Utah State head coach Gary Andersen addressed the media at Monday’s press conference, recapping the game against Colorado State and previewing Friday’s game at BYU.USU HEAD COACH GARY ANDERSEN: “Obviously the Colorado State game was a tremendous atmosphere, number one. Fans were fantastic. A hard fought football game, just like we talked about all week long. You know exactly what you are going to get when you play Colorado State and it was a very, very difficult type of loss at the end, for us to deal with. I think if you sit back and look at our football team, there is a lot of things that when we talked about getting better at things at the first of the year, we are doing that in a lot of areas. I am not a stat guy and especially not a stat guy in the first five or six or even seven games of the year. We have made progress in many areas, but the main area that matters in wins and losses. We have lost two very, very difficult games. It is very hard for every fan, very hard for every player, very hard for every coach, very hard for every alum, I get all that stuff. It’s not the way we want it to be and it hurts us bad, all of us because we do have expectations. One other thing I will say is this program, at this point in my opinion, deserves to have some expectations and with expectations comes criticism if that is the way it goes. The criticism that comes, that is fine on me but one thing I struggle with is when you get in those situations and the criticism comes to a young man. I don’t think that is fair, in any way shape or form. Not one player wins or loses a football game, never and it never will. That is very difficult for a young man and in this case, I will throw it out there, I am talking about Eric Moats, who might be the best ambassador we have on this football program for Utah State, for Cache Valley and for everybody involved. For situations to arise for him to have to take that, it hurts him to make that mistake, worse than it hurts any of us, trust me. That is basically a hometown rival of his, it is a school he grew up watching and had an opportunity to participate in a victory of them, so that is very, very difficult for Eric. All the other stuff is fine. It is what it is, but I don’t agree with the, if you will, verbal attacks on Eric Moats. It is unfair.””The other things that are out there. These kids will bounce back. We came back in, one time a year we come back Sunday. We came back last night and we talked about the game, evaluated the game and dissected it and moved on to the BYU game. So, a lot to learn from in a positive way. A lot to learn from in a negative way and we will respond and this football team is excited to continue to play. It is a very, very young season and it is still in infancy stages and as we talked at the beginning, we lost round four. We took a very, very hard defeat and fought like crazy, but this team will bounce back and do some quality things I believe. We will get out on the practice field today. We will treat today just like a normal Tuesday and move through the week like that, Wednesday will actually be a Thursday and so on. We will come back and be just fine. We are used to these weeks and the short period has already been made up by the coaches, the short period has already been made up by the players. So, right now we are on normal schedule just as if it is Tuesday. That is how we are acting as a program, we are very, very used to that and move forward. I guess the other thing with questions that is going to be out there, so I might as well just communicate to everybody about it is, would I do anything different? No, I wouldn’t. You sit back at the end and there is a young man that has caught thousands of punts since he has been here. He is as good as I have ever been around. It’s easy to back and say, well just don’t have anybody back there. Yes it is and we don’t put someone back there and the ball rolls to the 1-yard line, they block a punt out of the back of the end zone or we kick a bad punt and all of a sudden they get the ball at the 30. There is still opportunities, the game is still being played and at that point the game still needs to be played. It doesn’t matter what happens, there is always something else that you can say, could have, would have, should have, when it didn’t go your way. We are going to coach aggressive. I am going to believe in the young men that we put on the field, that they can execute, that they can make plays. That is the way I think this game should be played and I think that is part of it. That is part of the second guessing when you get up on Sunday or waking up on Saturday and saying this is what you should have done, that is part of the drill. I don’t think we ought to look at ourselves and say yes, in that situation we would have really not liked to have him on the field, but we did. We did it and we did it because that is what we believed was the best decision to make. Going for the two points, I would do it again in a second. Especially with what we got with the pass interference. Being on the one-and-a-half yard line with one play, I like our chances to go win a football game. It didn’t happen for us, but again I am going to be aggressive. I think that is the way you build a team to believe that they can win. I saw it in that huddle, I looked at the offense’s eyes, the belief, the want to. To go for that thing in that situation is ultimately 100 