SDSU Football News Conference Quotes

Oct. 31, 2017

Gameday Central | Coach Long | Student-Athletes | Quotes

SDSU head coach Rocky Long

On the upcoming week:
“We’ve got another road game that we look forward to having the opportunity to try to win another game after we won a game in Hawaii and after a couple weeks of losing. It’s a lot more fun to win obviously and our players are excited about the game coming up. I think it’s difficult after Hawaii, the game after Hawaii is much more difficult than playing in Hawaii so hopefully that won’t be a problem with two road games in a row and the first one being to Hawaii.”

On the health of the offensive line:
“They were healthier for the Hawaii game than they had been the two or three games before that, we didn’t get anybody beat up or hurt in the game so if nothing happens in practice the next two days, we actually don’t go live but we go pretty close, so if nothing happens in practice the next two days, they will be as healthy as they have been since the fourth or fifth week of the season.”

On what has caused the success on the road:
“I have no idea. We try to do it the same way every time but we try to do home games the same way every time too. We try to get there as late as we can. You have to be there 24 hours before the game by league rules so we get there as late as we can and we eat. Since we play so many night games, the next morning we go do a walkthrough at the stadium and then we eat a pregame meal, go play the game and come home. So we’re not there much longer than 24 hours. We even did that when we went to Hawaii. We didn’t get to Hawaii until 6 o’clock Hawaiian time and we played the next night at 5:15 their time so we were playing within 24 hours of when we got there.”

On how much of a confidence builder the offensive line and senior running back Rashaad Penny’s performances were:
“I think it helped us a lot. I think that we played the Fresno State game with a very shaky confidence level and when things didn’t go right early, I think we showed some immaturity on our football team. We’re still a pretty darn young football team and going into a game with confidence gives you a lot better chance of winning than the other way.”

On if next week’s bye is too late in the season:
“No, I think it’s perfect timing to be right in the middle of the season but I think it’s going to help us. I think we have some guys that are hurt and beat up and if they don’t get beat up this week in the game then after the bye week they will be almost 100 percent [healthy], which is a nice way to go into the last couple of games and a nice way to go into a bowl game.”

On Colorado State and Fresno State both getting beaten last week:
“I wasn’t surprised because Friday night I watched Louisville lose to Wake Forest and I watched Florida State lose to Boston College. I think that’s the way college football is now. Because you have more talent does not necessarily mean you are going to win the game. If your team is not on a razor’s edge and the less talented team is on a razor’s edge, the less talented team is going to win. It’s happened over and over and over again; Every weekend it happens. I think in college football, teams are a lot less consistent now than they were 10 years ago and I don’t know why that is. If I had the answer we wouldn’t be inconsistent. There are some other really good coaches in this country who are having the exact same issue. I think a lot of it has to do with social media, I really do. They are more exposed to a lot of things, they think they have a lot more opinions than they used to have. I guess they do have an opinion, if someone reads their opinion, that they didn’t used to have.”

On how far junior defensive lineman Chibu Onyeukwu has come after redshirting last year:
“Well, I think he is making progress and he had a really good game in Hawaii which was nice for us to see because that gives us some depth while we’re a little beat up on the defensive line now, some depth that we weren’t sure we had. I mean, he got to play a lot because we needed him to play a lot and then he played well. I’m sure he is going to play with a lot more confidence now than he has before and that is good for our team. Since he is an underclassman, he will be back next year, too. He’s starting this week because of his performance in the last game.”

On sophomore linebacker Kyahva Tezino getting his first start against Hawai’i:
“We weren’t real happy with the production at linebacker so we opened it up for competition during practice. He had the best week in practice so he got the start. We didn’t know how long he was going to play but he played so well he played the whole game, so now he is the starter. Our practices are such that you can lose your starting position during practice the way we practice. It’s a competition every week during practice. Except for a couple guys, there are a couple guys that wouldn’t lose their spot if they had a bad week of practice, but most of them are competing for playing time.”

