Head coach Kyle Whittingham talked about playing Air Force this weekend.
Sept. 4, 2007
It was a tough road trip to Corvallis, Ore. The short version: we were not able to defend the run effectively, and when that's the case, you're in for a long day.
I have to give credit to the Oregon State defense. Their front group put a lot of pressure on our quarterback and on our running backs. Offensively, OSU's running back is as-advertised. We did a decent job against him in the first half as we held him to some 60 yards. But, he had a good second half and ran for about another 100 yards on us.
Looking at Air Force this week, it's going to be strange not seeing Fisher DeBerry on the sideline. He's been there for 20-plus years and it's going to be odd to play an Air Force team without him.
Their offense is a lot different than the triple option they used run. It is now a hybrid of the triple option, the west coast offense and the spread. They hired their offensive coordinator from Nevada-Reno so they have implemented a lot of his stuff. They played well last week but we know that they didn't use everything in their playbook.
Now, our charge is to get on the right track. This is our conference opener, the earliest one we've ever had. The Mountain West Conference is the bottom line for us. Our goal is to win the conference and this week is going to be our first step in that direction.
On playing the first league game so early in the season
Ideally, we'd rather play all of our non-conference games before heading into the conference portion of the schedule. However, there is no advantage or disadvantage to mixing the two together. Our schedule is quirky this year. We go back and forth between non-conference and conference games. But, I see no advantage or disadvantage to it. We just play them as they come.
On using Tommy Grady as the starting quarterback
The option element we have is going to be different with Tommy Grady at quarterback. He has a great arm, great size and great poise. So we need to tailor the offense to his skill set.
On the running game
I'm not going to say we're back at square-one, but we're back at square-one. We still have Darrell Mack, Darryl Poston and Ray Stowers. We don't have any more live work except for games now. But, over the next couple of weeks, we hope to see some separation between the running backs and, naturally, the one that steps up is the one that is going to see the most time.
On how the running game will be different now
The game has been the same for the last 100 years. If you can't run the ball, it's going to be difficult to win. If you can't stop the run, it's going to be difficult to win. Our tailback has to support the quarterback now. He takes pressure off of our quarterback. Last week, when Tommy Grady dropped back, Oregon State had our receivers covered. They were locked down. They took them away. So, we need the run game and our pass protection to be there in order for our quarterback to succeed.
On putting the opening week behind the team
We have to rebound. We had some unfortunate injuries at Oregon State, but no one feels sorry for us. We have to move forward with the knowledge that this opens up opportunities for others to step up. This is a chance for Tommy Grady to show everyone what he's got. He has never had a chance to take all the snaps with one's, and he's never played with a game plan tailored to his capabilities.
On scouting Air Force
I wish we had two to three games to scout them. It was different to see an Air Force quarterback drop back and throw. But, Shaun Carney is a good thrower. We judge quarterbacks based on their efficiency and he was at 150 percent. That's very good. He's an efficient quarterback.
On what he saw from Air Force in its first game
I'd have to say about one-third of what they ran was something we haven't seen from them before - we saw some things from them in a spread formation. I'm glad that we got a tape on them because they definitely did some things we had not anticipated them doing and that we have never seen them do before.