Utah State head coach Gary Andersen, sophomore running back Robert Marshall and sophomore linebacker Jake Doughty address the media following Monday’s scrimmage. USU HEAD COACH GARY ANDERSEN: ON TODAY’S SCRIMMAGE… “We wanted to get very close to 60 reps and spend a lot of time in the redzone. That is what we got out of the scrimmage, so mission accomplished as far as what we put together as a staff. I thought that the kids competed. I will sit down and look at the film on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. There are a lot of kids that we are evaluating. Overall, it was a very positive day. The kicking game was much improved on a day where it wasn’t great conditions to be able to snap and kick the football. I thought that was drastically improved from a week ago. We got a start on special teams with the return teams for punt and kick. We haven’t had a lot of practice on that so it should be a great teaching time for Joe Hill and Cam Webb, who did a nice job returning punts. They have both looked good throughout the spring and were able to make some nice moves and bust a couple today. Punt returns is a major emphasis for us. The last two years it has not been a factor and I know that Coach Busch has made it a priority, along with all the other coaches.” ON PLAYING IN THE REDZONE… “Communication is important when you get down there. It is a physical part of the football game. Playmakers show up in that situation or scenario. You have to get the kids in those spots so they understand that defensively you have to make a special play down there to win. Holding them to three or four yards a play will allow them to get into tremendous field goal position, or it even allows them to score a touchdown. They have to be able to turn it up a little bit in the redzone. Obviously offense has the exact same goals. It was a battle down there today on both sides. You have to force the offense to kick field goals and keep points off the board, and offensively you have to be able to score touchdowns. We will continue to work on that week in and week out as always. With spring football when one side is playing well in the redzone obviously the other side is not, and that was the case for today.” ON THE QUARTERBACK COMPETITION… “It is still wide open. As you saw today the two young men that got the reps were Adam Kennedy and Alex Hart. We will probably proceed in that direction for the next couple of days. We will have to sit down and evaluate the tape to see where we will go, but we are far from naming a starter, and at this point I do not foresee that taking place as we go through spring football.” ON WIDE RECEIVERS DROPPING PASSES BECAUSE OF THE RAIN… “I do not think that any of them made that excuse. It is what it is, they did drop some passes today. We will look at it and evaluate it. The young men have to be able to make plays regardless of what the weather is. It is important for them to go out and make the play when the opportunity is there, and there were three or four of those today catch it and we didn’t. There were also a couple of opportunities on the defensive side of the ball where we could have made some big plays in the redzone and we didn’t make those plays either. You have to make plays when the opportunity presents itself otherwise you will eventually not find yourself on the field. That is just the nature of Division I college football.” ON WHO IS STANDING OUT AS A GAMER… “In practice consistently, a gamer to me is a practice guy and a game guy and I will never stand back and say he is good on Saturday but he stinks through out the week, that just not the case. To me a young man who is consistently fought all spring long is a freshman on offense, Joe Hill. We have so many running backs that get nicked and dinged up and all he has done is keep on going. He is not the biggest guy in the world but he will power over you on the outside and he has had success every single day. He would defiantly jump out to me as one of those guys on the offensive side of the football. Another one of those guys would be Travis Reynolds, he is a wide receiver who is growing up, his physicality has shown and he has consistently played at a high level. Those are a couple of guys on the offensive side that I’d say that.” “The biggest thing is just stay right on task with where he have been from the very beginning, we want this kids to play fast, play hard with a ton of energy, and I think that we have had energy every single practice except for not this last Wednesday’s practice but the Wednesday before, it was just an ok practice and we have talked to the kids about that since and they have done a nice job. Grasping the scheme is important, learning how to practice in shorts and shoulder pads, fortunately for this team that is something we are having to teach them a little bit, how not to slow down but how to take care of each other and that is a positive. I would rather have to teach them how to take of each other, I will never use the word slow down at practice but to teaching each other how to stay up and take care of each other in practice and we are going to use the next two days to get that accomplished on Wednesday. Then on Friday we aren’t in pads and we will also take advantage on Friday to put the kids in a position to really run a practice for themselves. The summer-time coaches are gone, they are removed and we will take the last helmet practice and the young men will run a practice. That is what they need to be able to do in the summer time with the coaches not