UTAH STATE FOOTBALL PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES – 10-25-10 Utah State head coach Gary Andersen, senior cornerback Curtis Marsh (Simi Valley, Calif./Royal HS/Naval Academy Prep) and sophomore running back/kick returner Kerwynn Williams (Las Vegas, Nev./Valley HS), addressed the media Monday at USU’s weekly press conference, recapping the Hawai’i game and previewing Nevada. USU HEAD COACH GARY ANDERSEN: ON HAWAI’I GAME… “Obviously a tough game for one and all, if you are an Aggie. The Hawai’i game was very difficult if you break it down. It was a very competitive game for about two quarters, and up until the 8:50 mark of the third quarter. We snap the ball and don’t catch it and it turns into a touchdown, and obviously from there the route was on.” “We are in a very tough place as a football team, no doubt about it. I believe how we bounce back will be key. These kids will bounce back. It isn’t the exact situation where we wanted to sit at the beginning of the year, but it is what it is. I believe these kids will continue to fight, and as coaches we will continue to fight we are at a great place and this can be a tremendous winning program, but it is just a matter of working through the hard times. We will look back at this as a team and it will give us a chance to reflect and grow. It is hard to go back through it but the key right now is for the kids to be able to bounce back and play. I expect that they will be able to do that, and continue to compete.” “That was a very tough defeat without question, and a very good win for Hawai’i. They are a very physical football team. We lost the line of scrimmage battle on both sides of the ball. I thought we did do a good job rushing the passer, especially early in the game we were able to get some hits on the quarterback against a very good offensive line, a very good quarterback and a very dynamic receiving group. When you break down the game, it is tough to have any success if you don’t win the battle at the line of scrimmage. We struggled again offensively with less than 200 yards of total offense. That doesn’t put anyone in a position to win. When you have 15 possessions in a football game, that is how many we had and it was too many. Hawai’i turned around with 14, if you don’t count the bad snap touchdown as a possession. That is too many possessions for our football team right now, we need to be able to slow the game down a little bit and get that number down around 12 possessions a game and give our offense an opportunity to move the ball down the field and score, but also give our defense the opportunity to not have to defend against as many snaps as they had to on Saturday.” ON THE NEVADA GAME… “Nevada is another very stiff challenge. They have one of the best offenses in the country, without question. They have a tremendous quarterback, they are very talented at running back, and their offensive line and receiving core are very solid. They have shown that week in and week out for two years now. As long as I have been in the league it hasn’t changed. They have a very solid scheme, which is very effective. They play with a lot of confidence, and play very well at home, they have a little bit of an edge to them at home and have played well there all season. It will be a very stiff challenge for us. We have to take away the run game first. You have to move the football, and you have to score some points to have a chance to win. If that doesn’t happen, then you will have no chance to beat Nevada Reno.” ON CHANGES IN THE DEFENSE DURING THE FIRST HALF AGAINST HAWAI’I… “We tried to get as many athletes on the field as we possibly could. When you play a team like that you have to. We moved Bobby Wagner to defensive end and Bobby played very well as a defensive end. He is one of our best defensive players if not our best defensive player. We gave him an opportunity to be a factor every snap, and I think he handled that well and did a nice job of rushing the passer. We moved Junior Keiaho, and Quinn Garner inside so we could get as much speed as possible on the football field. I am very pleased with the two freshmen that came in and played substantial reps at corner in Nevin Lawson and Rashard Stewart. I think it is a big task to come in against one of the best throwing teams in the country, if not the best throwing team in the country, and have to lock up and play a lot of man coverage. The scheme was designed to be able to get some pressure on the quarterback with four and a mix of zone and man. Flat bottom at the end of the day we didn’t play good enough defense to win the ball game. It is tough when you’re down 14-7 and you give up back-to-back points, one on a turnover, and one on a muff on special teams. We gave