On the Crowd at Folsom
That was terrific. Our students really showed up. The atmosphere was really electric. One of the best atmosphere's I've ever seen at Folsom Field. I was here when we beat Nebraska in 2001, and that was pretty electric. But this one, with the way the in-state rivalry goes, that was amazing. I'll always remember that night.
On how much of the game plan was utilized vs. CSU
Our game plan was pretty extensive last week. We didn't use a lot of things that we thought we were going in the passing game. Quite frankly, it was because we didn't need to. We thought we were running the ball so effectively, there's no reason to put it up in the air when you can churn it up on the ground and run the clock. Especially when you've got a lead.
In the second half I thought we were going to be able to run the ball right down there. Credit their defense; they really stopped us on some key drives.
On how it was to be a quarterback with a strong running game, unlike last season
It was definitely a different feel for me. It was a lot less stressful, I guess you could say. Last year, even if it was third and short we were having to throw the ball. We were behind the chains a lot. This game, you looked up and our effectiveness on first down was very apparent. We were second and 5, second and 4 almost all the first half. As a quarterback that really makes your job easier. It gets me more into the mode of just managing the offense.
On the home crowd
The big point I'd want to make right away is to credit our fans and our students for creating that atmosphere that was here Saturday night. In the end I've got to believe that could have been the difference in the game, as noisy as it was. The way that the students took to the field afterwards and expressed their appreciation was probably as significant as winning that game to our team and maybe to our program.
On the play of the secondary
Most of it is that they're (still learning) Bray's system. They've had four weeks to practice it. Now for the first time under real fire — what he says to them makes more sense. That's going to take hold with them because they're a bright group, they're young and energetic and enthusiastic and they want to improve. Sometimes it takes something like this to really get their attention. I know that we have.
This group will continue to get better every week.
On the offense
I really hoped that we would be more balanced in that game. I think we got a little conservative in the second half. We worried about pass protection. We weren't able to solve the pass protection issue, and Joel wasn't able to get his feet planted and throw the ball effectively. We got to where we felt so good about the run that we just relied on it.
On tailback Daniel Jolly
After the game he was in the locker room saying ‘I gotta get on the jump rope.' He was just a hand away, not a tackle, but a hand away from breaking some big plays. He probably learned a great deal.
On the play of the linebackers
Our linebacker play was pretty good. Akarika played the best game he's played since he's been here. Jordon was tied for the lead in tackles. And Iwuh won a plaque for his play at the third linebacker. The strength of our defense was our linebackers. We also played well up front, not in the pass rush, but against the run. The front seven guys played particularly well.
On playing five true freshmen in the game
We knew we were going to use Dizon. I knew Alonzo Barrett would get a couple snaps. And he played pretty well for a true freshman who's undersized.
We weren't going to hold anybody back. If the chance came to play ‘em, we were going to play ‘em and go from there. We've got a few guys who we're going to redshirt, but we don't practice those guys. The only guy that I thought would get a few plays that didn't was Hugh Charles.
On what to do to get better in the passing game
It's kind of three-fold. I've got to throw some better balls. I was shaken up a little bit in the first half and got a little jumpy with throws in the second half that normally I complete.
We need to lock ‘em down a little bit better in protection; I got knocked around a little bit in the first half.
The receivers and I really need to work on timing.
The first game, all we wanted to do was get out with a W, no matter how it looked. I'm sure you'll see improvement in the passing game this week. We're going to put in some time and get the timing and protections down so that we can throw the ball, and be a balanced offense like we want to be.
On WSU LB Will Derting
I've got so much respect for him. He's one of those players where you watch the film and you notice him right away. Obviously this year he's fighting through a (wrist) injury where 99-percent of college athletes would have taken the surgery and said I'll come back next season.
He's a tremendous player; great motor; he's got the respect of his team. He's a guy that you always notice on the field. Especially, from my seat — he's right in front of me. I remember him from last year, and I'm excited to play against him again to see if we can do a little bit better.
On the WSU defense in general
They're very aggressive in the style they blitz. They bring a lot of man pressure and say, ‘if you're going to get the ball off that's fine, but we're going to send as many as it takes to get to you.'
We're going to have to find some match-ups on the outside and exploit some man coverage. But the main thing we're going to have to focus on is being able to lock down the protection on those pressures.
On the WSU offense
Offensively, they're finding themselves. They didn't get much going in their running game. They're a classic Washington State three-wide receiver sets offense, throwing the ball all over the place.
They've got a big 6-5, 250 pound quarterback. He'd be playing tackle for us.
On whether or not last year's game at Folsom, a 47-26 loss to WSU, carries over to this year's match-up
That doesn't really carry over from last year. You'd think that it might, but it doesn't. Right now it's just about us getting better in protection and coverages. I think this team's really committed to doing that. I feel good about their attitude going into this game.
This is two pretty equal teams, but they were a little bit better than we were on defense a week ago. You probably have to give the edge to the team that's playing the best defense right now.