around. We will see how they will handle that where we can put an eyeball on them and watch them in day 14 of spring. Then obviously the spring game will kick-off at two o’clock on Saturday.” HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT WHERE YOU TEAM IS AT AND WHERE YOU HAD HOPED THEY WOULD BE? “That is a tough question, I don’t know if I really have a complete grasp on where I thought we would be. I’d like to see us throw and catch the ball better at times, there is no doubt about that, I’d like to see us consistently rush the passer with four men a little bit better, I’d like to see us protect the quarterback at times a little bit better when it’s a five man pressure that we are bringing at them. Overall, there have been a lot of young men who have stepped up and I guess when I look at it and what I am really looking for, I want to see the best 11 on each side of the football and the best 11 on each special teams unit and get the next crew, whether that’s two offensive linemen or seven defensive linemen and let those kids understand where they sit and what is expected of them in the next week here. I think that we are starting to understand who those kids are and the kids are starting to understand who those guys are. The last thing that we have looked long and hard for this spring is leadership. I feel that it is better, the energy the excitement for the kids who have been out, the kids that we have held out, there are a number of them as you all know who we have held out of a lot of the scrimmages, some of them are still healing from surgeries and what have you. But their leadership has improved from what I have seen at this point.” ARE YOU FINALLY GETTING THAT SEPARATION THAT YOU HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR? “I think that there is some separation definitely taking place and I think the kids understand it. The good thing about it is, I really believe that our kids could sit down and put together a depth chart and be right with us as a coaching staff and truly make an evaluation and I think that matters. I think when your team gets to the point where they can say this guy is playing at the level that the coaches want him to play at and that is the level that we expect him to play at, is a step in the right direction. We are starting to see that happen but we have far from arrived in any way shape or form. I am proud of them and I love them and I am excited about the next practice and they will come back tomorrow and have a great day watching film and working out.” ROBERT MARSHALL, SOPHOMORE, RUNNING BACK ON TODAY’S SCRIMMAGE… “The main thing we wanted to do was come out here with some excitement. We wanted to get better from last week, and try to get the ball into the end zone every time we come out here. I think that we were able to do that. Some plays were busts, but I think that we were able to bounce back pretty well. We were able to move the ball like we wanted to.” ON THE RAINY CONDITIONS… “When the rain comes, as a team you just have to fight through it. There is always adversity that you have to fight through. We just needed to keep moving the ball, and I think that we did that. Coach hasn’t really addressed playing in weather like this. The biggest thing that he has talked about is whatever the conditions are snow, heat or rain, we just need to come out here and play like men. We just need to fight through the last whistle and give it our all.” ON MIXING UP THE RUNNING FORMATIONS AND BACKS… “I think that (offensive coordinator) Coach Baldwin did that just to mix up the defense and get them off balance. I feel that it worked. I am pretty excited about the outcome today.” ON GOALS FOR THE LAST WEEK OF SPRING BALL… “I just want to focus on getting better with my craft out here. I also want to focus on working hard in the weight room and the classroom. I have to focus on my grades, as does the rest of the team. We just have to finish the semester strong, and finish our last spring game off with a bang.” JAKE DOUGHTY, SOPHOMORE, LINEBACKER ON TODAY’S SCRIMMAGE… “I think it went well. We crisped things up. For the most part we are doing good. Hopefully, we just keep getting better and keep working hard.” ON DEFENSE’S EMOTION AND ENERGY… “Going on Monday is usually better. We have the weekend to rest and get our minds and bodies right. We were able to come out fast, we just need to keep working hard.” ON IF RAINY WEATHER HELPED THE DEFENSE… “At times. They (the offense) are still going to run the ball. That is not going to change much. It does help with the pass a little bit. It makes the ball a little bit slippery, which definitely helps us.” ON WHAT MUST BE DONE TO FINISH SPRING THE RIGHT WAY… “We just need to keep working hard. We need to make sure that we know our stuff. We need to make sure that both sides of the ball get crisper. We just need to do the little things right, and that is all that we need to do.” ON DEFENSE COMING TOGETHER… “Yes, we have come together. I have been here for two years now and this team is coming together and is pretty close-knit group. We are all working well together. Hopefully it pays off as soon as the season starts.” ON IF THERE IS A DROP OFF BETWEEN THE FIRST AND SECOND STRING LINEBACKERS… “No, I don’t think so. Bobby Wagner and Kyle Gallagher aren’t doing too much right now, we are trying to keep them healthy. It has given the back-ups some time to work hard and get their plays right, and I think we are doing pretty good.” -USU-
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