Sept. 11, 2012
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State football head coach Gary Andersen, along with senior linebacker Bojay Filimoeatu and senior wide receiver Matt Austin, held a news conference Monday to talk about the upcoming game at Wisconsin. A complete transcript of Andersen, Filimoetua and Austin's remarks can be found below.
Head Coach Gary Andersen
Thoughts on upcoming week:
"Wisconsin, obviously, is a team that suffered a tough road loss last week. They're going to be a little bit ornery I am sure. They are going to be excited to get back home. They'll expect them to play well for sure and get back on the winning track, I am sure. You look at them, from what I have seen so far on film and a very physical offense, offensive line, tight ends, full backs, wide receivers block very well. A tremendous running back and that is who they are going to be. They are not going to change. I know they did not run the ball to their standards last week but that will be their emphasis without a doubt. They are going to want to be a big, strong, powerful football team that takes some shots down the field with play action and it's worked very well for them. The defense is led by some tremendous linebackers. If you put on the tape and watch those kids play, they're fast, they're physical, they're tough minded, they're leaders. It is very obvious on the film. It's a solid defense that in my opinion has played very well in both of their games, from what I have seen. It will be a big, stiff challenge for us. They are very solid on special teams. Talking with coach (Bill) Busch, they are very well coached. So, you have a team with a tremendous tradition, a team that expects to win. It will be a hostile environment, I'm sure. I look for that to hopefully not phase a young team. A lot of these kids have been in situations like that, in big stadiums. A lot of them haven't, so how we react to that I think will be key and we are excited about the opportunity to line up and play."
Chuckie Keeton and Tyler Bennett were named WAC Players of the Week. Can you talk a little bit about their performance?
"We knew walking into that game that Chuckie was going to have to make some spectacular plays. Whether it was with his arm or whether it was with his feet. He was able to make, I don't know you can argue however you want, but one of the biggest plays, if not the biggest play since I have been here and probably a long time in Aggie football, with the run there in the overtime period. He made some other plays with his feet. I thought the option game gave us an opportunity to move down the field a couple of times. He played very well and he threw the ball adequately. He is not going to be overly happy with the performance but it is tough sledding against a very good defense and when you are playing against a real good defense you have to find a way to make plays. I'm very happy for Chuckie to get that award. Tyler punted the ball great, got lucky on the last one and we needed every inch of that when they were going down. Tyler, I think, has been productive this year. I think he has been more consistent as far as getting the ball up in that last game. It's great recognition for him and his hard work. He pinned them inside the 20 four times. That is a major, major accomplishment as a punter and a lot of those balls were up in the air for a long time. Well deserved for both of those young men in my opinion."
When you look at the penalties, what do you see and how are you addressing that?
"We address everyone one of them, first of all. We had some administrative penalties. It is a technique that you get defensive lines that move, both defensive lines do. They pride themselves in trying to make other people, not necessarily jump, but it is part of the defensive scheme of Utah and it is part of our defensive scheme and there was three of those in there. Those are tough, especially when you are third and two and all of a sudden you turn around it's third and seven. That's a little bit the nature of the people we were playing there, we prepared for it and handled it well most of the time. We will be better at that, I believe. I was proud of the way we didn't retaliate. We didn't take some shots when shots may have been there for us to take. We are being smart, we are doing a lot of things smart on the physicality side of playing between the whistles and that was a positive. Is 12 penalties too many? Absolutely. There is an ignorant penalty in there, sprinkled in there. The pass interference on Nevin (Lawson), that is a football play. There were a couple of other ones that went through there, but in two games we've got 22 penalties. Does that concerns me? Yes. That and our ball security will both cost us a game down the road if we don't get better at it and we will address them both, we already have. We will address them at practice today with the ball security issue also."
When you look at Montee Ball, what do you see and what do you like about him?
"Pretty much he is the whole package as a back, if you will. He is physical, he has great ball security, he catches the ball very, very well out of the backfield, whether he is running a route from being a running back or whether he is lining up in a wide receiver position. They like to highlight him as a football player and they should. The amount of carries and the workload that he had upon himself last year was impressive, how durable he was. He is kind of the whole package and he is a lot like the (John) White kid. He stops and starts very well but he also carries himself with a pretty major physical presence. He is a very, very good football player.
Do you expect Wisconsin to have more of an edge this week following its loss?
"Yeah absolutely, I am sure they will. They are champions. They expect to win every game, they expect to play at a high national level and not just play good week in and week out. They are expected to play at a high, high national level and that is what their program is and I am sure that is what their coaches and players expect. They stubbed their toe, but for them that was simply round two and they lost round two. At the end of 13 rounds or 12 rounds, however many rounds that you get to play throughout the year, round two won't mean a whole lot if you don't allow it to mean a lot. That is whether you won or lost round two. I am sure that is the way they are going to look at it. They are going to learn from it, they are going to want to move on and they are going to want to play very well on Saturday and I am sure they expect to play well."
