San Diego State-Hawai'i Postgame Quotes

Oct. 6, 2012

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Rocky Long

Q. Coach, tell us how you guys played tonight?

I thought we played okay.

Q. Just okay?

Yeah, I think we're going to have to get a lot better if we want to win the remaining games. We're going to have to play a lot better than we did tonight. Coach Chow is a great football coach, but what he has is a really beat up team. They have a lot of injuries. They're beat up, and they've traveled two weeks in a row. So they're probably pretty tired too. We had an advantage because we were the fresher team, and our players were upset by the way we played last weekend. They came out and played hard and played physical. That's what happens when you play a beat up football team.

Q. What was the difference this week with your pass defense compared to the past two weeks?

First of all, we played against a pro offense tonight. It wasn't the spread. Obviously, if everybody would stay in the pro offense, we'd probably have a good pass defense. We have yet to prove we can hang in there against a good spread football team, and I'm sure that's coming up here. Maybe not next week, I haven't watched any film, but I know there is a couple more teams on our schedule that run the spread. I watched TV all day today until we bussed over here. Guess what, nobody stops the spread. I watched Stanford and Arizona today, and it was, gee whiz. I don't know what the final score was 52 48 or something, and both teams were throwing the ball all over the place. Right now, the spread offenses are ahead of the defenses. When you play them, you just have to be able to outscore them.

Q. What did you see from your defense tonight?

We stopped the run and stopped the pass. So that's good. I thought they scored seven points they deserved. The other one they got the ball on, I don't know what yard line it was, the 20 yard line or something. I still think they didn't score because I thought the guy caught the ball and he was outside the goal line. I would have loved to have gone for fourth down and tried to stop them. But right at the start of the second half, mostly because of a penalty, they had a legitimate drive and put it in the end zone.

Q. Can you talk about King Holder's performance tonight?

King started tonight because Josh Wade has had a strained calf all week. Now he practiced, but he was limping a lot, so King got to play because we don't play anybody that doesn't practice on Wednesday and Thursday. That's why Colin Lockett didn't play tonight. He was unable to practice at full speed on Thursday, so he didn't get to play tonight. That's just kind of our rule. King got the start because Josh Wade was limping all through practice all week and King did a nice job. He did a really nice job. Did a nice job supporting the run and having a good couple plays in coverage. Thought he was going to intercept one, but it was close.

Q. Based on that performance, would you say King has a chance to start some more and play some more?

There are a few positions on our team that you know who is going to start, but that position is always a competition in practice. Just like kickers are always a competition in practice.

Q. Defensively, how do you think your offensive line did tonight? Would you say it's a better performance?

It was a much better performance than at Fresno State. I'm not sure it was a better performance than San Jose State. I thought Hawai'i did a nice job against our run, other than Ryan Katz. We didn't get any big runs in the running game. We got a couple of toss sweeps late in the game and a couple of fly sweeps out of our wide receiver late in the game. But our power plays and zone plays didn't tear them up. I thought Hawai'i did a nice job against those. Now I say that, but I think Coach Ludwig did a great job of scheming a couple of those runs for Ryan Katz. Now our team executed it and the kids executed it really well. But the scheme put their defense in a real bind. And then Ryan is pretty good running the ball. He scrambled a couple of times, but a couple of those plays were designed plays. And our team executed them well, and it was a great design by Coach Ludwig.

Q. Is Katz more of a threat than you thought?

No, he's exactly what I thought he would be. We have to be careful on how much we use him. He's really important to our offensive scheme. If he runs the ball too much, he's going to get beat up. Using him really helps our offense because he's multi-talented for sure.

Q. Would you say overall that he's been successful?

Him being our starting quarterback? I think it's really helped us. Is that what you mean?

Q. Yes.

Yes, I think it's really helped.

Q. On the defense in tonight's game:

Our players played with more confidence and they made a lot fewer mental errors, not assignment errors. We haven't been making assignment errors, but we've been making mental errors technique wise, leverage on receivers, leverage on blockers, and we didn't make many of those. We've made a few, but we didn't make many of those mistakes tonight. Now that means we simplified it and they understood what they were doing. They were more comfortable at what they were doing. But let me tell you one more time. That was not a spread football team we played. That was a pro football team. If we can promise everybody will play pro football against us, I promise you we'll play better defense.

Q. How's Colin Lockett?

I think Colin was fine on Friday. So I think he's just fine. I think he'll be full speed on Sunday.

Q. What did you see out of your special teams?

I thought our special teams was really shaky. I don't think we kicked off very well. The kicks were low and short. I thought our coverage on kickoffs was very inconsistent. There were three times we covered it really well. There were a couple of huge hits in the game, if you heard them, and there was a fumble caused by a great hit on kickoff coverage. There was a couple of times that our guys got out of their lanes and he popped not real long ones, but fairly long ones. So we have to be more consistent on our coverage. Then I think we have to kick the ball better, and we have to punt the ball better.


Q. So you guys came in with a two-game losing streak. What are your feelings to win a game?

Nik Embernate: It's good for us. All week we were just preaching like we've got to get back on course. We've got to play how we're supposed to play. So it's a great win for us.
Derek Largent: Same thing on defense. Coming back off some iffy games we had. But this game was really huge for us, and we're happy we won.

Q. Do you think the defense worked on the quarterback tonight?

Derek Largent: I definitely felt that. So it's all we've been working on in practice all week. So, yeah, we did.

Q. On wearing down the quarterback:

Derek Largent: It doesn't really matter what he does. In the end, as long as we all have the game plan and we're all on the same page, it doesn't really matter what happens.

