UTAH STATE FOOTBALL PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES – 11-21-11

Utah State head coach Gary Andersen, junior running back Robert Turbin and senior linebacker Bobby Wagner addressed the media at Monday’s press conference, recapping win over Idaho and previewing this week’s home finale and Senior Day vs. Nevada.USU HEAD COACH GARY ANDERSEN: ON IDAHO WIN:”Obviously, it’s great to win, overtime again, last-second game again. Just like we talked about last week, thinking it would go down to the wire, it did. It was a game of momentum swings. Offensively, I thought Robert (Turbin) played extremely well. We had some big plays which we always like. The offense also had some sustained drives where they moved themselves down the field and finished drives. Special teams was solid. Things can always be better, you don’t want to fumble, obviously, on the kickoff return, but I thought they were improved. We kicked the ball better, but still not good enough.” “Defensively, in the redzone was acceptable, other than that on defense, we couldn’t get out of third downs. It was our worst performance of the year in that aspect and that was discouraging. Yet, when the defense needed to, time after time in the redzone and into the second overtime, they played very well. They had to win the game three different times and were able to get that done.””The late turnover was big and they were able to bow up in that situation and not let them score. It was not typical, as far as what we’ve done all year long on the defensive side, but we did make some big plays when we had to. In the end, it was a great team effort. All three phases had a lot to do with it at the end. We found a way to hang in there and keep on fighting and win on the road.” “Getting to 5-5 is a large step for this program, in my opinion. It shows progress. It takes us places we haven’t been in a number of years. It’s a big help in the recruiting process. It’s a big step. The step to get to number six will be a gigantic step, obviously.”ON NEVADA:”This week’s opponent is a very good football team. Nevada is very solid on offense and on defense. Talk about going long and hard each year. They’re the defending champs so obviously one of the top three teams in our league. We talk about playing well with those teams and that’s exactly where we sit with Reno. They’re a very physical team, probably more physical on the offensive front than they were a year ago. That will be an extreme challenge for us because we were not nearly physical enough last week on the defensive front. I know I’m hard on those kids and I know we won, but we weren’t physical enough. If we allow ourselves to play like that this week, we may have two or three linemen find themselves in the middle of the Laub Center, knocked right off the field. So we need to figure it out.””Their quarterback runs the system very well, especially for a first-year quarterback. I think he’s feeling more comfortable every week. They have good wide-outs, good running backs. No. 15, Rishard Mathews, is the stand-out wide receiver, he’s tremendously talented. Everyone on the offensive side of the ball is very efficient. Defensively, they are very well-coached. They run the ball very well.”ON SENIORS AND PRACTICE THIS WEEK:”It’s the last game for the seniors at home. They have a chance to do a special thing on their home field against a quality opponent. We’re looking forward to the challenge and looking forward to getting prepared. We’re taking it a little bit easier today after our 400-hour trip that should have taken an hour. We got through that and got back. The kids handled it well, but we’re going to take a little more time today to watch some more film. It’s not starting slower, just getting a little more educated after Idaho. It was a very physical game for us. We gain a little bit of extra time this week since we don’t have school, so we’ll make that up in the back end.”ON THIS WEEKEND’S TRAVEL AND EVER BEING IN A SIMILAR SITUATION:”I have been stuck a couple of times before, a couple of times we’ve had to stay overnight, but never in the beginning, middle and the end. I’ve never had that happen like that. The kids did a great job with it. I’m getting older and older so it’s harder for me to recover from stuff like that, but it didn’t bother them. They still got a good night’s sleep and took care of themselves and went and played well. Obviously it’s not the ideal situation. That’s not ever the plan, but it’s just the way it happened for this game. These kids handled it and adjusted well. We did what we had to do. It was a little adversity and they got through it.”ON THIS YEAR’S SENIORS:”They’ve done a lot of things. I can really only gauge them on the three years I’ve been here, but their number of wins has gone up. Respect as a football program both on and