SDSU Football News Conference Quotes

Nov. 14, 2012

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Head football coach Rocky Long

Opening statement:
It's a little bit strange this week after playing 11 straight weeks and having a bye week this late in the season. It's kind of a funny feeling. We don't really know how to handle ourselves. We're practicing hard today and we're practicing hard tomorrow and they're going to get Friday and Saturday off. Then we're going to come back and practice like we always do on Sunday.

Q. Do you switch it up at all in practice to add excitement during the bye week?
I don't know how you add excitement. Since we gave them some time off, today is actually a Tuesday practice and then tomorrow is actually a Wednesday practice. Those are two hardest days of practicing. We'll get those in and then we'll give them Friday and Saturday off and come back on Sunday.

Q. Did you give them the whole time off since the game on Saturday?
No, we practiced yesterday like we do on Sunday, which they went out for about half an hour without pads on. We gave them Sunday and Monday totally off.

Q. Last year, during the bye week you said there was a training camp type of feel. Is that what you are doing this year?
No, we're not doing that this year. That's when the bye week kind of comes in the middle of the season. We're a pretty beat up football team, but of course everyone is this time of year. So if we were playing this week that would be just fine because whoever we were playing would be in the same boat. You can't scrimmage them this late in the season or beat on them this late in the season and expect anything but more injuries. So we got a bunch of them out there limping around at practice, but the last Sunday and Monday off and this Friday and Saturday off will get them healthy so they are a little fresher for the last game.

Q. Are you going to hold anyone out of practice this week?
We're going to limit their reps dramatically. Jake Fely is going to be limited. Walter Kazee is going to be limited. Dominique Sandifer is going to be limited. Nik Embernate is going to be limited. The rest of them are a full go.

Q. Do you take a break yourself this week? No, coaches get into a groove and you don't ever break the groove until it's all over.

Q. How do you keep your team in that groove?
We're giving them a little time off, but we're trying to do it by not changing our practice routine. Today's practice is exactly the same thing we've been doing for the last 11 weeks. Same scout periods, same kicking periods, everything is exactly the same. I think it's a mentality as much as anything.

Q. Do you start preparing for Wyoming yet?
The real game plan will go in Sunday. We're experimenting with some things that we don't normally do to see if they would fit into the game plan. By Sunday, it will be the game plan and we'll go about that normally.

Q. What do you see out of Wyoming?
I see a team that's coming to form at the end of the year. They've won two in a row. They play UNLV this week and I don't know who the favorite is. I would guess Wyoming is the favorite. They've got a young quarterback that is really good. (He) moves around well (and he) throws the ball well. They spread you sideline to sideline. They're a passing team, not a running team. We've had trouble with those guys in the past, those spread teams. If they win this week against UNLV, I'm sure they'll come into our game very confident and excited about finishing the season out with four wins.

Q. Do you have plans to get some of the younger guys more reps in practice this week?
No. I guess I can say this now since we're going to be in a bowl game somewhere, sometime, somehow. The first week of bowl practice, that's when the younger guys get to beat on each other. Last year was a little hard because the game came so quick. This year, I think the game is going to be later in December than it was last year. It gives you the full 15 days, so the first six or seven days the young guys are going to get a lot of reps and a lot of full speed action against each other. Then the last seven days of bowl practice, it will be back to normal. It will be scout team periods and all of that.

Q. Do the coaches try to do some recruiting this week?
They do. I'm a little different that way than a lot of coaches, I think your primary responsibility is your team until the season is over. We were going to go out Monday, but that was a holiday and none of the schools were in session. All of the coaches will be out Friday and Saturday this week because we're not practicing. They'll be out Friday and Saturday watching games and going to the high schools.

Q. Has this winning streak helped recruiting at all?
I can't tell at this point, but we're way ahead in recruiting. We have 16 commitments already and we're not even sure we're going to have 20 scholarships. It depends on whose hurt and can't come back or who doesn't do well academically. We only have 15 seniors on scholarship, so that only gives you 15 scholarships if there's no other things that happen. We have 16 commitments right now, so we're ahead in recruiting.

Q. Can you watch high school juniors play?
Now you can go evaluate. So if you're at a game watching anybody out there, you're evaluating anybody on the field. Then obviously we get all kinds of video through the internet that we evaluate freshman, sophomores, juniors, seniors. We can evaluate anybody that's on huddle or anybody that's on a website.

