Utah State head coach Gary Andersen, senior safety Walter McClenton and senior wide receiver Eric Moats, a native of Highlands Ranch, Colo., addressed the media at Monday’s press conference, recapping the bye week and previewing the 2011 Homecoming game against Colorado State. USU HEAD COACH GARY ANDERSEN: ON BYE WEEK: “Quickly on the bye week, a productive week I believe. In the end I think it came at a good time for this football team. It allowed some of the younger players in the program to get some much-needed reps in, and focus in on the offense, defense and/or special teams as we went through the week of practice. The kids got a break Friday afternoon and were off all day Saturday, and last night they came back for their normal study hall. We’ll jump in, we won’t treat today like a normal Monday, we will treat today like a Tuesday, Tuesday like a Wednesday and Wednesday like a Thursday if that makes sense. We’re one day ahead as we go through on the bye week.” ON COLORADO STATE: “Colorado State is 2-1, they played very well, played defensively first. From the standpoint of Colorado State they are very solid. Top of the Mountain West Conference in two or three categories, defensively they rush and pass very well. They change the line of scrimmage and have been very solid on defense the whole season. (CSU defensive coordinator) Larry Kerr will do a very nice job of having those young men ready to play. He’s been doing this for a long time and I have a lot of respect for him. I’m sure him and his staff will have their kids ready to come in here and play a very good football game against our offense. On the offensive side of the ball, Colorado State wants to run the ball. They’re coached very well, as we all know on that side of the football. They want to run, hit you with some play actions and throw the ball down the field and take shots when they have the time or the want to, to get yardage in big chunks. They’re going to be a ball-control play action team. They have a very good sophomore quarterback, a young man who I think has done very well just from watching his film from last year to this year, you can definitely see the transition from a freshman to a sophomore. Offensive line, as always, is big and physical. They’re going to look the part and they’re going to play very hard. That hasn’t changed in however many years I’ve been playing against Colorado State. The tight ends are always a big part of their offense and that hasn’t changed a bit. They’re a very well-rounded team from what I see and playing with a lot of confidence. ON SOPHOMORE CORNERBACK CAMERON SANDERS WHO HAS BEEN INJURED: “Cameron (Sanders) should be ready to go this week. We’ll see how he goes through practice. Hopefully he comes out today and is prepared and ready to take on the week of practice. ON ANY OTHER INJURIES FROM ANYONE ELSE IN WEBER STATE GAME: “I think we’re going to be full-goal, which is great for us. Funaki’s (Asisi) back, had some practices last week and got himself back a little bit. I think he felt pretty good and should feel great with the extra time he had off. We’re walking into it about as healthy as can be.” ON HOW THIS SEEMS TO BE THE KIND OF GAME THAT REALLY GAUGES THE SEASON TO THE POSITIVE IF YOU CAN BEAT A TEAM LIKE THIS HERE AT HOME. “I think there’s absolutely no question about the way you phrase that. This is a big game for us. Colorado State is going to come in here, and I believe, expect to win. They’ve had some success in the past and hasn’t been in the recent history, but I believe from the way they play, being in the Mountain West Conference, I believe they’re going to come in here feeling very comfortable. Walking in here thinking they’re going to be able to play at a high level and expect to win. Our football team should feel the same way. We need to take care of ourselves in this football game. It’s a quality opponent. No matter how you cut it, Colorado State is a quality opponent. Just watch their tape as they came through last year, watch it this year. They play hard and fast physical football, all the way across the board in all three phases. This is a big game for us. The key for us is we’re at home, I believe there’s going to be a tremendous crowd. I really do think that will be a big advantage for us as a football program. They’re used to playing in those environments. They’re a tough-minded team, but we’re a tough-minded team. We have to take a step forward and if we win this football game, it will definitely be a step forward for this program.” ON CSU USING THE RUN TO SET UP THE PASS AND CSU’S OFFENSE UNDER HEAD COACH STEVE FAIRCHILD: “Coach Fairchild is going to do a great job of controlling the game and getting the ball