Utah State head coach Gary Andersen, junior wide receiver Matt Austin, senior safety Alfred Bowden and senior defensive end/linebacker Levi Koskan addressed the media at Monday’s press conference, recapping win over San Jose State and previewing this week’s game at Idaho.USU HEAD COACH GARY ANDERSEN: ON THE SAN JOSE GAME”Obviously a tremendous victory, another great job by the young men at continually fighting and winning a game at the end. Two weeks in a row we’ve been able to do that. A tremendous credit to them, not just for the last two games, but again I say it, for the whole season, they stick in there and are fighting and grinding and know what it takes. They understand that players make plays and players win games. I’m very, very proud of them. It’s great to see smiles on their faces. We’ll see where this takes us, and see where this carries us as we move forward.””Overall, I thought we started slow. I don’t exactly know why, but we need to start a little bit faster and take advantage of opportunities. You can’t have five turnovers to one and a kickoff return for a touchdown. I challenge someone to find out the last time a football team won with a turnover ratio of five to one and a kickoff taken back for a touchdown. You’d have to look at a lot of football games to find that. It’s a learning experience for our kids to understand that yes, they did play hard, yes they won the football game, but those opportunities are not going to knock very many times with a W on our side if we let those kind of things happen to us.” “But it took place, we got the victory, great effort overall. Defensively, we made a couple of big plays. The run game was very good, I thought they did a very nice job overall. Passing, we knew going into the game that it was going to be not a bunch of shots down the field, but we thought they’d take a couple of shots, which they did. They got us one time on a wheel-route with the tight end. They did a nice job of executing on that play. Overall, it was fairly solid and a great victory. Special teams wise, we still shot ourselves in the foot, obviously, you just can’t give up a kickoff return for a touchdown. I thought our kickoffs were better though, they were up in the air longer. That gave us a chance to cover better in those situations. Chuck Jacobs added a lot to our kickoff returns with Kerwynn Williams not being 100 percent. Chuck came in and did a nice job with Chris Harris, who is always solid back there, doing what he does. We missed that field goal which was huge. It was a great snap, a great hold, and you have to make that. We have to improve in that area.”ON IDAHO THIS WEEKEND:”This football game is going to be just like many football games we’ve played all year long. Idaho has played well. They took Virginia right down to the wire, Hawai‘i right down to the wire. It sounds very familiar as far as what Idaho has gone through this year. They’re a physical team. I think they run very well on the defensive side of the football. They want to run the football and be consistent. These two teams understand they are going to fight extremely hard against each other. Robb (Akey) is going to be ready. But most importantly, the kids from Idaho are going to be ready. They’re going to play hard. They play hard every game. This will be a tremendous challenge for us. It’s at their place, and we’ll have to play really well to have an opportunity to win the game.” ANYTHING DIFFERENT THIS WEEK TO GET READY FOR THE DOME:”No, we won’t do anything different. If the weather takes us inside, then we’ll say ‘OK, yeah, we’re going inside to get ready for the dome.’ We’re just going to practice what we practice. It’s just a football field inside, so it’s really not that big of a deal. If kicking really is easier, then that would be a positive for us.ON IDAHO’S PLAY REFLECTING AKEY’S PERSONALITY”I think there’s a lot of it. They play with energy and excitement. Coach Akey is always going to be excited and energetic. He loves his kids. That’s why Robb and I have stayed fairly close over the years, we have a lot of things in common in coaching and the things that we believe in. I think they reflect him pretty good.” IMPACT OF IDAHO’S PUNTER COWAN AND PLACEKICKER FARQUHAR:”They’ve both been good for a long time. They’ll be factors. We’ve been in some games this year where the punters have been able to get us in some bad spots. That will definitely be their mind-set again, I’m sure. In fact, I would say we know what we’re going to get out of the Idaho kickers, but can’t really say the same about ours. I’m more concerned about how our kickers are going to do and how they will perform and the consistency they can show in one football game, let alone staking games back-to-back. We’re at the point in the season where you have to address things aggressively and not hide from them. Their kickers have been very consistent and ours have not been, so that’s a concern.” ON IDAHO’S TWO QUARTERBACK SETUP:”It’s interesting. It kind of goes back and forth, so who knows where they’ll go. Our