Quotes From The Tucanos Media Luncheon
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  10/05/2004
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Oct. 5, 2004

Head Coach Rocky Long

"When you get to sit at home on Saturday and watch 15-20 college football games, there's one thing that really struck me over the weekend. I'm really thankful for the crowd support we're starting to get because I think it is a critical element in improving your program to a point where you might play on a national scale someday. I watched Auburn at Tennessee, and as I was watching Auburn crush Tennessee, and I'm sure the Tennessee fans were just as disappointed as our fans were against Utah, I thought is there still going to be 108,000 in the stands next time they play at home? And at places like Tennessee, Ohio State and Alabama, there are. They keep coming back. I hope that our fans keep coming back because it's a critical element for us in continuing to improve and one day be on the national scale. That's my vision. Nobody thinks we can do it, but I believe we can."

"That's my first statement. The second statement is that (sophomore quarterback) Kole McKamey will not play this week. He came in on Sunday and said he was sick to his stomach and didn't remember some of the game on Friday night. The doctors have reexamined him, they gave him an MRI and a cat scan, and everything according to the tests is normal. But considering that he doesn't remember the game last Friday, the doctors have decided that he shouldn't play this week. We will reevaluate him as the week goes on, and we will reevaluate him next week to see if he can play against UNLV. So he won't play this week."

Does this have anything to do with his previous concussion?

"It might have been another one or it might be a continuation of the first one. All the tests have come back normal, and there's a chance he would be OK today, but we decided to give him a break and make sure that he feels completely at 100 percent before they put him back on the field."

What does the quarterback situation look like for the Air Force game?

"Tali Ena will start on Saturday and Tye Butler is the backup. We will be bringing a third quarterback and it will be Bryan Clampitt. These changes will limit our option game. We won't eliminate it, but we won't be as prone to run the option."

What is DonTrell Moore's situation?

"He could have played Friday. He didn't give us the indication that he felt 100 percent, but he said he felt good enough to play. We didn't think that he would've made a huge difference in the game because we had confidence in D.D. Cox. Since he wasn't 100 percent, we didn't want to risk making his injury worse. It's much more likely that DonTrell will play this Saturday."

Can you assess your team's offense?

"I'm a little disappointed with how we've played on offense. I thought we played pretty well against Washington State and Texas Tech and I thought we played really well against New Mexico State. But to go two games (Oregon State, Utah) without scoring an offensive touchdown is very disappointing. For us to get better, players have to make plays. When you go back and watch the Utah game on tape, there's three or four times in the game that if we make a play, and the plays are there to be made, the momentum shifts to our side of the field, and there's no telling what's going to happen once the momentum shifts. The score was 14-7 when we threw a pass back to Kole, and if that pass is completed it's a 60-yard touchdown, and it's 14-14. They fake a punt after that, and march down 16 plays for a touchdown, and now it's 21-7. So not only did we not take the opportunity to change the momentum, we ruined our attitude about things after we didn't make a couple of plays. That game was very disappointing that we didn't play better. It's just that you have to make a play here or there, and things could have been different."

Does your defensive scheme change against Air Force, typically an option team, because they are throwing the ball this year?

"You have to be a little more careful. Last year I thought their running game was very good but their quarterback didn't throw it very good, so you could do some things on defense to try and shut down the option. You didn't have to worry about them burning you on the pass. Their quarterback (freshman Shaun Carney) this year is throwing the ball well every game and they're throwing for a bunch of yards every game, so it makes you more concerned about covering their receivers. I think he misses more reads on the option because he's a freshman, but he carries the ball just as well as their previous veteran quarterbacks. He throws the ball really well. It's impressive how well he runs the option this early in his career."

Do you expect Air Force to make Tali Ena beat them by throwing the ball?

"When you watch Air Force they don't change their offense or defense that much. They play the same way every week, and it's a formula that has been very successful for them over the years. I don't see them changing for us. They don't want to give up the big play, so they will play soft coverage. Every once in awhile they will blitz, but we'll have to run the ball in order to be successful."

Senior Linebacker Chrishone Harris

Question: What is the attitude of the team after the loss this weekend?