off the field has gone up, and they should be really proud of that. At the beginning of the year they said they wanted to walk away with a legacy, and I think they already have. I think there’s a level of accountability that in my opinion is much higher just from the student-athlete standpoint than there was and that’s a credit to the kids. They expect to win. They believe they can win. They believe they can play with anybody on the football field. The level of accountability to carry yourself on and off the field is, we say, off the field is more important. The way these kids carry themselves is pretty impressive. We’re not perfect, but it’s pretty impressive. There’s always a solid foundation for what these kids have done. Just to see them fight through this year, through the adversity, and then be able to finally be able to finish. It’s rewarding for me to finally be able to see that, and see their hard work pay off. It’s rewarding to know that when they worked out hard, it matters. I think they’ve left a legacy and that’s what they wanted to do.”INJURY UPDATE:”We’ll have to see. Phil (Gapelu) is a major question mark. I would say doubtful is an understatement for him. Knowing Stanley (Morrison), he’ll probably play, but we have to see how he moves through this week.” DO YOU NEED TO GET IN BAD SPOTS AND BACKS AGAINST WALL TO FINISH?”I don’t think so. I just think that when they get themselves in those spots, they bow up because they think they can do it. Your competitiveness comes out. Maybe you do fight a little bit harder when the clock is counting down and your back is up against the wall, but I think that’s human instinct. When you see something slip away you’re going to fight a little bit harder for it. I don’t see it on film, we just find a way to be able to make plays.” “That play that Bobby Wagner made for the interception? Unbelievable. I don’t know how high his vertical jump is there, but it’s high. Idaho executed very well on that play. They took the safety out of the backside of the endzone and it was a hard scheme to be able to deal with but a ‘backer drops right to where you ask him to drop and he does it, and an athletic kid made an extremely great play. He was in the right place at the right time. It continues that way. You can watch it over and over again and you can coach it and you can talk about it, but Kyle Gallagher – the kid’s going as hard as he can go on snap 90-whatever it was and he tackles the guy with the back of his head basically as he snaps off a block to make it. Quinn Garner snaps off a block and makes a violent tackle that hadn’t been stopped by anyone basically all year long on the 3-yard line. When their backs are against the wall they’re fighting just as hard as they were earlier. They’re making plays in those situations.”ON TURNOVERS:”It’s highly concerning. It’s three weeks in a row that we’ve lost the turnover battle. Find that stat where the team with a three-game winning streak has lost the turnover battle all three times. We’re definitely still learning. Those turnovers in those situations are hard to deal with and hard to swallow. The touchdown on the pick? I don’t know what you do with it. The ball’s thrown, there’s a collision with an official and the ball’s tipped in the air and someone makes a play. The official’s where he’s supposed to be, so it’s not his fault, it’s a play, that’s football. We’ve addressed it and we’re moving forward with it, but it’s a difficult scenario and we need to keep educating ourselves on it. The biggest way we can help is on the defensive side to get more turnovers.”ON TURBIN BEING NAMED WAC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK:”He’s my player of the week, I know that much. He’s a tremendous football player. He’s a great kid and everything he gets he deserves, every ounce of it. It’s great to see. It’s fun to see his team rally around him. On Robert’s long run, Michael Smith was right there with him and kind of reels him in. The unselfishness of this football team has been very impressive to me all year long and Robert will be the first one to say that the O-Line, tight ends, receivers and Michael Smith did a good job of blocking for him.”ROBERT TURBIN, JUNIOR RUNNING BACKON IDAHO GAME AND BREAKING RECORDS:”Obviously a great feeling to be able to number one, get a win against a good team in Idaho. It is a great feeling to be able to be a player at Utah State and accomplish and break some records that were set here by some great players, before me. I just feel very blessed to be able to have these opportunities and to be in this situation and be able to accomplish some of the things that I have been able to accomplish. I give a great deal of credit to my coaches, to the coaching staff, to the strength coach in Coach Simon. Those guys have really taught me a lot, from the