Kellen Bartlett was targeted a lot on Friday, how nice is it to have him back and playing as good as he is?
"First of all, it is great to have him back for him after fighting through a couple of injuries. He is a big, big part of our offense. Eight catches, his first career touchdown, he was a big part of that game. I thought he played very well and we expect him to play well. The tight ends, not just Kellen, but the tight ends will continue to be apart of our offense as we moved forward. He (Kellen) blocked very well. I thought he did a nice job of coming around the edge a few times. Highlighted in that blocking too was the way that D.J (Tialavea) blocked. I thought D.J. was very good at the defensive end position as far as blocking Utah's defensive ends. Did he win every time? No, I am not saying that but he held is own for sure and we needed that. That was the run that Kerwynn (Williams) popped out and that was a big run and it really was set up by the tight ends on the edge of the defense."
What's next with the place kickers?
"We will see. We will see how we move forward and what happens. We'll be fine. Those kids are tough-minded kids and it is a work in progress like a lot things after two games. It's easy to look back and say that kicker wasn't very good, but our snaps weren't good. We were three of 13 on our snaps as far as our accuracy that we expect to have from our snapper and what we expect our snappers to do. We were not productive at all in that area in this football game and that throws off the timing of everything. The punting was that way and so was the PATs and field goals, and that is not something we are used to."
Was the fumbled snap on the one punt Tyler Bennett's fault?
"No, I wouldn't say that was all Tyler. Tyler needs to field tough balls as part of what he does. More so, the timing obviously with the hold of Jeron (Bentrude) and putting the ball down on the PAT field goals is everything. If that ball is off, as crazy as it sounds, if that ball is off by even a half an inch it will look like it is the worst kick in the history of college football. Everybody is going to want to point the finger right now at the kicker, but there is a lot that goes into everything in the kicking game and we will continue to move forward. I've got belief in the two kids that are there and that is where we are going to go. We are going to go with Josh (Thompson) and we will move forward and we will see. If Brock (Warren) holds it down, Brock holds it down. If Josh comes in and holds it down, then Josh holds it down. They will compete every week just like every kid in our program."
On what he said to Brock Warren before the long field goal kick:
"Well I asked him to smile. He was kind of hyperventilating to be honest with you. I just wanted to make sure he could take a deep breath and he wasn't going to pass out by the time he got to the numbers. I think he was caught up in the moment. Again, this is a youthful team and that's big. A Sky View High School kid and then all of a sudden the Utes walk into your place and you are playing well. All of a sudden the stadium is full and there is 25,000 eyes on me, I get that. We need to grow past it, we need to learn with it and we will continue to go forward. I just looked at him and smiled and asked him to take a deep breath. It took him a couple of seconds and he got about a half a deep breath, we went out and took our best shot at it. Those situations, you can get guys around practice and yell and scream at them, but being in a game-time moment is very key and they will get better. I have faith in those kids."
On some of the veteran kids having experience against big schools and if you expects that kind of effort in these games:
"Absolutely, that is what I expect. More importantly to what I expect, I promise you that is what they expect. They expect to go in and play well. They expect to find a way to get the game into the fourth quarter and make it be competitive and they expect to find a way to win. Wisconsin, I am sure, feels exactly the same way that we do. We're to a point where we have those expectations regardless of who we play. Our plan is to win when we prepare, it doesn't change and we will move forward in that direction."
On having a Thursday game, then a Friday game and now a Saturday game. Does that help you get ready for a game like this?
"I think it gives you a day. We took Saturday off. I don't like to come in on Sundays but I felt like it was important to give the kids Saturday off. We went to watch film on Sunday, did nothing physically, but it gives a day ahead today. The kids came in this morning, watched film, got some breakfast and headed off to school. They come back at 1:45 and instead of running around loosening up their legs, we're an 18 period practice, an hour and a half on to Wisconsin. It does gain us a day."
Did you feel like coming into this game that Utah had enough healthy respect for you guys?
"Yeah I did. I am sure they were hounded all week long. I think Utah has respect for us, but I can't say that for sure. They came into the game prepared. The film would say they did. If I look at the effort of the Utah team, it was very good effort. I thought they played extremely hard, and Kyle's (Whittingham) teams are always going to do that, and they are extremely physical. I would think walking into that game that they would have great respect for our program. I know after I watch the film, they played like they did because they played very hard."
Senior Linebacker Bojay Filimoeatu
Opening statement on playing Wisconsin:
"For the Wisconsin game, we are going to take the same mentality that we took into the Utah game. They have a great back just like John White, Monte Ball. He is probably one of the best backs in the nation, if we can take out him like we did John White than the game can go our way."