to his playmakers’ hands. His experience is obviously there, goes to the NFL and they have the flavor of the NFL offense in there. They want to protect when they’re going to throw the ball down the field. The easiest way for me to put it is he’s going to do what he’s going to do, but he’s going to do it with his personnel so it’ll change year in and year out, not drastically, but it will definitely change and he’ll do a tremendous job of using his people. They want to run the ball, be a physical team and let their play action open up things for them. They do a nice job with the draw package, they do a nice job with their screen package and with their play-action pass. That’s kind of who they are. They’re going to be very well-rounded on the offensive side of the ball.” ON COACH ANDERSEN’S EXPERIENCE FROM FACING CSU WHILE AN ASSISTANT AT UTAH: “I’ve watched very little, if any, tape, over the last two years. I watched a few games from a year ago, I watched the games from this year, and I see a lot of similarities to the quality of the Colorado State teams I’ve had the opportunity to play in the past. They have tremendous coaches and tremendous young men on their team. They’re a big, physical, powerful football team. I don’t know what they’ve done in the past couple of years or where things sit, I just know that when I put on the tape I see a good football team that is coached well, that runs the ball well and plays the game how it’s supposed to be played. This will be a very, big challenge for us.” ON HOW TO GET THE STADIUM FULL AND KEEP THE CROWDS: “It’s simple for us, win. Winning is contagious. Winning builds excitement. Winning builds expectations. I think having a quality product out on the field is important. I appreciate everyone that came out to the games. It is very important to us and it makes a big, big difference. I’ve stated that a couple times as we’ve gone through this last week, when our kids walk out of the tunnel there and they see the people there as come onto the field from the helmet, it means a lot to them to see that place full. It’s an exciting time to be able to keep building our crowds and getting them where they need to be, but what we need to do is put a quality product on the field as a football program and we need to win games. If we do that, I believe it will stay full for a long,long time and that is our ultimate goal. We’re excited about the opportunity to compete, hopefully to a packed house, on Saturday.” ON CSU’s TALENTED RUNNING BACKS: “They’re very good, solid running backs. They’re used, in my opinion, in the right way. They get to the edge of the defense on the toss play, they hit it down inside whether it’s a sprint-draw or it’s a iso, or lead type of play. They do a nice job of getting downhill. Obviously the success of any running back is the success of his offensive line and I believe those young men and the tight ends, have done a nice job of blocking for the most part. They have quality running backs. As long as I can go back, Colorado State has always had good backs. They’re going to be physical kids who run hard. The other good thing these young men do is they catch the ball well. They have a couple kids back there, it doesn’t change, it doesn’t drop off; the offense is built for both of those young men to succeed.” ON CSU OFFENSIVE LINEMAN JOE CAPRIOLGLIO’S INJURY: “It doesn’t change our approach, but he’s a very good player. I’m no NFL scout, but to me he’s a potential NFL offensive tackle. From what I saw from him in the film that I watched. He’s tremendous player and I have no idea if he’s going to play or not. It doesn’t really change us, but he’s a quality player. ON WHAT TEAM WORKED ON DURING BYE WEEK, WAS IT ONE OR TWO THINGS, OR MORE OF A PROGRESSION OF THINGS: “It was probably more of a progression than anything else. If I sat back and looked at one thing, you look at defensively. There’s no magic way to coach it, but we need to get some turnovers. There’s no magic “turnover Tuesdays” or “rip the ball out Wednesdays” and all that stuff, it doesn’t work. Overall we had a lot of things to continue to work on as we continue to progress. We all know we are a very, very young football team and can use all the practice we can get. If you look back from this Saturday, two things I’m going to stress this week in practice are penalties and turnovers. If you watched the games throughout the country, it’s unbelievable that game after game after game, even through the NFL, I don’t know if there was some virus going around or what, but there were turnovers and penalties that just swung games back and forth, so that’s something we’re going to talk about hard this week. And again, how do you prevent