Tom Mason Q&A
Q: It was an unexpected resignation from coach Jones. What is the biggest challenge you guys face in preparing your kids when a situation like this occurs?
TM: The biggest thing is you gotta get the kids refocused and get them over the initial shock that the head coach has resigned. Get them together as a team and get them all back going in the same direction. I think that's the biggest challenge. I did this at Boise State when Bill Cowan was dying of cancer back in 1996 so I had a pretty good idea and I've had some experience. I'm probably the only coach in America dumb enough to do this interim thing twice so the focus has been on getting the kids to focus on winning and give them some hope. Let them know that everything is going to be fine.
Q: What has been the overall response from the team leadership? Has anyone really stepped up and taken ownership?
TM: There's a bunch of kids stepping up. I was really happy with some of the older kids. The guys that come to mind are Hayden Greenbauer, Stephon Sanders. On offense, Kolney Cassel and Kevin Pope. Those kids really seem to be positive. Their message to me was, "come on let's go." It wasn't hey we're going to be in shock, but let's go. That's the same way I approached it. Hell we can sit here and cry about it, but you can't get much lower than what happened up in North Texas so it's like I told the kids, we've hit rock bottom. The only place to go is up. I've been really happy with how they've responded.
Q: Offensively, it's been a rough start. What have you seen out of Kolney Cassel that has made you lean to him being your starter?
TM: I liked that last quarter in the North Texas game. I thought he showed the velocity that we want out of our quarterback. He got the ball out of his hands quick. We got that late touchdown with no time left and we're going to have some growing pains because he's a redshirt freshman, but I just like the way he moves and the way the kids play around him.