Utah State head coach Gary Andersen, senior offensive lineman Spencer Johnson (Lancaster, Calif./Antelope Valley HS) and sophomore kick returner/running back Kerwynn Williams (Las Vegas, Nev./Valley HS)addressed the media Monday at USU’s weekly press conference, recapping the loss to Idaho on Nov. 20, the bye week and previewing this week’s season finale at Boise State.USU HEAD COACH GARY ANDERSEN:ON THE IDAHO GAME…”We battled and hung in there for a while. It was a struggle for the offense most of the day. Defensively, we were able to hang in there until there were three or four minutes left in the third quarter. They were able to able to capitalize on some opportunities and make some plays down the field in the passing game, and that was really the difference. I thought they did an outstanding job of finding a way to make plays to win the game.””The kids played hard, but it was a disappointing way to end the year at home without question. We had an opportunity to do some special things at home and we were not able to get that done. This is an opportunity to be able to learn and find out where we sit. I feel that game is heating up in the way of a rivalry in my opinion. There is a lot of similarities with our staffs, but the big thing to me is a lot of the kids we recruit, we are recruiting against Idaho. We have the same goals and we see ourselves as teams that are heading in the direction ready to take the next step in the league and so on. I expect that to be a fun rivalry as we continue on, and after two years it is 1-1. No one has been able to defend their home turf yet and next year we have the opportunity to play them at their place.”ON THE BYE WEEK…”The bye week was good for us, especially being able to focus on the young kids. It was a relatively short week because of Thanksgiving. We let the kids get out of here and we had to get out of here a little early because of the storm, but the week went well. We started on our preparations for Boise State, but we were really focused on the young kids getting more practice time and meeting time, dealing mostly with the kids that are not on the travel squad. It was a productive week. It was a little bit of odd spacing for a bye. We do everything we can to take advantage of every opportunity to get on the practice field and take advantage of meeting with the kids. It was a positive week.”ON THE BOISE STATE GAME AND LAST GAME OF SEASON…”Boise State is a tremendous team. Obviously they had a tough game last week. We all know that and it is well noted. They are a tremendous team and we are going to their place, which is a difficult place to play. I don’t think anyone has won there for the last 35 years. I don’t know the exact date but it has been a while.””We are excited about the opportunity. Our kids will be prepared to go down there to play. It is the last time we will be together as a team. There is nothing after next Saturday for this football team, and we understand that. Our ability to be able to prepare and practice should be cherished. This football team started together way back on January 7 and almost a year has gone by. This is a tremendous group of kids. You look at the last week of practice a little bit different when you are with a group of kids. I look forward to preparing them so they can get to where they need to be when they go out to play with each other for three more hours. We expect to come out and play at a very high level and compete at a high level.”ON THE BOISE STATE-NEVADA GAME…”I just watched the offensive side of it on TV. When it comes right down to it, Nevada found a way to make some plays and they were effective in running the ball. Nothing changed in Nevada’s scheme from what I saw. I didn’t see a lick of difference. There were a couple opportunities that Nevada’s young men needed to make plays and they took advantage of those opportunities. There were a couple opportunities that the Boise kids needed to make plays and they didn’t take advantage of the opportunities. No football game comes down to one play, no football game comes down to a couple plays, and it really doesn’t. I’m sure that both teams take a look at their opportunities and say they either took advantage of them or they didn’t. There was no magical difference from what I saw as far as scheme. Two teams were playing really hard and Nevada found a way to win at the end.”ON THE D-LINE’S PERFORMANCE THIS WEEK…”It is going to be huge. You are not going to get a lot of sacks against Boise State. Nevada only had two. You are not going to get to Kellen Moore very often, and he is going to make good decisions and get rid of the football, which is one reason he doesn’t get sacked. Another reason he doesn’t get sacked is because they have a good offensive line and they protect him. When they take those shots down the field they are going to get three double teams on the line of scrimmage and they are going to take those shots and throw it deep to some tremendous receivers. It is always important to get pushes in the pocket, it is always important to get good pressure with your defense ends. As we know if you look at the numbers we are not good at that. We have to be able to get some pressure on the quarterback and that is always a major emphasis in any football game. “ON KERWYNN WILLIAMS RETURNING KICKS AND SETTING RECORDS…”He does a great job. He has the ability to make a play on his own but most of the time he has 10 other people doing their job to get him where he needs to be. Kerwynn will be the first guy to say that it is the guys around him that give him the opportunities. He has great vision, he has very good speed, and he is very hard to tackle on an angle. He is strong enough where people can bounce off him in the open field. He has done a tremendous job and it is important to Kerwynn. Being on the field at whatever position he is at is important to him. He is going to take advantage of every opportunity to get better. He studies the film hard on the kickoff teams that he is going to deal with. He knows who the best guys are, he knows who to watch out for, and he understands the scheme. I think (special teams assistant coach) Coach Woods has done a nice job all year long of keeping people off pace, they haven’t been able to hone in on one return and say ‘this is what they do.’ A lot of teams have one or two returns and that doesn’t change all year long. I think Coach Woods has done a great job of mixing it up and giving Kerwynn an opportunity to hit some creases. As a coach, you work a little bit harder to give a dynamic kid an opportunity to do something special.”ON BOISE STATE’S RUN DEFENSE…”They are difficult to run against. They are very good in all defensive categories. There is not one you look at and say there is the spot, we can take advantage of that. That is the biggest difference when you look at Boise from what I have seen. I have only been in the league two years, a very short period of time, but over the years as we played them their defense has drastically improved. Over the years they may have got into some shootouts and found a way to out-score people but you don’t see that nearly as much now. They are a more solid and stout defense. They have very good football players. There are a few kids that will be playing football for a long time on the defensive side of the ball. They have done a nice job of developing their personnel on that side of the ball. That is what has given them the opportunity to take the next step to the BCS instead of just conference championships.”SPENCER JOHNSON – SENIOR OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – LANCASTER, CALIF. (ANTELOPE VALLEY HS)RECAP THE LOSS TO IDAHO…”As far as the last game goes, Idaho was a rough one because that game had a lot to do with offensive and defensive lines, which is something I take pride in and try to play well at. We didn’t get that done against Idaho, I felt like that was a huge part of the game. We couldn’t control the ball and we couldn’t move the ball. Idaho did very well as playing pitch and catch against us but that is what happens when you can protect your quarterback, they moved the ball up and down the field. It was a rough loss but we are going to bounce back from that game, we come to work everyday and that will be a key part of helping us get over this loss.”ON PREPARING FOR BOISE STATE…”I think everyone in the country saw their game last weekend. It’s unfortunate for them and the goal they were seeking to accomplish. Knowing that Boise State team, I know that they are going to bounce right back and put their work in to give us their best shot. As a team, we are all going to have to bring our A-game and be ready to fight and battle them for four quarters.”ON FOCUS DURING BYE WEEK…”We focused on our game plan and previewed their defense and watched a lot of film. We didn’t do a ton of physical work, but we focused on some of the mental aspects of the game and went through a walk-through together and tried to figure out what we are going to do against their defense. People talk more about their defense now than their offense, they have a lot of returning players who are contributing so offensively we are going to have to be on our p’s and q’s. Their defensive line is big and strong, and their secondary is really fast. For us we are going to have to play football the way we like to play and we do that by controlling the tempo and managing the game as an offensive line.”ON GETTING THE RUNNING GAME GOING AGAINST BOISE STATE…”It comes down to all five of us offensive lineman have to be on the same page. We are going to have to know this defense inside and out in order to have any success against them, we run a similar option offense as Nevada and that will be essential to our success on offense.”ON FEELINGS ABOUT PREPARING TO PLAY FINAL GAME AS AN AGGIE…”I honestly haven’t thought about it much, even on senior day I didn’t think about it until it was over. This next game is going to be full of emotion for me, I’ve been doing the same thing for the last eight years of my life coming in and getting ready to play football. I want to go out and have fun and we are playing one of the best teams in the country, so I’m going to try and enjoy it.”IF READY TO HAVE THIS BE HIS LAST FOOTBALL GAME…”I don’t think that I am ready to have this be my last game, I still have a lot of goals I would like to reach as far as football goes. I am going to give it everything I have until someone makes me hang up my pads.”ON WHAT SPECIFICALLY BREAKS DOWN WHEN TEAM IS UNABLE TO RUN THE BALL…”Our backs are very talented but we all make mistakes. For the offensive line we have to be one unit and on the same page. When a defensive lineman or linebacker comes and gets penetration, it is because we didn’t do our job. All five of us have to do our job consistently, we can’t take a play off or have success on just a few plays, we have to have success on all our plays.”KERWYNN WILLIAMS – SOPHOMORE KICK RETURNER/RUNNING BACK – LAS VEGAS, NEV. (VALLEY HS)ON THE LOSS TO IDAHO…”Obviously last week didn’t go as we had planned, we were working to go out and win that game for our seniors but obviously we didn’t get the job done. We didn’t execute well enough on offense to win the game. We are going to have to go out there and execute more of our plays. I don’t think that the loss can be put solely on one unit of our offense but rather our offense as a whole. As an offense we just didn’t execute well. We have been studying what we did wrong in that came and we will change from it.”ON BOISE STATE…”For this upcoming game against Boise State we have put a lot of study and film watching into it because they have a great defense. Their defense is probably one of the best in the nation, so we have been studying more of this film than any other film. They send a lot of different looks and schemes at you and that is something we are going to have to be prepared for through our film study. We have to be able to identify what they are trying to do as a defense. Their secondary is better than any other team we have played this season, they have a secondary that comes to the ball and makes tackles. Their defense swarms to the ball and everyone of them can make a play.”ON HIS RECORDS…”I didn’t even know about it until today. I don’t really keep up with that. I think it is an amazing thing but a lot of it is due to my teammates, I couldn’t do any of it without them, they block and create the opportunities for me. Without them and our special teams coordinators schemes I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this.”ON WHAT HE LOOKS FOR WHEN STARTING A RETURN…”First thing I am looking for is open space. I see the hole and try to hit it as hard as I can.”ARE ANY SCHEMES DESIGNED TO BE TO THE LEFT, RIGHT OR DOWN THE MIDDLE…”We always give a call so everyone is on the same page and everyone knows who they are supposed to be blocking. We focus on opening up one seam and I try to run straight through it to get as many yards as possible. As a team we have done a great job at doing that.”ON WATCHING BOISE STATE SPECIAL TEAMS ON FILM…”I have watched a lot of film on their special teams and they have some really fast guys on the coverage team. Everyone on their special teams is running full speed down the field to make the play. It’s going to take more effort this week to get everyone blocked to break the big returns but I think that we can do that. I know that we are always looking to change the game on special teams and we are going to have to do that this weekend to help win this game for us.”ON INCREASED ROLE IN THE OFFENSE AND PLAYING IN THE SLOT…”It is nice to get more playing time on offense and I am willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win. If coach wants me to play slot, it doesn’t matter to me, I’ll go out there and play slot if it give our team a chance to win. It’s different, I haven’t really played slot since high school, so I have had to dust off my hands and keep them ready to catch the ball. It’s a change but I think I am starting to get the hang of it.”ON GETTING TIRED BECAUSE OF DOING EVERYTHING…”No, I try to keep myself in good enough shape to do what the team needs. Running gassers after practice keeps us in good shape.”-USU-
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