Football Press Conference Quotes

San Diego State head coach Rocky Long.
Nov. 21, 2017

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Head Coach Rocky Long

Opening statement:
“Hopefully we are looking forward to our first afternoon game in a long, long time. Playing at 12:30 is a big concern. I don’t know if it should be or not, but it is a big concern. The short week is a little bit of a big concern since we are playing a triple-option team, but more so that afternoon game. We are so used to hanging out until late at night to play it’s going to be a shock to the system. Then it’s supposed to be near 90 degrees, you don’t expect that this time of year. The most concerning thing is the kind of offense New Mexico runs. It takes a long time to get ready for that kind of offense.”

On the New Mexico quarterback Lamar Jordan:
“He’s a good option quarterback. He reads it well and doesn’t make many mistakes, and if you let him carry the ball he can take it the distance. Last week (against UNLV) he took a couple of long runs where they didn’t take the quarterback properly and he planted his foot in the ground and went 40 or 50 yards for a touchdown.”

On if San Diego State feels pressure:
“I think we feel pressure. Because of the success of the program, I think our players feel pressure to win 10 games. I think our team is disappointed they are not in the championship game. I think there are all types of mental issues our team is going through right now.”

On if knowing the score of the Fresno State-Wyoming game last week affected their play against Nevada:
“I don’t have any idea. I think I’m going to ignore it and I ignored it. Whether they ignored it or not, I would bet you they didn’t. I would bet you they knew the score and were disappointed going into last week’s game. How much that affected their play I don’t know.”

On if they moved practice back a day with the short week:
“That’s what we did. We practiced on Sunday and we never practice on Sunday. It was a shortened practice with no pads, but we went Sunday just to try and get them started. Yesterday was like Tuesday and today is like Wednesday and so forth and so on.”

On Rashaad Penny not being a finalist for numerous awards:
“I think it’s ridiculous. I talk about this all the time and nobody wants to hear it, but I’m going to say it again. The financial resource gap between the Power 5 group and us (Group of 5) is ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous and it gets bigger every year. They are trying to exclude us, they are trying to eliminate us and trying to make us a different division than them is exactly what’s going on. So the people who are with them are going to make sure that the non-Power 5 guys don’t get any recognition if they can help it. That’s very disappointing and very upsetting. I’m really disappointed for our team and for Rashaad, but it’s not surprising. It gets worse every year.

“I hope what it does for our team is make us mad. I hope it makes Rashaad mad, too. Then we will have no problems on Friday.”

On the national perception of Rashaad Penny not being considered for finalist for numerous awards:
“Anybody that follows our program think’s it not right, but not many people nationally follow our program.”

On Rashaad Penny:
“The most surprising thing about him is how versatile he is. Take all of those other guys that are up for those awards. Any of those return punts for touchdowns? Any of those guys return kicks for touchdowns? Any of those guys catch it any better than he does? I don’t think so. We even tried to let him throw a touchdown pass the other day. I wish (Nevada) wouldn’t have covered that guy, because he can throw it too. That would have put him over the edge if he would have completed a touchdown pass. I imagine if we put him on defense, he could run people down and tackle them too. It’s too bad. That’s the way it is.”

On when you saw that Rashaad Penny was special:
“I think last year he did a lot of things that made us realize he’s special. The one that everybody sees is his kickoff returns. If a guy is really good at kickoff returns, those are hard seams to see most of the time. That also proves that he can find a hole at the line of scrimmage. I don’t know how fast he is, I just know he is faster than everybody chasing him. There’s no telling how fast he is, maybe he only runs as fast as he has to run.”

On if he thought Rashaad Penny was going to fair catch the punt on Saturday:
“No, I wasn’t thinking that, but I was as surprised as anyone else that he took it back for a touchdown. That’s the first time he has ever done it in a game. In practice we don’t let anybody even touch him, so it was his first time doing it.”

Senior Warrior Trey Lomax

On the emotions surrounding the seniors’ last home game of the season this Friday:
“I wouldn’t say we’re approaching it any differently because I don’t think it’s hit us yet that it’s our last game at home. But I’m sure once we get out there and we’re looking around taking everything in knowing it’s our last time playing in that stadium, there’ll probably be a little extra fire for us to play every play like it’s our last because it is. It’s our last game being able to play in that stadium that we’ve been playing in the last couple of years. But as far as our approach, I think we’re going about it the same way.”

On his favorite football memory at SDSU:
The Stanford win (earlier this season) is definitely up there. The conference championship game two years ago against Air Force. That was my 21st birthday that day, so that was pretty fun. I turned 21 that day and we just won the championship. It was a fun night.”

On playing a day game this Friday:
“It’s going to be weird … I don’t remember what it was like to be playing with the sun still out, so it’s going to be weird. Especially since it’s going to be on a Friday, too, so it’s going to be that much quicker of a week. It’ll be a little bit of an adjustment. I’m glad we’ll play on Friday; we’ll have some more people watching us, so that’ll be good.”

On whether Rocky Long gets more excited coaching when the team prepares for New Mexico:
“I’ve haven’t really thought about the whole New Mexico background. (Coach Long) is definitely the same every week with his demeanor and the way he goes about practice. We’re always a little extra focused going against triple-option stuff just because you have to be very sound defensively with your keys and what you’re doing each play. So that’s something he stresses, especially with this week’s game and against Air Force. But as far as his history with New Mexico and some of the other coaches, that’s not something that we can really see.”