percent my call and it was the wrong call at that time and at that moment. If we gain two yards and we look at it as a whole different scenario, but that did not take place. At the end I really made aggressive as a coach as we try, continue to try to build a team that is a winner.”ON TALKING TO ERIC MOATS ABOUT THE SITUATION:”Eric is no position to be talked to after the game. He was completely devastated. Eric will bounce back. Eric, with what he has gone through with his training and time at Air Force and the adversity that I am sure he has dealt with in that situation and throughout his life, he will bounce back and be fine. We will all put our arms around him. I didn’t talk to Eric specifically, because I don’t think he needs to be talked to specifically, but I did point on the team meeting and made it very clear with the same statement I made here. It is a two point play. Play bracket coverage, play it how it is supposed to be played, it doesn’t matter because all of sudden it is an incomplete pass. Run the play down on the goal line and they turn around and we score. As magnified as Eric is in one situation on one play and another young man who didn’t completely execute things perfectly to have the other plays go. No one knows about that, no one sees that so it doesn’t matter. You are not magnified to that position and I told our team that not one play wins or loses a football game.”ON THE REVIEW OF THE FUMBLE CSU SCORED ON:”I haven’t seen the secret picture. I looked at it on tape and I looked at it during the game and I feel the same way I did in the game and the same thing I told the officials. I thought he was absolutely down, not even close. Apparently there was no view from the camera upstairs, I don’t know. I can’t see the camera upstairs, all I can do is go by what I saw. It is not like it was a bang, bang call to me. It is what it is and again one bad call or one good call does not win or lose a football game, either. We can’t afford to look, as we try build and get ourselves over the hump and win a football game, we can’t use crutches. We can’t say well this would have happened, boy if that play wouldn’t have happened we would have possibly been up 14-0 and it would have been first and 10. Whatever, it does not change the outcome and we cannot use crutches, we just can’t do that.”ON THAT FUMBLE GIVING CSU MOMENTUM:”First of all, with four turnovers, you are not going to win, number one. I don’t care how well you play on offense, defense and special teams, you are unbelievably lucky if you win a football game when you lose the turnover battle 4-1. Especially when one of those leads to a pick up fumble for a touchdown and the other one leads to the ball being on the 15-yard line. That makes it very, very difficult. The other ones, we were able to overcome it and got out of the other muffed punt without points and that was a positive thing. They may have gotten a field goal out that one, I can’t remember but I don’t think they did. So, we were able to react, but 4-1 in the turnover area is very, very difficult. The one turnover we got, it puts us up eight points and absolutely changes the game. The ability for us to get those turnovers is big and we have not, right now we have two turnovers on the year. That is not good. If you look at it and again I showed this to the team last nigh, you can go and look through the national stats and see where we are in rush defense and total defense and on run offense and total offense, very, very, very good. But then you have to go all the way to the very bottom of the page to see where we sit in creating turnovers and where we sit in the turnover margin. Ok, we are -1.33 in the turnover margin. You are not going to win, you are not going to win. That is my opinion, next to the score, it is the most important stat of football. They both relate to each other very, very closely.”ON CREATING TURNOVERS:”I think we are a physical defense. We tackle well. We are playing the run very well. I see kids go in and try to get the ball out. The one thing that we will be able to get better is in the back end, in our zone coverages. With precise drops, a quarterback making a bad choice and a bad decision against some of our zone coverages. Hopefully that does come our way as we move forward. Man coverage is usually not an interception defense, unless it is your free safety or it is your low hole dropper that gives you an opportunity to pick the ball off. We have played quite a bit of man coverage as we have gone through the year, but I believe it will come because our defense tackles well right now. I believe we have a defense that flies to the ball and gets multiple hats on the football, snap after snap. Apparently the ball security of the teams we are playing against is a lot better than our ball security. We harp on our ball security every single day in practice. Two of them were ball security in the game, now muffs that is a different story, but we can’t get that ball ripped out of our hands and put it on the turf. We actually had five but we got one back.”ON ROBERT TURBIN’S COMMENT ABOUT CSU’S MAN DEFENSE:”Colorado State didn’t play in man coverage, they played in quarters, which is a version of man coverage. There is man on the outside, and they played probably 95 percent quarters coverage. The ability, I would say this, I would not look back at that film and say, I don’t know if Robert is talking about himself