Quotes From The Tucanos Media Luncheon
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  10/12/2004
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Oct. 12, 2004

Head Coach Rocky Long

Question: Are the teams as evenly balanced as the stats show?

Rocky Long: "I think you can say that about all the teams in our league. I think seven teams in our league are equal talent wise and playing ability wise. It's all about who gets a break in the game and about who has the momentum and confidence going into a game. Now I would say their confidence is better than ours, but all that has to happen is a big momentum changer and then all of a sudden our confidence is better than theirs is."

Q: Statistically, UNLV last week against BYU looked like your game last year against UNLV, is it kind of similar?

RL: "Yes, there were a lot of turnovers. UNLV is doing a great job of turning the ball over. I have seen it happen to several teams. They get on a roll early in the season, punches a ball out and everybody starts trying to copy that. There are times on film where you see their defensive players try to cause fumbles instead of making tackles. They are punching at the ball and pulling at the ball, and secondary is making the tackles. It's like a feeding frenzy and they're doing a great job. I've been told that BYU had eight fumbles and UNLV got four or five of them, so they are causing a bunch of turnovers. BYU had almost 500 yards of total offense, so its not like they're stopping them, but turning the ball over is keeping teams out of the endzone and changing momentum."

Q: Can that backfire sometimes?

RL: "If you hold on to the ball it can backfire on them. I mean you should get an extra four or five yards every time they try to punch it and don't tackle. Sometimes those yards are enough to get a first down and keep the football. They are really ball-hawking now."

Q: Is Jamaal Brimmer the best defensive player in the league?

RL: "He is one of the better ones. He's a safety and they have a couple of good corners too, so Brimmer is rarely in man-to-man. They use him a lot like we used (Brian) Urlacher, although he's not as big. He's a run support inside-out guy, plays the deep middle and they blitz him some. He's a great tackler, he has great speed and he has good size, so when the ball is in the air he has a lot of range in the back end and he has a lot of range when he supports the run too. He also is a good hitter when he tackles too. He doesn't just get you to the ground, he pops `em."

Q: After looking at film, was DonTrell (Moore) not able to break one because of the Air Force defense or because he wasn't quite 100 percent?

RL: "I thought they played pretty good on defense. A couple of plays though, if DonTrell is full speed they wouldn't have put a hand on him."

Q: What is (quarterback) Kole McKamey's status?

RL: "Kole has been cleared to play as long as he doesn't have any after effects after he practices the next couple of days. He is cleared for now unless he comes up to the doctors and says he has a headache or is fuzzy, then they will reevaluate him. He practiced on Sunday and although we don't practice very long or hard on Sunday, he practiced with no ill effects. He ran on Sunday and didn't seem like he was breathing to hard or was out of shape."

Q: Will you be concerned with running the option with Kole?

RL: "No. If he is healthy and cleared up, there is no more chance of him having another one. There is probably more chance of him having another one f he gets hit from the blind side when he is back to pass then when you run the option and see the guy coming."

Q: So will Kole be the starter?

RL: "If he is okay after practice this week, then Kole will start."

Q: Are you surprised to see Dominique Dorsey of UNLV leading the league in rushing?

RL: "I just think he's getting the ball more. They have had Larry Croom last year and Joe Haro the year before. Dorsey had been splitting time with some other good running backs and now he's getting most of the carries. He's the same back he's always been, but he's just getting more touches, which gives him more chances to gain yards. He's the most elusive guy in our league and he's hard to see behind the line because he's so little that he's by you before you even know he has the ball."

Q: Brandon Payne has four interceptions and 13 passes defended - are they throwing away from Gabriel Fulbright or do right handed quarterbacks just throw that side?

RL: "I don't know. I think maybe they have respect for both corners, so he is getting as many or more balls thrown at him as Fulbright is. When we go to a nickel package Gabe is also on the inside on the slots. I haven't charted it though. I don't know if they are throwing more balls over there or not. He is making more plays this year, so people are starting to recognize who he is."

Junior Linebacker Joe Selander

Question: What is the frame of mind of the team after the recent loss to Air Force?

Joe Selander

Joe Selander: "We are still definitely optimistic for the rest of the season. Last year we found ourselves with two losses and yet we were able to bounce back and fight our way to a bowl game."

Q: Do you feel like the team has taken a couple of steps backward since the start of the season?

JS: " I feel like we need to start playing a hard four quarters. We started off on a strong note and I think that it's just a matter of getting back to that point again. As a team we need to start the game ahead instead of always trying to catch up to our opponents."