time that they have been here. Coach Tuiaki, the running backs coach, has taught me a lot of about being a running back that I never knew before and has definitely helped me be a better player. Coming off the injury last season, I mentioned to you guys before, Coach Simon who is our head strength coach, really did a great job, just did a lot of one-on-one training, taught me a lot about my body and how to take care of it, prepared me for this season to be able to do some great things. I am just very thankful to be able to do that, to accomplish some of those.”ON NEVADA GAME:”As far as Nevada coming in this week, this is just a huge game for us. Probably the biggest game of the year. We know Nevada is a good team and they have some great players and they do some great things offensively and defensively. We are not going to change. We are going to do what we do every single week. We are going to go into this week’s practice anticipating a big game. That will motivate us to work a little bit harder, go a little bit of the extra mile this week. Try to gain an edge by the time Saturday comes around and hopefully with all of that we have some success and come out on top.”ON TURNING OVER THE BALL NINE TIME IN LAST TWO GAMES AND BALL SECURITY AGAINST NEVADA:”It’s huge. One thing that I know about Nevada, playing those guys in the past, is that they are a very disciplined team. With all their running plays that they do, with all their read options stuff that they offensively, they don’t turn the ball over and they don’t throw a lot of interceptions. They usually have a good quarterback who makes great decisions. They usually have a good running back who runs the ball well and they don’t put the ball on the ground and the same as their quarterback. As much as their quarterback runs the ball, his ball security is pretty flawless. They do a great job offensively of taking care of the ball. Defensively, they just do a good job of being disciplined with their assignments, being disciplined in their gaps, the linebackers and the defensive line and they cause offenses to eventually make mistakes. We have got to be disciplined in carrying the football. Holding on to the football and not having turnovers.”ON BECOMING BOWL ELIGIBLE IN FRONT OF HOME FANS:”It would mean everything. These fans are some of the greatest fans in college football and they deserve to see their football team become bowl eligible at our own house. It has been many, many years since Utah State football has been to a bowl game and won a bowl game. That was our goal coming into this season, to be able to get to a bowl game and win a bowl game. We felt like we have the players to do it, we felt like we had the team to do it and now we have a chance to do it. Now it is all on us. All we need is one game, we would like to get two with two games left but we will take it one game at a time. Right now the focus is on Nevada and hopefully we can get a win.”ON FANS STICKING WITH AGGIE FOOTBALL WITH PAST YEARS OF STRUGGLES:”Absolutely. A lot of fans at a lot of places, and that is why I say our fans are some of the greatest fans in college football, because a lot of fans in a lot of places they don’t give a team that is not so good for so long a chance, they give up. I’ll give an example. I hate to talk down about another team but San Jose State has been to bowl games in recent years and Louisiana Tech has had success in the past, but when you go out there they never fill the stands, regardless of whether they are winning or losing. When we are winning our stands are filled. We get BYU fans coming to see us and Utah fans. The support of people in Utah in general is flawless, it is unbelievable. It does not amaze me that they stick around because they are die hard fans and all they want to do is see their Aggies be successful and that is why they stick around.”ON MEETING EMMETT WHITE AND SOME OF THE OTHER PLAYERS WHOSE RECORDS HE IS BREAKING:”Yes I talk to Emmett pretty much every week, probably like once a week. He always gives me a break down of the game, some stuff that I can do better and what he thinks. I always like to hear that kind of stuff from a guy who is great and who has done it before. It gives me an opportunity to take his advice and get better and improve.”ON THIS YEAR’S SENIOR CLASS:”It is a great group of guys, hard workers, dedicated to this football team. Right before we played Hawai’i, those seniors called a players-only meeting and it was probably one of the most meaningful meetings I have ever been a part of, to try and help turn this season around. We could have easily tanked, guys could have easily thrown in the towel but those seniors just didn’t allow it. I think that has a great deal of why we have been successful the last three weeks as far as getting wins. Those seniors are great leaders for this