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Football Press Conference Quotes

Senior safety Eric Pinkins spoke to the media about Saturday's game against Fresno State.
Senior safety Eric Pinkins spoke to the media about Saturday's game against Fresno State.

Oct. 22, 2013

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SAN DIEGO -

Head coach Rocky Long

Opening statement:
"It seems like a long time since we've played, it will be good to get back on the field. I think this is going to be an excellent football game (on Saturday). (Fresno State) is an excellent team. They're one of the top three or four offenses in the country. They score a lot of points and throw for a lot of yards. They have great athletes on both sides of the ball, and an outstanding quarterback that I'm sure is being touted for the Heisman Trophy. (The game) will be on national television, so it's a good week to play."

On if he's concerned the bye week will stop the team's momentum:
"I don't have any concern with how it's going to affect us. I think 16 days is a little longer than you would normally have on a bye week, so there might be a concern about a little rust going into the game. But I think if our momentum is stopped in any way, it will be because Fresno State's really, really good."

On if they've prepared any differently with the extra practice time:
"No, our experience with this team is that you better do what you do every week and try to get better at that. Our experience so far this season is when we try to add something the week of the game, we don't execute it very well, which increases our inconsistency."

On Fresno State's defense:
"I don't see anything different from them than you see from every defense in college football. The only time you see teams play really good defense in college football now are when they are athletically superior to the opponent. Anytime you see two teams of equal ability, the offenses are scoring points on everybody. Because of the offenses and the new rules, if the athletic ability on the both sides of the ball is equal, all offenses are scoring points. That's just the way college football is going with the spread offense, new rules and all those sort of things."

On Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr:
"He was an NFL-type player last year. He's even more prepared for the NFL now. I was hoping he would come out (into the NFL draft) early. He reads defenses really well, he's very calm in the pocket and he's very accurate with the ball. What else can he be? He has a strong arm, throws the deep-ball well and he has three outstanding wide receivers that go get it."

On if there will be more pressure on the cornerbacks on Saturday:
"If you take out the first game (against Eastern Illinois), the really good offenses we've played since that time, I think we've played them as good as anyone else has. You have to give credit to the offenses because of what they're doing and because quarterbacks and receivers are more skilled than they have been in the past. The rules have made it easier for them to be more skilled too. So if you add all that together, the offenses have huge advantages. I'm expecting a shootout. That's what happens when you have teams of fairly equal ability."

On if he believes this is a game people want to come out and watch:
"I don't predict what the crowd is going to be. I think it's a really good football game. You've got the No. 15-ranked team in the country with one of the most high-powered offenses coming in. I think it's going to be a very competitive game because it's two teams that are undefeated in conference play. I think it's going to be great game to watch, so you would hope football fans would come watch it. Our program is based on treating every game the same way."

On if the team is hungry to get revenge against Fresno State after last season's loss:
"I don't think last year has anything to do with it. I think Fresno State is ready to play because they want to win a conference championship and they want to go undefeated. I think our team will be ready to play because we want to win a conference championship also. I think both teams will play extremely hard. Now which team is going to play the best is the question."

On how the offensive skill players have developed as the year has gone on:
"I think our running backs are playing much better now than early in the season, and I think our receivers are playing better than early in the season. I think (junior quarterback) Quinn Kaehler has given us some stability at that position where he doesn't make mistakes, and makes a play now and then that allows us to score points. I think our offensive line is a little bit better, but I still don't think our offensive line is as good as it should be."

On the injury status of running back Chase Price:
"Chase Price has been cleared to play, but I wouldn't expect him to play much."

On how the kickers have performed in practice lately:
"They've been hot and cold. They'll compete all the way up until Thursday, and we'll make a decision on Saturday who is going to play. We try to put them in pressure situations in practice."

On how important it will be to establish a running game on Saturday:
"The best defense ever is the other team's offense sitting on the bench. I think both of our running backs are running pretty well right now."

Senior safety Eric Pinkins

On the energy in practice the last week:
"The energy is definitely there because we see Fresno State as a rival. They beat us last year and we want the Oil Can (trophy) back. We needed this bye week to heal all the nicks and bruises. We're going into practice today with a lot of energy." On if he can tell the difference between practice last week and practice this week:
"Yes. We're supposed to practice 100 percent all the time but younger guys, like freshmen, sophomores and underclassmen, they don't see the big overall big picture so they just take plays off and are not fundamentally sound but since the game is just around the corner everyone is going to be fundamentally sound on their assignments. Get ready to go."

On how Coach Long said last week's practice was like going back to training camp and if they work on individual improvements:
"Yes. It's basically just going back to the basics. Me being a defensive back I work on leverage and technique and just being fundamentally sound on that."

On how the defensive linemen's performances affect him:
"Our 3-3-5 defense is mainly disguised to put pressure on the quarterback and put the defensive backs in the best position to make the play. If you put pressure on the quarterback then obviously he's going to throw a bad pass, and that'll put us in the position to either get an interception or a pass break up. Pressure is definitely important. It's the key to our defense."

On what he thinks the issue is when the defense struggles to stop the opponent in the red zone:
"It goes solely back to technique. That's why we had this bye week to get our technique back and be fundamentally sound on our assignments."

On the problems of playing four complete quarters of football:
"We do need to work on finishing more, but you guys should be able to see that this weekend."

Junior quarterback Quinn Kaehler

On if he's prepared for this game being similar to a shootout:
"We played a pretty high-scoring game against Nevada. I don't know what type of game it will be. I feel like our defense is preparing well, but they obviously have a really good offense and a really good defense, too. We just have to be prepared and play four quarters the best we can, and I think it will be close in the end."

On where he has seen growth and improvement in the offensive line:
"I think they feel good with each other and they trust each other, and know that they can pass off blocks and the guy next to him will have his back. They've done a really good job watching film and studying. With certain blitzes, they know if a guy is going to twist. They've done a really good job preparing and executing in the game."

On how important it is for him as a quarterback to have Jordan Smith always playing center:
"It helps a lot. You never have to worry about the quarterback-center exchange when you have a guy consistently there. Also, he's really good with his calls. It's nice having him go up there and you know he's going to make his call right all the time."

On how his rapport has developed with the wide receivers:
"I think it's gotten a lot better since the first week up until now, and hopefully we can continue to get better."

On what he's seen in wide receiver Ezell Ruffin's development this year:
"I think he's a great player. He runs really good routes and he always goes up and fights for the ball. You can count on him because he'll always fight for the ball for you."

Junior defensive lineman Cody Galea

On if he thinks the fans affect the team's performance:
"Not so much. We prepare the same way every game depending if it's going to be 100,000 or 15,000 (fans). It's completely off to the side. If we let that worry us, that's dumb. We'll just completely put that on the side. That's not what we need to worry about. We need to worry about us. We don't worry about the crowd."

On if it is disappointing when there is a smaller crowd:
"Preferably we'd like to have more people, but in the end the notch under the win column is all that really matters. If there's 10,000 people there and we win, I'd much rather have that than a sold out crowd and a loss."

On if it's fair to say that this one of the biggest games they will face all year:
"Yes. This is basically what our season is going to come down to. Obviously we're not going to give up if this game doesn't go our way. If we win, it's going to be a huge boost for us. But then it's on to the next game. We want to win the next game and this one just has a little bit more contention than the rest at the moment."

On the challenge of going after Fresno State's quarterback:
"He's really good. He releases the ball fairly quickly. Most of the time, if you get a nice pass rush, the ball is going to be gone. It's going to be a whole defensive effort. We have to get there fast, help the defensive backs out, all that good stuff. It has to be a big mesh of just getting after him."