Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics
Oct. 27, 2009
"It's great to be back. It's been a difficult 10 days for me because it's been 30 years since football was not a part of my everyday life. It's given me a little time to reflect. You learn to appreciate things that you love and cherish when they're not a part of your life. With that being said I'm eager to move forward. I think it's in the best interest of the football players, the best interest of our administration, and the best interest of our university that we move forward and that's what I intend to do. We're sitting here at 0-7, which isn't what I envisioned my first year to be like. I'm sure some goals that we set for ourselves as a team aren't going to be met, but there are still a lot of things to play for. The important thing for me right now is to play for the seniors. We've got 18 guys who have put a lot of time into this program and there would be nothing better than to at least send them off on a positive note with the program moving forward in a positive direction. I look forward to doing that."
(on the San Diego State matchup this week)
"We've got a big challenge this week. I'm sure a lot has been made about us going to play San Diego State, who happen to have my predecessor on their staff as the defensive coordinator. Rocky (Long) is a guy who I've respected from the day I took over this job based on he was able to do with this program. He's a well-respected defensive coordinator in the football ranks, but this game isn't about playing Rocky and I'm not going to make it about playing against him. It's about our seniors and the team having an opportunity to go play San Diego State and get that first win that we need badly. San Diego State, to me, is playing some of the best football in our conference right now. They had a big come-from-behind win last week, which shows character, and they have one of the top quarterbacks in the country. I look forward to preparing our team to go take on this challenge, and hopefully come away with what could be a big win for our program."
(on what makes the SDSU defense so tough to prepare for)
"Somebody compared it to going against a triple option and that's not the case. You see a lot of 3-3 defenses. Every defense has a version of the odd front defense. What makes Rocky's defense unique is that he has a blitz package that he can use to bring guys from any and everywhere. As I said when I took the job, to me defensive football is about playing with intensity and effort, pursuing the football, and coming up to make big plays or limit big plays. That's typically been a byproduct of Rocky's defenses and right now they have a defense that I think is in the top-50 in the country. They're playing hard. He makes you get the ball out quick and we need to have answers for being able to neutralize and handle pressure."
(on what he's concerned about the most heading into the SDSU game)
"I think [SDSU's] momentum is critical, but the thing I'm the most concerned with is the confidence of our team. I have no problem with the effort. There's been maybe one game this year where the energy and effort wasn't there, and that was in the second half of the Wyoming game, but there haven't been many games where our players haven't played for all four quarters. I think the most important thing that we've got to do as a staff is to somehow develop and build the confidence of our team. Just like winning is a habit, losing can become a habit as well. That's kind of what we're facing as we continue to have loss after loss. So it's really important that we do our best job as coaches. I think our senior leadership has been very steady. Are guys like Erik Cook
and Joshua Taufalele
frustrated? Of course they are, but they've continued to believe in what we're trying to get accomplished. They understand that we still have something to play for, contrary to what a lot of people may think. The number one thing that most athletes have is competitive pride."