Quotes From The Tucanos Media Luncheon
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  09/14/2004
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Sept. 14, 2004

Head Coach Rocky Long

Question: How has the loss of (running back) Stephen Jackson (to graduation) affected Oregon State?

Rocky Long: "I'm hearing rumors that they believe they need to be able to run the ball. In order to have success in the Pac-10 they need to have a running game. The way the games have gone they haven't been able to establish the run. This week they are going to try to establish the run. Right now, they're using their best players. They've got a great wide receiver, both their tight ends are real good receivers and their quarterback is a great thrower. They're using their skill level as it is, and they're throwing for a bunch of yards. I would bet that in our game, they will come out and try to run it, and if they don't have a lot of success, they're going to throw it 60 or 70 times like everybody else we play."

Q: How does Oregon State compare to Washington State or Texas Tech?

RL: "Their system is a little more like Washington State than Texas Tech. They use the tight end all of the time. They use three wide outs and a tight end, and sometimes they use two tight ends. Our game plan is going to be a little more like it was for Washington State than what it was for Texas Tech."

Q: Is the discrepancy that existed in last year's Las Vegas Bowl between these two teams still the same?

RL: "You can't tell on film what the others team's talent level is compared to your talent level until you line up against each other. They looked like they were as talented as LSU and LSU is supposed to be a great football team. I won't know until we line up against them. I think they are the most talented out of our first three opponents."

Q: Are there any advantages by having played them in the Las Vegas Bowl?

RL: "When I look at our team, we are completely different from last year. We lost 26 players and we might have a little more speed, but their team is also completely different. They've got some new offensive linemen, some new wide receivers and they don't have Stephen Jackson. The two teams aren't near the same as they were last year. We've changed some things in our scheme and they changed some things in their scheme. We're not running the same plays we ran last year and they're not running the same plays they ran last year."

Q: What's the atmosphere like at Oregon State?

RL: "I don't know because I haven't been there since they've gotten good. They're selling out now and it is wild. The only thing I can compare it to is, when I was there, the Oregon-Oregon State game was unbelievable. That was awesome, they start tailgating and camping out on Wednesday night. They tell me that all of their games are like that now. They've had 24-25 sellouts. Their facilities are dramatically better and their stadium is in a renovation period right now. They're going to expand it by 20,000 seats. It's a college town, so there is a college game-day atmosphere."

Q: How do you think your defense has played so far?

RL: "I thought we played really well against Washington State. I think against Texas Tech we were hanging on for dear life. We made some crucial plays at crucial times. By the fourth quarter their quarterback wasn't throwing it well because he had been hit so many times, but we didn't slow them down. We put them in a lot of third downs and they converted a lot of third downs too. I thought the game plan was good, but I was very disappointed in our coverage early. We were tentative in coverage because the DBs didn't think we could get that much pressure. They were playing soft, but as soon as they realized we were hitting the quarterback right after he threw the ball, their coverage got tighter and we started playing better."

Q: How do you think Oregon State's confidence will be going into the game?

RL: "Going into the season I was hoping they would be 2-0. Then I thought for sure they would walk into our game feeling good about themselves and thinking we were going to be easy prey. You ought to be careful about what you ask for. Instead of them being 2-0, they are 0-2, so they don't care who is showing up this weekend. They are going to try to kill us. It's going to be the meanest game they play all season."

Sophomore QB Kole McKamey

Question: What do you look for in a team like Oregon State?

Kole McKamey: "Personally, I'm looking for them to come out even harder against us this weekend. I think that they're going to come out hard because they've already lost the first two games of their season and they're going to be looking for a win."

Q: How do you feel about your first road trip of the season going to Oregon State?

KM: "I'm really excited to go to a place that I have never been before. I also heard that their stadium is one of the loudest places to play, so I think that it will be a great challenge for us."

Q: From the first game to the second game it seems like you have made a lot of progress - what do you look to improve on in the future games to come?

KM: "Everything. I still have a long way to go. I think one of the most important things that I can improve on is putting more points on the board."

Q: Not only are you throwing the touchdowns, you are also scoring some yourself - how does that make you feel?

KM: "It felt great to have the first rushing touchdown of my college career. It made me think about my high school days."

Junior C Ryan Cook

Question: How much does last year's game against Oregon State come into play going into the game this weekend?

Ryan Cook

Ryan Cook: "The way that I look at it is that this is a new team and a new year. Although, there is more of an incentive this year because thy beat us so bad in the Las Vegas Bowl."

