Utah State head coach Gary Andersen, junior quarterback Adam Kennedy, redshirt-freshman quarterback Alex Hart, senior wide receiver Eric Moats, senior wide receiver Xavier Martin, senior safety Walter McClenton, sophomore linebacker Jake Doughty, junior running back Robert Turbin, along with former Aggie greats Donald Penn and Jarrett Bush address the media after Saturday’s USU Spring GameUSU HEAD COACH GARY ANDERSEN: ON TODAY’S SPRING GAME…”Overall it was a great day. We had a great crowd. I don’t know how many people we had here overall, but it was impressive. It was great that our young men were able to come out and play at a high level. Those were two big positives.” “It was also nice to get the two big timers back here in Jarrett Bush and Donald Penn. To have Donald and Jarrett talking to our kids is invaluable. One of them played in the Super Bowl and the other in the Pro Bowl at left tackle. Having them here was a big part of the scrimmage.””As for the scrimmage, the overall positives were first we stayed relatively healthy. Brian Suite went out early, but he should be fine in a week or so. Other than that we stayed healthy and that is a big positive. There were some ups and downs for the quarterbacks. We did not hold anything back on the defensive pressure. We will look at the film on those two young men (Alex Hart and Adam Kennedy) and evaluate it hard. There were some big plays on the offense side and some big plays on the defensive side. On the negative side the ball was on the ground too much. We need to protect the passer better there were too many blind shots coming on the quarterbacks that are going to cause us a real problem. The kicking game is a huge concern for all of us right now. We saw that again today. We thought that the problem had been solved for a week or two, but obviously we took a major step backward today.”ON MAKING A DECISION AT QUARTERBACK…”We will let them (Alex Hart and Adam Kennedy) compete for the spot a little bit in the fall. We will let it go for a week or week and a half at the most before we make a decision. It is not going to carry on into the Auburn game where we haven’t named a starter. We will continue to let them battle it out throughout the summer. That should help them. We will see what kind of leadership they have and we will see whom the team rallies around. I think the team will rally around both of these young men, and the battle will go on.”ON THE PROGRESS MADE THIS SPRING…”I am happy. It is not just the one day it’s all 15 days. We had one bad practice, a week ago on Wednesday, but the kids bounced back and have done a nice job every practice since then. These kids practice hard against each other. They are very competitive, football is very important to them, and their work ethic is very good. We have a long way to go and a lot to work on. This summer is very important to us. I think that the young men will work hard here by themselves. They get three weeks off and then will be back to work on June 12. Mission accomplished as far as what we were looking for this spring. We did not name a starting quarterback as we moved through spring but as far as everything else we achieved our goals offensively and defensively. We have a lot of work to still do, we have not arrived.”ON THE BLUE TEAM DEFENSE…”If you sit down and look at it there is about 15 or 16 kids that did not play today. It is a great opportunity to see whether its blue or white to see some young men that haven’t played a lot of football in those real live situations. Overall, we got what we were looking for. With the blues being the first team and the whites being the second team you would think it would be a lopsided match-up and it was.”ON CONFERENCE EXPECTATIONS THIS YEAR…”The expectation for this team is to go out and compete every game, and to win every game. For now our next game is summer conditioning, then our next game will be training camp, then it will be Auburn. That is the first game we will be looking at. We plan to go on and play very well in every other game that we have. There is an opportunity for us the first game, and our conference is a very good conference. If you look at if from head to toe there are some very good teams in our conference. We are excited about the opportunity. It is time for us to take the next step. We can talk about who we are and where we want to be, but it is all talk right now. When you have players that play hard and football is very important to them. When you have that mixed with some leadership special things can happen, as long as you have quality players. I think our players are improving every single day, week, and year, so I expect us to be a good football team.”ON JUNIOR RUNNING BACK ROBERT TURBIN…”Robert looks to be at 100 percent today, he could play tomorrow without a problem. He has not been involved with tackling drills, but