Sept. 17, 2012
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State football head coach Gary Andersen held a news conference Monday to talk about the upcoming game at Colorado State. A complete transcript of Andersen's remarks can be found below.
Head Coach Gary Andersen
On Wisconsin game:
"It was a tremendous effort, the kids played extremely hard. I didn't expect anything different than that. Eight of our last nine games have gone down to the wire. We've won six of them. This is a tough-minded crew. All I hear is "Oh, another tough loss," but I guess the way I look at it is we won six of eight in the last seconds. I'm very proud of them. We played at a high level. That defense for Wisconsin wasn't good, but a great defense. They are very well coached. They play football the right way. I was even more impressed after watching the tape twice yesterday. The kids reacted to the road very well. They handled the situation well. We came up a play short at the end. There's no way, shape or form one play wins or loses a game like that. If the kick goes in, yeah it's a game-winning kick, but it didn't win the game alone. I feel the same way about it not going in. There are a lot of young men that you look at who could have made a game-winning play. That's my big thing is to tell the team to do your job and worry about yourself. These kids rally and wrap their arms around each other. They'll go fight again and we're excited about the opportunity to prepare for Colorado State."
On performance of special teams:
"A week ago, special teams played a gigantic part in winning the game against Utah. This week, Josh Thompson missed his first field goal all season. We're working on that. The punt return, I can tell you that three of our best defenders were in range and we just didn't make a play. That's disheartening. It's a tough one to swallow for those kids and for us. That kid is a good punt returner, but it's a play that could have been made. You can look at the punt in that situation where the goal is to get it up high in the air and to the 10-yard line. We've executed that play flawlessly 10 other times this year. It was one play in the football game. Other than that, special teams-wise, we had a couple of punts that weren't good punts. It snowballed on us a little bit. One thing I'm going to do is point out things and work to get a few more kids on special teams, some of the youth. We can take the burden off some of those young men, especially Zach Vigil and McKade Brady. Those kids are working up to 100 snaps a game, and that's too many. We'll continue to work. We'll make it more of a point of emphasis for the coaches and myself and the kids. In turn, I believe we'll win some games on special teams as we go through the season."
On the absence of Brock Warren:
"Josh (Thompson) has been the kicker. As we went through the Utah game he would have been the field goal kicker if we had needed it. Brock was with us and did travel. On the kick-off duties, we didn't kick it as deep. We'll be back in the mountains this week where we feel at home, so hopefully we can get it deep back in the end zone."
On being where you want to be competitive-wise as a program:
"I don't think you're ever exactly where you want to be, but I will say this. I believe our kids are playing hard. They are playing at a high level. I think they walk into every game expecting to win. They prepare at every practice expecting to put the plan together and hold each other accountable. Competitively, it's pretty impressive to me. You look at Utah State walking into Camp Randall, the surroundings, the Big 10 and everything, and really believe we can walk in there and win. To me, that's a pretty competitive football team. I'm proud of the kids."
On facing former Aggie coach Dave Baldwin as CSU's offensive coordinator and if there is an advantage on either side:
"I'd say it's a wash. If you look back at 2009, Dave did a great job of taking the offense and making it be a spread offense because that's the players we had that year. He did the same thing in 2010 with three of our best players out. In 2011, I thought he did a good job again of realizing who we were, with a freshman quarterback and two great running backs. It was an effective offense. I think he's still in transition trying to figure out who's playing where, and what the best offense is with the people he has. The scariest thing for me walking into this game is trying to figure out which way they're going to go. Dave will change to get his best personnel in the game. I don't think it's an advantage either way (knowing each other). We're going to do what we do and go out and play football."
On the questionable calls in the Wisconsin game:
"We do talk about it. You walk into an environment and you have to be prepared to deal with calls that may not go your way. That's the life of it. If there are calls I think need to be evaluated we can send them in and at least get an evaluation of them. I'm sure the officials will give us an evaluation of what they saw. The staff of officials that were there communicated really well with me. There were some situations that were helpful for us to learn from. That was a positive. They know there were some calls I didn't agree with and maybe carried on a little too long. They know they're going to get evaluated and we'll get an answer back and see where it goes. In a game that is that close and that contested, there's always a call or two."
Preparing for Colorado State:
"The biggest thing on film for them is being well-coached on offense and defense. We've got three games to look at now, which is a positive with a new offense and new defense. There have been some changes in personnel and in the scheme of things as they've gone through the first three games. We'll prepare like we always do. Coaches will do a great job and the kids will get started today putting together the game plan. It's a standard operating procedure. Win, lose or draw, we don't change how we operate during the week. It's a system we believe in. We'll get these kids fresh and away we'll go."
On CSU missing key running back and containing the run:
"You have to focus on the run first. We've played against some very good backs in the last couple of weeks and have been able to contain them. The offensive lines for the last two teams have been good, so we'll see how it works going forward. You have to stop the run first. Those kids are flying around and taking a lot of pride in what they're doing. It matters to them."
On the importance of this week's game to bounce back:
"I'm the worst when it comes to thinking about the `difficult losses.' It's hard for me to get over it. It rips my heart apart to see things like that happen to these kids. For us to be able to get over that, it's got to be put away. It will be gone but not forgotten. We'll put it in the back of our minds and move on. Is this an important game? It's a huge game for us. It's a team that beat us last year. It's a future conference opponent. It's on the road and we haven't won on the road yet this year. Roll those things all up, and this is a big football game."
On this year's defensive players stepping up:
"There's more to go around. There are more kids at each position and that creates competition. When you create competition to get on the field, kids play at a higher level. If they are competitive, they want to play. The kids have done a tremendous job of playing team defense. It matters to them. They're listening to their coaches. Thirdly, I would say coach (Dave) Aranda has done a nice job of mixing what we've done in the past, what I believe in on defense, as well as bringing in things he has done in the past. It's worked very well together. The other defensive guys (Bill Busch, Kevin Clune, Frank Maile, Kendrick Shaver) have walked into the situation with a new coordinator and wrapped their arms around Dave and they work very well together. I'm proud of that crew and it's only three games in. Hopefully we're still saying that as we move forward.
"It's all about the kids in the end. They're physical and they aren't backing down from anybody. You've got to have that on defense if you're going to be any good. They look forward to competing."
On beating Utah, coming so close to Wisconsin, and the attitude of the players:
"I really believe that they think they can walk into any situation and compete, whatever stadium it is, whatever conference it is. I'm not saying that in a cocky way, but in a very positive way toward the kids. A good team expects to win, period. Every team we play feels the same way, but I don't have to worry about that anymore. These kids will walk in and say 'we're going to play well, we're going to win today' and away they go. You won't always win, but that's how they feel."
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