Football Signing Day News Conference Quotes

Feb. 1, 2012



San Diego State Head Coach Rocky Long

Opening Statement:

"Like every Division I school in the country, when signing day shows up, it's an exciting day. At this moment, every one of these guys is a great player until they prove otherwise. We kind of matched what we were looking for. There are certain positions that we had to increase the depth at because of our overall depth chart. Then we took some guys, especially at quarterback, we took an extra guy because the quarterbacks we've recruited here lately are really good athletes. So if they're not in the rotation at quarterback, they're good enough athletes that they might play some place else, even though all of them will get a shot at being a quarterback first."

On whether any of the incoming offensive lineman have a shot at starting right away:

"Obviously, two of them are junior college guys (Terry Poole and Justin Aysse). So you anticipate junior college guys being a little more mature and physically able to handle the beating that offensive linemen would take. That doesn't mean the freshmen won't be given an opportunity. The freshmen will be given an opportunity, but most of the time a true freshman doesn't have the physical maturity level to play at this level right off the bat. Even though some have in the past, but very few. I would guess the two junior college guys would have the best chance of playing next year. Especially one of them (Aysse), (he) is 25 or 26 years old and has been in the Marines. He's got a good chance of being mature enough to handle the physical (toll). I know I'm not going to make him mad, I'll tell you that."

On the decision to recruit Justin Aysse:

"If you look at our overall depth chart, if you happen to see, there was a real void in the offensive line at the sophomore/junior group. There are hardly any guys there. We had four seniors last year, we have four seniors this year and right behind that there's nobody. Then the class right behind that, there's only two. Last year we took four freshmen to try to build that up. We felt like we had to get a couple of junior college guys in there to kind of split the difference. We actually recruited six or seven JC offensive linemen. Then the two that decided to come here we think fit the mold. You get to know Justin a little bit better because he's on the trip and he gets to tell you war stories and everything, which makes an impression. First of all, he's a great, big guy when he walks in and he demands respect. Then you actually start talking to him and it's a lot different than talking to every other one of those recruits on that list. He's a man that has had some unique experiences that will add a lot of things to our team other than just him playing."

On his recruiting strategy in San Diego:

"First of all, recruiting is build inside out, if that makes sense. We hit the San Diego schools first and evaluate the San Diego players first. Then we move from here on out. Mostly California, but we also go to Texas and Arizona and Nevada, we move out from the San Diego area. We don't go to Orange County or L.A. until we have evaluated every potential player in San Diego. We don't go to Northern California or Arizona or Nevada until we've evaluated every kid that is a possibility in San Diego. Because you build it from the inside out, you build it from the closest to home out (of San Diego). Now saying that, there will never be a fence around San Diego, ever. No matter how good we get or no matter what league we're in, there will never be a fence where you'll keep every kid at home anywhere, any place, any city, any state because most young men of 17 and 18 years old want to go away from home. I know I did and if you asked all the recruits who went some place else, they are so excited. They are probably going to come back, maybe, and live here the rest of their lives. But I would guess 90 percent of 18 year olds want to be away from Mom and Dad so they can be their own guy. So it'll be impossible to put a fence around San Diego if that's the right term. But we always work from closest to home out (of San Diego) because you'd like to have kids that have support and fans. It helps build your team in the community. You'd like to do that, but guess what, it doesn't work that way. It doesn't work that way most places."

Plus, they have a better chance at success because they have support systems already in place when they have a bad day at school or something goes wrong in their lives. Their family is right there to support them. They don't have to get on a plane to go home or their parents don't have to fly to see them play. There are some real advantages, but then I say that and I know what 18-year-old guys want to do. Most of them want to leave home. "

On how many times he has recruited both a long snapper and kicker in his career:

"I've only done it a couple of times, I think I've only offered one other long snapper out of high school. Normally, it's a position you let guys walk on and then you pick whoever does the best and give them a scholarship. That has changed dramatically with everything getting more hyped, with recruiting services, with websites. I don't think you have as many people forgotten or left behind. So you don't have nearly as many guys that are going to walk on that are good and prove themselves."

