Utah State head coach Gary Andersen, junior safety McKade Brady and junior quarterback Adam Kennedy addressed the media at Monday’s press conference previewing Famous Idaho Potato Bowl match-up with Ohio, bowl practice and activities.USU HEAD COACH GARY ANDERSEN: ON BOWL PREPARATIONS:”It was a good week all around last week. I thought the kids did a nice job of dealing with school and finals and preparation for finals along with practice. I was proud of the way they handled it and they really picked things up. Saturday morning was our best practice. It was like a game-week Tuesday. We took Sunday off and today will be like a game-week Tuesday again. We’ll take tomorrow off to travel and get situated, then from there we’ll be on a normal game-week schedule. It’s worked out very well. I’m happy with the progress and the reps the young kids have gotten. We’ve taken about a half hour each day with the younger guys, and it’s really helped us. Their development will pay dividends down the road, but it has also helped with recruiting. We can identify some of the young men in the program from August until now, to see how far they’ve come physically and mentally. It’s very basic schemes for these young kids, but we have adjusted our recruiting board because of the development of some of the young kids that are in our program. Some of them have come farther than we thought and others have not come as far as we thought. It’s been a big bonus to be able to see those kids be out on the field.”ON OHIO:”After a closer look, spending much more time watching them, this is a very good football team. They’re a tough-minded group overall when you watch them play. They’ve had very tight ball games. They are physical on offense, physical on defense. They have smart coaches who run difficult schemes. They do a nice job on defense getting into third down packages, playing good solid defense on control downs which I believe all defenses do, but it’s very apparent they are well-coached. The way they play catches my eye, especially the front seven I think are technicians. Fundamentally they are extremely sound I think by the way they play. They’re definitely a solid performing team in all areas on defense. On the offensive side of the ball, the offensive line works very well together, they’ve played a lot of games together. They are big, physical kids. Their quarterback is extremely talented. I talk about it all the time that a quarterback can hurt you with his arm, with his mind and with his legs, and he does a very good job of that. On film that’s very apparent. They’re a solid football team across the board. You don’t win nine games without being a solid team. It will be a tremendous, tremendous challenge, for us it will be a tremendous challenge. We’re looking forward to playing well and getting on the road and getting to the Bowl site. We’ll work when it’s time to work, play when it’s time to play, and enjoy the experience.” ON NO. 7, WR LAVON BRAZILL BEING ONE OF TOP RECEIVERS USU HAS FACED THIS SEASON:”He’s way up there. The thing that separates him is that he’s a very physical wide receiver, but he also has tremendous speed and has made some plays with his feet when he goes up to contest with balls. To me, a receiver who can contest with balls along with having speed and the skill set that he has is very impressive. He’s as good a wide receiver as we face week in and week out. He’s really kind of the whole package for a receiver. He’s a tremendous player.” ON QB TYLER TETTLETON:”He looks like a guy who would play in Nevada’s offense a lot of times. They have the flavor of the pistol, which probably looks a little bit more familiar because of our dealings with Nevada. There are some similarities there at times. As a quarterback, he is very talented and I think he’s youthful. Like (USU freshman QB) Chuckie (Keeton), he likes to run around and make things happen. He has a lot of excitement and makes some exciting plays for his team. That excitement seems to be contagious and he’s definitely a leader of that football team. He’s a great quarterback.”ON PROGRESS OF INJURED PLAYERS:”We’re trying to get Walter (McClenton) out there a little bit this week and see how he can go. The same is going to go for McKade (Brady) and the same for Phil (Gapelu). We’re going to give those young men a shot out at practice this week to see how they develop and come through. It would be great to be able to let them get out and play in this game. Overall with Walter, he ran a little bit last week and has progressed every day. Hopefully we’ll be able to let Walt play some snaps in the bowl game.”ON TATTOO BET DURING OFF SEASON:”It was something I came up with in the off season, just on a whim more than anything. We took it into them one day during camp. I made the statement, I made the promise, so I made good on the promise. It was