Stew Morrill quotes prior to Denver game

On The Upcoming Week:”We are in the midst of trying to prepare for Denver. It is an interesting week for us because both Denver and Georgetown run a similar system, the Princeton system that is quite complex. Obviously they run it with different personnel, but very similar systems that we will be facing this week. Right now I haven’t watched one ounce of Georgetown tape, our whole focus is on Denver, and our team, with what we need to do to play a little better and get ready to play Denver.” On Importance of Road Games This Week:”I don’t think if we go out and lose two on the road that it will destroy everything we have done over an 11-year period. I don’t quite see it as that level of significance. We are playing two road games. One against a team that was 17-1 at home last year, that was Denver, and the other one is ranked 16th in the country. We have got our hands full. I think it is an opportunity for us to get recognized a little bit if we play well, but I don’t see it as something that will destroy this season or previous seasons.” On Denver:”They do a great job of running you around and back-dooring you for layups, setting flare screens for jumpers, and a combination of layups and jump shots. If they get a bunch of layups, they are probably going to beat you, and they have always relied on hitting some three-pointers out of their system. You really have to adjust your defense to try and guard it. If you play standard defense and rules, they hurt you. It is kind of an odd preparation because they do such a good job of hurting normal defensive rules, if that makes sense. You have to adjust some things in the way you try to guard it. I think there is a variety of ways people have tried to guard it. Go out and pressure the heck out of everything or try to adjust some things and that is what we are trying to decide right now; what is our best approach to defend this system?” On Defending the Princeton System:”You have to have some basic rules to defend this system. You have got to be more open to switching some things than maybe we normally are. They cause you to switch some things with all their different cuts and all of that.” On the Advantage of Playing Two Teams in the Same Week With Similar Systems:”It might make your preparation a little simpler with Georgetown because you only have basically a day and a half to get ready for that game, playing at noon on Saturday. Like I said it is a whole different world of personnel. I think the concern with Georgetown becomes the system, and the top 25 personnel. It’s not that Denver doesn’t have good personnel but Georgetown has top 25 personnel. It’s like I said on the radio the other night; everyone would like us to go on the road and beat BYU and go on the road and beat Georgetown, two marquee games on the road. Well, there are not a lot of people in the country who are going to do that. So that is why I said it is an opportunity. Right now, if our players look at that game [Georgetown] before they look at Denver, they are not very smart based on how we played the other night, and with Denver being 17-1 at home last year. That is why I see it as crazy to think that we are supposed to go out and make a statement on this trip. It would be an opportunity, a plus, if we did have success.” On Denver Joining the WAC:”For me personally it’s going to be a good thing to have them in the league. I have got children and grandchildren in that area. So going there every year will be a plus for me, to see them. It is an hour flight, basically. It is a lot closer than some trips in our league. I think it is good, and it was just ironic that it worked out that we are playing a home and home. It could have worked out that they would come in the league next year and we would get hosed on our home game, but it worked out perfect for both schools.” On the Northeastern Game and What Utah State Needs To Improve On:”Making open jump shots. We charted 16 wide-open jump shots when we in here yesterday watching film and that is just not like us. We missed 16-stripped jump shots, 13 of them were three’s and the others were jump shots inside the three-point line. It was real ironic to me that we had that many guys miss shots all in the same night, and still found a way to win. Obviously I thought we were lucky and didn’t deserve to win necessarily, but we did win and I am going to remind those kids today that they did a good job finding a way to win under the circumstances. We played hard, we didn’t defend too bad, and there wasn’t any magical switches to playing better other than making some shots.” On The Backup Point Guard:”We will probably stick with E.J. [Farris] right now, he came in and did a good job, and probably should have got a few minutes in the second half. So we will probably stick with him and especially when you consider that he is a very confident shooter, and we are having a little trouble shooting the ball. It makes sense. We are not down on James [Walker III] or anything but it just makes sense to stick with E.J. based on his performance and shooting confidence.” On Nate Bendall’s Status:”I don’t know. For one, I don’t know how much more Nate can play based on his feet. With the more minutes we give him, will his feet hold up? I hope so. I have never ever believed in penalizing a guy for getting hurt, that doesn’t make sense to me. Nate Bendall was part of a championship team that won 27 games, and he had a very good junior year. I am going to try and get him ready to play, if his feet hold up. That being said, it kind of depends on performance. He still has to play well. In getting ready to play, I can’t just take minutes away from others guys if he doesn’t play well. Based on not penalizing him for being hurt I am going to try and get him a few more minutes each game, each week, and see how his feet hold up. His performance determines whether he is third post, fourth post, fifth post, and Matt [Formisano] and Morgan’s [Grim] performance determines the same. It is all performance based, nobody is in and nobody is out. If you play good, you will play.” On Defending Denver:The following are quotes from Utah State men’s basketball coach Stew Morrill prior to the Denver game.”Their two guards [Brian Strafford and Chase Hallam] are really playing well, averaging 15 and 14 [points per game]. What is really interesting in the system that I should’ve mentioned, is they post guards a lot. Whether our guards can play post defense, first of all keep the ball out of there, and second of all guarding them without fouling them, and without letting them score it every time. Guards are not used to defending the post as much as the big guys. So both Stafford and Hallam are going to test our guards in that regard. They are shooting 39 percent from three. You look at their record and you say they won 17 homes games last year but they are off to a rough start. They have played some pretty good teams on the road, and they have only played two home games. I think their record is a little deceptive and they are shooting nearly 40 percent from three. That is a concern to go along with the personnel I mentioned. You try to find a way to guard that system in a couple of days, that is a challenge.”

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