team.”ON BEING HERE LONGER THAN SOME OF THE SENIORS:”Nevertheless those guys are seniors, so they lead the way. I play for those guys, I want them to leave knowing that we went to a bowl game and we won, we did some great things that year and they can leave their senior year remembering that, having that fondness memory of college football.”ON BEING WAC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK:”Just another honor. I thank those guys for noticing me, to notice what I do out there on the field, to recognize me as the WAC Player of the Week is just a huge honor. I appreciate that.”ON NEVADA’S GOOD RUN DEFENSE:”I remember 2009, I think I rushed for 40 yards that game. I only had like 7 or 8 carries but every time we play Nevada it seems like they know how to shut our run game down. They do a good job against the run. When I get a chance to watch film on those guys, I am pretty sure the film will be their resume and I will see exactly how they do some of those things and see what they do well. Like you said, they are top in the WAC as far as stopping the run. They are one of the best in the nation in stopping the run, they are just a disciplined defense. When you have that discipline, you can stop the run and you can do very, very well on defense. We just have to come out with a good game plan, execute our stuff and figure out a way to get some yards against that defense. Running the ball is what we do, that is our baby, that is our bread and butter. If we can’t run the ball we are going to have a lot of problems.”ON TRAVIS VAN LEEUWEN MAKING BIG CATCHES:”It is great to see, especially when you have worked with a guy like that. I worked all off season and you can see during the off season, during workouts and stuff like that, during conditioning, how hard the kid works. The kid works very, very hard. When we are done, he usually stays. He is one of those guys that usually stays after workouts, he will get with a quarterback and he will work on his route running, he will work on his timing with the quarterback and stuff like that. He is doing that all summer, all on his own. I kept telling him to keep that stuff up because you are going to do some great things this season if you continue to work hard like that and it is starting to show. It is starting to show that with hard work you can have some success.”ON HAVING SOME DOWN TIME SINCE THE START OF THE SEASON:”It definitely taught us a lot. Coach Andersen has preached to us often that players have to make plays in key situations to win games. It is not going to be a call, it is not going to be a blitz that Coach Andersen calls or a pass play that Coach Baldwin calls. It is up to us to go out there and execute when the game is at its most crucial points. We haven’t done that, we didn’t do that earlier in the season. If you watch film, you always see just that one play or this play there or that play there. It kind of gets to you, it itches you a little bit. It definitely taught us lessons later on in the season, a lot of that has taught us how to win the few games, these close games.”ON REHABBING HIS INJURY LAST YEAR AND WHEN HE FELT THAT HE WAC BACK TO 100 PERCENT:”Yes, I would probably say right before spring ball. I knew I was going to be good. I did a lot of things during rehab and Coach Simon challenged me and I had no choice but to just trust my knee, doing cuts and jumps and things like that. He would hit my knee with a bag while I was up in the air, kind of simulating a broken tackle a little bit. I think I am going to be alright. It didn’t hurt or anything like that, so I just knew I would be good. During this season I really didn’t feel, if I had to pick a game where I really felt like I could go again it was probably after the Colorado State game. That is really when I felt like I can play again.”ON GIVING UP BIG EARLY LEADS:”I think it could be a mixture of things. I think we can get a little bit relaxed. We are up 21-10, maybe we expect the opposing team to fold or roll over or bow down. Our execution becomes relaxed, we don’t execute offensively and defense we are not as fast to the line of scrimmage anymore. We are not as sharp, our routes are not as crisp. Just a number of things and just like I said, lessons learned. You have got to play four quarters at this level of football. You have to, this is Division I, everybody is trying to win a championship. Especially this year in this league, in the WAC, everybody felt that they could be WAC champions. Whether they came in last this last season or whether they were in second-place last season or whether they were in the middle last season. Everybody came into the WAC this season saying, we’ve got the team to win the WAC, but you have got to do it for four quarters. You can’t go up at halftime and be relaxed in the second half. You can’t be relaxed in