that? ON HOW WELL OFFENSIVE LINE HAS DOMINATED THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE IN FIRST TWO GAMES: “I don’t know if the offensive line or the coaches would use the word “dominating,” but they’ve been productive. Our backs compliment the offensive line, our tight ends complement the offensive line and they help each other and really complement each other and work well together. If we can keep the physical dominance up front, that will be a big key to the season and that physical dominance will definitely be stressed this week, I promise you. As you go through the year, people are going to understand more who you are, your personnel groups. Real frankly, you have to earn your way down the field more because there aren’t as many surprises as with game one or even with game two. With (CSU defensive coordinator) Larry Kerr coaching the defense, he’s going to have those young men coached up and ready to understand the tendencies and it will be key for us to break those tendencies.” ON AREAS TO SEE FRESHMAN QUARTERBACK CHUCKIE KEETON IMPROVE: “If you look from game one to game two, there are some situations where (USU offensive coordinator) Coach Baldwin and (USU quarterbacks coach) Coach Wells surely would have liked to see Chuckie get rid of the ball. Chuckie’s always going to want to be creative and make things happen. Just continually always remember to take what’s there and live another down I think is very important for a young quarterback. At the end of the day, throwing the ball away isn’t the worst case scenario in football. You can line up let’s go play another down and see what we can get done. Chuckie has a lot to work on, just like everybody does on this football team. Stay humble, keep working every single day, respect every opponent that you have the opportunity to line up against, hat is key to every member of this football team. Have yourself prepared to play every Saturday, or Friday, depending on the situation.” ON SECONDARY: “I think they played pretty well the first two games. I think Walter (McClenton) has been productive as a safety, he’s done some nice things for us. I think McKade (Brady) has been solid. I think they both did better in the Weber game than they did in the Auburn game. Obviously there we gave up some plays in the back end that were costly, can we be better back there? Absolutely, we can be improved. I think Jumanne (Robertson) had a great week last week. He’s had some time to settle in. We’ll see what getting Cameron (Sanders) back adds for us as we move forward, and with Quinton Byrd being in there in situations for us as well. Overall as a whole, we gave up some big plays on the back end that were obviously a big problem for us, but in game two I thought they handled the fade ball very, very well. They’ll be tested this week, with some deep balls with max protection and they’ll be tested with some fade balls in this football game. Our ability to cover the fade ball will be key. They’re a young crew but are eager to learn. I think (cornerbacks coach) Coach Shaver has done a nice job with those young men. It’s a position of high importance for us, to get those young men playing at high level.” ON HOW GETTING TURBIN AND MORRISON BACK HAS HELPED THE OFFENSE: “It’s pretty nice to take a three, four, five or six yard gain and all of a sudden it can turn into a 30, 40-yard gain. Big play potential is available for us on the offensive side of the ball is there for us basically on every snap, that I believe that big time offenses have. This game is won by players, it isn’t won by coaches. It’s great to see those young men, and not just the backs, but the wide receivers as well. If we can continue to do that, I believe that we could be pretty hard to deal with on the offensive side of the football.” ON INTERESTING MATCH-UP WITH THE PUNTING GAME AND SPECIAL TEAMS FOR BOTH TEAMS: “Special teams are going to be a big part of this game. Colorado State has always been famous for their opportunistic special teams. They’re known to take chances, and we’re known to take some chances on special teams side of the game, so we need to be aware of that. They’ve kicked the ball well, we’ve kicked the ball well, but they have one more game than we do. They’re one game ahead as far as being productive in the kicking game.” ON ABILITY TO GET A PASS RUSH ON CSU QUARTERBACK AND CSU’S PASS PROTECTION: “Coach Fairchild does a nice job of protecting those offensive weapons that he has, and protecting the quarterback, not allowing people to get to him, whether that means throwing it quick or the screen game helps with that and the draw game helps with that, and then getting max protection and taking those deep shots when