has been involved in a lot of other drills and looks good. We are excited to have him back as well as Matt Austin, Stanley Morrison, Levi Koskan, Tanner Richins and Michael Smith. The list goes on and on from last year. It is not just Robert that we have to get back, we have to get all of these young men rehabbed and back on the field in the fall. It is all about players. Players win games, so we have to get these guys back. Robert looks fantastic though, from a leadership standpoint as well. Robert is the type of young man that is going to take the youth of the program as well as the veterans of the program and he is going to demand excellence out of them. I tell him as a leader you have to set a standard, you have to follow that standard, and then make sure everyone else does the same. Robert does an excellent job of that.”ON THE OFFENSE’S PERFORMANCE…”The running game was at times solid. There were a couple of offensive linemen that were not out there for us today with the ones. That makes things a little bit difficult. Where we have come from practice 6 to 15 is big. The quarterbacks are definitely moving in the right direction. I really, truly believe that. I’m not sure who exactly outplayed who today. I will sit back and watch the film because there is a lot that goes into it. We are still looking for our guy that can make plays. We had a couple guys make plays in a positive way and we also had some defenders step up and make some plays who haven’t really made a bunch of plays for us on game day. Overall, the offense is not exactly where we want to be. We have a long way to go, which is the same for both defense and special teams. I am encouraged though. We have a tremendous staff on the offensive side of the football and the kids are working extremely hard. The quarterbacks have got to spend the summer preparing themselves for a big time Division I football game. That is going to be a big key for us. We do not have to have them win the game. We have to have them manage the game. If we can get that done we will have an opportunity to be a successful offense. We also have to protect the quarterback.” ADAM KENNEDY, JUNIOR QUARTERBACKON SPRING GAME…”It was my first time playing in a division one spring game, I felt good out there but clearly I made some mistakes, so it is a learning process. I think I am going to improve from it and come back strong in the fall.”HAS THE QB COMPETITION HELP YOU GET BETTER?”I think it is helping the entire team, they have been behind us the whole way and its competitive out here but its been friendly up in the meeting rooms. We have been helping each other and I believe that we have been pushing each other. When you see him make a play, it makes you want to go make a play and vise versa, it has been a great benefit to have.”WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE GOING TO SEE WHEN YOU STUDY THE FILM FROM THIS GAME?”I think I am going to see and this is something I noticed towards the end of the game, I had some flaws in my footwork today. I think that led to some of the throws that I didn’t want to make. I am going to go up there and watch the film and come back out and work hard on my footwork. My footwork is right, my arm is there, so I just got to clear those mistakes up.”DO THE GUYS WHO HAVE ALREADY TAKEN REPS IN THIS SYSTEM HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF AN ADVANTAGE?”I would be lying if I said it didn’t, it does a little bit. By this time though I feel extremely confident and spending hours studying and watching film. I feel supremely confident in my knowledge of the play book, that is not where my mistakes were made, I knew what I wanted to do, it was just some physical mistakes that lead to me having not the day I wanted to have. I will learn from it and bounce back.”ON EXPLOSIVENESS OF OFFENSE:”I think that everyone can see how explosive the offense can clearly be and that is without some of our main guys, Robert Turbin wasn’t playing, Kellen Barlett didn’t play, and obviously Matt Austin and Stanley Morrison were held back to keep them healthy. Even with the guys we were playing with the offense had some big plays, we drove the ball and I think the coaches were happy with the way the offense progressed and preformed today.” ALEX HART, REDSHIRT-FRESHMAN QUARTERBACKON THE SPRING GAME…”The spring game went great, made a lot of plays defensively and we made a lot of plays offensively and I felt like it was good. Now we just need to focus this summer on Auburn.”ON GETTING OFF TO A GOOD START TODAY…”Yes, I just made some right reads, so if you do that good things happen.” DOES THIS QB COMPETITION BRING OUT THE BEST IN YOU GUYS?”Oh yes, competition is great to have, it pushes us both. If they were to name a starter right off the bat we would get lackadaisical, so its good to push us both.”IS THAT GOING TO BE