them a short field and they scored. The defense has to be able to stop them in that situation and keep that game to 24-10, or 21-7 whatever it ends up being at that point we have to be able to force ourselves to have some success in those red zone situations. It was a fairly aggressive defensive plan, and we will stay fairly aggressive on defense. We have to be able to do that. If we sit back on defense, and allow other teams to dictate tempo we are going to struggle. We will continue to game plan every single week to get the best kids on the field with the best scheme that gives us the best opportunity to win.” ON CHANGING THE DEFENSIVE SCHEME FOR NEVADA… “It is very different, no question there. They are a pound you, physical, knock you off the ball run game, and as the game goes they want to run you down. There are some option pieces to the run game they have, and it is a very good play action scheme in the passing game, which puts you on islands. Their ability to have the quarterback run the football is a big part of what they do. It is a complete departure from a week ago. Both are very effective, but very different attacks.” ON LEVI KOSKAN’S STATUS… “He is questionable. We will have to see exactly where he sits. I think he has a knee situation it is not a season-ending injury he will be back, but it is just a matter of time to see how he recovers.” ON NEVADA’S DEFENSE… “Up front they have some tremendous players. I think they are very solid. The scheme they use is a good scheme, and they play together as a group of 11. Like I said about Hawai’i a week ago, they have been together, they play well together. They run to the football, and you have to earn your way down the field against them. Their offense is on the field a lot of the game so they have a lot of energy and excitement when they get out there. They make plays and they tend to get aggressive, especially when they have a big lead. They do get aggressive with you when they do have those leads.” ON NEVADA’S PISTOL OFFENSE… “Good players are what makes it work just like anything else. Good players make a good offense, or a good defense period. There is not magic wand or scheme that makes it work. I’m a believer in giving credit to the players. They have tremendous football players, and Coach Ault is a tremendous coach. If he were sitting here he would say the same thing. He wouldn’t say the pistol is the reason we are a good football team, but it does have a little different dynamic to it. It allows the down hill zone schemes that a lot of teams run out of the off set back formation. It brings a little more physicality to the run game, no question. It also doesn’t allow you to have an idea of what side they are going to run the ball to, or if run plays are going to come with the running back right behind the quarterback. Those are probably the two biggest differences of it.” ON USU RUNNING A VARIATION OF THE PISTOL… “We do, and most teams do. A lot of times it is a copycat world in football on offense, or defense. It has been very successful for them, and some teams run it where the pistol doesn’t work so well. It is just another simple dynamic of football they have decided to get themselves into and a lot of people are doing it some successful, some not successful. They want to get all 11 defenders involved in stopping the run game. They want to have a two-person advantage to whatever side they are running to. If you don’t cover that plus two advantage, you are going to have a problem. You have to bring a free safety down into the run game unless you can just be flat better than them so you don’t have to bring the safety down into the box. That is what they are trying to force you to do, which in turn forces zero type coverage and the middle of the field is left wide open with a man-to-man coverage. Any QB run game forces you to do that if you want to be sound on the board. A lot of people don’t worry about being sound on the board because they are just going to beat you physically, but to be sound you have to include an extra guy.” ON DIONDRE BOREL… “Diondre will look back at that (the Hawaii game) and it is not going to make him happy that he made some of those throws. Diondre also puts a ball right on the chest of a receiver on 3rd and 15, which he dropped, and it changed the game. Does a quarterback press and push and try to change things when it doesn’t go his way, and people aren’t making plays for the? They absolutely do. There is one thing I know is that Diondre Borel has given everything he can to this program. Is his senior year going the way that he wanted it, or I wanted it, or this football team wanted it to go? Absolutely not. He is a good quarterback, and anyone who doesn’t think he is a good quarterback is sadly