one of those crazy things I thought of at the spur of the moment. I told them that if they got themselves to a bowl game, they would be forever on my shoulder blade, so there they are. I’m glad to have it. (Andersen’s wife) Stacey’s good with it. She’s supportive. With what this team has gone through, all the ups and downs, to always have this to cherish and remember them by is a great thing. I don’t want to sit and watch TV with something clawing at my back, but I wouldn’t say it hurt that bad.”ON JUNIOR COLLEGE RECRUITING:”We won’t have many JCs. I don’t have an exact number, but it won’t be nearly as many as we took a year ago. I think we’re going to get a couple of high school kids at mid-year, which is a switch for us and a step in the right direction. If I sit back right now and break it down by position, of possible JC players, I’m not going to rule any out except quarterback. Immediate needs are possibly a safety. There’s a possibility at linebacker, with us losing Bobby (Wagner) and Kyle (Gallagher). I feel pretty good about that crew also, we may be changing some guys around, but there’s a possibility there. There’s always the possibility of JC guys on the defensive end, probably one or two at the most. Offensive linemen is a good possibility. We’re most likely going to get four or five o-linemen, and one or two of them are likely to be JC guys. Maybe at wide receiver if there’s a great one out there. At running back, we’re going to take the best one we can find at this point. If that ends up being a freshman or a junior, we’ll see as we go through. So maybe only four or five junior college kids at the most, compared to last year when we took 18 or something.” APPROACH WITH 2 QBs GOING INTO SPRING BALL:”It’s going to be a major topic of discussion for a long time. We’ll play them both a lot as we go through. I don’t think we’re in a position to say at the end of the season ‘The starter for next season is…,’ it won’t really be that way. I don’t want to really say it’s a competition. We have two excellent football players and it’s just a decision to be made. It’s a good decision to have, but will be complicated to make, there’s no question about it. We’ll continue to fight through it and see how it looks. It’s a good problem to have; it’s kind of like everyone running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to get ready for a bowl game and being a little bit stressed out. These are all really good problems to have. Having two quarterbacks is a good problem. We’ll get through it. Jeff (Manning) will be back in with us and we can see where that goes. When you recruit and your mind-set is to create competition, there’s obviously some positions that are more highlighted than others and the quarterback spot is one of those for us. Both those young men have done a lot of good things this year. We just need to keep building all the way through the season and it will be an exciting off season.”PLANS FOR SPRING BALL:”We’re going to do things a little bit differently than we’ve done in the past. I’ve kind of become a little more of an early morning guy, so I think we’re going to practice then most the time. This team likes that. I think breaking it up where we’ll practice for a day then meet for a day will be good. We’re not as youthful as we have been. I think these practices have helped us as coaches to identify where a couple of the kids will be in practice when we start, which we may not have found out until the second or third day or spring. It’s an advantage to be getting these practices in. We didn’t have a lot of freshmen turn around and play this year, which is a good situation for us.”ON BOWL WEEK ACTIVITIES:”I like to make a big deal out of every single day leading up to this. We’ve been handing out a Bowl gift every day, spreading them out, and we’ll continue that today. I like to make it an event, so it’s a special time. Once they get there, the winter sports park event is now a go-cart event. I’ve been to a couple of those in the past and they have the tendency to become very competitive very fast. I think I’ll just stand up and watch, and pray we come out of there healthy. The kids will have a good time with that. There’s a couple of times the teams will be together. I like the way this bowl game gives the kids time to interact. That’s all part of the Bowl experience. It’s very well organized and well put together. We’re looking forward to making the next step and getting on the bus.” McKADE BRADY, JUNIOR SAFETYON BOWL WEEK PREPARATIONS AND OHIO:”Preparing for a bowl has been pretty cool. It is something different, obviously we haven’t experienced it. It’s been exciting with the gifts and things. I think we’ve been doing a great job of staying focused during this experience. Ohio looks pretty good. Their quarterback is a really great player, he makes a lot of