NICE OVER THE SUMMER TO NOT KNOW WHO THE STARTER WILL BE?”It will push us a lot more and will get us that much better and I think its good not to name a starter yet.”ON GETTING INTO A RHYTHM EARLY AND PLAYING WELL AGAINST THE FIRST DEFENSE…”I don’t know, just making the right reads. If you do that and have the right protection, the receivers ran good routes today and good things happened.”HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR RECEIVERS?”There are going to be dropped balls in every game but the receivers ran crisp routes and it helps us quarterback a lot when people are wide open.” HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE RUNNING GAME?”It was good. I mean, I would rather throw the ball but that’s just me.”XAVIER MARTIN, SENIOR WIDE RECEIVER (WHITE TEAM)”I had a good day, I was able to go to church last night on good Friday and praise God and He showed up for me today.”WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE OVERALL PLAY IN THE GAME TODAY?”The spring game itself was beautiful, to be able to switch up the teams with first team, second team, white and blue and everyone responded. The white team was a little out-numbered because all of the ones were on the blue side but we showed up and we did what we had to do and we got it done.”HOW HAS THE SPRING AS A WHOLE GONE?”Spring as a whole, speaking for the receiving corPS, we had some injuries of a couple of guys and we were able to step up. With myself being a senior leader, Eric Moats, and a couple of other guys we had to step up. I had my up’s and down’s but it was all up and up today in the game.”DO YOU WANT TO BE MORE CONSISTENT THIS YEAR?”Yes sir. I am trying to do everything on and off the field to be that consistent number one receiver; I look at myself that way and I will never not look at myself that way. I hope that I can continue to get it done.” ERIC MOATS, SENIOR WIDE RECEIVER (BLUE TEAM)TALK ABOUT YOUR TOUCHDOWN CATCH THAT YOU MADE?”It was a good catch, I saw the ball in the air and had to make an adjustment at the last second and went up and got it. That is what (wide receivers) Coach Bouknight teaches us, to go up and get it at it highest point and to be the better player on certain plays and I think that I did that on this one.” ON HAVING ANOTHER TD CATCH CALLED BACK BY A SACK…”I guess that everyone was laughing at me on the sidelines because I kept running and everyone else had stopped. I didn’t hear that whistle. It was a good ball by Adam Kennedy though, I think the back just went the wrong way on the protection, so once we can get stuff like that fixed we can pull out big plays like that. I think that we proved that today, we have the ability to go deep even with a lot of our main receivers out. I think we did a pretty good job today of making the big plays.” ON THOUGHTS ON THE QB’S…”I think that they both did really well, they are shuffling in there with different linemen, different receivers, different backs every other series but Alex Hart and Adam Kennedy both did a really good job. It is going to be tough come summer time to pick one to be the go to guy in the fall.” WALTER McCLENTON, SENIOR SAFETYON SPRING GAME…”We had a very good productive day on the blue side as far as defensive wise. We were swarming to the ball today against the offense and according to some of the other safeties on the white side, they felt like they had a good scrimmage as well. The offense kind of lit it up for the blue team, as far as the defense as a whole today, I felt like we did pretty well. Overall as a defense I felt like we had a pretty good day.” ON WHAT LED TO HIS INTERCEPTION AND RETURNING IT FOR TD…”I saw the three step, so I just pushed to where his eyes were and he just happened to throw it to me. I guess it was a good play.”ON HAVING A SACK IN NEXT SERIES AS WELL…”Yes sir. My man blocked the defensive end, so that freed me up to go make the play and that’s how that sack happened.”ON IT BEING HIS SECOND PICK-SIX OF THE SPRING AND WHAT HE’S DOING TO CREATE THOSE OPPORTUNITIES…”I am reading the formations and reading the quarterback’s eyes. We are taught in the three step to push to where his eyes go and if he puts the ball in your zone just catch it.”ON HOW THE CHANGE TO A 3-4 HAS HELPED THE SECONDARY…”It’s lovely. I am not going to lie. Getting pressure from different sides of the field, pressures from the middle, keeps the quarterback from knowing where we are coming from. It gives the quarterback a hard time, so I love the 3-4 adjustments.” JAKE DOUGHTY, SOPHOMORE LINEBACKERON SPRING GAME…”I thought that the game went well, both white and blue played great and it was good.”DOES IT HELP YOU TO GET MORE TIME DURING THE SCRIMMAGE WITH SOME OF THE OTHER GUYS BEING HELD OUT?”Yes it does, we still have Kyle Gallagher and Bobby Wagner here and they didn’t play in today’s game which allowed us