Dec. 3, 2007
Press Conference Transcript
Utah Head Coach Jim Boylen
"Two wins this week. We still have a team that's developing, a team that has to play harder and smarter and more focused for longer stretches. I'm thankful for the two wins. We've got a big week. I think as big a week as we've had since I've been here, with Utah State at home and Oregon on the road. It is a very important practice today and a very important practice tomorrow.
"We have to get ready to play another in-state rival - a terrific program, a well-coached program and a team that is playing well."
On USU Coach Stew Morrill
"I didn't know him before. I knew of him, obviously. He's a nationally-known coach and respected coach. I just saw him on the road recruiting, went up and introduced myself when we were in Vegas in the spring. I just said hi to him and gave him his respect. I've got a lot of respect for what he's accomplished with his program. I've said this before, but I feel like he and Randy Rahe (Weber State head coach) have embraced me, made me feel welcome, even though these are big-time rivalries. They have been very supportive. But they're also very competitive guys, which I like. I think Stew is as classy a guy as there is. I'm looking forward to the competition with him and I have a lot of respect for his program.
"I called him before the season started and wished him the best. hope they stay healthy and told him I'd see him when we play them here and maybe catch him on the road. He gave me a few tidbits of advice. I value what he had to say to me. He was terrific in his suggestions. He's a guy that I think has become a friend and a competitive guy, who I look forward to coaching against and that I also have a lot of respect for."
On Utah State's Team
"I think they've done a nice job handling adversity. Eight games in 16 days to start the season. They hung in there. They've played well. Now they've got practice time after the experience of those games. I think they're playing really well. They've got good pieces. But they have a superstar, in my mind. Jaycee Carroll is the Drew Neitzel, maybe of the West. He's a little bigger, a little stronger, rebounds better. But he has that ability to change games with his shooting. He has the ability to change games with his mental toughness. Everybody on that team knows that he's the guy and that he's going to make plays for them. He's going to create situations with forceful cutting, good decisions, strong shooting, all the things he does. He's shooting 50 from the three, 50 from the two ... 20 points a game, eight rebounds a game. He's an All-American candidate if there ever was one. He's the kind of kid that this game's all about ... a tough, competitive guy who is making the most of his opportunity, the most of his talent. He's in terrific condition. He's just a tough nut. It will be a big challenge for us and our defense. A big challenge for us to try to guard him, but also to guard the other guys on their team and make sure somebody else doesn't pop up and sting us. That will be a very difficult challenge for our defense."
On the Schedule and the Oregon Game
"We're trying to upgrade our schedule. I talked with Tom Izzo this morning. They're playing at Bradley tomorrow night and then they play BYU Saturday here. He's talking about two road games - at Bradley, a very good team - and at BYU, a very good team. He says `we need these kinds of games, but I'm scared to death.' They're 11th in the country, something like that. But he sees it as an opportunity to build his team, build his culture and make his team tougher. That's what these games are for us. Utah State's a quality opponent in our gym. Oregon is a quality opponent on the road. We made a conscious effort to upgrade our schedule. Oregon comes in here next year. I think we have to play these games early to know who we are, to grow as a group. We'll see if we grew from the Washington game. We'll see if we understand how you have to play on the road. It's a mark of where we're at. I think it is a real positive thing."
On Home Court Advantage in the Utah State Series (Last 5 won by home teams)
"Home court advantage is huge. We're planning on having a good crowd. We're hoping to have a good crowd for this game. I'm sure there will be some Utah State fans in there, which there should be. We've got a great environment here in the Huntsman. I thought it came alive in the second half Saturday in that last eight or 10 minutes. I've had people tell me that's as loud as its been in a couple years in there. We had close to 9,000 and hopefully we'll have 12 or 13,000 and the place will be rollin'. We have to play well at home. We have to win our home games and give it a good shot on the road. It is exciting for me, this rivalry. I think it sets up great. They're playing well and I think it will be a big challenge for us."