San Diego State Aztecs head coach Rocky Long sat down with reporters yesterday to discuss his team’s upcoming game against the Fresno State Bulldogs this Friday.
“With the short week and playing in a rivalry game, it’s a little different than it has been over the last few weeks. We’re only having one padded practice this week; we normally have at least two. We have to get a game plan in in one less day and we’re traveling to where I think is one of the better home field advantage stadiums in our league. It’s going to be a challenge, like always.”
When asked about the game being the Battle of the Oil Can:
“We have it right now so we’ll take it with us. I’m sure it’ll be some place on the sideline and the team that wins it will pick it up. I think the players take pride in having it. I know our players were excited about getting it last year and I’m sure their players are excited about getting it back. We showed it to them. They don’t know the story. We tell them the story that it’s supposedly the oil can of when they took busses over the hill and had to fill it with oil to get back over the hill to Fresno. We tell them that story. I don’t know if they believe that or even care but they care about the oil can. They care about trophies and it’s a trophy. It’s just a little different looking trophy, that’s all.”
When asked what the team changed from the South Alabama game to the UNLV game:
“I think we played harder. We made fewer assignment errors and made more plays in coverage. It’s just about players playing. I don’t think it had anything to do special with game plan or anything else. I think our players played at a higher level than they did up to that point. It’s players playing better.”
When asked about redshirt sophomore quarterback Christian Chapman:
“This week, went simpler with Christian and he played better. It wasn’t as simple as the game plan was last year in his two starts but I think our coaches decided we were giving him too much to think about and he didn’t play well in two games. Not that it’s as simple as it was last year but they made it simpler this last game for him and obviously, he played very well. You can make it way too difficult on the defense, too, where they have to adjust things and I catch myself doing that at times. We try to call ‘the perfect defense’, which is by formation, when you line up in here and you motion this guy, we change a defense. You flip a back from one side to the other, you change the defense. With college players, sometimes you confuse them and they don’t play as well and you’re better off with them not being confused, even if the other team knows what they’re doing.”
When asked about playing a Friday night game:
“This is a short week but it’s a short week for them, too. After this week, since our Friday night games are back-to-back-to-back, the next two weeks are a normal week, just different days, so it actually works out okay.”
When asked about Fresno State:
“Their biggest problem has been in consistency. They’re a really talented football team that plays really well at times and sooner or later, they’re going to put a game together where they play an entire game to their ability and when they do that, they could beat anybody. But they’ve been inconsistent in things. Fumbles have hurt them, turnovers have hurt them. They want to be a 50/50 team. They have a couple really good running backs. Their offensive line is pretty good. They’ve got the best set of receivers we’ve seen since we played Cal. Their quarterback at times misses receivers and at times throws darts. At defense, they’re big up front, they run pretty good at linebacker. They have a pretty talented football team that hasn’t played well to this point. We just played one two weeks ago the exact same way: a very talented football team that did not play very well until they played us and then they played well and we didn’t play well and they beat us.”
You can watch the full press conference below.