September 16, 2003
Head Coach Rocky Long
Question: Is (quick guard) Calvin McDonald close to being back?
Rocky Long: "He practiced last week but was at full strength. He had trouble maintaining his balance and things like that. We haven't seen him yet this week, but we hope he will be better this week. There is a possibility he could start at tackle if he looks like he is 100 percent but if he doesn't look 100 percent then Terrance Pennington would start."
Q: Will [Washington State] be the fastest team you've played this season?
RL: "They are pretty good and they have a lot of skill. They have skill at the receivers and the secondary. They have skill at the running back and one of the receivers is a great return guy. The majority of those guys were on the Rose Bowl team."
Q: Do they try to keep you off-balance with a 50/50 attack on offense?
RL: "That's funny you brought that up, because after looking at our statistical analysis, so far this year they have run it 114 times and passed it 114 times, which is about as 50/50 as I have ever seen. I think they just do a good job of getting the people the ball that can do something with it. They have a running back that is averaging seven yards a carry and the other running back is averaging over 100 yards a game. They have two receivers who make acrobatic catches and catch deep balls in every game no matter who they are playing. They have great skilled athletes and it is just a way for them to get the ball it those skilled guys hands."
Q: They list (Jermaine) Green as the starter but [Jonathan Smith and Chris Bruhn] have most of the yards, do they ever run two backs?
RL: "No, I have never seen two running backs in the game through the first three games. They do some two-back formation stuff, but they use a tight end as the fullback. They put two tight ends in the game and sometimes they are tight ends and sometimes they use one in the backfield as a fullback. They also run what we call "14" personnel, which is when they have four tight ends in the game. Usually two tight ends, one wing and one fullback for short yardage."
Q: What is their defensive scheme?
RL: "They are basically a 4-3 defense. They have huge defensive tackles, small but really fast defensive ends, and overall the defense probably has the best team speed we have seen in a couple years. The defensive backs are pretty good size and the linebackers aren't very tall, but they run really well. They play several different coverages, but they are mainly quarters coverage, which is man-to-man with some linebacker help underneath."
Q: Do they blitz much?
RL: "Yes, they blitz quite a bit. They don't all out blitz, but they bring a linebacker. They don't usually bring a safety. A safety will only come in an all out blitz, but they will bring a linebacker or two at times. In fact, the first game against Notre Dame they blitzed both outside linebackers and they de-cleated Notre Dame's offensive tackles."
Q: Do they run most of their offense out of shotgun?
RL: "No, he is almost always under center. They have only used shotgun twice. I don't know why that is, but I think it's because they are so good at running the ball. There's always a threat of a run when he is under center, where in the shotgun it kind of limits the kind of running plays you can run. They run a whole bunch of different type of running plays."
Q: How are (UNM running backs) DonTrell (Moore) and D.D. (Cox)?
RL: "They are better than they were this time last week, but they are still both a little bit sore. They both should be 100 percent this weekend if they don't' re-injure [their ankles] in practice this week."
Q: After watching film, is [Washington State] the best team you have played so far this season?
RL: "Yes, I would say this is the best team we have faced this season."
Q: Is there any reason for (UNM quarterback) Casey Kelly's inconsistencies? Is he healthy?
RL: "He is healthy. I don't know (the reason) and I don't know if he would know. I have seen quarterbacks in the past press sometimes when they feel like how well they perform means winning or losing. I have seen them try to do too much sometimes. I don't know for sure, I am just throwing that out as a possibility. I don't think he has seen anything that has confused him this season. He makes real good checks and gets us into good plays."