Coach Rocky Long opened this week’s SDSU Football Press Conference with the following sentiments: "We start conference play this week against a team that is drastically improved in UNLV. Even though they’re in the same formations, I think they’ve decided on a philosophy on offense. They’re playing pretty good defense and on offense they’re running the ball really well. I think they’ve settled on a plan and are getting better as they go. They had a big win last week against Fresno State. We expect a very competitive football game."
In response to a reporter’s inqury about the play of UNLV quarterback Dalton Sneed:
"Dalton Sneed is a great athlete that throws well on the run and can make things happen himself. If the receiver’s not open, he takes off with it. He makes a lot of people miss, he breaks a lot of tackles and he’s hard to bring down."
Coach Long’s response about UNLV’s running backs:
"They’re running backs are quality guys. You give them a gap, a hole or a seam, they’re going to get real positive yards. Both of them are fast enough that if they get out in the open field they’re probably going to take it the distance."
On seeing a quarterback run 91 yards:
"After I saw that play, I thought that was one of the most amazing plays I’ve ever seen. He should have been tackled probably two or three times behind the line of scrimmage and one for a safety, and then he outran everybody. That was pretty impressive.
"I think that shows a lot about his belief. I think he believes when he is running with the ball he’s not a quarterback. I think he believes he is a running back - he's not looking for a place to slide or fall down - he's looking for a touchdown."
On if UNLV is a fast-paced team:
"They’re not a fast-paced as some (teams). They line up in spread formations and stay at the line of scrimmage, but a lot of times they look how the defense is lined up, then look to the sidelines to see if that play is OK or look for a new play. By today’s standards, they’re not a hurry-up team."
Coach Long’s response to questions about offenses changing the play at the line of scrimmage:
"Everybody in the spread tries to read what you’re doing on defense and try to call the perfect play. When they look to the sidelines, our guys look to the sidelines and we can change our defense too. An interesting point about blitzing though. There are different philosophies from different coaching ranks. Some people will blitz on the snap, in other words they won’t give away the blitz, and are counting on the coverage to be good enough that the blitz will eventually get there. We are of the opposite thought process. We want to hit the line of scrimmage on the snap so the quarterback knows the pressure is coming right from the start. That means he has to get rid of it quickly or they better have real good protection up there for him to hold onto the ball.
"I say that and it’s caused us problems this year that it hasn’t caused in the past. They’re stepping back there, throwing it deep and catching it. Normally we would make more plays on the ball and he wouldn’t throw it quite as well."
On how realistic it was to actually go undefeated:
"I’m glad you asked, because there wasn’t one person on our team or one person on our coaching staff that said, ‘We’re going to go undefeated.’ We said that we want to and that’s our goal, but every college football team’s goal at the start of the season is to win every game. You didn’t hear one of our players or coaches say, ‘We’re going to win every game.’ What you heard from the media is if they don’t win every game, it’s an unsuccessful season and that is a ridiculous statement. There wasn’t one undefeated team in college football last year.
"I think it was an unrealistic expectation even though that’s what you believe you can do and that’s what you want to do. There are a few teams out there who are still undefeated. Guess what, they want to go undefeated. If they’re lucky there will be one or two teams who go undefeated. Normally there’s not (any teams that go undefeated), but one or two teams might go undefeated this year out of 128 teams. Every football team that steps on the football field wants to win every game. Your plan is to win every game."
On SDSU’s defense so far this season:
"We have given up more long passes than we did last year. If you go look at the first four games of last year, there was a lot of that same thing that was going on. In fact, most of our statistics are better this year after four games than they were last year. You can say we have experienced players coming back, which we did, but we had inexperienced guys (coming back) on the defensive line. The whole game starts up front on both offense and defense. That does not mean that we aren’t disappointed. We should be making more plays in coverage. If it was always in man coverage, we wouldn’t play man coverage any more, but a lot of the deep throws have been against man (coverage) and a lot have been against zone (coverage). It’s not the coverage, it’s the execution of the coverage. Sometimes players are on and sometimes players are not on. So far our secondary hasn’t played very well. That doesn’t mean they won’t the rest of the year."
On how you make up playing poorly at the line of scrimmage:
"You don’t. If you lose at the line of scrimmage, and I’m not saying we’re losing at the line of scrimmage all of the time, on offense you cannot run the ball. If you lose at the line of scrimmage on defense and can’t get to the passer with a four-man rush, they’re going to throw the heck out of the ball. As long as the quarterback can throw it and the receivers can catch it, they’re going to throw the heck out of the ball. You have the choice of taking your lumps or blitz them and force the issue. We try to blitz and force the issue. But then that comes back on the defensive backs playing well."
On what he would say to the fans who are not thinking about coming to the games now that SDSU is no longer undefeated:
"The games that we’ve played over the last calendar year have been exciting and fun to watch. Obviously we’re not going to get the fans who thought we should win every game, but most fans come to cheer for a team that is fun to watch and has a good chance to win. I think we are fun to watch and have a good chance to win, so most football fans will come and watch that. That’s the case at every sport at every level."
You can view the full press conference below.