or the team as a whole, but what I would say is the inability to get open was not the fact. The fact was that where we got in passing situations the pocket closed very, very quickly on Chuckie Keeton. That is something that he wasn’t used to and those defensive ends and the defensive tackles did a nice job of rushing the passer. We gave them two or three sacks, three sacks that we ended up giving up. So the pocket was closing very quickly for the quarterback and that is something that we have to be able to adjust as a staff and as a football team. To give Chuckie the ability to see down the field. There was some opportunities when there were guys open that we didn’t quite get the ball to and a lot of that had to do with the sets of people in his face.”ON TIMING IN BACKFIELD WITH TIMING WITH RECEIVERS:”On the timing with the quarterback? Yes I would say that is number one. The ability for us to be able to draw a line up front. Whether it is going to be a blitz package or just rushing four and in this last game it was not a blitz package. Next week that will be a little different. Their ability to get pressure on the quarterback with four is very, very disruptive. You know, case in point, I watched a little of the NFL game last night and if you can’t pass rush (Ben) Roethlisberger you have no chance because they pick you apart and dissect you down the field. But if you can pass rush him, all of a sudden the game changes very quickly and that is really no different than any level in the college quarterback. Finding a way to get in his way and make his clock tick, causes some major issues in the throw game.”ON RUNNING STYLE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ROBERT TURBIN AND THE OTHER RUNNING BACKS:”I think Robert has a great knack and that is natural ability to me. It is not always right when he does it. There are times where we ask him to be able to hit it down in and there is other times where he bounces it out and obviously turns itself into a big play. I think as a back you have to be able to do both, but there is absolutely no question Michael Smith is more of a down hill back. Michael’s mindset is when he gets the ball in his hands if there is a guard in his way, he will get his face mask in the guards back. Robert a lot of the times is different. I think he sees and can kind of dissect where he thinks the defense is headed and what the mindset is of the defense on the particular snap. Kerwynn Williams likes to get to the hole and then make a decision if you will. Likes he does on kickoff returns, like he does on punt returns. So, very different, all three of them, all talented.””I thought we ran the ball well. The key for us in all three phases of this football team is to stay aggressive. I felt like there are areas from the last football game that we can be more aggressive. We can be more aggressive on the offensive side of the football and I know that we will. I believe that we will be more aggressive at times on special teams and when an opportunity knocks we have to take advantage of the situations on special teams. For example, the first punt, we touched his leg. I think it caused a bad punt more than us blocking it. Those are perfect examples of what we are talking about. That is designed off last week, it’s looked at, it is studies put in, it is repped out in practice all the way through. It is not the kids fault and I am not saying that when I say this. What I do say is that we didn’t execute in a key moment, where we have to put our hand on the football and if we do there is a great opportunity that the game is 7-0 at that point. We look back at it as coaches and say we should have had him at least put his hand on the ball more times in practice. If we did all those things, we would probably practice 40 hours a week and then I would be in trouble. When it is so close and it comes down to the last critical plays it is difficult, you second guess yourself. It is second nature. We need to continually work on those things.”ON DEFENSE’S FATIGUE PLAYING A ROLL IN DECISION TO GO FOR TWO?”Yes. On the defense it definitely did, because we had Al Lapuaho at 60 percent and probably closer to 40 percent at the end of that game with the ankle that he had. He was barely plugging along there at the end. Quinn Garner had the flu all day, Quinn wasn’t even with us the whole day on Saturday, so Quinn didn’t play the whole game. So we were basically down to six inside defensive lineman. Our ability to hang in there, if you watched again Colorado State does a nice job if you can get (CSU head coach) Steve Fairchild into a mind set where he doesn’t think that he can protect the quarterback and cannot run the ball and do some of the base stuff, they are always going to go back into the bigger and heavier personnel group to protect number one and number two to be able to run the ball and wear you down. I have been through this before, it played out just like that, like clockwork, boom, boom, boom all the way down the line. They brought in their extra offensive linemen, they brought in their two extra tight ends and quite frankly we had a hard time late in the game being able to handle it. Now, the defensive numbers and the rush game were absolutely off the charts, but if you just took the last two drives, it was not. It was definitely a feeling to me that we were in a position to make something happen and the call sheet got a little bit