QUESTION: What can you tell us about the Aztecs?
JOHN MACKOVIC: "They have a nice group of veterans and returning starters. They can really go deep. They have respect for the run, but they can air it out big and make big plays. Our scheme will be to stop the run first, which top defenses do, and then we will play the pass. They definitely will come out throwing right from the start. You don't have to coax them to pass"
QUESTION: Do you have an advantage in the fact that they haven't seen you coach for four years?
MACKOVIC: "They have a much bigger advantage in that they are a team that has the experience of playing together. We have the unfamiliarity of being in the game together, and on top of that, we are going to start out on the road.
"They're players who have been around. Just look at their starting lineup. Their quick tackle and quick guard are seniors. (J.R.) Tollver is a junior. (Larry) Ned is a senior. Sheriff is a junior with experience."
QUESTION: How good is Larry Ned?
MACKOVIC: "Ned is a good player. He is back (from injury), and I think the game will be a good test for him as well as a good test for our defense. If their run game gets cranking, their wide receivers will give you nightmares because they can go."
QUESTION: Is there a sense of urgency for this first game?
MACKOVIC: "There really isn't a sense of urgency. I think everyone will have that nervous energy and maybe some butterflies or anxiousness."
QUESTION: Is Clarence Farmer ahead of Leo Mills at this point?
MACKOVIC: "I think so. Clarence (Farmer) does everything. He runs well, he is an excellent receiver, and he has good hands. He is a big target, and he really has shown a willingness to block. Leo (Mills) does not have as many all-around skills as a receiver, but he also has proven that he is willing to block. Anthony Fulcher and Tremaine Cox run hard, and they have proven that they can make big plays.
"They've looked at film. They have a good enough idea of what we do."
QUESTION: What do you do to prepare for a road game?
MACKOVIC: I make a checklist of all the things we need. That way somebody doesn't inadvertently upset the whole thing by forgetting something."
QUESTION: Are you looking forward to this first game?
MACKOVIC: I'm going to enjoy walking onto that field. We take it for granted while we're in it. Just because I'm going to do everything I can to enjoy it, does not mean I'm going to be frivolous. We're not going to run a reverse at the one yard line out of our own endzone."