Oct. 28, 2013
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State football head coach Matt Wells held a news conference Monday to recap the bye week and preview its upcoming Mountain West home game against Hawai'i. A complete transcript of Wells' remarks can be found below.
Head Coach Matt Wells
Recapping the bye week:
"This was just what the doctor ordered for all of us as a staff and as a program. We used it to refresh our bodies a little bit. We backed off a little bit on contact and some of the things we did from a practice standpoint. Hopefully we've got these guys as fresh as they can be right now going into this stretch of the season. I feel confident that we do. We also used it as a big evaluation week for us. We had a lot of guys on the road, in state, out of state, high school, junior college, seeing guys through the weekend. We used it as a chance to catch up and reevaluate some of the guys and find some new ones. Both of those things are very beneficial to us as we go into this week."
"Don't look at the record, don't believe it, all you've got to do is flip on the tape. These guys play hard. I think it's a great testament to coach (Norm) Chow and their staff in the way their players play and the culture he's creating there. I'm very impressed with that. I've got a lot of respect for him in that area because these kids play hard, they play down to the wire."
"I looked at it a little bit yesterday and did some research and they've outscored their opponents, 52-17, in the fourth quarter of their last four Mountain West games. That's unbelievable. A lot of the times when you flip on the tape in the last few weeks, the teams they've been playing have had their starters in. It goes back to show you how hard these guys play. Against Colorado State, they threw one in the end zone to tie it at the end and it fell incomplete. The last four weeks versus San Jose State, UNLV, Fresno State and Colorado State Saturday night, four close games in the league. I expect them to come in here and be very well prepared. I expect them to come in and play very hard. We have to match their intensity from our end. I don't have any doubt that we will and we'll be ready Saturday. It will be a good game in Romney Stadium and we're looking forward to it."
On our Hawaii natives/Polynesian guys and their excitement for this game:
"There are a lot of cousins and high school rivalries and teammates playing against each other. It just creates an added interest."
On what individuals were helped the most from the bye week:
"Every single one of them. When you go from training camp to eight straight weeks in a lot of physical matches, we all needed it."
On Darell Garretson's confidence after the New Mexico game and last week's practice:
"Hopefully we see a gradual increase in confidence and productivity as each week goes on."
On who stood out during last week's scrimmage:
"I saw some flashes from Tyshon Mosley, an offensive lineman from Jordan (Utah) High School. I liked Austin Stephens and some things he did at center. Rashad Hall flashed a little bit at me. (Hayden) Weichers and (Tyler) Weese out at receiver had some good stuff. I like Myron Turner in the back end. Those guys stuck out the most."
On the final stretch and potential conference finish with the quarterback situation:
"We can address that in about five weeks if we can do what you just said. We're in a tunnel right now. We don't see anything but Hawai'i. I hear what you're saying, I like the way our kids have responded to back-to-back weeks of adversity and with all the losses that we've had from an injury standpoint. I like the way all three sides played last Saturday. We have to continue that, we have to play with a great deal of confidence, and hopefully, I can answer that question a little better in five weeks. Right now our goal is to be 1-0 against Hawai'i. That's all we're talking about this week."
On the secondary's improvement and how that will translate on the field against Hawaii's pass game:
"We'll see. It will be put to the test on Saturday. We're going right from a run-heavy team in New Mexico to a throw-it-every-down team in Hawai'i. The jury is out on our back end, so we'll see."
On Hawaii's quarterback Sean Schroeder:
"I see a guy who is accurate and throws the ball well. They've played a few guys at quarterback. To me it's still the scheme and what coach Chow is going to do on the offense."
On Nevin Lawson's play as of late:
"Nevin has improved week in and week out. I've seen his confidence grow from the USC game and his performance there and he's played well every week since then."
Did Utah State have to adjust the offense at all for Garretson?
"We've stayed pretty true to our system. That's the only thing he knows, so to switch would be doing him an injustice. We've stayed within the realms of what we do and how we do it and try to play to his strengths."
On Hawaii's special teams:
"It will be another challenge for our kickoff team. Our kickoff team has responded each week. They had a big challenge against New Mexico. They (Hawai'i) do a nice job on kick return and punt return. Both our coverage units will be put to the test this week."
