Quotes From The Tucanos Media Luncheon
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  10/26/2004
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Oct. 26, 2004


What does Colorado State's offensive look like?

"Colorado State is getting back to its roots. They want to run the ball. If they're able to run the ball, they will use play-action pass. With a young quarterback, you want to train him to get rid of the ball quick. In the Wyoming game, they used a lot of formations with only one wide receiver in the game. They look like the team of three years ago - they're going to run it, run it, run it, and then use play-action pass to get a guy wide open."

How would you evaluate your defensive line?

"I think they've played really well the last two weeks. Early on, we had spurts where they played pretty well and we had spurts where they had a lot of assignment errors that ended up in big plays for the other team. The last two weeks they've been very assignment sound and they're playing extremely hard even though they've suffered some injuries. They're playing really hard and making some plays.

"Our defensive linemen have been dramatically better the last two weeks. They're not making assignment errors and their technique is a lot better. The scheme of our defense hasn't changed, so if a team runs the ball well, there's something else going on."

Why does DonTrell (Moore) have so much success against Colorado State?

"I don't know. If DonTrell can get in the open field, he has a real knack for making people miss, and I would say the offensive line blocked well to get him into the open field. That's why he's had good games against CSU. It's not a scheme thing or an X and O thing. DonTrell will have big games if you get him into the open field. If you don't get him into the open field where he's 1-on-1, he's a good running back, but he's not going to have a huge game. I thought at Air Force we got him into the open field many times, and if he was healthy he would have made them miss and the game would have been different, but he didn't have his shake-and-bake that game."

Has Colorado State changed at all defensively?

"No. They're running the exact same scheme they've been running since Sonny's been there. They run the same scheme that New Mexico State runs. They really struggled on defense early, but they were also playing USC, Minnesota and Colorado. They've really played better on defense the last two weeks. They're playing a lot of young guys who are maturing throughout the season."

How did the late win over San Diego State two weeks ago help CSU?

"I believe that win changed their whole mentality. I've watched every game they've played this season on film, and last week against Wyoming was their best game of the season. They looked so much better last week. CSU didn't play good against San Diego State, but they got a break and won the game. It's amazing what a win does to your outlook, because they really played well against Wyoming, and Wyoming is a much better football team this year. If they would have lost the San Diego State game, I can almost promise you they wouldn't have played that well against Wyoming."

Are you surprised at how well the cornerbacks (Brandon Payne, Gabriel Fulbright) have played this season?

"I'm not surprised. Both of them are good athletes and have experience. I'm surprised when they don't play well. Being an ex-cornerback in the Canadian Football League, I know how critical that position is. We probably put more pressure on our corners than anyone else in our league does. So when they play well, we usually do pretty well with our pass defense. Eighty percent of the time our cornerbacks are in man-to-man coverage. And probably 70 percent of the time they have no help, and that's a daunting task. So when you look at it that way, they've played really well.

"And those guys aren't the only ones. I think we have a couple of other guys that are pretty good too. I think Jerrell Malone is a pretty good player. Mike Powdrell is developing into a pretty good cover guy. And I think Juamar Hall is going to be a pretty good cover guy, and he's a redshirt freshman."


When you go into a game with a young quarterback, do you lick your chops as a defensive guy, thinking you'll have the chance to go after him?

"Not really, they're going to make big plays, and we don't want to be over-confident. We just have to go out there and play."

Was last weeks defensive effort, the best you guys have shown as a team this season?

"I think so, because it seemed like we had a lot of 3-and-outs and we were causing a lot of turnovers also. We had a lot of sacks, I think the most in a game this season, so I think we did do a good job on defense."

Does the defense get frustrated when you guys are pounding away and the offense is not putting up any points?

"No, not really. I think one of the best things that the offense does is they really don't have that many turnovers. As a defensive player, that's what hurts the most, when the offense turns the ball over. But they have been doing good all year, and that's all you can ask."

Tyler (Gaus) has been giving you guys good field position with his punts - does that give the defense a different mindset when you guys have them backed up so far?

"Oh yeah. I personally feel like you can take more chances, and you have more room to work, especially with pass rushing. It changes the game completely, when good field positioning happens."


Do you feel like this team has momentum after last week's win against San Diego State?

"Yeah we do and I think it will help our team get going. Colorado State will have a lot of momentum too, so it's whoever comes out to play."

Your goal at the beginning of the season was to win the conference and go to a bowl game, however Utah's the one to catch - how do you feel about the outlook for the rest of the season?

"We can't think win two out of three, it's win every game starting with this week. If we want to play in December then that's what we have to do."

Do you feel like that was your best defensive effort of the season going up against San Diego State?

"Yes it was. We played good defense in the first half. All the other games we only played good defense in the second half. It was important to put a complete game together, just to prove to ourselves that we can do it."

It's not very often that a linebacker can knock an offensive lineman on their back, but you did that like two or three times against San Diego State - it looked like you were mad out there.

"I wasn't mad, but you have to play with a little bit of anger. I'm going to have to play like that the next few games."

What do you do to get yourself motivated like that and play with that kind of edge?

"There are certain things before the game and the night before the game. I like to meditate on certain things. Just try to go through each position and focus on them doing what they need to do, then it comes to me and what I've got to do. I kind of step back from the entire picture and look at what is going on. Before each play I just tell myself to do my best and play like a champion."

Have you ever won at Fort Collins?

"No, not in the two times I've played there."

Were you surprised to know that the Lobos have not won there since 1995?

"I read that yesterday. I couldn't believe that, and I heard it might be snowing this weekend, but hopefully it won't be."


Last year the Lobos had a great game against Colorado State, does that give you confidence going into this weekend?

"Well of course that's always an added benefit for us as a team, but it can also be detrimental if you don't approach it the right way. They're going to make adjustments to stop the things that have been successful for us in the past, so we need to adjust accordingly."

Mentally for you, does it give you more confidence knowing that you had a big game last year against CSU?

"It does give me a lot of confidence in a game where it's essential to be at the top of your mental game. I think that it is going to help us in preparation for the game, knowing that we were successful. Part of our success has been our ability to prepare for the game and I think that in the end that was the deciding factor."

What is it going to take for the offense to put up big numbers on the scoreboard?

"I think that it's just a matter of us executing the plays that come out to us on the field. It's just a matter of us believing in ourselves and staying diligent at what we do and the success will come."

Do you feel like you guys have more momentum after the last two wins?

"Yes, I believe that we do and it has been the key to our success. There is a lot of excitement going on our team right now, so I'm just hoping that the excitement turns into a harder work ethic that will give us the best chance to win on Saturday."


Has the thought of a bowl game crossed your mind, or is it too early to think about it?

"I'm just thinking about one game at a time and to keep winning ball games. If we keep doing our jobs, then the rest of the season will take care of itself."

Do you think that Colorado State is one of the more physical games that the Lobos play?

"It seems like every time that we play Colorado State something is one the line. This time we are playing for second, so it's extremely important that we come out ready to go against a very physical football team."

In your opinion do you think that CSU and the Lobos are similar in any ways?

"I believe that they've won the last two games as well, so they're going to come out fired up with a lot of momentum on their side. I think that whoever comes out and executes the best is probably going to get the win."

What do you know about Colorado State's defense?

"I'm expecting a very physical game from their guys up front. However, I'm confident in the game plan coach Long has ready for us in order to defeat them."