offense doesn’t drastically change because of that, so it doesn’t really flip our game plan upside down because of that at this point.”INJURY UPDATE:”Kyle Gallagher will play, I’ll promise you. You’re not going to keep him out of a football game. That kid is unbelievable in his toughness. He’s in his senior year and he knows it. He’d probably go without a hand for the rest of his life if it meant playing in one more football game. He’ll play. He’ll play well.” “I expect Kerwynn (Williams) to be back. We really kind of rested him as we went through the game Saturday and he just wasn’t quite back at 100 percent.””Walter (McClenton) is still a question mark, and we should know more on Chuckie (Keeton) soon. Hopefully he’ll be involved in practice today. If not today, then tomorrow.” ON KAMA BAILEY (#8) RB/WR:”He’s all over the place. We just got done watching film on those guys. A lot of times he’s in the backfield, a lot of times he’s at wide receiver. He does both really well and it causes a match-up problem. He’s talented.” ON MIND-SET AFTER THIRD TURNOVER ON SATURDAY:”I probably shouldn’t say that out loud. You know, it was tough. Unbelievable would be one word that comes to mind, that we would let that happen over and over again. They were all very different. It’s kind of how you look back at the five losses we have. It’s not one guy. It is Stanley (Morrison), but it’s three different ways. You look at Stanley who has given so much to this program and is always fighting and getting back in there. Stanley was still heartbroken after the game, even though we won, because of how close those had been. He would have put all that right on his shoulders. After it was all over with, I was relieved, but while it was taking place it was interesting.”ON “BEND BUT DON’T BREAK” OF DEFENSE’S PLAY IN REDZONE:”That is a term on defense that has kind of made the hair on the back of my neck rise up. But that’s a little bit of who we are right now. It’s a little bit of who we need to be. We were down there for six snaps, get a PI (pass interference penalty) and get another three snaps. Our redzone defense is better. The one we gave the touchdown on was surprising, I’ll say. We made a mistake and should not have. The kids are playing hard in that setting. We were a little more aggressive in this game than we have been and sometimes it worked out. Other times it didn’t work out so well. We have to take some chances and get people off base at times. We’re still pretty high up there in some of the standings, we can’t put a price tag on that as far as building a quality defense for this year. I’ll say it again, I’m not a stat guy, but it does matter when you’re trying to build that stuff up for the kids to see something of ‘this is what it takes.’ON FILLING THE PUNT RETURNER POSITION:”It really depends on the punter we’re facing. We’ve been a little inconsistent, and sometimes that has cost us. Right now if we want to just go back and catch it, Stanley (Morrison) and Eric (Moats) are our guys and I have great faith in both of them. They’ve had some challenges, but everyone has challenges in life and they’re fighting through it. They’re the most reliable kids to be able to catch the punts. I love them and can count on them.MATT AUSTIN, JUNIOR WIDE RECEIVERON SAN JOSE STATE GAME:”It was a great game. Obviously we started slow. We started slow on offense and defense, we just had to finish strong in the second half which we knew after halftime. Everyone started slow. I guess we had to adjust to the cold weather or something like that. I guess that was some people’s statements, but I felt like everyone started slow and then we knew what we had to do in the second half, I guess you could say. Second half wise, we all just came out, fought hard and knew we had to do win this game. It was a must-win for us and the team, if we wanted to win this WAC Championship and get to where we want to be. Overall, I felt like everybody played their butts off in the second half and made some big stops on defense. That was a big plus for us. Adam Kennedy stepped in and did his job, Turb [Robert Turbin] also. The receiving corps, we stepped up once we started throwing the ball and every one’s name was called, Travis Van Leeuwen made some big plays calls on Coach Baldwin’s part. It was a great victory for us.”ON IDAHO:”We’ll start watching film today at 1:45. They are all great teams in the WAC, nobody is below average, I feel like. Their record isn’t very good but I feel like they lost some close games. They are a good team. I know they have some athletes on the defensive side of the ball, some great corners that are coming back. We are looking for a fight. We can’t start playing in the second half. We have to come out strong and come out with a fight and be physical on both sides of the ball. Our coaches, I am sure are going to have a great game plan for us and I’m looking forward to getting us the next victory.”ON ADAM KENNEDY AND THE DIFFERENCE HE HAS MADE:”They [Adam Kennedy and Chuckie Keeton] are both great quarterbacks. I guess