slimmer as we went through the game. The other thing is, is that it was a gut feeling to go for the two. I felt like that did play a factor in the decision that I made.”ON ROBERT TURBIN SAYING THAT TEAM PRACTICES A TWO-POINT PLAY EVERYDAY IN PRACTICE?”Yes, we have a play that we practice. There are two or three different options off of that, but the slant, the first one, was absolutely. The second play on the one and a half yard line is a base run game play. It is a play that we had run multiple times during the game and they made a play on that particular play and it wasn’t run nearly as much as the power play and I believe that they were overplaying the power and they did a nice job of making a play on that one. The slant, there is a lot that goes into that play, but we got Matt Austin on the backside in press man-to-man coverage, motion goes across, he is back there in zero coverage. It is very, very difficult to protect the slant, offensive line did a good job of getting the hands down, nice clean throw to Matt and the guy is hanging on his back and he gets a pass interference. It was a great throw, the throw was right there and Matt doesn’t drop that ball, he would have caught it if it was pass interference. ON IMPRESSIONS OF BYU’S OFFENSE, RANKING 111th IN THE COUNTY IN TOTAL OFFENSE:”I think that they are simply in a position of understanding who they are. Let me first say this, Texas: really good on defense, Utah: really good on defense, Ole Miss, is a very good defensive football team. The Central Florida team is really good on defense, I have watched those kids play for three years, usually on Thursday nights. BYU has played very good defenses in my opinion when you stack them all up on a whole. It’s not like they have played against a defense that is not good from what I have seen. All very athletic, they run well and they all rushed the passer well and have been very skilled in the back end. That has the most to do with it. If you sit back and you look at how the offense is being called and where it sits, there have been some missed throws and some missed opportunities, absolutely. The quarterback as a whole if I sit back and evaluate him, he is unbelievably talented, the ball gets out of his hands extremely quick, he seemed to be having a better grasp in their last game in my opinion of the overall offense and what they are trying to get done on the offensive side of the ball, then he did in previous games. He is a competitor and a tough-minded kid. He has faced some adversity in the last few weeks, a lot of adversity I am sure, but he has handled it. I listen to him talk and he talks about his team first, he doesn’t talk about himself and basically makes statements that they will get better. He is talented. The running backs are the same guys we faced a year ago. Good backs, they run hard, they catch the ball very well out of the back field. The wide receivers for BYU are skilled, talented and tall. Their ability to make plays, I know is going to be something they are looking to get done. Like I say, if you go by the numbers and I am not a stats guy, but especially not the first three or four games in their case, it won’t be indicative of what that offense is for the rest of the year as they continue to move forward. They have played good teams and it is a solid offense and we are going to have to play very well to defend them and we are looking forward to the opportunity.” ON CAMERON SANDERS’ STATUS RETURNING FROM INJURY:”Cameron will be back. He should have been back with us last week, but Cameron really wasn’t in a position to be able to tackle yet. We talked about it last week and he did practice but he was still a young man who was not in a spot to be able to tackle much. I felt like one more week, especially with the packages we got in that game, we didn’t play three corners but maybe four or five times. It wasn’t a lot so we didn’t get to our sub-packages nor did we need to in that last game. I think that will change a bit in this next game.”ON ANY OTHER INJURIES: “Al Lapuaho has a bit of an ankle going on, so he is where he is. Other than that, I think that we came out of there pretty healthy. It is imperative that we get Al back, he is a big part of that interior defense that we have right now.”ON BYU’S DEFENSE BEING A BIG PART OF THEIR TEAM:”They have played really well. If you sit back and watch them, they run hard, they play hard and they do a lot of good things. Bronco Mendenhall has done a nice job with that defense and he always does a nice job with the defense. They are aggressive. The two styles of defenses from what we do and what they do, they are not as much man coverage as we are but they blitz quite a bit and get moving around in the pocket to aggravate the quarterback and cause some issues. I that they are a very solid defense and I think they are an aggressive defense just like the way I think defense should be played.”ON BYU’S DEFENSIVE LINEMEN BEING A TALENTED GROUP:”They are. They are so big inside, I have talked to the people that they have played and you are not going to move the A and the B gaps, it just doesn’t matter. It goes, 330, 330, 330, 330, whatever, it goes on forever like that. Those kids are big physical young men and I watched most of them on tape in high school at some point and know about them and who they are. They are the kind of guys that I like. They are big physical and they are going