Q: What do expect to see from a team like Oregon State who has started their season 0-2?

RC: "I expect them to come out extremely aggressive because I'm sure that they're pretty hungry for a win."

Q: Is this week going to be even tougher because it's your first road game of the year?

RC: "It might be for some of the younger guys because they don't know what it's like to play on the road, but I think that is up to the older guys to help them through it."

Q: Do you see the offense starting to open up now that you guys have the running and the passing game working for you?

RC: "I think that receivers such as Hank stepping up, it takes pressure off of DonTrell and Kole a little bit."

Senior K Wes Zunker

Wes Zunker

Question: How much confidence does your team have after beating a team from a major conference, going into Saturdays game against Oregon State?

Wes Zunker: "I think it gives us a lot of confidence, I think we could easily be 2-0 right now heading up to our next game, but we know now that we can play. It's a lot different from last year's team. There's a lot more chemistry and we came together to get a big win against a big team last week. I think we proved to everybody, as well as ourselves, that we can play against anybody. If we don't make many mistakes and do our best, we can beat anybody."

Q: Knowing that you have already made a big kick, and the fact that the Oregon State game might come down to another one, how much more confidence do you have now?

WZ: "You know its just me getting into a groove. Me, Kole (McKamey) and Ryan (Cook) just getting into a groove, like how it went last week. After hitting a few in, it definitely is a confidence booster, and it just kind of flows. If it comes down to a kick again, its good that we got one under our belt, because we know we can do it."

Q: Last time you guys played was at the Las Vegas Bowl, 55-14, do you need anymore motivation than that?

WZ: "I think that was last year's team and this is this year's team. A lot of things have changed. It's a different team and a different feel. I don't think we can compare last year's team to this year's team, nor this year's game to last year's game. So were just going to go out there and play our best, and do what we do."

Q: How do you approach this game, after two home games, it's your first road game?

WZ: "Just the same as any other game, with the mindset that we are not going to have our fans to rally us, and that it will be a tough place to play. We are going to have to eliminate mistakes and try not let them make any big plays to try and keep the crowd down."

Junior LB Mike Mohoric

Mike Mohoric

Question: It's a couple of games into the season, how are you feeling about your team at this point?

Mike Mohoric: "I think we're feeling alright. The last win was pretty big, but we all feel like we should be 2-0 right now, and that the first one got away from us. We still have a lot of goals for the season, and we're going to keep working hard to reach them."

Q: What does the win against Texas Tech mean to this team?

MM: "It gave us a boost of confidence, and like I said, we felt like we should have beat Washington State also. So we know we can play with some of the bigger schools and we're looking forward to our game against Oregon State."

Q: Oregon State beat you guys pretty bad last year, you don't need much more motivation than that do you?

MM: "That was last year and we have a whole different team. So we're going in pretty excited and we're looking forward to playing them."

Q: Your going into hostile territory, playing on the road this weekend, what kinds of challenges does that bring to your team?

MM: "Personally, I like that - fans yelling at me and stuff like that. But I think it will be a big test for us as a team. "

Q: What do you know about Oregon State, you faced the QB last year, but what else do you know about this team?

MM: "I watched them play LSU and I watched them play Boise State, other than that I'm not real familiar. Later on this week I will be though. They are a good team and they can play with the best of them."

Q: After what Oregon State did to you guys last year, what would a win against those guys mean to you?

MM: "Our goal is to win every game. A loss is very disappointing to us. Last year was last year and we're going there to win this year. Hopefully we can do that."

Senior CB Brandon Payne

Question: Does last year's loss to Oregon State come into play going into this weeks game?

Brandon Payne: "It comes into play a lot. Sometimes you think about it and sometimes you don't, but eventually it comes to mind because we got beat so bad last year. But this is the new Lobo team. We're looking to go up there and win because I know in my heart that we can. We have a strong defense and a strong offense, with new players that are stepping up to make plays for us."

Q: What do you guys expect from them, coming off two losses?

BP: "I expect a lot because they're going to come with everything after two losses against LSU and Boise State. They're expecting us to come hard and we expect them to come hard too."

Q: Did you notice a big difference between you guys and Oregon State last year, talent wise, or did they just out play you guys?

BP: "I think we weren't focused enough last year, and this year we have more focus. There are no individuals, we're a team. Everybody wants to come together and win this game."