Q. Any thoughts on the BIG EAST alignments?
That's what I was hoping for. There was a plan floating around out there that they were going to have a `Blue' and a `Red' Division. That kind of worried us. I'd much rather have an `East' and `West' Division.

Q. Why would you rather have an `East' and `West' Division?
Because of the travel and you kind of get a feel for the teams that are this way. We recruit Texas, so we get a feel for the Texas teams. It's safe to say that Boise State will now be a rivalry game. If were split up somehow by a `Blue' and `Red' Division, that kind of ruins (the Boise State rivalry). The BIG EAST has plans on adding Navy and then another western team that will make it better. I don't know who it is exactly, but I think they want another western team into the western division like Navy will be into the eastern division in 2015.

Q. This offseason, do you look in different places and expand recruiting?
No, we're not going to expand it. Now, I think I've said this before, we canvas the whole state of California, Arizona (and) Nevada and then other than that, it's by someone sending us something online and we like it and they have an interest in us. Then we recruit the country for those kinds of guys. We don't go canvas any other states besides that. We don't canvas Texas, but we send three or four coaches into Texas. We don't hit every high school or anything like that. All the other states make contact with us and show an interest. Then we evaluate the tape and if they're good, we could recruit anybody anywhere, but we don't canvas the rest of the country.

Q. So the makeup of the league in the future isn't going to change your recruiting?
The makeup of our team won't change much. What I'm expecting to happen is a lot of the young men back East will make contact with us that didn't used to. Our area to recruit in is going to be expanded just by the league we're in. I don't think we have to do anything else. We already get a lot of them from the South. Because of Marshall Faulk, we get a whole bunch of those inquiries from Louisiana. As soon as we start playing, those teams back in New York and all those places, I'm sure we're going to get some inquiries from kids back there. 90 percent of those kids aren't good enough to play, but about 10 percent of them are. If they have an interest, then obviously we have expanded our recruiting area.


Q. What is your mindset during the bye week?
Adam Dingwell: It's good for our team to get some time off and relax and get some guys back to full strength. We're just excited though to get out there and start practice and get ready for Wyoming and go out and try to win a conference championship.

Q. Talk about the six-game winning streak and if there is any worry that a bye week might have adverse effect on momentum?
Adam Dingwell: I don't think so. It's good to always have some time off and kind of rejuvenate and come back together as a team. As guys on this team, we can't let that happen. It's our job to keep this momentum we have going whether we're not playing this weekend or if we were, it shouldn't matter.

Q. How do you keep that momentum going?
Adam Dingwell: Just the way you practice. Every day is important. You can't waste a day. You'll never get it back so you just have to go out there and make the most of what you're doing. As a player and as a teammate, you just want to encourage everybody to do that and kind of keep what we have going.

Q. How has the defensive line improved in recent weeks?
Cody Galea: Just execution, just paying more attention to detail. That's about it. We were inexperienced, but we were more than capable of doing it, it was just a matter of going out and actually doing it. We finally figured it out and it was just execution and attention to detail. Once we started paying more attention to that, we started improving on the D-Line, which I think is a little bit to the success of the season so far.

Q. How much did the wind affect the team in terms of the passing game and what could you have done better?
Adam Dingwell: It didn't really affect me at all. You have to play in all types of conditions as a quarterback. I mentioned it after the game, there were a couple of throws that I left out there on the field that I wish I could have back. I didn't play my best game by any means. You never want to come off the field with that feeling. It was good we got a win. I was happy. We ran the ball well, the O-Line did a good job and the defense played great. So just personally there were a few things I wish I would've done a little better at.

Q. Were you surprised that you were a Mackey Award semifinalist?
Gavin Escobar: Not so much surprised, but excited. It's a great honor. There are a lot of great tight ends in the nation, so it's just an honor to this program. It's pretty cool.

Q. Was it something you were striving for at the beginning of the season or is it just something that comes with production?
Gavin Escobar: I guess it's a little bit of a personal goal to be the best tight end that I can be, but the team goals are more important to me.

Q. Have you taken a look at or know anything about Wyoming and what you're going to be facing with them?
Adam Dingwell: Yeah, we've had a brief look at film. They look like a good team. They will be a good team. It's going to be a fun game for us, a good place to play. We can't take them lightly by any means. Every game is important at this point in the season and every game is a big game. So we're excited to go out there and kind of get after it.

Q. Does playing for the conference championship keep the edge up?
Adam Dingwell: Yeah, definitely. We're excited about that. It's a great opportunity for these seniors and for everybody on this team. We're excited about that.