SDSU Football Press Conference Quotes

Nov. 1, 2016

Quotes | Gameday Central | SDSU Notes vs. Hawai'i | Tickets

San Diego State Press Conference Quotes
November 1, 2016

SDSU head football coach Rocky Long

Opening Statement:
“Once again, we’re back on Saturday which is nice to be playing on Saturday instead of Friday nights. We’re playing a football team that seems to have a renewed spirit and energy. They’re playing hard and physical. They’ve had much more success this year than they have had the last couple of years. I think they’ve won more league games this year since they’ve been in the Mountain West. Every game they’ve played, even the ones they’ve lost in the conference, have been very close. Last week, they were 4th-and-1 and inside the 10-yard line and got stopped or they would’ve tied the score to put it into overtime. They’re a team that’s coming in here with a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of confidence compared to the Hawai’i teams we’ve played in the past. We’re respectful of what they are and how they’re playing and hopefully we can play well enough to win the game.”

On the challenge of coaching at Hawai’i:
“I’m an outsider looking in. I think the Hawai’i job is very difficult unless you can keep some of the homegrown talent at home. Hawai’i has really good high school football. I used to recruit Hawai’i when I coached at Oregon State and the game is very important on the island. They have a lot of good players and if you can keep the majority of players at home, you can have a really good football team. Obviously, you have to supplement the talent they have on the island but when they’ve been able to keep the players at home, they’ve had really good football teams.”

On the play of his offensive line:
“We’re very lucky here that we have good running backs and we might have the best running back in the country on our football team but nobody would know it unless the big boys up front, which includes the tight ends and fullbacks, weren’t doing a heck of a job blocking. As good of running backs as we’ve had, they would not be getting the notoriety that they are getting now. I think they relish the job they have and they really have fun that they have a good guy behind them carrying the football.

“We started off the season with a couple new starters in there and not necessarily the starters we thought. Daniel Brunskill, who was starting tight end for the last two years, unselfishly moved to tackle because of an injury. Like a lot of players on our team, they’re team guys first and he’s made a big difference. We’ve had a couple other new starters in there at times. Antonio Rosales, one of the guards, is a new starter. They didn’t play really well early on in the season and now they’re playing really well.

“As good a running back as DJ (Donnel Pumphrey) is, if he can’t get started, you don’t know how good he is. Obviously, the offensive linemen are allowing him to get started. When he gets to the second level and has a big enough hole that he can accelerate and run by a couple tacklers, when the offensive line plays well, you’re able to run the ball pretty good and we’re lucky that we have a good running back behind them.”

On the play of Daniel Brunskill:
“That’s a guy that blocked a guy at the line of scrimmage and took off down the field and because DJ (Donnel Pumphrey) had to make some moves down the field and start and stop, was able to get back in front of him and picked off three more guys. That probably added another 10 or 15 yards to the game. That’s exciting stuff. That’s just as unusual as some of the things DJ does with the ball, to see an offensive lineman 50 yards down the field and block three more guys. He’s done really well. Early on, it was a struggle for him to move down in there. It’s different in there than it is at tight end. But obviously, he’s into it now and is playing really well.”

On if he’s surprised how the Mountain West season has played out thus far:
“I’m not surprised. I think we can all discuss on if it’s good, bad or indifferent for us but I’m not surprised at all. There are only five undefeated teams left in the country. Early on, there was expectation that we were supposed to be one of them and there are only five schools left. Boise losing to Wyoming; Wyoming is a good football team. That’s not a surprise at all. Playing in Laramie is very different. They’ve got a good football team and they’re playing at home. That’s not surprising they beat Boise. It throws Boise down in the rankings a bit. That might hurt the league as far as a New Year Day bowl game but it just shows you how competitive college football is and it shows you that anybody can beat anybody at any time depending on the situation. I think the most surprising thing about our league is that two teams who were picked to finish last in their division are the two most improved teams in this league: Wyoming and Hawai’i.”

On throwing for 14 yards at Utah State:
“I think every game determines what you have to do. We might have to throw for 200 yards to win a game. The teams that run the triple option, they’ve had a lot of games where they’ve scored 60 points and they’ve thrown the ball maybe one time. It’s more unusual since people are in the spread more often now. That’s not unusual in the history of football.”

On the play of the special teams at Utah State:
“This year, we’re having a lot of changeover on our starters because of a lot of reasons. We’ve lost some key people so in order to keep winning, your young players have to develop and what you’re seeing are a lot of guys that don’t play very much on those special teams that are developing into better football players. That doesn’t mean they’re going to be better on offense and defense because they’re not getting that experience but they won’t go out there and be shy or nervous because they’ve been in the game. They’ve been in a live situation where they’ve run down and blocked somebody or they tackled someone so it’s developing young players and when they have to go on offense or defense, they have a better chance of performing better because of what they’ve done on special teams.”

On the play of kicker John Baron II:
“He was one of the best performers on that field Friday night. You can pick anybody out. DJ had over 200 yards rushing. What John Baron did was just as amazing. Not only did he make four field goals without a miss, a couple of them were fairly long and the weather conditions were ridiculous. For someone to perform at that level at what he does in that kind of condition is really something special. I think he maintains our momentum. Whenever a defense has somebody driving the ball on them and you can stop them for a field goal, that’s kind of a positive. If the guy misses, it gives the defense a really good pump up. Making those continues our momentum.”