plays on his feet. It’s always difficult to prepare for a team like that because he’s a dual threat guy. So, when things breakdown in the pass game he can always make a play with his feet. That’s been a thing to prepare for, definitely. They have good receivers, number seven especially looks really good. I saw him make a few plays, I was able to watch the Northern Illinois game when we were on the road last week, when we knew we were possibly playing them. He made some big plays, he is a good player. The running backs run hard, the offensive line looks solid and that is about all I have on Ohio.”ON IF HE WILL DEFEND THE OHIO QUARTERBACK IS LIKE HE DID WITH COLIN KAEPERNICK FROM NEVADA:”I am not sure if I will be watching him as much as I was Kaepernick in a game, but Kaepernick ran the ball a lot more than this kid. This kid is more, it seems when things break down he makes run plays. Kaepernick was put in a lot of read situations and this quarterback doesn’t seem like he has to be put in the situation as much, not as much read option and things that way. It’s a lot of stuff in the passing game, so I will probably be out of the equation when he breaks down and starts running the ball.”ON WHAT HE INJURED DURING THE NEW MEXICO STATE GAME:”I separated an AC joint in my shoulder. Lori Olsen and her staff, they have done a great job. It was just a minor injury, nothing too big. I’ve been working with her and her staff and I’m practicing now again and ready to go.”ON OHIO’S QUARTERBACKS RUSHING YARDS ON DESIGNED RUSHING PLAYS:”There is a few of them but it’s definitely not as high of a percentage as Kaepernick’s was, he ran the ball a lot more.”ON PRACTICES BEING GOOD BUT NOT VERY LONG:”Yeah I think Coach Andersen has done a great job in preparing us in meetings. We still have the same amount of meetings so preparation in general has been similar. Practicing, we are just trying to keep people fresh, so we are out there. Practices have looked clean so far, through the film. There is still some minor things to clean up and adjustments to be made, but overall I think we’ve been doing a good job with that.”ON IF WE HAVE PLAYED SOME WHO IS LIKE OHIO:”I would say they are kind of similar to Nevada, in that they have their read stuff and the quarterback is good runner just as Nevada’s was, the freshman from Nevada and I think that they are comparable players.”ON IF OHIO RUNS SOME PISTOL STUFF:”Yes, they do run some pistol.”ON COACH ANDERSEN’S TATTOO FOR USU GOING TO A BOWL GAME:”Yes, before the season he promised if we made it to a bowl game that he would get a tattoo on the back of his shoulder. So I am looking forward to seeing that today. I’m going to have to ask him about that. That is pretty awesome though. It is fun as a player to have coaches do those types of things and it gives some more incentive to play for a guy like that.”ON IF HE WILL BE GETTING A TATTOO:”No, I won’t be getting any tattoos.”ADAM KENNEDY, JUNIOR QUARTERBACKON BOWL PREPARATIONS:”We are excited to be here, being able to play a great opponent in Ohio. We couldn’t be more excited to be playing in a bowl game, it’s a lot of anticipation for it. It’s just a great time to be an Aggie and an Aggie fan.”ON OHIO’S DEFENSE:”There is certain areas that we think we can expose them. So, we’ve watched a lot of film. I personally was in yesterday watching a lot of film and there is certain aspects of that defense that can be taken advantage of. They have some great players, #47 is a really good player. I think #13 is a pretty good safety. We will have to be cautious of those guys but certainly go after the other guys.”ON OHIO HOLDING FIVE OPPONENTS UNDER 100 YARDS RUSHING THIS SEASON:”Yeah, I don’t think have seen a rushing offense like we have. Watching it on film, from the teams they have played in the MAC, it is a lot of spread offense, four wide with more throwing to it as opposed to our read option and triple option aspects we have in our offense. I think it will be something they haven’t seen this year for the most part and I think that will be an advantage for us coming in.”ON WHAT OHIO DOES WELL ON DEFENSE:”I think they do a pretty good job of not letting guys get behind them too often, we noticed that. They are pretty good about controlling the big play, even when it seemed like a couple of times there was big play potential, one guy would just disrupt with good recovery. I think we all saw that [on film]. Obviously we like to think of ourselves as a big play offense, even with our running attack. A lot of holes open up with [Robert] Turbin and Mike [Smith] with their speed. So, hopefully we can switch that around but I think that is the biggest thing, their ability to control the big play.”ON OHIO GETTING AT LEAST ONE INTERCEPTION IN EIGHT OF 13 GAMES AND BEING GOOD ABOUT GOING AFTER BALLS:”Yes, especially #4. He plays the ball