you can say that Adam has thrown the ball a little more because he is not as mobile but again they are both great quarterbacks. Adam has actually given us a chance. He is throwing it up, he is giving the receivers a chance in making some big plays for us. Not only for him, but for our offense and our team, our fans and everybody in Logan. Again, they are both great quarterbacks.”ON IF HAVING ADAM AS QB CHANGES WHAT HE DOES AS A RECEIVER:”No, not at all. It doesn’t change what I do. I just go out and play. When my name is called, my name is called and I am ready to make a big play for us.”ON KENNEDY THROWING THE BALL TO HIM WHEN HE IS COVERED:”I think Adam is a little bit more mature, but I feel like Adam is comfortable doing that, I guess you could say. I can just say that he is giving us a chance. There is double coverage sometimes when he throws it up but I feel like he has complete confidence in us making the big play, like we have been these past couple games. I am sure he is going to keep doing it, as you can see it is working. We’re winning games and making plays and we are successful on that side of the ball.”ON LAST YEAR AGAINST IDAHO AND THEIR DEFENSE EVEN THOUGH HE DIDN’T PLAY DUE TO INJURY:”I remember a good safety there, or something like that. Offensively I just felt like it was another cold game. Their defensive side is pretty good, they have some athletes like I said. We just have got to come out and do us. We know what we’ve got to do and execute. Once we execute our plays I feel like we can compete with anybody in the nation. It is really just up to us. I don’t really look ahead at the defense, we’ve just got to execute and do what we’ve got to do and we will come out on the successful side.”ON RECEIVERS BEING RECOGNIZED LIKE THE RUNNING BACKS WERE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR:”I don’t think they necessarily forgot about us, it was just when our number was called, we just had to make a play. The running game was working big time for us. It was not a negative thing for us at all, we just had to work harder. Our receivers just had to make blocks for us and do big things for the running backs. Just like we are being successful on the receivers side, they are making key blocks for us. It can go both ways, but again whatever is on for us whether it be the passing game or running game, we have got to work hard to be a successful offense. I feel like we are doing that. We are still sixth in the nation for rushing average, so on offensive side of the ball we are stepping our game up and we are totally moving our ranks up in the passing game too.”ALFRED BOWDEN, SENIOR SAFETYON RECAP OF SAN JOSE STATE GAME:”I feel like in the San Jose State game we started out really slow. I think we looked at that a lot when you were coming off the field, I don’t feel like we were playing as fast as we could. I think the momentum of the game started to change once we started to get comfortable with each series. With the defense in the second half I feel like we were playing a lot faster. I think we’ve changed to almost a second half team with the way we play in the fourth quarter. With Michael Smith giving us a surge every time we get into the fourth quarter, because we know after the five losses that we have we felt like that was in the fourth quarter that we lost the game. We are trying to make a new trend out here, to play and give it all you’ve got in the fourth quarter. I felt like we did that once again here against San Jose State.ON PREVIEW OF IDAHO GAME:”We are looking forward to playing Idaho this week. We know this is going to be a good game. I think everybody on our team knows the expectation and what we are trying to do. We are trying to win a bowl game, we are not trying to barely make it bowl eligible. We are trying to win the next three games with Nevada, New Mexico State and Idaho. We have got to start with Idaho and I know we are going to practice hard this week to get ready for Idaho because we’ve got a game and you never know what is going to happen. With Idaho being a good football team, we’ve got to be prepared for everything.”ON STARTING SLOW:”Yes, I feel like we have a scout team out there and the scout team gives us a great looks every week. Week in and week out they give us great looks and I think that is a real big part of our success on defense. I think maybe part of it was just easing into it, but it never should have taken that long for us to ease into the game. I felt like the first 10 plays we just watched it and on film this morning it just didn’t look like the same Utah State defense that we usually are. With going out there and getting comfortable and getting used to San Jose State, I felt like we should have got it clicking faster than we did. I think there is a difference. Obviously there is a dramatic difference. We don’t have the same exact plays as San Jose State on scout team but they give us a good enough look to where we should be able to go out there and play.”ON PLAYING AGAINST RYAN OTTEN, THE SAN JOSE STATE TIGHT END:”Yes I