SDSU Football vs. Army Postgame Quotes


Head Coach Rocky Long

Q. On changing team warm-ups:
We didn't do any of the team stretching. Basically what we did was warm up just like we do before practice. Instead of a pregame warm up, we did what we do every day in practice.

Q. Do you feel that helped the team get off to a fast start?
To be honest with you, I don't think that made a darn bit of difference. I think our players were ready to play and I thought they played very, very well. I think they were excited. They were physical, flew around and acted like the football team I thought they could be. We're not as near as good we're going to be, but that's a good start.

Q. What can you are pleased with about this win?
There are a lot of things to be pleased with. We won't see another triple option team until Air Force, but I thought the defense played really, really well. I thought they went out there in the second half, one series of downs that we didn't play as hard as we needed to, and they drove it down and scored. But to control a wishbone team like that, you don't see that very often. And then I thought our offense, we caused a couple turnovers early in the game and our offense stuck it in the end zone. And our offense was able to run the ball. And once we got running the ball pretty well, Ryan and the receivers started connecting. We dropped a few passes early. But we started catching the ball really well after that. And I thought we made a huge improvement from Game 1 to Game 2. It's really fun to have a lead. Obviously the most exciting part is the winning. But the next most exciting part is how many students we had there. From the first year I got here when there were maybe 50 students over there, that student section was unbelievable tonight. I even looked up there in the third quarter and most of them were still here. Usually they're gone by halftime. They seemed to still be here in the third quarter, then they got a little bored with the game, and I think they left at the start of the fourth quarter. Nice to be ahead so you can check to see how many students are there.

Q. On the scout team in practice this week:
It's the only reason you play well on both offense and defense. If your scout team gives you a legitimate look, you prepare better. If they don't give you a legitimate look, you're not really well prepared. Obviously they must have given us a great look, because we looked great on offense and defense tonight.

Q. How would you evaluate the special teams?
I thought our kickoffs were a little short early. Our coverage was pretty good. Thought we could cover the last couple of kickoffs a little bit better. The punting game was fine. There was only one poor punt in the group. We missed two field goals. So the field goals weren't good enough.


Q. Ryan, how do you feel that the offense is coming along?
Ryan Katz: I think it's coming along well. We came out, ran the ball very well at the start of the game. That opened a lot of play action stuff downfield. They blocked really well today and it turned out good.

Q. Nat, talk about your performance.
Nat Berhe: Just have to give a bunch of credit to Coach Long and the defensive scheme they planned. We went out and executed how we were supposed to. Wish we had shut them out, but you have to give all respect to Army. They're a great team. I think we just came to play and we're physical.

Q. What kind of statement do you think tonight says about this team moving forward?
Nat Berhe: We can be really good. We can be really good. I think it's kind of scary. But it's exciting. It's exciting. Ryan Katz: We're just scratching the surface. We had a really good week of practice this week. Like Coach said, with the scout teams giving us a great look. I think if we just keep preparing the way we did this past week, showing it on Saturday, we can be a pretty good team.

Q. On Ezell Ruffin being open tonight:
Ryan Katz: A few of those, they were just hitches. He took them for, I think, 60 yards on one of them. And that's my job. I mean, I have a lot of play on my hands and let them run with it.

Q. Was the stuff you did tonight based off of play action and the run to create some space?
Ryan Katz: Definitely. That's what you saw tonight. We came out running the ball very well. And it opens up stuff downfield. Guys were getting behind their players and more of a cushion. So I think it went well.

Q. On the huge amount of progress between Game 1 and Game 2.
COACH LONG: Ryan mentioned it. First, you don't run the ball very well unless the offensive line is blocking very well. I don't think you pass it very well if the quarterback's under duress and he's scrambling around with people in his face all the time. So I thought our running backs ran hard. And I thought Ryan threw the ball well. And I think the second half we caught the ball well. But being an old quarterback myself, none of that works unless your offensive line has a good night. So I think the offensive line played extremely well.

Q. On playing defense against Army:
Jake Fely: They're a competitive team and we knew that this whole week, during practice. They are Army and they have that determination to come out and win. We also have that same determination and we had to play better than we did last week. We just came out, did what we did, and got busy.

Q. On being more disciplined, were there more reads?
Jake Fely: On defense, yes, because there were a lot more assignments. They did have that triple option, which is hard to defend, but when we have a lot of non-assignment errors then we're going to win. They're a good team and they ran the ball hard. We had to come back and stop everything they threw at us.

Q. General comments:
Adam Muema: We thought we had to get the most out of it because last year we only had about 43 plays that burned the clock. We were trying our best to get what we can and go out like we should. They did a good job coming hard and not giving up.

On his good game:
Ezell Ruffin: It starts in practice. We run a lot of routes in practice just to get our timing down. We work a lot on getting our timing down and that's the biggest thing, being at the right spot to make the catch.


Q. On the game:
COACH ELLERSON: I'm stunned. I didn't anticipate and couldn't visual us playing like that. I don't want to take anything away from San Diego State. They're a good football team. They played well. They were precise. They were physical, and we were not. Yes, it is our first game and all that, but there are so many veteran football players (on this team) doing things that we could do in our sleep. I'm stunned.

Q. On the Army defense:
COACH ELLERSON: We had some trouble getting lined up to formations that we've been working on for four weeks. We have a basic way to cancel gaps. Our defensive ends struggled with their tight ends. I think we got the worst of it, but it doesn't work like that. The defense doesn't crumble because some guys get pushed around a little bit. There's no resilience in the system. Our lack of ability to get lined up and settled in with our eyes. It's stunning how few things we were able to execute.

Q. On the team's thoughts after the game:
TRENT STEELMAN: Really disappointed. It's nothing the coaches did. They had us prepared for everything we saw. It really just comes down to me and the other veteran players. I take full responsibility for that and everything that happened. I'm a four-year starter, I shouldn't make mistakes like that. I've seen it too many times. The only real way to go is up and I believe deep down we have a team that can play with anybody, but we didn't show up today.

Q. On the difference between SDSU this season and last year:
TRENT STEELMAN: It's the same team pretty much. I really don't know what to tell you. I'm just lost for words right now.

Q. On facing SDSU's 3-3-5 defense:
TERRY BAGGETT: No it's not particularly hard (to prepare for it or adjust to it). Preparing for any defense is all the same. You've got to go out there and play at the end of the day.

Q. Did SDSU have an advantage since it was its second game of the season?
TERRY BAGGETT: Maybe a little bit. Maybe the few mental mistakes we had, maybe that factored into us playing our first game. This being our first game, maybe we let them get away with too many things.

Q. On stopping SDSU's running game:
TY SHRADER: I wouldn't say it was the backs. They're both good backs, take nothing away from the backs. Give them credit, they ran the ball hard. As far as that, we've just got to get better. The whole defense has got to get better. It's not just one person.