Quotes From The Tucanos Media Luncheon
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  09/07/2004
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Sept. 7, 2004

Head Coach Rocky Long

Question: How does Sonny Cumbie compare to his predecessors Symons and Kingsbury? Rocky Long: "Favorably. SMU didn't try to blitz him very much, so he got great protection most of the night and threw it extremely well. He threw it to the right guys most every time and was on time with the ball. He threw for 470 yards, had some balls dropped on him especially when they got close to the goal line or they would have scored another three touchdowns. So other than the dropped balls he looks just like the guys that came before him." Q: Does he scramble or move well in the pocket? RL: "The times they did blitz, which weren't very many, he got rid of it before they could get there. I didn't see him have to scramble one time. I don't know how good he is at it or whether he will do it." Q: Do you hope to find out? RL: "We'll find out. He is either going to have to throw it before we can get there or he will be scrambling every once in a while." Q: You have had success against other passing teams, but what is it that Texas Tech does that is so successful against you? RL: "I don't think they do anything different. I think that in our scheme of defense it ends up being a match-up between our defensive backs and their wide receivers. If they have one or two guys out there that are the primary guys they throw to and you have a couple of good defensive backs, you could match them up that way, or you could devise schemes to double team those guys to take them out of the game, but if you have four quality receivers out there, now it's a true match-up, one on one, with a lot of grass area to cover. If your match-ups, the way we play defense in man coverage, aren't very good at one point or another, they complete a long pass. They have good receivers in every spot." Q: Is Texas Tech's receiving core as good as they have been? RL: "Yes, I think they are. They just reload. Receivers want to go there and quarterbacks want to go there, because of what they do on offense. What they do have that is a little different from the past, last year they had a guy named (Mickey) Peters that was really a good player, listed as a tight end, but very seldom did he play tight end. This year they have three true tight end-type guys. One of them (Bristol Olomua) had a great night against SMU, so they are in some formations now where their tight end is in a tight end position, which they haven't done in the past. They have even done quite a bit of two tight end formations, because they think some of those guys are their better players." Q: Do they have any running game? RL: "Yes, they have two running backs that are perfect for their system. They aren't power runners, but depending on how you want to play defense, they get the ball in the open field one-on-one and they can make people miss. They are little, quick guys and change direction on a dime. They don't run any power plays. They throw the ball on 3 down and 1." Q: Why don't you think Texas Tech gets the credit they deserve talent wise, the bigger deal is made about the system, but like you said it isn't like they haven't had talent? RL: "You know the interesting thing is I don't think they get the credit they deserve. They play people like Texas and they chew Texas up. I mean they threw for 570 yards the last two years on Texas, who has great athletes. Now Oklahoma matches up great with them because in my opinion, Oklahoma has four guys that can cover as good as the receivers trying to run the routes. I mean they beat Texas A&M like that and they beat a lot of people like that who supposedly have great talent. I think they do a great job coaching. I think that they get their players to really understand their scheme." Q: Will you try to grind it out against them and keep the ball away from them? RL: "No, I think we have to score points. I did the same thing as you, I watched ESPN and saw the score was 27-13 (Texas Tech vs. SMU), that's the final. I'm thinking, well maybe they don't throw it and catch it all that well this year, until you watch the tape and find out they do. The score is misleading. I mean we're going to have to play decent defense and score in the 30's to win and that is just the way it is. We might have to score in the 50's if we don't play decent defense to win." Q: Well you had a lot of questions going into game one did you get a lot of answers? RL: "I think we feel a lot more comfortable with some of the young guys, because going into the game we had no idea how they would perform during game time. I thought our inexperienced players, not necessarily young players because we have some JC guys, probably played like we hoped they would play instead of playing we were afraid they might play. I think they played like inexperienced players that understand our scheme and played really hard. That is a big concern with young teams that they just go out there and everything is a big blur and they just stand and don't do anything." Q: How about some names of guys you thought stepped up? RL: "Charles Brown and Ken West in the secondary. Those are JC guys. Adam Garday on the defensive line, Logan Hall, Fred Tucker, Anthony Carter and Kole McKamey. There are three or four on defense that we are counting on at sometime this year to be really good players. Now I don't think they were really good in the game, but they were what we were hoping they were going to be. They didn't make many assignment errors, they played hard and they didn't freeze up."