second string guys to get some time and make sure we were crisp what we are doing and really give us the chance to show what we got.”ON IMPORTANCE OF LINEBACKER IN THE NEW SCHEME…”Yes we definitely need to get use to it, that is for sure. I think it really helped to play the game and we did really well. We are transitioning well.”HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO GET PRESSURE ON THE QB’S TODAY?”We just compete everyday and it flops back and forth to how well the offense or defense does, and today the defense did pretty well. It was nice.”ROBERT TURBIN, JUNIOR RUNNING BACKHOW MUCH HAVE YOU DONE DURING THIS SPRING?”I have done everything except scrimmage full tackle to the ground and it feels great. Coach Andersen wanted keep some of the starters and main guys out of scrimmages and get the young guys opportunities to play and prove themselves so we can get a closer look as to who we want to bring out in the fall. We can only will travel so many guys so we want to see who those guys are going to be. The young guys are going to have to step up and make plays sooner or later. So I have done everything full speed other than scrimmaging and it feels great. I’ve been out running routes against guys, I’ve been cutting off both feet and I have had no problems there. I had no problems changing directions, no problems with taking a hit or giving a hit, I’ve not had any problems and it feels good.”HOW IMPORTANT IS YOUR ROLE AS A LEADER ON THIS TEAM?”Probably a little bit more than usual, because we don’t have a starting quarterback right now, the leadership that a quarterback takes isn’t there just yet. So other guys like myself, Bobby Wagner, Michael Smith, Matt Austin and Stanley Morrison have to take on more of a leadership role to get these guys going. If we are practicing and we aren’t executing well than it is our responsibility to take charge and make sure that we are executing full speed so that we can get ready for the fall. Until that guy can show that he can take control and take leadership and show on the field that he can manage a game and show that he can complete passes consistently and know what he is doing consistently and get the guys lined up in the right spot, then we can name a starting quarterback and then he can have some leadership on this football team.”AS FAR AS CHEMISTRY GOES, DOES IT HURT TO HAVE YOU OUT IN THE SPRING TO BUILD SOME CHEMISTRY WITH THE NEW QB’S?”I certainly think it is something we can take care of in the fall. We have played together enough building up to spring ball, we had a lot of time running offense in January leading into spring ball, we have had a lot of practice time with the quarterbacks in spring ball, but we didn’t get to scrimmage together and it may hurt a little bit but we will make that up in the fall.” DONALD PENN, FORMER USU PLAYER AND CURRENT LEFT TACKLE FOR THE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE A TEAM STEP UP AND SAY THAT THEY WANT YOU AND MAKE YOU A DEAL?”It’s good now, you know I held out two years in a row and I was going through the ringer with those guys. I was thinking to myself, what have I done?, I don’t get into trouble, I play my butt off, I shut down the best of the best but patience works out in every situation. Like I tell everyone, I am so blessed and now I am trying to help people. I have started the Donald Penn Foundation and I want to try and get some stuff going here with the school as well. I am going to start showing my face here a lot more.”WHAT DO YOU TELL THE GUYS OUT HERE WHO HAVE NFL ASPIRATIONS?”The first thing that I did tell the guys was that you can’t do anything without school, you can’t get to college and play college football without being good in school. You have to play college football to be eligible to play in the NFL. I told them that I got my degree and that is something that no one can take away from me, all that other stuff you can worry about later. Some of us are lucky enough to keep playing and some of us aren’t, get that degree so you at least have something to fall back on.”ARE YOU GOING TO BE PLAYING FOOTBALL THIS FALL OR JUST WATCHING COLLEGE BALL?”I’m going to be doing something, I might try out for the NBA, I don’t know. I have been playing a lot of basketball lately. I have faith that they are going to get it all settled in time, I can only control what I can control, I work out everyday and I’ll be ready to go when they call us.”DO YOU KEEP UP WITH THIS PROGRAM THROUGHOUT THE YEAR?”Yes. Every week we have little wagers on Utah State.”WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE BYU WIN LAST SEASON?”I loved it! I still talk about it, I was here when we were up by thirty something points and they came back to beat us. I have a bad taste in my mouth about BYU.”WHAT ARE YOU THOUGHTS ABOUT COACH GARY ANDERSEN?”I had a really long talk with him