they want to. We’ll do some different things to get a pass rush. At the end of the day, pass rushers are born, that’s the bottom line. That’s like saying ‘I’m going to take a corner that runs a 4.8 and make him really fast and make him run a 4.4, that’s not going to happen. Pass rushing is something you’re born to do and it’s there for you because you have the athletic ability. It’s going to be a big part of this game. Winning one-on-one individual battles in pass-blocking is the only way you’re going to get sacks against Colorado State.” WALTER McCLENTON, SENIOR SAFETY (ARLINGTON, TEXAS) ON BYE WEEK: “Just want to say about the bye week, it’s been a pretty good week, just watching a little bit of football. Watching a lot of college of football and NFL. Interesting to see how guys play and what happens in the games. I have been seeing a lot of games, the Auburn game and the BYU-Utah was a great game. There was a lot of BYU turnovers and penalties, then you go to NFL last night and there is more turnovers. It’s like Coach Andersen was talking about turnovers and the importance of them. The bye week was good for us, I would like to play more, but its college football life. Over all this was a good week, we rested and got some extra few days off, I guess it is what I needed.” ON HOW CAMERON SANDERS IS LOOKING: “He is looking pretty good with his elbow, but I can tell he is looking a little bit timid in the field. He has a brace on right now. But if we are talking about football shape I would say snap to snap and down to down, he has kept in pretty good shape and I feel he is going to come around sooner. I feel like we need him back in secondary. I mean not trying to put anyone down on our defense but you saw what happened with Auburn. He has a lot of experience from last year, like Hawaii and Oklahoma, I mean he has seen it all and a lot of these guys haven’t. But I think the return of Cameron will help a lot especially on secondary.” ON WHETHER OR NOT ITS GOOD TO WATCH A TEAM LIKE COLORADO STATE ON TV BEFORE YOU START TO BREAK DOWN FILM AND HOW MUCH THE FILM BREAKDOWN HELPS: “Yes we watched the Colorado State-Colorado over the weekend. It was good to see the flow of the game, if they are a huddle team or go to the ball, how much clock they use, or how they sub and all that type of stuff. I think it helps a lot to see their tempo. The big thing is to watch the film from your own in the breakdown is the most important. Any sport its important.” ON WATCHING CSU’S TIGHT ENDS ON FILM: “Yes, I was watching their film last week. Their tight ends are really solid guys and really important in their offense. I think their receivers are really good as well. They try to get some mis-matches with their size. They’ll come out in different personnels and can go five-wide. They can all run pretty good, and their pretty solid guys and they look pretty strong, I think that’s what they’re based upon.” ON IMPORTANCE IN THIS TYPE OF GAME TO KEEP WITH DEFENSIVE ASSIGNMENTS: “It’s very important, they give you a lot of key reads. You can’t bite on reverses, or on sideways stuff first, we just have to be sure as safeties and DB’s to be aware of the down and distance, be aware of the momentum of the game. If they want momentum they will try something like a screen or a trick play, you just have to be aware of that type of thing. We are well-coached for that, so it shouldn’t be a problem for us.” ON HOW OFTEN DO YOU THINK YOU WILL BE TESTED IN THE SECONDARY: ” I would say this week, especially in the safety position, I think we will be tested a lot more then we have in the past two games. Auburn didn’t test us too deep for some reason, everything was covered back there, but I feel Colorado State is going to take chances if its not touchdowns, its check downs. They’re going to look deep first and if its not there, then check down to the fullback or tight end. I feel like as a secondary we’re going to get tested this week. They’re a big play offense.” ON COACH ANDERSEN TALKING ABOUT DEFENSE NEEDING TO CREATE TURNOVERS: “I totally agree, just watching those football game over the weekend it was turnovers galore and they were everywhere this week. In the Utah game, they had something like seven turnovers against BYU, that’s incredible. It changes the game. Turnovers are a big deal especially on the defensive side of the ball, it puts the offense back on the field and I know they are going to score points for us. Turnovers are such a big key. We could be on our goal line defending, but if we can get a turnover and it changes the momentum of the game. I have seen it multiple times. Turnovers are very important hopefully we get that key. Hopefully this week it will be the number one