On Mountain West play compared to WAC play:
"It's just way tougher. Competition week in and week out is at a higher, better level top to bottom. From coaching staffs to programs to players, it's better. I've said it before, but I think it's the best non-BCS conference in the country right now."
On Hawaii's second half improvements against Colorado State:
"They tackled a little better and played a little better. I didn't see much schematic-wise."
On if the Mountain West and its television exposure will help with recruiting:
"It will. We'll see the effect of that a little bit more in December and January when we start really talking to them. We're not in their homes yet. We've played well on TV and we have TV games coming up. Just because you're on TV doesn't mean it's going to help you. You've got to play well and you've got to win."
On the parity of the teams in the Mountain West:
"I'm not sure it really means a whole lot except that you've got quality opponents coming up. We'll focus on each one each week. I said that in Las Vegas in the preseason. Crazier things have happened. I told the kids last night in the team meeting that we're sitting at 3-1 right now. I gave them the big picture and very narrow focus, which is Hawai'i only. It's about what we do and how we do it. In reality, we just keeping working and find a way to win each one. You're going to look up and be in the middle of the race in November. Since January, all I've said is all you want to do is continue to build programs and build a culture around the program. The next step for us is Hawai'i and we'll play well Saturday to stay in the hunt."
On what you have to do to keep the team focused on a 0-7 Hawai'i team:
"Flip on the tape. They flip it on and see how hard they play. Defense has something completely different coming at them from their offense standpoint. I know they're going to play a lot of man coverage, so it's a little bit different for us on offense. I told them last night that they've got Hawai'i and they've got school. I told them to reduce the drama and get the other stuff out of their life. It's not hard. You've got two things, end of story. Figure something else out at 5:30 on Saturday. You're in the midst of a championship hunt and it's one game. We won't be talking about this in two weeks when I come back down here if you're looking ahead. It's Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors, period."
On Hawaii's defense:
"They've got a good pressure package and play some man coverage behind it. They play some nice one-on-ones. You miss a block here and there and you're getting pressured and there are going to be some tackles for loss."
On playing against a Norm Chow team:
"I've got a lot of respect for him. Being a quarterback guy I have an added respect for him for what he's done with quarterbacks at the college level and at the pro level. He's coached some Heisman Trophy winners, that's a pretty neat deal. You'll never take that away from him. I had a good visit with him in Las Vegas (this summer) about coaching quarterbacks. I have a lot of respect for him and what he's done over the years."
On Hawaii's quarterback style:
"They're throwing it all over the lot - multiple formations, multiple personnel groups. They have different types of quick-game, drop-back play-action, a little bit of everything. They've made some plays."
On memories from the last time Utah State played Hawai'i:
"Lot of memories from that night. Your first memory is Chuckie (Keeton) getting hurt with us down, 28-7. We didn't have a thing going for us. I remember some good locker room cohesiveness going on. We came out and Adam (Kennedy) just let loose. We let him sling it and he let it rip. He threw some balls that shouldn't have been thrown. I think I had my eyes covered half the time in the press box. He made it through double-coverage. Stanley (Morrison) popped out once, Chuck Jacobs got one, Robert Turbin busted loose on a nice play. I think it was a springboard for us over the last two years. A lot of people do point to that game. It's hard to win over there. To do it in the fashion that we did was huge, not just for the program, but for our confidence on an individual standpoint. We made some plays on defense, had a fake punt, a lot of things went right that night in the second half. I remember that night very vividly. It was a good night to be an Aggie."
"The culture that coach (Gary) Andersen had been building and continuing to recruit, we knew we were close. You get that confidence when you play that well against Auburn that year. Then you have two setbacks with Louisiana Tech and Fresno State, then have that win on the road. It was like we were cardiac kids that year. It's not like we just went on a five-game run and drilled everybody. We were throwing balls into the end zone to win games. New Mexico State was a fade ball for a touchdown, San Jose State was a fade ball for a touchdown, there were some close games. Nevada we had to go on a 38-minute drive at the end to run the clock out. I just remember some close games down to the wire that year. That game propelled us from a confidence standpoint."
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