On what he saw in Jeff Overbaugh (LS) and Seamus McMorrow (K/P):

"Kickers, punters and deep snappers nowadays go to camps where they do skill work and everything is filmed. So you're able to evaluate kickers and punters better than you used to. You can time them, you can watch their fundamentals, you can see that and in our opinion, Overbaugh was the best high school deep snapper that we saw on all those films we watched at every kicking camp. When we went looking for a punter and a kicker, we wanted a guy that did both, which Seamus does. We watched all these kickers and punters on film and I told the coaches that were recruiting that I didn't want just a kicker and a punter, I wanted an athlete. And guess what? Seamus started for them at free safety. I think in last week's all-star game, he had a fake punt for 26 yards and then kicked the game-winning field goal. That's a pretty good athlete if you ask me. So not only is he a pretty good kicker and punter, he's an athlete. That's important nowadays because kickers and punters are not put in a stressful situation except every once in a while. Athletes that play all the time, they're in a stressful situation every play. So there's less chance he's going to choke it up when it's important. "

On whether McMorrow will be both the kicker and punter:

"I expect him to compete at both. We actually have a walk-on deep snapper, a walk-on punter, and a walk-on kicker in our program already. Just like every other position, those guys aren't just walking in and given the job. They're going to have to walk in and prove that they're better than the guys that are already here. He will do both in practice."

On Chase Favreau:

"I'm glad someone noticed that. I keep hearing, even hear our coaches talk about our five quarterbacks and I think we have six. Favreau is just like Matt Morin, the only difference is that Matt is already here. He has a better chance, in spring practice, to prove that he can play. Both of them are excellent athletes that have played other positions. We're back to athletes that I think the day of the classic drop-back quarterback is fading fast. Even in the NFL, the drop-back quarterback is fading fast. They want guys to be able to run with the ball where they can run zone reads and scramble around and buy more time and gain yardage with their legs, so we are recruiting quarterbacks that are also athletes. The idea is that the best two quarterbacks stay at quarterbacks because think that's the most important position on you team. If a guy is not going to be one of the two top quarterbacks, well a drop-back guy can't replace (anybody) any place else. An athlete can play a whole bunch of places; wide receiver, running back, defensive back, linebacker."

On whether he recruited those quarterbacks with that philosophy (a quarterback should be an athlete) in mind:

Yes, we recruit them with that philosophy in mind for us. Their philosophy is that they're a quarterback. They don't want to play any place else, they're a quarterback. We're truthful, we give them a shot to be a quarterback and if they're one of the top two quarterbacks, then they stay at quarterback. My experience tells me that if you tell a young man that he's not one of the top-two quarterbacks and he has a chance to start at another position, I've been coaching a long time and I've only had one guy tell me that he'd rather be the third-string quarterback. Every other player that we've done that with says, `you mean I can start over there?' Yes you can start over there, and they go change their jersey that moment."

On why he chose young defensive lineman:

That's the same story as the offensive line. If you look at the offensive line, the year before last, we had three starting offensive seniors, and last year we had three starting seniors. Now there's only one starting senior out there in the defensive line and he's a walk-on. It happened where there was a transition between coaches. When there was that transition between coaches, there were a lot of people that left the program and a lot of them happened to be lineman so we had a void in the junior third-year (and) fourth-year guys. There's a real void in the offensive and defensive line. You can go wholesale and recruit nothing but junior college guys but then you're fighting that battle every two years. We've chosen the defensive line to go with young guys and eventually get to a point where we have them stair step. We have two or three seniors, juniors, and sophomores all the way, so you never have the kind of void of senior defensive lineman that we're going to have next season.

On whether he is happy with the group he recruited:

"I think we're missing two guys. I would have liked to have one more safety and one more linebacker. With our transfer guys we have two linebackers who are here for the first time that we actually signed last year. That helps the linebacker position a little bit. I still would have liked to have a freshman linebacker and a freshman free safety-type guy. There's always a chance you may find him here pretty quick. Everybody's hunting them. We were one day short on a defensive end who committed to TCU, nobody was recruiting him."