factor in practice.” ON THOUGHTS ON NOT FORCING A TURNOVER IN FIRST TWO GAMES: “I mean it doesn’t bug us too much but I know a great defense makes turnovers. You can’t be a great defense with no turnovers, so that a real, key factor we are trying to work on. I think its going to come. I think players are going to start making more plays, guys like Bobby (Wagner), Bojay (Filimoeatu), and Nevin (Lawson); I think Nevin is going to get his hands on a couple passes soon. They’re going to come if we continue to fly to the ball.” ERIC MOATS, SENIOR WIDE RECEIVER (HIGHLANDS RANCH, COLO.) ON THE BYE WEEK: “As far as the bye week is concerned, this early in the year, you would like to keep playing you kind of have that itch after those first two games. So we have been practicing all year and all the spring work and summer work, so you would like to have a bye week maybe after a few more games. But it is nice to catch a breather, you know get off your feet for a little bit a week, catch your breath, watch some football and see what else is going on in the nation. You kind of get a feel for what is going on outside of Logan, Utah which you do not get a lot. It was a good bye week, we had great week of practice we did a great job as a team not taking any steps down mentally or physically just because it is a bye week. I think we understood how important it was gaining one week on Colorado State was, so we had a great week of practice, everybody took care of their business this weekend and got some rest and we will go back at it this week and get ready for them.” ON COLORADO STATE: “I am pretty excited to play an in-state school, it is the first time I have ever played a Colorado school. I am pretty excited, I know some kids on the team and they are a pretty good team ,they have got a really good defense they fly around they are pretty physical. You know they just came off a loss to their rival, I know how big that CSU-CU game is, it is very similar to how the BYU and Utah games are here. So I know they are going to be hungry and hurting and going to want to come out and show everybody in Colorado that they are the better team than CU. Even though that rivalry is one game a year the talk goes on each week saying, ‘oh we beat them or them’, so they are going to want to come out and prove themselves.” ON WHAT HE THOUGHT OF THAT GAME: “I watched a little bit of it, I caught a little bit of it I was babysitting my nieces on Saturday so they are a bit of a handful so I didn’t see as much of it as I’d like. I thought the score did not really reflect what happened in the game you know 28-14 kind of seems like a blow out, but the first half was really good and Colorado scored the last couple plays in that half to go up 14-7. I think if they don’t score there it could have been a completely different game but, I thought both teams looked pretty good for the third game of the season, other than that I didn’t see a whole lot of it. You start watching football a little differently after you have played college football, you are not watching so much as a fan but as a student of the game, so it is a little different.” ON IMPRESSIONS OF COLORADO STATE: “Their defense is good I know they are hurting because they lost that #6 he was a great linebacker. Watching film on him in the first two games, and even some from last year, I know he was the heart of that defense. But I think they did a great job adjusting to that injury, their DB’s are very physical, they’ve got quick feet, they are fast and you know I think it is going to be our best test to date as facing a secondary goes. We pride ourselves on being a pretty physical receiving corps when it comes to blocking down field and stuff like that, so I think we will have our hands full this week. They are a good defense, I think they are better then they have been in the past. They have potential to kind of carry this team a bit.” ON HOW FAR AWAY HIGHLANDS RANCH IS FROM COLORADO STATE: “It is about an hour and a half. Probably similar to Salt Lake from here, kind of. So I know a few kids on the team and I have a bunch of friends that went up there; most everybody goes to either CU or CSU. Fort Collins is a really beautiful place and a great town. When I was in high school it was one of the places I wanted to play, just because it was in state and everything like that. It will be fun to get to play them. ON CSU GIVING HIM A LOOK AT ALL: “They did I think the old coaches actually talked to me, but they are not there anymore. One of the coaches came and talked to me and said they had a scholarship ready but I wanted to go on a (LDS Church) mission and they said they did not have a plan like that for me. So they passed me up on