone in order to take away all three aspects of the play. A lot of times if you play man-to-man, you don't have anyone responsible for the quarterback. If you tell me they can run any option plays, we'll run 90 percent man-to-man."

Sophomore offensive lineman Jordan Smith

On if he thinks the offensive line played as bad as people think:
"To be honest, I don't really think we played bad at all. I think it was probably our best game of the season. You're going to give up sacks because it's just the nature of the game. I definitely didn't think we played up to our full potential, but I think we can definitely get better. But by any means, I don't think that we had a terrible game."

On if it has been tough to build cohesiveness with different offensive line combinations:
"I think anybody who gets put in there is going to be ready because coach has had us prepare so well, but I don't think it should affect how well we play together because we've been playing together for a whole year now with spring practice and fall camp. We've had plenty of time to play with whoever gets put in there."

On what they are learning about themselves and as a team being that they are 0-3:
"I think you just have to come back every week after you lose with a new attitude like, `I'm going to get better this week. I'm going to come back more prepared, ready to go.' Every opponent is different and when you come into a game; you don't want to be dwelling on the previous game. You want to be focused on the next opponent that's ahead of you. I think we'll be ready this week."

Junior quarterback Quinn Kaehler

On if he has been in a situation like the game against Oregon State where he threw two late interceptions and how he keeps his confidence up after that:
"Yeah, I've played a game my freshman year of junior college (that had) same type of thing. All you can do is get better and just work harder than you normally would because you don't want to feel like that again. You don't want to let your teammates down."

On what he is looking forward to with this week's game against New Mexico State:
"Every game is important. I'm excited to get back out there and play a new game and start studying New Mexico State and try to figure out ways to beat them."

On what some of the positives are that he can take away from his first start:
"Playing quarterback is a lot about experience and getting real game action, so I feel like it was good to play an entire game and get more comfortable and hopefully get better moving forward."

On what are the differences between playing at the Division I level and playing junior college:
"Obviously, the talent level is a lot greater and the speed is faster. That's mostly the main difference. But it's still football. There are eleven guys and you're just trying to move the ball and score points. It is different, but at the same time, it's still the same game."

On what it is about San Diego State that has always made him want to come here:
"I watched a lot of games in high school and it was really when the program started to turn around and I saw how hard the guys played. I got a good feeling from watching those games that this was a good place and that the program was going to turn around and be able to do some good things."

On what the team needs to do to make sure they convert on 3rd down:
"I don't think I did a very good job throwing when I was getting pressured. I'm going to work on it this week and try to stand in there and step into my throws and make some of those throws that I need to make. The other part of it is try to get the offense out of third-and-long because of penalties, sacks and stuff that make it tough on third down."

On what he sees when he looks at New Mexico State's defense:
"I think they're a good defense. I've started watching the film and they do some really good things and get pressure on the quarterback. I think it was just the beginning of the season that they may have had an assignment error or two but I think that they're getting better. We had assignment errors the first few weeks, too, and we feel like we're getting better so I'm sure they feel the same way."

Senior defensive lineman Jordan Thomas

On if he thinks the defense came together in the game against Oregon State:
"Yes, definitely. As a defense I feel like we played a lot better. We went into the week having two weeks plus that bye week. We really prepared well. I remember going home on Thursday feeling extremely well-prepared, all the way up until the game. As you can see it worked extremely well but it doesn't really matter when you don't play four complete quarters of football."

On what he has to do specifically to play against a team like New Mexico State:
"It's mostly just the same thing every week. We have to get a good pass rush on a team that throws the ball a lot. They run a lot of the zone-read. This one is very important as a defensive end. I have to watch the quarterback and watch the running back."

On if it is trickier because New Mexico State has two quarterbacks:
"It actually makes things a little bit simpler because one of the quarterbacks is more of a runner and the other is more of a thrower, so you can kind of get an idea of the tendencies when each quarterback is in the game."

On how crucial it is to win this week considering they are 0-3 on the season:
"It's crucial to get a win every week. The 0-3 record makes it a little bit more important, but we go into every week as if we were 0-0 looking for another win."

On what they are learning about themselves and as a team being that they are 0-3:
"I would say as a team we're responding really well to it. The coaches probably weren't sure as far as how we'd respond, but I feel like as a team we're battling back and really wanting to win and coming together as a team."

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