Nov. 4, 2003
Head Coach Rocky Long
Question: What does Colorado State's offense look like?
Rocky Long: "I think they are as good as they have been the last two or three years. The key to their team is (quarterback Bradlee) Van Pelt. I think he's throwing the ball a little better this year than he did last year, but he's still a big threat running the ball. They have all kinds of ways to let him run the ball. They go to empty sets and let him run counters, they have power plays and they run draws. They have numerous formations for the draw play so he can have the ball in his hand. He's a good player. There's more emphasis on him to carry the ball this year than last year. They're doing more to leave the ball in his hands. There's nothing you can do to really stop him otherwise than executing your scheme. He makes a lot of people miss and he breaks a lot of tackles. The real key to slowing him down is good tackling. For as big as he is, he's real shifty."
"They have a couple of good receivers, so if you blitz everybody they mass protect and let the receivers get big gains. Their offensive philosophy is like ours. They use the tight ends more, and we use our running backs. They'll have tight ends line up in the backfield as running backs. It's a similar offense with similar schemes."
Q: How much have you adjusted your schedule due to the short week?
RL: "We have adjusted our schedule quite a bit. We're doing it a lot different than the last time we played on Friday night (versus Texas Tech). We're not practicing in pads and we're spending less time in the practice field and more time in the meeting rooms."
"I believe the visiting teams on Thursday and Friday night games have an advantage. The home coach is caught up in whether he should send his players to school on gameday, but the visiting coach has the entire day to focus his team on the game. They don't have any distractions, and they can think about nothing but football, which is a normal setting when you play on a Saturday. The home team, depending on who the coach is, can handle a Friday game exactly like a Saturday game, or you can handle it like they should be in school. We handle it like they should be in school. We take them to a hotel like normal, but we shuttle them back and forth in a van to class. So it's not a normal setting and their concentration time on the game is dramatically diminished. But our philosophy here is that they're here to go to school first. Plus, we have eight starters that have a test on Friday. So in that sense, I believe the visiting teams have an advantage."
"We tried to handle the Texas Tech game like a normal practice week last year. We tried to go through the week exactly the same way, but what happened is that the players didn't have their normal day off. This year, we didn't practice on Sunday and we only practiced on Monday for an hour to try and give the players their normal time off. We won't go in pads all week."
Q: At the beginning of the year, you believed the conference champ would have two losses. Do you still believe that, and why?
RL: "I still believe that. Why? Because the teams are so close. And this year, the teams are basically veteran teams. There is not one young team. Every team had a bunch of veterans coming back that were basically starters. With young teams, if things start going bad, they will continue to go bad for the rest of the year, and if things go good, they will go good for the rest of the year. Veteran teams stay more level-headed. So even if you had a bad loss the week before, you still have a good chance to win your next game; and even if you had a good win the week before, there's still a good chance you might not play as good the next week. The teams are veteran this year so you don't have as many ups and downs. That's a reason why the road teams are doing so well this year (11-7 in MWC games) - the players have been in the stadiums before and all the players have played against the same guys before, so there's really no surprises. I think every team in our league thinks they can beat the other team."
Q: Considering last week's performance in the loss to UNLV, do you think the players will be ready this week?
"I think they can't wait to get on the field. They hate practice - they want to play the game. They get over stuff quicker than I do, and they're over what happened last week. They know there are three more games to play, and I know they're looking forward in playing all three of them."