Chrishone Harris

Chrishone Harris: "Everyone's attitude on the team is positive, because we all know that we need to refocus for this weekend against Air Force. Every game we play is important so we just need to work hard and prepare for one game at a time."

Q: In terms of preparation, how are you guys getting ready for this weekend's match up against Air Force?

CH: "Air Force is a tough team to play because they use a lot of motion plays and blocking schemes. As a team they are always moving the ball and players around, so we need to make sure that we always have an eye on each of their players."

Q: Do you find yourself getting more motivated to play on the road, rather than playing in front of your own fans at home?

CH: "As a player I always prepare for all situations when we are on the road. As the visiting team you can never really predict what the fans, referees, and the game is going to bring your way. As long as we stick to our game plan and play hard we should be able to handle any situation."

Q: What is the plan of attack for the defense going into the weekend?

CH: "Our main goal on defense is to be on the ball at all times. If everyone plays hard and works together then we can be hard to stop against any opponent."

Junior Wide Receiver Hank Baskett

Hank Baskett

Question: As a team how are you guys refocusing for this weekend after the recent loss to Utah?

Hank Baskett: "Last week was a disappointing loss, but now Utah is out of the way and I think that we know what we need to do. Being 0-1 is difficult to start off conference play, but we know that we need to step it up from here on out."

Q: Is the fact that Tali is going to be starting instead of Kole at the quarterback position going to affect your game in anyway?

HB: "Kole and I have defiantly had a rhythm together since the first day we played together, but I catch the ball just as much from Tali in practice as well. We have all week to work together and fine tune any miscommunications that we may have for this weekend's game."

Q: Does it make you excited as a receiver that Tali throws the ball more?

HB: "Tali has a cannon for an arm and is an exceptional athlete. I am looking forward to receiving throws from him and hopefully we will get to go long a few times this game."

Q: What specifically does Air Force do as a team that is going to keep you on your toes?

HB: "They are an extremely physical team and there is a very strong rivalry between the two of us. I am expecting them to play us really hard and put a lot of pressure on us to perform well."

Junior Center Ryan Cook

Question: The Lobos have won five of their last six conference road games, what is it about this team that they have been able to do so well away from home?

Ryan Cook

Ryan Cook: "Well as the season progresses, we start to get more confidence in ourselves on the field and we stay more focused and disciplined on the road."

Q: What is it about Air Force specifically that you guys have to get ready for on the offensive side of the field?

RC: "They kind of run the same defense that we run here, so we have a lot of experience with that type of defense, but they will be ready to play. They are very disciplined. They wouldn't be in the Air Force Academy if the weren't. They won't make many mistakes, so we have to limit ours as much as possible."

Q: How difficult will it be to win the conference, after last weeks loss to Utah?

RC: "Last week was a tough loss, but every game is different, so as far as winning the conference, that is still our goal. Utah can be beat, we didn't do it but hopefully someone does so we can catch up in the race."

Q: How different is your job as center, with the change of Tali Ena coming in for the injured Kole McKamey?

RC: "Not a whole lot different. I get plenty of reps with both QBs in practice. The only real difference is the hand placement, but we worked on that in practice this week. Other than that it makes no difference."

Q: How is Tali different as a QB from Kole?

RC: "Tali is more of a passer than an option runner, other than that, their abilities are the same."

Senior Cornerback Brandon Payne

Question: What is like playing as a cornerback, sometimes one of the toughest assignments of the game?

Brandon Payne: "It's tough sometimes, but I just have to keep my eyes on the receiver, read the alignment, and basically tackle. That's my main job."

Q: How difficult is it for you when the Air Force QB is averaging 200 passing yards a game, an option that they did not have the last couple of years?

BP: "It's a real big difference. They have usually been a running team, and we just played a team that runs a lot of different plays. We just have to come out and win this game. Coming off a loss, this is a real important game for us."

Q: You guys have Air Force this weekend, how big of a game is this for your team?

BP: "This is a very big game because you have to treat every conference game as a big game. Our preseason games were important also, but now we have to step it up big time because we have a lot on the line."

Q: How does it feel to be the only guy in the country to intercept an Alex Smith pass?

BP: "It feels good. All week I was telling myself that I was going to get a pick. I didn't know that he hadn't been picked until after the game. I hope to get more picks throughout the rest of the year."