to knock out that run. You have to understand what your own strengths and weaknesses are and the same of your opponent. One of their strengths is obviously stopping the run in the middle of the defense. Nobody has moved them, Utah got one nice run play where they hit the C gap for a big score late in the game, but it’s not like they are just getting run on. They are powerful inside. ON HOW MUCH OF A CONCERN IS TO SLOW DOWN BYU’S RUN GAME:”I think that it is going to be a big emphasis, it is more of an emphasis than this last game to run the football was very clear. Not really a difference in formation or personnel, the Mendenhall kid is playing more fullback then he did in the other games. They have three or four of those big fullbacks that pound it in there. We will have to be able to stop the run to be able to compete and get off the field as a defense and that is a major factor in this game. BYU is big up front and they are physical up front and you can see them shifting gears. Their play-action game is potentially very explosive, especially when their run game gets developed. We all know that if you can run the ball that it will set up for play-action passing, I can see that very clearly developing within their offense.”ON BEING PLEASED WITH THE PASS RUSH YOU ARE GETTING THIS YEAR:”Very much so. We already have double-digit sacks through three games and last year I think that we had 12 the entire season, so our ability to get to the quarterback has been much better, we have better players and that is why we are getting to the quarterback. Maurice Alexander is hard to deal with, we have the opportunity for those kids to come off the edges because Al Lapuaho is hard to deal with on the inside. You flip to the other side and there is Tavaris McMillian, Jason Fanika, and Levi Koskan who all rush the passer very well. The compliment of Levi Koskan being a better player coming off of his knee surgery, great job, he was our best pass rusher last year. He is still one of our better rushers but we have better guys around him. That is why we are sacking the quarterback and getting more pressure. That will remain very important for us as we move forward. A lot of those sacks aren’t coming from blitz’s, they are coming off of two-man rushes, two of them last game were off of three-man rush with a nice disguise. It is a positive and congratulations to those young men for getting in position to make those plays.”ON HOW MUCH MOTIVATION DOES LAST YEAR’S BYU GAME SERVE AS MOTIVATION FOR THIS YEAR’S GAME:”Motivation? No, I don’t think motivation. We shouldn’t really need motivation, the one thing that was one of the major goals when we walked in here as a staff and for me, and as I moved through the football team to make it very important to the football team to have in-state rivalries and we made it very clear that until you win a game it’s not a rivalry, it a lopsided in-state game. I think that we have accomplished that goal, I think this will definitely be a rivalry, we won the last one and we look forward to the opportunity to play against them and I think that it will have a little more to it because of that. Again, our kids will be excited to play. It is national exposure on ESPN, the exposure that we got last year at our place with the packed house playing on ESPN is probably the reason that Chuckie Keeton is here taking snaps right now, at the end of the day. The fans’ support that we got for us during that game was huge for us and I am sure that our little corner down at Cougar Stadium will be full but it is still great exposure for us.”WHEN (FORMER WYOMING COACH) JOE GLENN WAS HERE DURING PRESEASON CAMP, HE SAID THAT THIS PROGRAM JUST NEEDED ONE BIG WIN TO PROVE THEMSELVES THAT THEY CAN DO IT AND HOW BYU COULD BE THAT GAME:”I don’t know. Coach Glenn has been doing this a lot longer than I have but I think that a win can catapult you and that a lose can catapult you and I think that a play can catapult you. I think this team is real simple, this is the other thing that I told the team, ‘we will take the next step, when they are ready to take the next step.’ There is nothing that I look back and I say that we need to turn around and do this or do that, we can coach better and we can play better, and we can all work harder at it but what is going to take us to the next step and catapult us to the next level and I don’t know what that moment is, but I know this; we are playing better football than we have since I have been here for sure and I can’t judge it off of anything other than that. I also understand that our kids are walking out of the tunnel very centered and very focused for every game, we are not seeing the up’s and down’s and the peak and valleys. The reason that I say that is because to me that shows maturity, that shows a team that is going to go out and you are going to get the same thing out of them every single week from an effort stand point and a care stand point and a want to. Are we looking for that? Searching for that? Absolutely we are, because nobody, nobody wants to win more than those young men in that locker room. It is going to come, it is getting closer every single week and I think that it is going to come on a consistent basis here real soon, it hasn’t yet but that is me just sitting here flapping my lips about wins. It doesn’t mean anything, it doesn’t give us W’s.”-USU-
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