really well. Even a couple of times when he got beat, he recovers well, gets a hand up and makes a play on it. We have to be cautious of that. I’ve thrown a couple of interceptions the last couple of games, so I could personally do a better job of taking care of the ball, not putting it our defense in a tough spot. So we just got to be aware of it. Watching the Bowling Green game, I think they got two picks but they dropped another two or three. They definitely play the ball well in the air.”ON LOOKING BACK TWO MONTHS AGO AND WONDERING IF HE HAD THOUGHT HE’D BE IN THIS POSITION:”It has been so crazy, I really haven’t [looked back on it]. It’s always looking forward to the next opponent and with the anticipation of the bowl game. So, I haven’t really had that chance. I am sure I will after but right now it is kind of fun, with all that is going on. We were sitting at 2-5 and in trouble a little bit, so it’s been so much fun in the locker room. You can really see the juice everyone has and even just going out to practice on a daily basis, you can feel the turn-a-round and excitement surrounding it. It’s been great for this program, this town. They’ve wrapped their hands around us, their arms around us and it’s been fun.”ON HOW BIG THE FIRST PASS PLAY WAS TO MATT AUSTIN IN SECOND HALF OF THE HAWAI’I GAME STARTING THIS RUN:”You know, a lot could have changed with that one [if he hadn’t caught it]. A couple of inches down, it could have been tipped or picked, but luckily things swung our way. It goes over his [Hawai’i defender] fingertips, Matt Austin makes a play on it and the rest is history. So, yes I think that was a huge play, more for my confidence alone. Coming in, first pass, (USU offensive coordinator) Coach Baldwin having the confidence to call that play coming out. It was great and you have seen the relationship that has been built between Matt and I, I completely trust that guy and I think a lot of it started with that play.”ON LEARNING FROM MATT AUSTIN’S WORK ETHIC AFTER HE HAD TWO POSSIBLE CAREER ENDING INJURIES:”The guy never gives up, he just continues to battle. He puts in so much work in the weight room and out on the field. Even when he couldn’t practice, he was helping the young guys, letting them know what he knows and what he saw. He is just a classy guy, a high character guy and I’m extremely happy that he is getting all this attention and getting some of the spotlight, because it is much deserved.”ON BECOMING A STARTER AND PREPARATIONS FOR BOWL GAME:”Becoming a starter, it really didn’t change too much. I always tried to prepare like I was going to be, even as hard as that is. But in terms of this bowl we had two weeks, which was extremely nice. We got to watch a lot more film and break these guys down a lot more. That has helped us focus and get rested and get our legs back underneath and healthy. It has been nice but I think the biggest thing is all the extra time that you can spend in the film room, it will make a huge impact on the game.”ON RELATIONSHIP WITH MATT AUSTIN AND IF ALWAYS BEEN CLOSE:”We have been close from the get-go I guess you can say, my host was Turbin and I went out to eat with him, Mike Smith, Stanley (Morrison) and Matt Austin. They wanted me to meet they guys I would be throwing too or playing with. From that point on we have always had a good relationship, we laugh on a daily basis, its an on-going joke with us now. I am glad that our off-field relationship has crossed over to the field definitely.”IS THERE SOMETHING TO THIS DEAL THAT YOU GUYS HAVE TO PUT YOURSELVES BEHIND THE 8-BALL TO GET GOING, IS THERE SOMETHING TO GET YOUR JUICES GOING?”I think we all wish we didn’t, I think it all ends up getting a little dramatic. We come out expecting to play well to dominate, even versus Idaho. We felt strong and good about it but things took a turn for the worse and that happens sometimes in games. But there is something special about this team and at the start of the year it was rough, but I think now we have all the confidence in the world at the end of games. At the New Mexico State game, we were standing on the sideline with everything with something like 5:19 left and Turbin said, ‘we have done this before, we have done a few times so no one panic.’ It is a huge turn around for this entire team and it is just something special that happens at the ends of games. ON NEEDING THOSE TOUGH LOSSES TO LEARN SOME LESSONS AND MAKE ADJUSTMENTS:”I think everyone would prefer to learn from tough, fought out wins but it is what it is, I think you take what you can a learn from each game. The coaches did a great job instilling that in us, now it is just a different mind set, you don’t want to dwell on the past but you do take a little as motivation, of thinking ‘I don’t want to feel that way again.’” -USU-
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