mistaken.” ON DIONDRE BOREL GETTING FRUSTRATED WITH DROPPED PASSES…. “No his demeanor is the same. I think inside he is frustrated, it is a tough pill to swallow. It is tough when the protection doesn’t allow you to sit back and survey the field. Our job is simple we all know he is frustrated we all know where he sits. If you continue to do the same thing you continue to get the same results. If you look back at our offense, we shifted gears a few weeks ago against BYU and we were able to run the ball very effectively. Since that game our attempts to run the ball have been ineffective. We have been dominated on the line of scrimmage. That being said, something has to change. You have to sit back and say how are we going to give Diondre the opportunity to make plays? I guess that is something we will have to change for Saturday to be able to give Nevada different looks than what we have given in the past. This is a very good defense too, and if we think we can line up and knock them off the ball with where we stand right now, not so fast.” CURTIS MARSH – SENIOR CORNER BACK – SIMI VALLEY, CALIF. (ROYAL HS/NAVAL ACADEMY PREP) THOUGHTS ON LOSS TO HAWAI’I… “This was a tough one, as you all know. I felt like we played hard, especially in the first half. We came out and did what we needed to do in order to keep us in the game; unfortunately we had some costly big plays that went against us. The turnovers really hurt us in the second half. I think we can definitely bounce back this week and it is a game that I’m really looking forward to being a part of it. We are going to have to step up in practice as we prepare for a quality opponent.” ON HIS INTERCEPTION PLAY… “We were playing a zero coverage, I was locked up on Greg Salas, and he ran an out route so I was just waiting for the QB to throw the ball to him, instead he lobbed a pass for the receiver behind me and I was able to make a play on the ball.” THOUGHTS ON HAWAII WIDE RECEIVER GREG SALAS… “He is a very solid receiver. I would say that he is one of the best we have seen all year, he caught the ball and had better hands than anyone I’ve ever played against. He was a very good opponent and it was a fun match-up for me.” WAS IT DIFFICULT TO LINE UP ON THE SLOT RECEIVER INSTEAD OF BEING LINED UP ON THE OUTSIDE… “It was definitely different, it’s not something I have never done before but certainly not as much as some of our nickel package players. It was certainly new to me to play it that much in a single game.” ON SENSING ANY FRUSTRATION FROM HAWAI’I’S OFFENSE IN THE FIRST QUARTER… “I think we got to them a little bit, especially when we would lock up on them and put pressure on the quarterback. I think that frustrated them as well as the weather seemed to have some effect on them as well. I think we had some good things happening for us defensively in the first half.” ON WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE IN THE THIRD AND FOURTH QUARTER… “I don’t know if it was a defensive breakdown until the fourth quarter, I just felt like there was a momentum shift after the big play for them on special teams. That was huge for them to get the turnover and touchdown without the defense even taking the field. That momentum shift lead them to start rolling and putting more points on the board.” ON FOCUSING ON BEING ABLE TO BOUNCE BACK THIS WEEK… “We just need to focus on playing solid football and going into this game confident that we can compete. We can’t shy away when we are on the field and everyone doing their job on the field. We need to play with the same swagger we had in the Oklahoma, Fresno State and BYU games, and play with that swagger for four quarters. We need to put together a complete game defensively, offensively and on special teams. That all starts with a good week of practice.” ON ANY DIFFICULTY GETTING UP FOR GAMES WITH THE RECENT RESULTS… “It is certainly a lot easier said than done. It is tough to come out week after week after losses and that’s the thing I feel like we come out ready, but when a play doesn’t go our way the momentum shifts too quickly. We don’t just forget it and get on to the next play, and I felt like in the second quarter of the Hawai’i game we did that.” ON THE YOUNGER PLAYERS IN THE SECONDARY… “I think they are playing well, all of those guys are extremely gifted athletes physically and have a lot of talent. They just need to perfect the techniques and to have them on the field for this kind of experience against the number one passing offense in the country will do wonders for them the remainder of the season and leading into next season.” ON PREPARING TO FACE THE SIXTH RANKED RUSHING OFFENSE THIS WEEK AND NEVADA… “(Colin) Kaepernick is a special player, the thing that stands out the most