had a few match-ups with him. We played a lot of nickle packages. It was just part of the scheme that they were going to man me up and put hands on him. That was a big part of the scheme, getting him uncomfortable. Going into film we knew he was their primary guy, he was going to give him the ball especially with the snow storm and blizzard. Our coaches told us we need to get ready for him to get the ball a lot because it is an easy throw, a comfort zone for the quarterback. We wanted to take advantage of that, manning him up, we just put hands on him and tried to make him as uncomfortable as possible.”ON ONE OF THE FINAL THROWS OF THE GAME THAT KYLE GALLAGHER HELPED DEFEND:”I was coming down to it. I was hoping the ball would get tipped up but Gallagher made that play. There was no need of me out there, I was just right behind him to make they play if he couldn’t but I knew Gallagher was going to make the play. He is a big part of our defense and he came in clutch as usual. He had two really, really good pass break-ups [on the final drive for San Jose State] and he helped my job out a lot more just because you have got to cover the middle of the field. He was making that a lot harder for their quarterback to zing that in there. So, it was obviously great defense by Kyle Gallagher.”ON IF SOME PLAYERS DON’T GET ON THE FIELD IN THE SECOND HALF BECAUSE OF WHAT HAPPENS IN THE FIRST HALF:”I am not sure with that situation. I just know with my position coach and my coaching we weren’t really dwelling on who was in the game or who wasn’t supposed to be in the game. With the half time adjustments it was just to play hard, that was really it. There was no mystery call, magic call our coaches say. We just said go play harder in the second half, that was it. That was really it.”ON THE REDZONE DEFENSE DOING A GOOD JOB AND DOING BETTER COMMUNICATING:”With the practices we have been doing we have really been harping on redzone defense. In the past we were not good enough to stop offenses in the redzone and Coach Andersen has been telling us we need to communicate better. It should be harder for the offense to come into the redzone. I feel like all the practices in the redzone and the different types of things they are trying to do in the redzone, we just are playing harder in the redzone really. It’s a want to. It’s X’s and O’s, but it is also a want to. You don’t want them to score a touchdown, what Coach Andersen always tells us is you have got to bow up, answer the bell. They are in the redzone, they get a turnover or what not but that doesn’t mean they have got to score. That is one of the big reasons, with a lot of pride, you have got to stop them from scoring in the redzone.”ON LAST YEAR’S IDAHO GAME:”Last year’s Idaho game, it was a lot like this one. It was snowing the whole game but I felt like with the Idaho game last year they out-toughed us, last year. I really felt like they out-toughed us and I played a little bit, well actually a lot in that game and it is almost like it is a revenge game. We know they are a good football team. Everyone in the WAC is a good football team. You can’t come not ready to play in the WAC. You have got to come ready to play every week and Idaho is one of those teams you have to get ready to play because they are going to come at you 100 percent. I know that we got to go out that and do what we always do, play hard for four quarters and win the fourth quarter. That is what we do. Every game from here on out, we are trying to win the fourth quarter.”ON WHAT THE SAFETIES DO TO GET BETTER AS A GROUP:”Just watching film. A lot of film also helps in the redzone, to find out what they like to do in the redzone. Especially with the big tight end at San Jose State, they like to go to him in the redzone. I think he is 6-6 or something like that. We really wanted to concentrate on making the calls right, maybe dropping down here and there, maybe just giving pressure. I think a lot of it was our redzone defense in the past. Right now it is just film, we watch a lot of film. We want to know where they want to go. As a safety we like to remind the secondary that this is what they like to do in the redzone, we have got to look at our keys, to remind us what they like to do in the redzone. Repetitive to remind us that we got to look at our keys even more so in the redzone because that is when they like to get us on the fake, or something like that. Our redzone defense is getting a lot better from the past.”ON IDAHO’S PASSING GAME:”With Idaho’s passing problems we should be able to do what we have to do on defense to stop them. We are not going to stop every throw but we have got to try and take advantage of them not playing as well in the passing game. We are going to keep doing what we always do. We’re going to game plan against Idaho, we’re going to figure out what their weaknesses and their strengths are and try to execute and get the right game plan against Idaho. Like I said earlier, this is still a good football team. You never know within the WAC and that is why we