Q: In regards to this weekend's game against UNLV, what do you know about them as a team and how are you preparing for them?

JS: "They tend to run a lot of trick plays throughout the game, so that is something that we will need to be ready for. It's hard to prepare for a trick play as a team, but as long as we give a lot of effort we should be able to defend anything."

Q: Statistically your team seems to be similar to UNLV, do you feel like this could give you an advantage in terms of preparation?

JS: " Whoever we play we're ready for a tough physical game. Every team in the Mountain West is starting to be known for strong, physical athletes instead of finesse ballplayers. This weekend's game is going to be tough, but I believe that we are ready for the challenge."

Junior Offensive Tackle Terrance Pennington

Question: Do you feel more pressure to win now that you have lost your first two conference games?

Terrance Pennington: " If we want to be eligible for a bowl game, we need to win every game from here on out. Our offense needs to come out and put some big numbers on the board, and our defense needs to be physical and shut down our opponents."

Terrance Pennington

Q: What do you guys need to do as a team in order to come out ready to go this weekend against UNLV?

TP: " We need the offense to come out strong and then the defense needs to feed of that intensity. Last weekend we were unable to score in the first half and that caused us to start off the game in a hole. In order to put up a win, we all need to play together and start strong from the first quarter."

Q: What has been the problem the last few games for you guys getting points on the board?

TP: " Execution is the key to our success as a team. Every single player on the field needs to do his job, if we're able to do that then we will start playing like we know we can."

Senior Linebacker Fola Fashola

Question: Is it desperation time for you guys, being 0-2 in the conference?

Fola Fashola: "I think it's more of a sense of urgency, but a good thing about being 0-2 is that we have been in a similar situation the last two years, and we were able to come out in second place last year."

Fola Fashola

Q: It seems like you guys like being in this situation, coming from behind and going on a roll?

FF: "The guys get more focused and they know that there is no room for error anymore. That's the main thing for our team to determine how we are going to play and act."

Q: Is it frustrating for you to watch the way the offense has been playing the last few games?

FF: "I don't believe that it's frustrating. It's not the offense's fault. As a defensive player, anytime the opposing team scores I feel that it's our fault. I feel that the pressure should be on the defense, because if we want to be the best in the Mountain West, we should not allow the other team to score, You can't put the blame on the offense."

Q: What are you guys doing this week to turn it around?

FF: "We have to come out, starting today in practice, more focused and prepare ourselves to the best of our ability. We have to come out and play our best all four quarters, not just one half or three quarters."

Q: Do you guys feel like there is pressure to win the next five games?

FF: "Well I'm not looking at it like that. I'm just focused and concerned with our next game against UNLV. If we take it one game at a time everything will just take care of itself."

Junior Tailback DonTrell Moore

Question: How is your knee doing, where are you at with that right now?

DonTrell Moore: "It's a lot better than it was. The trainers and team doctors have been doing a great job as far as treatment and rehab goes. I'm close to 100 percent. I'm not quite there yet, but I'm close."

Q: Is the injury frustating for you?

DonTrell Moore

DM: "It is frustrating, especially the way it happened. It would be a little bit easier to swallow if it was in the context of maybe a run, or if there weren't any discrepancies of whether or not it was intentional or not, but it's okay. It happens. I just need to continue to work hard and get back to 100 percent."

Q: The offense has struggled the last few games - what's going on, why is the offense not clicking?

DM: "I'm not exactly sure. The only thing that I know we can do is get back to fundamentals and execute the game plan that the coaches prepare for us. You cannot put the blame on one individual, it's a collective effort from the whole team. If there was one specific thing wrong, I think we would have already of fixed it."

Q: Last year you had the school record for most touchdowns in a season, but this year you have one - are you wondering what's going on?

DM: "I don't get down on myself. The season is not over and there are a lot of games to be played. There is a lot of things that can happen. We can go nowhere but up and we plan to do that. Individually, I just have to be patient. The coaches and the players have supported me and have given me the help I need to get back to the top of my game."

Q: Do you expect to return punts this season?

DM: "If they want me to do that, I would be more than willing. I was excited about it. I wanted to do better at it than I had, but I'm not scared of it. Injuries are just a part of football, so it was nobody's fault. I read somewhere that I should have not been back there, but I disagree. Some of the best teams across the country have there starters on special teams, and I'm no exception. However I can help my team, that's a role that I want to take on."