Dec. 10, 2013
SAN DIEGO -
Head Coach Rocky Long
"I think the team is happy and excited about going to a bowl game. We have time to prepare. As a coach, you would like more time to prepare because you could work more on next year's team if you had another week or so before you play. But we have enough time to work on next year's team a little bit as we prepare for the bowl game. So we're pretty happy about going."
On his reaction to finding out they were going to a bowl game:
"I wasn't surprised at all that we were going (to a bowl game) because we deserved it, but I was surprised that we were going to Boise. I heard through the rumor mill that we would go to New Mexico. But both (games) are on the same day, so it doesn't change anything with preparation and all that."
On if the players were following the bowl situation:
"I don't know how closely they were following. I told them there were people mentioning that we weren't going to get a bowl bid. So they knew, but I don't know how closely they kept track."
On if Mountain West teams need more protection to guarantee they go to bowl games:
"I think as long as the bowl system stays like it is, you obviously have to have a way to make sure the third place team (from a conference) goes rather than the seventh-place team. That makes no sense and it's not right."
On the strength of the Mountain West after sending six teams to bowl games:
"I think the league is very competitive. I don't' think there's a dominant team in the league, even though Fresno State had an opportunity to play in a BCS bowl. They were considered the best team in our league and several teams played them really close, and one team beat them. So I think it shows the competitiveness of our league that anyone can get beat on a given Saturday. Now how we compare to other leagues is all speculation."
On if MW teams need to win their bowls games to gain recognition:
"This is going to sound funny, but I don't think so. It is a celebration for having a good season, because I'm a proponent of a playoff system. Let's find out who really is the national champion. And I think every league should have a representative, so if that means you have to invite 12 or 16 teams, you do it just like you do in Division I-AA, Division II and Division III. Every league champion should be in there, and then add some at-large teams to fill out the bracket. When you get to that point and you're one of those teams in the playoffs, then it's serious business. Right now if you're not in the national championship game, you go as a celebration and a pat on the back to the players for having a good year. It helps recruiting and exposure on T.V. helps, but only one bowl game is really important (to win)."
On how the loss to end the regular season will impact the team in the bowl game:
"I think our last two games of the season were exactly the same situation. Our guys got excited about the last game at home and play really well, and then UNLV's guys got excited about their last game at home and played really well. Going into a bowl game, I think our players will still feel the sting of our last regular season game, and I think they'll really get ready to play and play hard."
On how they'll prepare for the bowl game:
"(Players) watched a little bit of film on Buffalo today, and they'll watch more (on Wednesday). So the majority of the guys that will play a lot in the game will practice for one hour and 15 minutes, and that's all preparation for the bowl game. After that, the guys that won't play a lot in the bowl game get to practice for another 40 minutes."
On Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack:
"Well I didn't know who he was until I started watching Buffalo film, but they played Ohio State the week before we played them, and all of us in the first 10 minutes of watching the film started asking who that was, because he stood out so much on the film. Obviously we know a lot more about him now because we've read about him and watched him on several films."
On running back Adam Muema's play in recent weeks:
"I don't' think (their lack of rushing success) has anything to do with Adam Muema. I think he's fine. It has to do with our offensive line not blocking very well for the run in the last two games. The smart man would give credit to the other team, that their scheme and the way they played up front was very difficult to run the ball against. But all good running backs that have a good game have to have someone open a hole for them up front."
On what he expects from Buffalo defensively:
"I don't know what they'll do. Their base defense has nine guys really close to the line of scrimmage, so I would think we'll have to try to throw it to loosen them up some."
On how he'll prepare the team for possible bad weather:
"We don't. We're going to be there for three or four days, so it's better than a regular season game would be. So if the weather is pretty much the same while we're out there practicing, (the players) will feel it I guess. We had a game in the cold against Air Force. It was really cold and it was a night game. You don't worry about that stuff."
On the Mountain West postseason awards:
"I think every coach in the conference believes that every young man they nominate for those awards deserves to get it. So all those honorable mention guys, we nominated for first team all-conference, and they got one vote from somebody else. The only thing I disagree with in our league is that we don't have any stipulation for a fullback, because I think Chad Young is a first-team all-conference player. But they don't pick fullbacks, they pick running backs, so it's all based on yardage. The guys they picked are very deserving. The only player I feel bad for is Chad Young because he's a fullback, and he's the best one in this league and maybe the best in the country."
On the team's injuries:
"I'm surprised (kicker) Seamus (McMorrow) is not ready to go. I thought he would be, but he's not ready to go. (Offensive lineman Zach) Dilley is day-to-day. Dilley is going to get to do some things, and hopefully by the end of this week he'll be able to go full time. (McMorrow) can't do anything. It's been a couple of weeks already, and obviously he's not getting over it very fast. So I would guess Wes (Feer) is going to be our kicker."
Senior wide receiver Colin Lockett
On being selected to a bowl game:
"It's exciting to be able to go to a bowl game. It's four years in a row for us seniors and for the underclassmen that haven't been to a bowl game yet, I'm definitely excited for them as well."
On if it's big for the seniors to have one more game:
"Yes, it's big and it's important because we want to finish the season on a winning note. We can all go our ways and know that we finished our college careers on top."
On preparing for the cold weather:
"You don't think about it. You just go out there and be excited to play. If you're excited to play, you really won't think about the weather. You're in a bowl game and everyone is going to be watching, so regardless of the weather, just go out and do your thing."
Senior linebacker Nick Tenhaeff
On if he was worried they wouldn't be selected for a bowl game:
"Yes, I was definitely thinking that on Sunday. But we're very happy to be selected to go to Idaho and we're excited about the game. We've got a tough team we're going to play, so it will be fun."
On Buffalo's offense:
"They're good. They're very balanced and they've got a big offensive line. I think the game is going to be won in the trenches by who is going to establish the line of scrimmage. But I think we matchup very evenly with them, and we're excited for this game."
Junior quarterback Quinn Kaehler
On Buffalo's defense:
"They're really good on defense. They finished out the season 8-2 after losing their first two games to really good teams, so it's kind of a similar situation as us, where I think they got stronger at the end of the season. So I think it's leading up to a really good game."
On if Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack stood out to him while watching film:
"I don't remember him too much. I remember Buffalo played Ohio State pretty tough, a lot tougher than we did, so they have some good players on that team and especially on defense."
On teams stacking the line of scrimmage against them to stop the run:
"I just think we need to execute better both in the running game and the passing game. Obviously we didn't have a very good game against UNLV running the ball or throwing the ball, so hopefully we can figure it out. We've got a lot of practice time leading up to the bowl game, so hopefully we can correct some of those mistakes and be able to run and throw the ball against Buffalo."
On how much the success of Adam Muema helps him:
"It obviously helps having the defense bite more on play-action (fakes). It keeps us out of second- and third-and-longs, which helps me out a lot. Obviously when (Muema) is going well, the defense focuses more on him."