Aug 27, 2013
I can't believe the season is here already, but we're excited about it. It's been a long offseason for us. The players have worked hard. It's been a quiet offseason in a lot of ways. The guys took care of their business and didn't have anything negative. From a player standpoint, I thought we handled ourselves pretty well. The biggest thing in the offseason was Dennis Erickson's hire as the co-offensive coordinator, and we're excited about that and I'm excited to see what the offense does on Thursday night.
Utah State is a very good opponent. They are a quality football team. They have most everyone back. They have a new head coach and a lot of the same assistant staff. We expect that they are going to be every bit as good as last year and we have a big challenge ahead of us.
On the lopsided history against Utah State and the Aggies recent success:
We prepare the same way for every game regardless of who the opponent is. We've always had a great deal of respect for Utah State, and as I mentioned, last year they were a terrific football team. We view anything in-state as having a rivalry flavor to it, and we approach it that way from a mental standpoint, but like I said, they are coming off an exceptional year and we are going to have to bring our 'A' game in order to have a chance to win.
On the quarterback position over the years:
To say that we've had inconsistencies is an understatement. The last four years has been not anything near what we've needed to be, from consistency to production to continuity. We're hoping this year we put an end to that. We have a much-improved offensive line, but with Travis Wilson being our quarterback, he's a much bigger, stronger guy than quarterbacks in years' past. We're hoping that this is the year for the first time in many years that we're able to finish the season with the same quarterback that we're able to start the season with. We'll see if we can get that done.
On an increase of plays per game:
Off the top of my head, you hope for 8-10-12 more, somewhere in that range, from where we were last year. We don't have an exact number we want to hit, we just want to play up-tempo and get on the football, get it snapped, run the play, the same thing over and over. Get the tempo where we need it. With Utah State probably doing the same thing next year, it could be a game that might be a four-hour game and a lot of plays.
On having Dennis Erickson on staff:
First of all it's been a huge benefit to have Coach Erickson with us. Not only from an offensive standpoint, but as I've said before, a sounding board for me. He's a guy who has been in just about every situation imaginable as a head coach. If a situation arises for me where I need some advice, there is no better guy to go to and he's right down the hall from me. So it's been big. The players have really embraced him. We have to wait till we line up on Thursday and see exactly what the effects are, but so far it's been very positive.