SDSU junior fullback Dakota Turner

On if he considered attending Hawai’i, his hometown school:
“They didn’t offer me a scholarship. I was in contact with their staff from the start. They were a team that I looked up to from childhood. They were the only team on the island that was big but I never had the offer from them. I’m glad that I’m here, I’m happy to be here and I’m glad I made the decision to come here. Even if I had the offer from Hawai’i, I would’ve picked San Diego State, no matter what.”

 On the history of the Hawai’i football team:
“They’ve had some rough years and they’ve had some success back with June Jones (head coach at Hawai’i from 1999-2007) and those are the memories I have from watching them. But I’m happy for them. They’re doing well now with the new coach; they’re finding success.”

On the support receives from fans in Hawai’i:
“I think mainly because there are no pro teams out there, all you have are high school and college football. When you’re in high school and you’re a big name out there, you get followed like you’re a college player and the college players get treated like pro players. There’s a big following for all of the athletes that come out of Hawai’i.

“Any time I go back home, I’ll get recognized by people from the island. It’s kind of nice having that following of people who are just so proud of people that come from the island and represent the island and I think that’s what really special about Hawai’i people. Everyone is really close and cares about everyone from Hawai’i.”

On if he feels pressure playing against Hawai’i:
“I’m approaching this as just another game. It is special; there are some old teammates on the other sideline and people I know from back home and I’ll talk to them after the game and take pictures but right now, I’m approaching this as any other game.”

On the defense’s reaction after Utah State’s first touchdown:
“It was a slow start for us. I don’t think we really came out ready to our full potential but we knew what had to be done when we got back to the sideline. They coached us up a little bit, told us what we have to do and we didn’t want to let them score again. That was our mindset the rest of the game: being fundamentally sound and everyone doing their responsibilities so they can’t get into the end zone again. Definitely voices are raised but they’re coaching at the same time, wanting us to know our assignment and make plays as well as do well on the defensive side.”  

On his recovery from a knee injury, suffered last season at Hawai’i:
“It was a tough year through that whole injury but I’m over it. I haven’t even thought about it. I know a year is coming up on the 18th but I’m just happy and blessed to keep playing the game I love.”

On what makes the defense good:
“I think it’s a mix of everything, as well as guys being relentless and hustling to the ball. Everyone does their assignment to their full potential and everyone is swarming to the ball and trying to make a play. That’s how plays are made; everyone is just giving their all. We trust everyone on the field. We all know everyone is going to give their all and that’s why we’re having so much success.”

SDSU sophomore quarterback Christian Chapman

On the play of Donnel Pumphrey:
“He’s a beast. I’m just glad he’s on my team. He does a lot for us. When I only have to throw for 14 yards and they can rush for 400 yards out there, it makes my job pretty easy. You’ve got to give credit to the line, too. They’re playing amazing right now. They’re opening up some big holes right now and Pumphrey makes some big plays, makes a guy miss and takes it to the house. How he can make a guy miss in the hole, it’s one-on-one, he can make that guy miss and break it for another five yards. And, he’s tough. He can go head-to-head with some of these DBs and he doesn’t care how much he weighs. He’ll put it on you.

“I watched DJ play before I came here. I knew what a good player he was. Coming here and actually seeing what he can do with the ball and watch him go 80 yards for a touchdown, it’s like, wow, he’s something special out there. He’s a great weapon we have and he’s a great contributor for the team.

“We watched film in individual groups and we saw plays he did and seeing what he did, it’s like, ‘wow, he’s a competitor.’ He’ll take a big hit prior to the next play, get up and bust 50 yards on you. It’s just amazing to watch on film the next day, stuff you don’t even see in the game and will see the next day on film. Every week, you’re impressed. He gives 100 percent every game. He doesn’t hold anything back and I don’t think he ever will when he’s on the field. If you play safely and back up a bit you can get hurt but Pumphrey’s not like that. He’s a baller and will give you 100 percent every time and will put it to you.”

On changing the game plan:
“I’ve been changing the play a little bit. At Utah State, I tried to change a couple because they were bringing some stuff. I’m only really changing run plays here and there, nothing really from run to pass yet. I’ll change plays six to seven times a game, depending on what they’re giving us, depending on what kind of front of block scheme they’re giving us. A corner blitz, I’d change it to a zone or a power. I take pride in changing plays. I have to put us the right play call for us to make big plays. It’s something I look at for film, watching what they’re going to give us, trying to get DJ into a good place so he can make a good play.”

On Donnel Pumphrey’s incomplete pass against Utah State:
”Prior to that play, he said, ‘hey, I’m going to show you how to throw the ball,’ and then he threw that, and I was like, ‘well, he needs a little work.’ I told him I’d train him on the weekends.”

On the play of kicker John Baron II:
“I’m really good friends with John and he’s just a clutch kicker. He doesn’t care if it’s rainy or windy, he’ll just go out there and kick. We’ve seen in practice, he’s made some long field goals and he just continues to be a good kicker. He’s kicking well in practice. I haven’t seen him miss in practice in a long time. It shows in the game. He’s consistently shown that he can kick at a high level under certain conditions we have at the time we need him. He’s just confident. He doesn’t go up there thinking it may be a tough kick. He just goes out there and does it. He’s got ice in his veins. He’s doing great and I’m just happy for him.”

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