that, other than that they said they would of probably given me a more intense look and a bigger evaluation, but I told the coach that I was leaving on a mission and they just did not have room. I did not take any offense at all from that but that is how it is at some programs. But there are a couple kids from my high school that play on that team.” ON KNOWING THE THUNDER RIDGE HS KIDS WELL: “Yes, played basketball with (CSU defensive lineman) Zach Tiedgen. Zach was a sophomore when we were seniors. He did not play much on the football team but got ample time on our basketball team. I also played football with (CSU running back) Chris Nwoke too. I got pretty close with Zach and Chris, even when I go back home during the summers, I will hang out with them and see them in the weight room, we will lift together. We play basketball, we will go play pick up games at the REC center all the time. So I know them pretty well. Zach is a pretty good athlete and Chris is a really good running back.” ON WHAT THE RECEIVING CORPS IS GOING TO NEED TO DO TO BE SUCCESSFUL AGAINST THE SECONDARY? “I think we are going to have to be physical, I think that really helps and gets the DB’s on their toes. Then just execute what (receivers coach) Coach Bouknight tells us to do, week in and week out. We work on different things, whether its routes or catching the ball, whatever he sees that is going down in practice or that we are getting lazy on. We just really need to make sure to be a group that can change the game. Our rushing attack is great everyone knows that, but there will be sometime during the year when it is just going to need to go through the air so we have to be ready at all times. If that is the Colorado State game then we just have to keep ourselves prepared. So if we do need to go deep or if the running game is not working then we have some quick gains to march down the field so we have to be ready at all times. ON HOW MUCH OF THE RUN GAME DO THE RECEIVERS TAKE CREDIT FOR BECAUSE OF BLOCKING SO MUCH AND SO WELL: “I think we take a lot of pride, I mean we’re not going to take the credit that the O-line gets and deserves. But we love blocking down field, we love getting physical. A lot of those long runs are sprung by receiver blocks, you know the initial 5-10 yards is the offensive line and the running backs then they get to that second level with that corner and that safety you know that is on us to get them knocked down or covered up so they can break it for a 50-yard run instead of a 10-yard run, or even a touchdown. We take credit in it but I think in all our offensive plays we take credit in executing. Coach Baldwin always says ’11 players, one heart beat.’ It takes all the players to execute, you gotta cut your guy off and if you do there is a chance we can score a touchdown.” ON GIVING YOUNGER GUYS IN PROGRAM A SENSE OF WHERE THIS PROGRAM WAS AND WHERE IT IS NOW: “I don’t think we really have to give them a feel of where it was because that is not where we are anymore. People talk of the Utah State of old and that was where we were a couple years ago. We don’t want to be that team and sometimes we as seniors will talk about how we don’t want to go through that again. I don’t think we dwell on the past much as a team, you know we talk about week to week, each game. If Coach Andersen sees us slipping he may bring up the past and say, ‘I remember this and this from the other year.’ But we do not talk about it too much, we try to look at the future. This is totally different team and it think we are just trying to build this program instead of focus on the old program. ON HOW CSU RESEMBLES A WAC TEAM AND EXPECTATIONS OF HOW OFFENSE SHOULD DO: “If we come out and execute, I don’t think it really matters for the competition, we should be able to march down the field and score a couple points, I think we showed that in the Auburn game. Conferences really don’t matter it’s a just an alignment, a place where they play and the different teams that they play. Colorado State’s defense could be better than Auburn’s defense when we go out and play on the Saturday, it just changes week to week so as an offense we just need to execute and trust Coach Baldwin’s play-calling and trust that they will put us in the best position at all times that we should be able to execute. We’ve got the play-makers and the big guys in the trenches and a good quarterback that can lead us to who knows how many yards every game. Its going to change week to week, who knows how many. There may be some games where we get stopped more than others, but as long we score more points than them in the end that is all that really matters.” -USU-
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