Can you describe what happened?
‘'I made a tackle in the first quarter, me and Reggie (Carter) made a tackle, and I landed wrong. I kept playing on it because I just felt a little pain and then later on in the game, the second quarter, I made a break and I just felt a pop then. But it's a small break, so I'll be back soon. They say I should be back after the bye week.''
That has to be frustrating, first game …
‘'It's real frustrating because I felt that I was playing good. I was in my zone and I was just ready to play. But I'll be back out there. Everything happens for a reason and this makes me appreciate football way more.''
Your thoughts on Kevin Prince?
‘'I thought he did a nice job in the first half. I think it was a great game that we can learn some lessons from and still win it. I thought he lost a little focus in the second half, but I thought he did a great job in the first half.''
‘'The game got a little out of hand and he probably lost a little focus in making the checks, making the appropriate checks. But he knew what he was doing. We talked after the series and he understood what was happening. He did a nice job. I don't know his numbers. I have no idea what those numbers are, but they don't really matter.''
Before the season Rick (Neuheisel) said you were going to run the ball or die trying, but you started out the game with six passes …
‘'You've got to do what you've got to do to win the game, right?''
More on Prince:
‘'I thought he did a nice job. They got on it pretty good, they scored early, and we matched it. He knows some of the mistakes that he made and itE2s a great opportunity for him to learn. It's the first game - you don't know what's going to happen. We did not see one stitch of film on San Diego State and I thought he handled it very well.''
The two picks …
‘'He'll learn from them. He got a little lazy with his concentration, but he's fine. He had a little cramp or whatever and maybe lost a little focus. But overall I thought he did very well. He's a redshirt freshman.''
It looked like you used more of the playbook than last year …
‘'We tried to do whatever it takes to win the game – that's all that matters. I think the defense always dictates what we can and cannot do and they were giving us some shots down the field so we took advantage of that.''
Were those mistakes misreads or misjudgments?
‘'I don't know if those calls were what they should have been, but he made them and we'll learn from them and grow from that.''
Was his debut what you would have hoped?
‘'Sure, yeah. He's a redshirt freshman. He hasn't played for two years and I thought he handled himself very well. He made some good checks, missed a couple of checks in the second half that we talked about, but I thought he handled himself very well."
You said in the spring you wanted 3 ½ to 4 yards per run – you got that …
‘'Did we? I haven't seen the numbers. I thought we ran the ball well, maybe should have run it a bit more. You know, we just have to see. This was a very difficult team to play., People don't understand that we had not seen one stitch of film on them and Rocky (Long) has a nice reputation for doing a lot of different things. A lot of it was guessing early and I thought our kids handled very well.''
You have to be happy with the way the line picked up the blitzes …
‘'Sure. I thought our line played very well.''
It looked like you guys hurt a few people out there tonight …
‘'Oh, man, I had fun. I think we played good as a team, as a defense. We got hit in the face a couple of times in the beginning, but after we calmed down and settled down we played a good game.''
What changed after those first two scores?
‘'I just told everybody that, look, we were kind of too excited and people were trying to make plays instead of letting the plays come to them, so settle down. They weren't beating us, we were beating ourselves. We had to not lose composure and keep fighting and once our offense scored those two touchdowns and we were up 16-14, I told them they don't score they don't win so let's not lose us this game. We finished pretty strong – they didn't score again and we got the victory, so I'll take that.''
You have to be pretty happy with the second half …
‘'Oh, yeah, I think they got like two or three first downs. We had a good second half. I was excited.''
After Aaron (Hester) went out, it seemed like you guys used a lot more zone …
‘'Coach (Bullough) made a good adjustment and we played them good in the second half. He's the coach and I'm the player and I do what he says.''
Not the start you wanted …
‘'Yeah, the first series we had penalties that killed us, kept two drives alive with penalties. We preached that all the time, how much that hurts. Then we had some missed tackles and we had a couple of gaps where we didn't fit it up right. So we got them on the sidelines and settled them down, said, ‘Hey guys, if we just play our game we'll be fine.' And after that, they responded. Obviously they had the big touchdown pass, but they're a well-coached team and as you guys know, we had no idea what was going to happen so we had to take a little time to adjust to it and go from there.''
Was it making adjustments or making plays – or both?
‘'Well, we didn't have any more penalties. Penalties killed us in that first (drive). And then they just ended up settling down. If they can just play mental free football, get turnovers, that's always what we preach, so I think it was more of them getting settled down after getting wild and crazy in that first drive, just settling down and playing football.''
Rahim Moore had the three picks …
‘'That's what we preach all the time – turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. He did a great job. … He's always had great ball skills, so if the ball is in his area, he's going to go get it. If the ball is close to him, he's going to go get it.''
What did you see from Courtney Viney after Hester went down?
‘'It's hard as a coordinator to watch the specific players, because you're trying to think of the scheme. I'll evaluate that when I watch him because you're just looking at the scheme – what's working, what are they doing, what am I doing? You're not really concentrating on one player, you know what I mean?''
What do you do with Hester out?
‘'The next guy has got to step up. It's the same at any position. We talk about it all the time - if somebody goes down don't be the weak link. The backup has got to be ready to go, because this is football, football is not made for the human body. There's going to be injuries, so the next guy has got to step up and go.''
How did it feel running the defense for the first time?
‘'It was exciting and different. It was different. We have a great staff so when we figured out what we were doing – we got on the phone, talked about what we were doing, made some adjustments, and there we went. But it's different because when you're a position coach you're just worried about writing notes for your position, but when you're the coordinator you've got to make sure you're writing notes for halftime for everybody. That's the biggest difference on that, plus, you know, you have to make the calls.''
You have some answers at the cornerback spot?
‘'We have (Countney) Viney and we have (Andrew) Abbott and we have (Alterraun) Verner and (Sheldon) Price will probably have to come along. It's just a matter of, they have to play. Again, I can't say how they played because I'm looking more at scheme, but now we'll go back and watch them film tomorrow …''
This is a position where some of the guys lack experience …
‘'It's not so much thin, we've got four guys we thought coming in, and now we've got to get Price ready. That's got to be the next guy ready to go play. He's young, but he has to be ready to go.''
Of the freshmen, Price would be the next up?
‘'Price would be the next up. (Marlon) Pollard, too. I mean, they've all got to get ready now, because if you get more injuries … They all have to be ready to go. They all said coming here that they wanted to play as freshmen, so this is their opportunity.''
Bullough, Chow, Hester and Carter
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