On staying fresh between the last regular-season game and a bowl game:
“It’s hard to say what our exact schedule is going to be until we know what bowl game we’re in. Even when there’s a couple of weeks in between, we’ll practice a couple days here and there, but we’ll have some off time. Guys are still in school, so that’s a good time for them to get caught up in some classes, get some school work done and finish the semester off right Guys can get healthy for the bowl game. But it’s nice to have a lot more free time to hang out and just kick back a little bit.”

On whether practices will be tougher this week after the secondary’s performance vs. Nevada:
“We knew Nevada could throw the ball…We definitely had our struggles on Saturday covering. I think we finished the game a lot better in the second half. Coach Long got into us pretty good at halftime. We were kind of bumped up this week just because of Friday’s game. We came in Sunday, watched some film and had our meetings. Coach (Danny Gonzales) was on the safeties hard because we played terrible. I should’ve had four interceptions; I only got one. I was dropping them out there. Coach G is always stressing where we’re ranked nationally in scoring defense. This last week definitely hurt us giving up the yards that we did on defense, so we knew the coaches were going to be tough on us this week. Regardless of what the outcome of the season was, despite not being in the Mountain West Championship, that doesn’t give us a pass to just go out there and go through the motions. So the coaches made that emphasis. New Mexico is not going to throw the ball a lot; they’re just going to run their options. But we still have to be sound defensively and know what we’re doing; play fast and make sure we’re taking advantage of our opportunities because we don’t have many left.”

Senior Tight End David Wells

On the emotions surrounding the seniors’ last home game of the season this Friday:
“Just going off what Trey said, we have to take the same approach every week. Every year you go through Senior Day and see all the seniors going down the Warrior Walk and taking pictures with their families and say, ‘Oh I’ve got a long time until then’. Now all of a sudden, it’s your turn and you say, ‘well that was really quick.’ It’s the truth, it goes by in a blink of an eye. Yeah, you’re going to have a little extra fire going out there. Some guys are just going to have to control it and use it for what we need to use it for.”

On his favorite football memory at SDSU:
“I’ll second that, whatever (Trey) said right there. Winning the championship at home (in 2015) after how the start of that season went. Everybody was calling out all of us, calling out the coaches. Then the way we finished the year and won the championship, you know what? We were just fine. Being able to do that and then going to a bowl game and beating Cincinnati and carrying that for a couple of years that was a pretty awesome feeling. One of the best memories was definitely that championship win.”

On playing a day game this Friday:
“It’ll be cool to have something different rather than just staying in the hotel all day (when) you wake up and it’s game time. So now people are going to have to change their rituals a little bit before the game and probably switch them to the night before or wake up a bit earlier to get your stuff done. You know it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be interesting, especially trying to catch the ball with the sunlight out. We’re not really used to that anymore, so it should be interesting.”

On whether Rocky Long gets more excited coaching when the team prepares for New Mexico:
“It’s really the same Coach Long every week. You don’t really get too many things that are different. Just because it’s New Mexico doesn’t really change how we approach the game. We have the same schedule throughout the week. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Friday game or anything, it just gets pushed up. They do some unusual stuff on defense, too, so that’s something that we just have to get ready for.” But as far as Coach Long goes, he’s just the same.”

On staying fresh between the last regular-season game and a bowl game:
“We haven’t really heard too much about what our schedule is going to be because nothing’s going to be set in stone until we figure out where we’re going. It could be earlier and it could be later. We only get 15 practices for bowl prep, so you have to spread those out over a certain amount of time. You have to be smart in how you choose them. We’ll probably be with Coach (Adam) Hall a lot throughout the week just to make sure when don’t come back for the bowl game out of shape. Who knows what he’s going to have in store for us, but it should be interesting.”

On running back Rashaad Penny not being a Doak Walker Award finalist:
“I think it’s a joke; it’s awful. Obviously he’s one of the best running backs in the nation. It’s fun blocking for the guy. I get to see him every single day and see how he runs. I don’t see any other running backs doing what he does. You can compare his stats to other peoples’ and you can see how he’s done. And then people will say we’re not a Power 5 school, but look what he did against Power 5 schools. The man’s a monster. I don’t understand how you can just (put) down a guy just because he’s in a non-Power 5 conference. But when he has over 1,800 yards with still a game or two to go and he’s leading the nation in many categories and then last week gets over 400 (all-purpose) yards, which quarterbacks usually don’t really do but he did pretty much all by himself, I think it’s an absolute joke. People who they had going ahead of him, of course, some of them I get it. I don’t see how you can leave him out of the conversation.”

On whether Penny will have some extra incentive on Friday:
“It’s hard to say if he has anything more to prove, especially after the season he’s had. But I’ve never seen Rashaad be anything different than what he is. But who knows how he’s going to come out on Friday. if he plays angry, I’m interested to see how that’s going to happen. He’s a pretty even-keeled guy. I’ve never seen the man change anything from his expressions to his emotions. It should be interesting to see what happens and give a little a statement. Again, I don’t know what else he can do.”

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