have to come ready to play. I think one of the big things this week is we have to have the edge, a sharp edge that we are ready for Idaho. Like I said, last year I don’t think we were ready for Idaho. They out-toughed us and we can’t allow that to happen this week.”ON GETTING MORE INTERCEPTIONS:”The easy way is to catch the ball when it hits you. I think it definitely on us players. We have got to put us in a better position to get interceptions. I know we are really struggling on that area. I feel like we have got to come around sooner or later, we have to go get some interceptions and I believe that. Especially as a safety, you are only going to get one shot, it feels like, a game and you have got to take advantage of that shot. I think as a secondary we are going to improve on that this week in the turnover margin.”Levi Koskan, Senior Defensive EndON SAN JOSE STATE GAME:”Throughout my career, I have come to realize that a win can never be a bad thing. You have got to celebrate a win. With that said, when you look back on the film and reflect on that day, there is a lot of things that this team has improved on but still needs to further improve on. If we play with the same kind of energy, emotion and mentality we opened that game with in any other game we will lose and we cannot do that. It is up to us to change that, we will change that, I personally will try and do whatever I can during the week and on game day to change those things. Without being too negative, I am real proud of my players for two weeks in a row, the fourth quarter coming together, doing what we need to do and getting our energy up. Getting that new fourth quarter mentality. That is real exciting and hasn’t been around here for as long as I have been here. I am looking forward to the fourth quarter every game now.”ON IDAHO GAME:”As we head into Idaho, I know there is going to be a great scheme like there is every week. I don’t have to worry about that. My focus is on getting my fellow teammates mentally prepared and to go into Idaho knowing it is going to be a battle. Every year I have played them, I feel like Idaho is a reflection of us and where the programs are both at. It is always going to be a battle, it doesn’t matter where they are at in their season, they are not going to let us win. It is going to be a huge battle and I have got to make sure all my teammates realize that, so our mentality is correct and we have high energy and we have fun and we play hard. That is where I am at.”ON IF THIS GAME IS A ‘REVENGE’ GAME FOR THE LOSS AT HOME LAST YEAR:”Each season you are going to remember what happened last season and you kind of want to get back at them, but for me it is about moving forward. We need to win this game to get where we need to go with our goals. For me, maybe not so much revenge but just plain old taking care of business and moving forward, going forward, getting to 5-5, that is huge. In my whole career here I have never had five wins. So, that is more important to me than getting revenge.”ON SAN JOSE STATE SCORE A COUPLE TIME IN THE START OF THE FOURTH QUARTER:”It certainly could have taken away from what we were doing. I was surprised that they scored. With that fourth quarter mentality, it almost feels like we are untouchable. Of course, we are not, obviously. But yes, it could have taken away but the guys respond, we just have that mentality and that needs to go throughout the game. That mentality that we are going to overcome this, we are going to get back, we’re going to do this, we’re going to do this, we’ve got this and so I am very proud of my boys and how they responded, and kept their energy up.”ON PLAYING A LOT BUT GETTING THE ONE BIG PLAY HE MADE:”You can look through any football game and there is going to be maybe two or three plays that really stand out. Each play on their own, is important but there are those plays that change the momentum of the game, change all that stuff. The sack and forced fumble is a huge play. It is what is it and it was a huge play. Whether it is me making a play or someone else, I am just glad that play got made, because we definitely needed that.”ON KYLE GALLAGHER’S TWO BIG PASS BREAK-UPS:”That is one I saw. I came off the edge rushing the quarterback, inches away from getting the quarterback and I saw the ball going down field and I saw the receiver grab it. When he grabbed it, my heart sank, I was like “No…,” and as he was coming down I saw Kyle punch it out. I was so happy I ran up to Kyle and was head-butting him and all of that fun stuff. Yes it was huge. I didn’t get to see the other ones but Kyle Gallagher, I would go into battle with him if it was on a football field or in a street fight, two versus a 100. He is just an amazing teammate. He played with a broken hand for most of the game. He is the toughest guy I have met in my life. So, his playing like that and doing the things he did, it makes me really grateful to be a part of this team and to be his teammate and to be a part of it.”-USU-
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