and all the feedback and information that I have been getting has been positive. Now that I have come here and I have seen it, he is really taking this place in the right direction and I think that they have the right guy. I’m excited to see what he is going to do with this program. He told me we are still in the process, we are just starting and the process is looking good.”WATCHING THE GUYS TODAY DO YOU THINK ANY OF THEM HAVE NFL FUTURES?”Yes a lot of them do. I saw a lot of playmakers out there today and all the superstars didn’t play today and I saw a lot of other guys out there making plays. Walter McClenton made some good plays but I was mostly watching the offensive line guys. I think there is a lot of talent out here, a lot of talent.”WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO PLAYERS WHO HAVE PLAYED IN THE PROGRAM BUT HAVEN’T COME BACK?”It’s crazy. I got recruited on this building behind us and now it is here. They waited until I had left to build it but its great. I think that we have one of the best facilities on the West coast of any college. I have seen a couple and hands down I think that we have one of the best on the West coast. I think it is really going to start helping recruiting, as it already has. Its good, Logan is starting to get on the map a little bit more. Every time I tell people that I went to Utah State they think that I went to that red-school but now they are starting to know that I went to this blue and white school. I’m loving it, it lets me talk a little more trash now.”HAVE YOU TOLD ANY OF YOUR AUBURN TEAMMATES TO LOOK OUT?”Cadillac Williams and I have already been talking! I’m already on that one.”JARRETT BUSH, FORMER USU PLAYER AND CURRENT CORNERBACK FOR THE SUPER BOWL XLV CHAMPION GREEN BAY PACKERS HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE BACK AT UTAH STATE?”This has been a great opportunity for me to come back and show my support and getting to come out and coach up the kids a little bit. It’s been fun. It’s been great to come out and show my support for this program and the USU family. As an alum it is always great to come back and to show that kids that when you do graduate you need to come back and show your support and give back. In the end we are all one big happy family. Like I said, to show support and hopefully keep upgrading the facilities here and keep laying that foundation.”HOW MUCH DO YOU KEEP UP WITH THIS PROGRAM THROUGHOUT THE YEAR?”I do, anytime they are on television I am on my couch screaming. I always cheer for the basketball team, this year in the NCAA tournament I was cheering hard for them to get past Kansas State. I definitely pay attention to this program because I was here. I have history here and that what it is all about, like I said that is what it’s all about. It’s like feeling the cold here, its like no other. Green Bay is cold but it is a different kind of cold here in Logan.”TALK ABOUT YOUR SUPER BOWL INTERCEPTION…”Big Ben. It was the second quarter they came out in an empty formation without any running backs in the backfield and I watched and studied film and they had run the same play when I was watching film. He was throwing the same route over and over from game to game. So the time came up and I was able to jump it. I actually messed it up down at practice and I told myself ok that’s the same formation and I can’t mess it up and in the game I was able to jump the route.”WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE MOMENT HERE AS AN AGGIE?”It wasn’t just one moment, it was everything along the journey. It was the camaraderie, hanging out in the dorms, going to the cafeteria with the teammates, walking to class with the teammates, going to class, doing the up downs and running the hills. I just can’t pick one, I love football and I ran track as well. It is all of those moments that I keep and that is what I choose to cherish. A lot of people don’t get to do this, playing Division I football and I cherish those moments. Especially where I come from, being a small town kid. If I had to pick just one moment, it would probably have to be my first game against Alabama, we lost but that was my wake-up call that this is the real deal.”HAVE YOU HAD A CHANCE TO TALK WITH CURTIS MARSH?”I haven’t, but you know anything can happen in the draft. Where there is a will there is a way, he has to keep working, keep hoping, and keep playing. You have to make the best of the opportunities when they come.”DO YOU FEEL LIKE THIS IS A COLLEGE PROGRAM ON THE RISE RIGHT NOW?”It is, we have a great coaching staff, the kids look like they want to be here playing football and you have to appreciate that, it’s a little slice of what do in Green Bay and that’s what I see here. Hopefully we can keep it going and if we do you never know what can happen.”-USU-
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