Earlier in the week, as always, we covered Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer’s press conference at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Monday.
Today, we’ll check in with San Diego State head coach Rocky Long.
Like Meyer, Long issues an opening statement before fielding questions from the media. Here are a few of the better quotes. The entire press conference, in video form, is below.
Well it’s obvious to everybody in this room that we play a great football team this week. They’re considered one of the top two or three teams in the country by everybody who selects those things. So obviously we have to get a lot better after the performance we had last week. I’m actually a lot more concerned about us getting better than who we have to play.”
Long on if he senses his team is excited about the opportunity to play Ohio State:
I sense the team is upset and embarrassed about the way they played (against Eastern Illinois). They’re more worried about getting better than who they play.”
Long on if he believes his players overlooked Eastern Illinois:
I don’t know if they did or not, and I don’t think they know if they did or not. Whenever you have a bad game and you don’t play very well, you soul search yourself for what you could have done different or better. Every player goes deep inside to try to figure out what happened to them.”
Long on if he talks to the team about not getting overwhelmed by the atmosphere this Saturday:
This week, we’re going to talk about getting better. We’re not talking about any of that. We’re back to basics. We’ve got to get better at lining up right, doing our assignment, blocking, tackling and chasing the ball. The pass protection has got to get better, we’ve got to catch more passes, we’ve got to play the right coverage, we’ve got to cover punts. I can go on and on. This is about us getting better. It has nothing to do with who we play or what time of year it is, because our ultimate goal is winning the conference championship, and we’ve got to get a whole lot better to defend our championship.”
Long on if he saw anything in Ohio State’s offense last week that they can exploit:
I think they made some execution mistakes that prevented them from scoring 60-70 points. I don’t think it was anything strategic Buffalo was doing. Now, I think Buffalo played hard and they played well. They competed, and whenever you compete and can stay in a game, you have a chance to win. That was the difference from our first game. I don’t think we competed.”
Interesting take by Coach Long here. I think there are at least three plays in the second quarter alone – Jordan Hall getting stopped on fourth and 1, Dontre Wilson’s fumble, and Braxton Miller’s interception – that were glaring mistakes.
Long on if he can take anything from beating Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer when Meyer was at Utah:
That’s a fallacy we (at New Mexico) out-schemed Meyer before. I have yet to see a coach win a football game. I’ve seen players win football games. It doesn’t matter what the scheme is, players have to execute the scheme. It’s all about players. I didn’t have anything to do with beating Urban Meyer that day. It was the players.”
Long on if he can walk away from Saturday’s game with a loss and still feel they accomplished something:
I don’t think there’s ever such thing as a moral victory, but I think we can show improvement and still lose, because (Ohio State) is that good of a team. But we’re not going to be happy or satisfied unless we win.”
Long on slowing down Ohio State running back Jordan Hall and quarterback Braxton Miller:
I’ve watched all of their film from last year and their one game this year, and there’s a whole bunch of good players on that team. There’s so many that the only one everyone knows the name of is their quarterback (Miller). They put two freshmen in there that were as fast or faster than anybody I’ve seen on a football team. The have too many good players for us to do anything but try to put our players in the best position against their offense. It has nothing to do with who the players are because every one of them is good.”
Long on if Ohio State looks like a top-three team on film:
Yes, and they might be the best team in the country. They’re as good as anybody else I’ve seen on film the last three years.”
Long on Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer:
I think he’s one of the top five coaches in the country. I think there’s a lot of good coaches in the country, and a lot of us try hard to do our jobs the very best. But there are a few coaches in the country that have what I call `magic.’ They have a special feel or touch that makes their team a little better than other teams that have similar talent. And now he’s at a place where he has really good talent. So he’s a great coach and he’s got talent with a little bit of special magic.”