the first half and all of a sudden try to turn it on in the second. You won’t win a lot of games like that.”BOBBY WAGNER, SENIOR LINEBACKERON IDAHO TRIP AND GAME:”First of all, I want to say that trip was crazy. I just like the way our team stayed focused through that whole process and it kind of carried into the game. We started fast and I definitely feel like we came out ready to play. I am happy we pulled out the win.”ON NEVADA GAME:”They are always going to be a tough team, they always feel like they are going to be a tough team. They are one of the top teams in this division. I am excited to get another opportunity to play them.”ON NEVADA BEING NUMBER ONE IN THE WAC ON OFFENSE:”I am excited to go against an offense like that, the top offense. We want to definitely show off how far we have come as a defense and try to stop that offense, which is a pretty challenging offense. I haven’t got a chance to watch them on film yet but I have seen a couple of times on TV. They look like they do a really good job at what they do.”ON GIVING UP A LOT OF YARDS AGAINST IDAHO:”Definitely, Idaho got some plays but I think we were back and forth. I think the defense, we held our own a couple of plays when we were put in tough situations. They have been gaining yards but they didn’t get us on those tough situations. I still feel like the defense stepped up when they had to and made some plays.”ON PLAYING LAST GAME AT ROMNEY STADIUM:”It just makes me think of the beginning freshman year, as number 40. Most people probably don’t even remember that I wore 40. It is going to be a great feeling. I want to go out winning as my last time playing in Romney Stadium. It is going to definitely be one that I enjoy.”ON THIS YEAR’S SENIOR CLASS:”I definitely feel like this is a great group of guys like Robert Turbin said. That meeting definitely helped us out, when we were at an all time low after losing a game. We just stayed focused and stayed positive throughout everything and I think I am one of maybe four guys that was with Brent Guy. It is just been a long road for us, with the coaching change and everything. I think these guys, this senior class has been through a lot and it is showing, we have proved a lot too.”ON THE PLAYERS WHO WERE HERE DURING BRENT GUY ERA:”I think it is me, Quinn Garner, Kellen Bartlett, Oscar Molina-Sanchez, Chris Harris and I think that is it. Robert Turbin was here to, but I am talking who I came with.”ON WHY HE WEARS NUMBER NINE NOW:”Nine was always the number I wanted but when I came here I wanted nine but they told me I had to prove myself before I could get it. So, I think I have proven myself.”ON IF HE HAS A FAVORITE MOMENT HERE AT ROMNEY STADIUM:”One of them has to be the BYU game [in 2010], because I have never been a part of winning a game and having the fans rush the stadium. The Louisiana Tech game [in 2009] when I got that one handed pick and gave high five to the fan, whoever that was.”ON IF HE EVER THOUGHT BOWL ELIGIBILITY WOULD NOT HAPPEN THE WAY THE SEASON STARTED:”No, I never felt that way. I felt like we were going through a lot and for us to go through a lot and not get a bowl game was just, it never did cross my mind. I stayed positive with all of that.”ON BECOMING BOWL ELIGIBLE IN FRONT OF HOME FANS:”It would be big to do it in front of the fans here. I definitely feel like they have supported us through a lot, when we are good, when we are bad. They could have easily given up on us when we had the big leads and let them slip away. They still supported us and still want to see us succeed. It would be a great feeling to win in front of them.”ON LAST YEAR’S NEVADA GAME:”I remember, and as the score showed, we started off real slow. We definitely can’t start off slow against them this year. I feel like they had a great quarterback last year but watching the guy this year, he has made a couple of big plays. We just have to come out, focus and start fast.”ON BEING GLAD ABOUT NOT HAVING TO PLAY AGAINST COLIN KAEPERNICK:”Not really, I wanted to see him a few more times. That is alright, maybe I will see him next year.”ON THE INTERCEPTION IN THE IDAHO GAME:”I knew they were going to try and throw it over me. I think the quarterback may have under-estimated my arm length. It may have been one of the highest jumps I had this year.”ON LEADING THE TEAM IN INTERCEPTIONS WITH TWO:”That is crazy, we are going to have to work on that. We definitely are going to have to work on that. I am not worried about it though, I don’t mind leading the team in interceptions.”ON IF THE TEAM LIKES HAVING THEIR BACKS AGAINST THE WALL:”I think we like to have the fans on the edge of their seats. It keeps them coming back… No, I don’t know. I don’t know what we like to do. As long as we win I don’t care how we do it.”-USU-

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