Q. Would you describe the 31-yard touchdown pass?

Nik Embernate: It was a screen pass. So we just all got out, made our blocks, and then Adam's running down, and he's not going down. We all think let's just push him in the end zone, get that work horse in the end zone because he deserves it.

Q. On the mentality during the 31-yard touchdown:

Nik Embernate: Our coaches preach finish, finishing blocks and stuff like that. That's just part of finishing blocks. He's pumping his legs, working hard. It would be selfish of us just to stand back there and watch him work by himself.

Q. And Muema is that type of runner, he runs hard?

Nik Embernate: He runs hard. He deserves to be in that end zone.

Q. You guys on the offensive line, how much easier is Ryan Katz making it for you guys?

Bryce Quigley: It's nice to be able to have that ability. As the offensive line, we've got to give him more time. If we can give him more time, he can keep his eyes down field and he doesn't have to use his legs so much. So that's on the offensive line as a whole.
Nik Embernate: I wouldn't say it's easier. We've just got to protect him better and not let him get hit so much that way he can throw the ball instead of scrambling.

Q. Having said that, a couple of the plays by design tonight he had to scramble. How nice is it when you guys did that? How nice is it to have a guy that can do that?

Nik Embernate: Yeah, it's fun. It keeps the defense on their toes. They don't really know what's going to come. So having him be able to run is pretty good. And those are designed quarterback runs on some of them that he's doing, so I think it's fun.

Q. Did you add more quarterback runs this game?

Nik Embernate: No, we didn't add anymore. We've had them all. Just the way that their defense was showing to the run, we were just able to recall a couple more of them.

Q. Ryan, the first two touchdowns, were both of those designed for a handoff and run?

Ryan Katz: Yeah, both of those are designed. Just different things we saw throughout the weeks and what their defense did. It's just a good way to attack their defense.

Q. Have you run those plays earlier in the season?

Ryan Katz: No, not those particular plays.

Q. What did they show you tonight that enabled you to have such success against the run?

Ryan Katz: Some of the plays that we had dialed up this week, they ran a lot of man coverage, so we had some of the zone read and the fly sweep working. So with those guys in man coverage, the corners are chasing, and it kind of leaves that side of the field open.

Q. How important was it to get this win tonight? It's your first conference win. You're coming off a two-game skid. What was the morale like tonight?

Ryan Katz: It was huge. More than anything, this week in practice guys were kind of on edge. Coming off of two tough losses, we just wanted to get out there and give it our all and get this win this week. So we're happy to do that.

Q. On the third touchdown you scored:

Ryan Katz: They didn't bring any pressure. They dropped eight, so it was kind of hard. We had a little play-action pass going there. Everyone dropped down in coverage and I saw a lane to run, so I took advantage of it.

Q. How fun is it to run?

Ryan Katz: It's pretty fun. I want to be a passer first, but when Coach Ludwig dials those plays up, I'm going to run them. I'm going to run them to the best of my ability. It is fun though.

Q. When did you realize you were going to start tonight?

King Holder: At the beginning of the week, our defensive backs coach, Coach White had told me. This whole week, just working hard and trying to get my alignments and assignments right. I was glad I was able to execute today.

Q. On the game plan:

King Holder: Yeah, I felt like our game plan this week was really suitable to the type of players we have in our back field, our defensive back and I'm pretty sure it showed.

Q. What was easier tonight? Did you guys not have to think about anything?

King Holder: We had a lot less different types of plays, so we could really focus on the plays that we did have and our alignment assignments and (there were) less audibles on defense. It was really good for us.

Q. How is your confidence growing as this game went on?

King Holder: It actually builds a lot of confidence, especially after coming off not playing very well the last two weeks. And our defense and offense both stepping up at the same time and showing what we look like when we play Aztec football.

Q. Obviously, when the coach points to you and says you're the guy. How are you able to accomplish that?

King Holder: Yeah, it's kind of what you live for to play college football. Those times when you've got to step up and make plays or the crucial fourth-quarter moments. That's really what you live for.

Q. What does it mean for the defense to limit Hawai'i to two touchdowns? Especially after the last two teams that you faced racked up a lot of points on you guys. How big was that?

King Holder: It's a big confidence builder for sure. We're glad as defensive backs that we could hold their passing yards down. Hawai'i has great athletes on the outside in the slot. We're glad we were able to contain them for the most part tonight.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Hawai'i head coach Norm Chow

On the game overall:

You're not going to win the game if you turn the ball over four times playing a team that doesn't turn it over. (We) made crazy, crazy mistakes. We thought we were ready. We thought we were prepared. I'm searching for answers just like everybody else. We'll go back. We'll regroup. We'll look at the tapes. I told them at halftime I wanted to see how tough we were. We just have to go back to work.

On dropping the football:

We can't do that. We just cannot play good football against a team like this. They don't turn it over. They don't have fumble exchanges. They don't have balls going back on the ground.

On what is next:

We regroup and go back to work on Sunday. We have a long season yet to go.

On personnel changes:

We're going to look real hard at that. (It won't be) a quarterback.

Hawai'i junior cornerback/kick returner Mike Edwards

On the game:

It's a tough feeling. We've gone through ups and downs so far this season. The main thing is we have to move on to the next game. The next game is the most important game.

Hawai'i junior quarterback Sean Schroeder

On the game:

Our problem hasn't been effort, it's lack of execution. The coaches are putting us in great situations. Now, it's up to the players. We've got to sustain drives and find a way to execute. If you turn the ball over four times, you're not going to win football games. It stings, it hurts, but we've got to bounce back next week."

Hawai'i senior defensive end Paipai Falemalu

On San Diego State:

(SDSU) is a good offense. Good running backs, good quarterback. My hat's off to them. They did a great job.