On if the team is competing for playing time because of how deep the team is:
“No, I think we do that because that’s the way we run our program. We’re not into being nice to people, we’re into being good. We’re trying to win games so competition is good for everybody and obviously like I said there are some positions where we know he is the superior player no matter what he does. In fact, some of those guys don’t practice very much because we want them healthy for the games. Like the Rashaad Pennys of the world, we know he’s the best we’ve got so he doesn’t practice very much.”

On Rashaad Penny being a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award:
“Any kind of national notoriety that you get really helps the program. It helps the national presence, it helps in recruiting and I think some of those awards we got last year really helped the program for the future. I think we’ve got very talented young players in our program. They are not playing at a high enough level yet and some of them are playing a lot but we are improving our talent level and as long as we keep the same mentality, we will continue to become a good football team every year.”

On the biggest challenge the team faces against San José State:
“The biggest challenge is that our team prepares like they did last week. Last week was the best practices we’ve had all season long. We were energetic and very into practice and consequently in the game, we made very few assignment errors. We made some discipline errors, but we made very few assignment errors probably the fewest errors in any game all year long. If you don’t make assignment errors, you have a better chance to win.”

On San José State’s struggles this season:
“I think it’s a new coach with a new program so they’re running different things on offense and defense that they didn’t the year before, and they have quite a few young players playing so they’re very inconsistent. I can take clips or a quarter off film and you’d think they’re the best team in our league. I can take another quarter and you’d wonder what was the other team like because this one’s not like that. They’re very inconsistent and I think it’s because they’re a program with a new coaching staff and they’re playing with a lot of young players. They’ve played well enough in spurts to beat anyone in our league. That’s a concern, if they’re going to put one of those games together against you and things don’t go right, everybody wonders why.”

On what Brent Brennan is going through as SJSU’s new head coach:
“I think he’s going through what every new coach goes through when they take over a program. He’s trying to establish his philosophy, he’s trying to establish his offense, his defense. He is recruiting to the way he wants to play football. So the players that are there now, other than the freshmen that they recruited, he’s transforming them from one system to another system. He’s trying to get them to buy into the way he does things. There’s not a perfect way to do anything, there’s a lot of good ways to doing everything, and the quicker they buy in the better off you are. But basically what you do in a first-year job like that is you don’t worry about the outcome. You make them better and you worry about proving it every game. You don’t worry about the records, you don’t worry about who you’re playing, all you worry about is making your team better. His plan is probably that three to four years from now, he’s going to win the conference championship. So you have a long-term plan and a short-term plan. And as a player in that kind of system, every game is just as important as the last one. It doesn’t matter what happened last week, all that matters is what happens this week.”

On if confidence has improved since the win against Hawaii:
“I think the win obviously gives us confidence. I thought that was the best week of practice we had all season long last week. And it turned out to work, so I expect them to practice that way this week too. But I think we’re a lot more confident team than we were going into the Fresno game.”

On how the team studies SJSU’s offense since they’ve used four quarterbacks in the last nine games:
“We’re only basing our plan off of two quarterbacks that have played. Those are the two that have played lately and we know which quarterback they want to be the starter. He got hurt, but he’s healthy again and he’s started the last two games. And then the guy that took over for him and played most of the time that he was hurt, he’s done a pretty good job so we’re basing our plan off those two quarterbacks. So it’s not quite as difficult as trying to base it off of four.”

On Rashaad Penny’s confidence going into the next game:
“I think Rashaad’s always confident. I hate to say the same thing over and over again, but Rashaad Penny is as good a running back as there is in the country. When he doesn’t get 100 yards, it’s not him. It’s the big boys up front. He gets 253 yards, that’s the big boys up front. Rashaad can do it. We all know he can do it. So if the big boys up front do their job, Rashaad’s going to have a really good night. If the big boys up front don’t do their job, Rashaad is held to 50 and 60 yards. I see it all the time, I see it on TV. The guy we played against in Hawaii, he was the leading rusher in the conference. But our defensive line won the line of scrimmage battle and he had 40 yards in 17 carries. I saw the Ohio State vs. Penn State game, that guy was leading the nation in rushing, right? They held him to 60 yards. Does that mean he got worse or they didn’t block as well? I’m saying they didn’t block as well. We know how good Rashaad is and I don’t think Rashaad lacks for confidence at any time.”