Do you play a similar style to Oregon State on defense?
"Well, they have a four-man front and we play a three-man front, so it is kind of a different defense. But, they run the same type of offense that Utah does. Hopefully we can take what we did to Utah and do it to Wisconsin."
How would you compare Monte Ball to John White?
"They are both slashers, and both very good backs. I can't say who is better, but once we play against Monte Ball we will find out."
Are there any concerns on how this team will respond after a game like last weeks?
"We have got to stay humble and hungry. With our defense playing how it is in the past two games, I think we can do anything right now. After that Utah win a lot of people are congratulating us but at the same time the season is not over yet, we still have 10 more games to go and we are looking forward to those games. We are going to take it game by game, play by play, and I think that our defense will step up."
What do you see in the Wisconsin skill players?
"They are great and they have a great quarterback. I think he might be the best quarterback that we will face all year. I think that we have got to get to him and pressure him to make him feel that we are there. We have to do the same thing that we did to (Jordan) Wynn."
Wisconsin is always known for having a big offensive line, what do you see?
"They are good. They have a good group of five guys, I don't really see much weakness, but I think that our defensive line can play to there ability. What Jordan Nielsen did last week was amazing for a kid like that to step into that roll and to get two sacks in that type of a game, it shows the kind of identity we have as a defense."
After your win over Utah you received your first vote for the AP top 25 since 1966:
"It is great, I have no words to explain it. To be apart of a program like Utah State and where it is going, I am blessed. For someone to vote us into the top 25 poll just shows you what kind of team we can be. I think after we play Wisconsin and everything goes our way, we will be a team to be talked about."
Senior Wide Receiver Matt Austin
Opening statement on playing Wisconsin:
"Wisconsin is a great team. Offensively, I have seen them in the past with Monte Ball and things like that. Defensively we have to worry about their corners, they are pretty good and play a lot of man. They have two veteran safeties that I think have been starting their whole career. Their defense starts with the three linebackers. Number 44 is an all-American, all-Big Ten guy, I cant think of his name right now but he is a high motor guy and I think that he is the face of there defense."
What is it going to take to get over the hump at these BCS schools?
"I don't think that it is a hump, it is just another game for us. We have got to go out there and be physical and come out strong. If we come out and play just like we did we will come out on top I think."
Wisconsin covered the pass very well against Oregon State, they saw a lot of throws and seemed to cover it well:
"Wisconsin played off a little bit, they probably watched a little bit of film, but the Oregon State receivers were good. They were hitting them with the quick stuff, hitches and stuff like that, little out routes just adding up the yards. Again their defense is good, I think they just watched a lot of film on Wisconsin and they were just hitting them with the quick stuff. That is what I feel like we are going to start off with too just to see where we are at and get a little fill of the game and then go from there."
Having watched the film do you feel like there is something that you will be able to exploit?
"Yeah, we have a few things, we are going to take some big shots and we are going to go out there and fight. Again like I said, with Oregon State they did a lot of quick stuff so that is what we are looking for to begin the game. Getting the tight ends involved a little bit more and the slot receivers and work them a little bit more. It should be a good game."
Talk about the confidence level heading into this game?
"Confidence is high, it is just a great feeling of what I am apart of right now. Our confidence boost from this last game was just great. Regardless of who got the most yards, that is the last thing on everybody's mind, it is just to win right now. It is just a great feeling."
Is the team's confidence a lot different from when you played the Oklahoma game a few years ago?
"Yeah, it was kind of a different feeling. We lost last year in the bowl game and I think that just taught us what we have to do now. We have to take the next step and last year we didn't finish in the fourth quarters and stuff like that. I know a lot of people were probably in the stands hanging their heads a little bit and I liked how we proved everyone wrong. I like the AP poll. I like to see that people know that we are here. That is just a great feeling to be a part of now and to be a part of the tempo that we have set around here."
You did finish in the fourth last game does that help your mentality this year?
"Oh yeah, it helps a lot. The game shouldn't have been that close, but we knew that it was going to be a great game and they are a great team. Their defense was good and that is probably one of the best defensive lines that we are going to face and just finishing them off, like I said, that boosted our confidence a lot. It helped us out."
You are going to run into a rugged environment this weekend:
"I think it is just the same thing, I am sure that everyone feels the same way that I do, after that first drive it just goes silent to me. That is the last thing that we are worried about. Their fans are a big part of the game, but I feel like once we go in there and do what we do and silence them quick just like we did at Auburn. I think Auburn was close enough to the same amount of fans, but again we just have to go out there and play. This Utah game was loud, we are going to be doing the silent count and stuff so we will be ready for the same exact environment that we had here, it sounded like 90,000 here, so it is the same thing."
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