Senior Linebacker Fola Fashola

Question: What is the mood of the team now after the loss to Washington State and now getting ready for Texas Tech? Fola Fashola: "We just have to prepare for Texas Tech. Washington State was a tough loss for us, but I think that the team is focused on Texas Tech right now and getting ready to play on Saturday night."

Senior Fola Fashola

Q: What good things did you get out of the loss to Washington State that will help you down the line? FF: "Just knowing that we can play, and knowing what little fine tune adjustments and corrections that we need to make. If we can get them corrected, it will help us be a better team and be able to win those close games." Q: Looking at Texas Tech next week, they're a team that likes to throw a lot, is that something that worries you? FF: "Texas Tech is a very good team, but I know that we have a good defense and that our team is very good also. It just comes down to which team wants it more." Q: It has been twenty years since the Lobos beat Texas Tech - what would it mean to you guys to get the win on Saturday? FF: "It would be great, not only for us but all the former Lobos that played against them. So we're going to try our hardest and hopefully we will come out with a victory." Q: The game is here in Albuquerque again this Saturday - would a sell out crowd help you guys? FF: "A sell out crowd would definitely help. We just have to prepare for whatever fan turnout we get. We have loyal fans though, so I'm expecting the fans to come out, and for our team to play well." Q: How much pressure does Texas Tech's passing game put on the Lobos defense? FF: "It's more pressure on the defense, because the linebackers and the D-line have to put a lot of pressure on their offensive line to help out the secondary out. They're back there covering and they can't cover all day, so the defensive line just has to apply that extra pressure."

Junior Fullback Adrian Byrd

Question: What was the feeling in the locker room after the game this weekend? Adrian Byrd: "I think that some of the players were down because of the loss, but we need to refocus and get ready for Texas Tech."

Junior Adrian Byrd

Q: In what ways do you guys need to prepare for the game against Texas Tech this weekend? AB: "Last year we didn't start playing hard until the second half. This year we need to set the tempo and come out strong from the beginning until the end." Q: How do you think Kole McKamey did for his first start of the season? AB: "I think Kole did a great job for his first game of the season. With any young players, small mistakes are going to happen, but the only thing that he can do is learn from his mistakes and move forward." Q: What was it like scoring your first rushing touchdown of your career at home last weekend? AB: "It was a great feeling to be able to contribute to the team, hopefully next time we will get a win as well. Although, if a win comes without me touching the ball, I'm just as happy for that outcome."

Junior Wide Receiver Hank Baskett

Question: What is the attitude of the team going into this weekend against Texas Tech after the recent loss? HB: "I think the general feeling of the guys was disappointment, but we were also very proud of the way that we competed. Many people didn't expect us to match up as well as we did, but our performance on the field turned a lot of heads all over the country." Q: What areas do you guys need to work on going into the game against Texas Tech? HB: "Working on eliminating the little mistakes throughout the game. Coach Long told us that first games aren't won they're lost." Q: From your experience playing Texas Tech in the past, what specifically have you done to prepare yourself and your teammates for this weekends match up? HB: "I've been telling all of the new guys to be mentally prepared for a very physical game. Texas Tech is an extremely physical and powerful team, but definitely a team that we are ready for." Q: It's only the beginning of the season and you already seem to be a key part of the offense, does it make you happy to see the ball coming your way? HB: "I love when the ball is thrown to me, but it really doesn't matter who catches it as long as we come out with a win." Q: "What did you think about Kole McKamey's performance in his first start? HB: "Kole had a great game considering only being a sophomore in his first start on national television. He showed a tremendous amount of maturity, admitting the mistakes that he had made and the willingness to work on them. I believe with all of my heart that Kole is going to be a great quarterback for our team."