On if the practices after the two losses showed a different focus or intensity:
“No, what I saw was more energy and more want to. Now that could be caused because we’d lost two and they wanted to win really badly. Or that could’ve been the monkey was off their back and they got to play football for the right reasons, for the fun of playing the game, instead of all those other reasons that everyone else was telling them were important.”

SDSU sophomore cornerback Ron Smith

On last week’s victory on the road:
“It was definitely a nice wake-up call for us. We had a really good week of preparation and we were excited to actually get back in the winning term of things, so it was a really big confidence boost and we’re just excited going forward.”

On the travel to and from Hawai’i:
“We’re not affected by it anymore, so that I know, but yeah, it was definitely sleep the whole time. I didn’t wake up I don’t think more than once the whole flight back, so that was my night of sleep. But I don’t have any repercussions from that at all.”

On San José State:
“On their offensive side, they have a lot of athletic guys and a lot of young guys too, but they have a lot of weapons that they can really open things up in the passing game and try to open it up in the running game. So we have to just play technically sound, play our game and have another good week.”

On playing a team with a 1-8 record:
“It’s definitely easy to look that way, but I feel like in our preparation it can’t change whatsoever, we can’t slow down for anyone. We have to keep our foot on the gas and play like we’re playing a team that’s undefeated and that’s as simple as that. We need to prepare the right way and then come out on Saturday and play the right way.”

On playing near his hometown of Oakland, Calif.:
“I need a lot of tickets, so if you’re not using any tickets please send them my way. It’s exciting to go home again. I haven’t been home since maybe July, so it’ll be nice to see a lot of friends and family and I know that some people will be tailgating. A lot of my family, like my mom and my dad and my aunts and uncles were telling me that they’re coming out for the game, so it’s going to be exciting to see them and play in front of them again.”

On Rashaad Penny dragging a player trying to tackle him by grabbing onto his jersey against Hawai’i:
“It’s impressive, to say the least. That’s some strength and explosion and power, so when you see him coming down the hole you have to be ready. So it just says a lot about Rashaad Penny as a running back and as an athlete.”

SDSU junior quarterback Christian Chapman

On the travel to and from Hawai’i:

“I watched Stranger Things and finished it, so I think it was a good flight.”

On the biggest challenges against San José State:
“They’re big up front, they’ve got some big boys up front. They’re really athletic, their record kind of surprised me because of how good and athletic they are up front, so I think they’re really athletic. I know they’ve got some returners, they have a good safety that we played in the past couple years and he’s got a good feel for us. One of the corners I believe was Mountain West Player of the Year last week for defense or all-Mountain West, so you got some guys on defense. You just got to prepare and we can’t look past anybody.”

On the key to success on the road:
“I think the key for the offense definitely going forward is to get our run game going. You see what we did in Hawaii. We got the run game going and Penny did this thing with the linemen and kind of got back in the groove of things. I think if we keep power on the rock we’ve been having we’ll be good. A win on the road was good, but the last two games are at home so we just got to finish out winning these ball games.”

On how to keep the energy from the Hawai’i game going:
“I just think it starts with preparation, how we prepare, how we get in the film room and look at teams and just how you practice. You practice how we play, that’s what we preach around here, so you just kind of practice well and hopefully that correlates over to the game.”

On Rashaad Penny dragging a player trying to tackle him by grabbing onto his jersey against Hawai’i:
“I wonder what kind of shirt he was wearing because that thing was not ripping, I was surprised. It was pretty funny. I saw a lot of things on Twitter about it and we were talking about it after. It’s a good time.”

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