Utah State football head coach Matt Wells held a conference call Monday to recap the New Mexico game and talk about the upcoming bye week.
Oct. 21, 2013
LOGAN, Utah -
Utah State football head coach Matt Wells held a conference call Monday to recap the New Mexico game and talk about the upcoming bye week. A complete transcript of Wells remarks can be found below.
Head Coach Matt Wells
Recapping the New Mexico game:
"All-around, it was a great team victory Saturday in Albuquerque. There were a lot of big plays from the special teams. There should have been more, actually, I thought we left some big plays out there from special teams. We accomplished our goals on both sides. We said we wanted to establish the run and we wanted to stop the run. I thought we did a very good job on both sides. I thought our O-Line and D-Line and linebackers played extremely well. I was proud of Darell (Garretson) for his preparation and his practice throughout the week. I thought he played very well. If we had caught the ball a little bit better, he would have had a tremendous debut. I thought he was pretty calm, he was poised and composed, and he did a nice job of operating our offense. We had a big night from Joey DeMartino. He continues to be there when we need him and is playing at a very high level right now."
On Bruce (JoJo) Natson's play Saturday:
"It was a really good night from JoJo all the way around. He graded out as a special teams player of the week for us too, but he graded out as a champion for what he did. He had a really good night."
On Darell Garretson's first start:
On Garretson's areas to improve:
"I think he was calm, he was poised, and he played well. He operated what we called, he was efficient, he was accurate, and I think he had a good game."
"He's good, but he's got some areas he can improve and clean up. We're always cleaning up footwork and some things underneath center and in the run game. In the throw game, we've got to be a little more accurate and that comes with footwork. Mainly rookie issues with him right now."
On Tay Glover-Wright's play at quarterback:
"I thought he was a little rusty. The ball was on the ground twice, but we got them both back which is an absolute must as far as ball security is concerned. He's got to be cleaner than that. He's got to be a lot more disciplined, but I thought he did okay."
On containing New Mexico kick returner Carlos Wiggins:
"I wouldn't have been able to predict that. Even though we didn't get as many touchbacks as we're used to and that we'd like, Jake (Thompson) had really good hang time on the majority of the kicks and I think we're doing a really good job of covering kicks, so I don't think I could have predicted that. I would have said it would be a lot harder to defend him without the touchbacks, but I thought we did a great job recovering."
On the play of the kickoff team this year:
"We've done a really good job of understanding our lanes and our leverage. We're running down hard and we've kind of got the personnel to the point where we've got the right guys on the right jobs on kickoffs. They're understanding that and they're gaining a lot of confidence in their coverage and technique and abilities. Jake (Thompson) is a weapon."
On the schedule for the bye week:
"We've got a ton of meetings today, putting the New Mexico game to bed. We'll practice the next two days and limit some of the guys we need to limit. We'll scrimmage on Thursday with a bunch of the young pups and we're going to do a bunch of recruiting in the office. A lot of guys are heading out Wednesday afternoon, scouring the country all the way from California to Florida, in-state, in Texas, everywhere."
On having the week off:
"We're not taking any time off, we're just taking a bit of the pounding off some of the veterans. We've got a bunch of guys who have played 300, 400, some of them 500 snaps in the last eight weeks, plus three-and-a-half weeks of training camp. A lot of these games were extremely physical. We need to be smart and get some work in, get some lifting in, and get some conditioning in. We have to refresh our bodies, but refresh our minds mentally also."
On the hardest part about this season:
"Replacing four starters on offense. That's been an extreme challenge, playing young players and moving players around, figuring out how to replace DJ Tialavea who's in 72 percent of the offense. That's been a major challenge. I take on a lot of that just because I'm on offensive guy."
On working around offensive injuries:
"I think it's a little bit of everything. We've used Bill Vavau, we've used Logan Malohifo'ou, we've taken Wyatt Houston's redshirt off, we've put Keegan (Andersen) in a couple different roles, used Jefferson Court in different roles. It's been a little bit by committee."
On the defensive guys' play Saturday:
"I thought Jake Doughty played his tail off, he did really well. I thought our D-Linemen penetrated the line of scrimmage and did a nice job of controlling them. Ricky Ali'ifua really stood out. I thought he had one of his better games. Maurice Alexander played very well. Quinton Byrd was very solid at the one corner spot. Those are the guys that stand out to me."
On Jaron Bentrude's fake punt for a touchdown:
"Same thoughts I had post-game. I've seen it three times on tape, I've seen it on the TV copy, and I feel like I told you guys after the game. It's been built in since Day 1 of training camp. We had the punt and they didn't contain it, and the kid did what he was supposed to do. I was happy with his execution. Was I surprised that it happened? Yeah, a little bit. The kid did what he's coached to do. To me it doesn't matter when it happens in the game, we expect kids to go out and perform the way we've coached and trained them to go out and play. That's what I expect no matter what the score is. Schematically, we're not taking shots down the field. I understood the complexity of the game and where we were. We were just trying to punt the ball. I can't apologize for trying to punt it and the kid doing what he was supposed to do. I was a little surprised by the final outcome of it, but I'm not going to ask a kid to not compete. He needs to trust what he's been coached to do."
On what the New Mexico win means to the team:
"Everything. Wins heal a lot of hurt and heartache. I think it gives us a great outlook and perspective of where we're at right now. It gives us confidence as we go into a bye week that the plan, although a bit revised, is succeeding and it's working. Ultimately, the main thing this win does is put us right back in the Mountain West race. It puts us smack-dab in the middle of it. I understand that we don't own the tie-breaker with Boise State, but in some ways we control our own destiny of staying in the race and as far as attaining the goal of being in three-straight bowl games."
On returning to New Mexico after coaching there:
"It's not about me and about me going back there, is was about these players and finding a way to win even just by one point. I saw a lot of people pre-game who were good to see. Once the thing kicks off, it's kicked off and they're just another team. We're going to compete as hard as we can compete and then look up at the end to see what the score is. Once the games over you can see some of those kids. You're proud of them. I could name 20 guys I talked to after the game. I'm proud of them, they've persevered through some tough times."
On the play of the field goal kicking team and what needs to improve:
"Scheme, personnel, attention to detail, and effort, everything right now is very average on that team. I'm not happy with it."