about Nevada is the way they run their offense. With Coach Ault leading them, they are solid running that scheme. They all understand it and they all have perfected it. The thing is playing that you must stay gap sound and you must know your assignment. You need to stay with your assignment, all they need is a little crease to break a big one. The key is being focused in on every play. All it takes is one slip and they will get by you for a 30-yard gain.” ON NEVADA’S PASSING GAME… “I know that their running game sets up their passing game, they run a lot of nice play action passes because everyone is focused on their run game. Kaepernick has a very solid arm to throw out to the quick routes and hitting receivers outside also. He certainly has the ability to get it out there, but their run sets up the pass.” ON WHAT IT MEANS THAT SENIOR SEASON IS WINDING DOWN… “This certainly isn’t the way I saw my senior season going down, but for me it is to keep playing every week. I have to keep focused on our next game, we only have five games left and I have to be thankful that we still have games yet to be played. Here at Utah State we always get ready for our next game, we have never laid down and let someone run over us. My focus is playing every week; we can play with anyone on any given week. Every game we play to win and that is how I am going to approach every week.” KERWYNN WILLIAMS – SOPHOMORE RUNNING BACK/KICK RETURNER – LAS VEGAS, NEV./VALLEY HS) THOUGHTS ON HAWAI’I GAME… “Obviously the game didn’t go as we had planned, we didn’t execute well on offense. I felt like the defense played well and did everything they could to keep us in the game. They did a good job in creating turnovers and stifling our offense. Our special teams played much better except for that one miscue we had as a result of a poor snap. I certainly feel like we need to execute much better offensively and this week we will spend a lot of time focusing on what the right thing is to do on offense so we can execute.” ON HOW AFTER THE GAME THE OFFENSIVE LINE TOOK BLAME FOR SOME OF THE MISTAKES, AND IF ALL OFFENSIVE PLAYERS STEP UP AND TAKE THE BLAME… “I think its everybody; everybody needs to execute better. You can’t just put the blame on one position group at all by any means. I feel like at the running back position we need to make plays, I feel like our receivers need to make plays, everyone on offense needs to make bigger and better plays than what we have been making. You cant just put it on the offensive line at all, I feel like its everyone on offense needs to step up and start playing better.” ON PROTECTING MORE AS A RUNNING BACK AND IF THAT LIMITS THE OPPORTUNITIES TO BE THROWN TO… “I think we are using a different scheme and we are trying to do different things. Running backs are still going out on routes and we still catch a few passes. I feel like we are still as involved with everything but we are trying to get the ball down field to our receivers so they can make plays. That’s really what we have been trying to do.” THOUGHTS ON BOUNCING BACK THIS WEEK? “I feel like if we have good practice, this week and not just a good practice but a series of good practices it will help us come out in this game with intensity and emotion. I feel like we will bounce back we have to play four quarters of football, we can’t just show up for bursts or moments, we need to show up for an entire game.” ONE OF THE STRENGTHS OF NEVADA IS THEIR OFFENSIVE LINE, WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER ABOUT THEM? “They have a good defensive line, I mostly remember their defensive end positions they were really good. That is where the strength of their defense is, their defensive line gets a good push and puts pressure on your quarterback. We have to do a much better job this week of protecting Diondre.” ON WHAT IT MEANS TO BE ABLE TO PLAY IN HIS HOME STATE… “I plan on having my family come up to watch the game, but my family comes to almost all the games. My parents have always tried to make it to as many games as possible ever since high school. I feel like this is just another game for me, I’ve got to come out and play hard and do my best. I will play just as hard as I always do in every game.” ON KNOWING ANY NEVADA PLAYERS… “I only know one of the Las Vegas players, Mike Ball, he played at Desert Pines High School. He actually lived right down the street from me and I played against him in football and basketball, and ran against him in track. It’s kind of crazy that it turned out that we’re both kick returners. He’s a good player and was a good player in high school. We went to different high schools because of the different programs at the high schools.” -USU-
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