Aug. 31, 2010
Butch Jones Fresno State Press Conference Quotes 8/31/10
“Good Afternoon, obviously a very exciting time of the year right now, I think it’s all across the country. Game one and like I told our football team each and every week, we are building our identity and our identity for the 2010 bearcats are on display, obviously Saturday night.
“A lot anxious feelings going in, everything is new, obviously a new season but everything is new here. In terms of travel, how we travel, we are going to be playing a lot of players the first time. Basically their first live action having to go into an extremely difficult venue to play in Bulldogs stadium. We are hearing that it is going to be sold out, they have sold over 29,000 tickets already and I believe it holds 41,000. It’s going to take great road focus for us. You look at their record at Bulldog stadium and it is incredible. So they expect to win and it’s going to be a difficult challenge.
“They’re an extremely physical football team, that’s evidence in their offensive and defensive lines with their returning starters. They have very skilled players, so it’s going to be a great challenge for us. I love Chris Carter, I think he is a great football player, if you look at our game last year, he is a dominate force on the defensive side of the ball for them. We have to do a great job of containing him as well. Then the quarterback is extremely talented, I know they put a lot of plays in his hands sort of to speak, with checking plays at the line of scrimmage. He’s very well coached, the whole team is very well coached, and so to say the least it’s going to be a great challenge for us.”
On expectations of Fresno based on last year’s game:
“Well I think it is a part of their game plan each and every week. I know they take pride in being a physical football team and that is going to be our biggest challenge. Everything we do in our football program we want to be physical as well. We got to be able to match their physicality and we got to be able to get off the field on defense. That is one of the emphasis that we have placed in this week is get off the field, so in order to do that you have to be able to play well on first and second down, that’s going to be critical. They can’t be in third and short and third and three manageable situations throughout the course of the game, so I think getting off the field is going to be a big component to this game.”
On the defense going into the Fresno State game:
“I’m excited to see what they can do. Again, if you look at it, the progression of where we’ve come from, we only had 15 practices with them in the spring and I’ve said it, and really 14 cause the spring game is very a watered down version. Then you look at we have had some 20 odd practices. So again we are still building our identity. I do like our mentality, I like the way we are flying around, we’ve demanded physicality each day in practice and I think that comes with a price a little bit because of the pounding. We have been very fortunate with minimal injuries. But I have been excited, but I’ll know more exactly where we are at as a football team and a football program after the game Saturday night.”
On what he saw with the defense when he came in:
“I think first of all, to play great defense is to build over a period of time. You look at the players we have lost last year off of last year’s defense that are still in NFL training camps. You know you look at Webster in the back end and what he brought to us. Then you look at a Ricardo Matthews and Alex Daniels and the guy who is on our wall who meant everything to our defense at the linebacker position. You just don’t replace those guys, but playing great defense is built over a period of time.
“It starts with the mentality, it starts with the mentality to be a great tackling football team and to me to be a great tackling football team it all stems with body position, being in an athletic position. So its progress, but I do like, I like with J.K Schaffer what he’s brought to the table, Derek Wolfe just to name a few guys. So I’m excited to see how they perform, I know that they put in the time to be a great defense. So we have to continue to teach each and every day.”
On 4-3 defense:
“It’s a little bit of a philosophy from a philosophical standpoint. I’ve always believed in four down, that is how you stop the run and being gap sound and again being a great tackling team. Being a safety activated defense, but also we will have some different schemes in our package.
“We will have the ability to go to three down and some different things and some different situations. I believe in being you know, multiple defense, but I also believe in execution based system in all three phases. We can’t be a team that hurts ourselves.
“Great teams are the teams that don’t give up the big plays that create turnovers, don’t have pre snap penalties were you jump off sides and its first and five as opposed to first and ten and all those little things.
“We did a study in about 92 percent of our scores we gave up on defense last year, was either aided by a big play or penalty. Those are the things that we can’t do, we can’t beat ourselves. Then improve, we have to continue to address depth situation, you know that’s a big thing is our depth and how do you do that, you develop our younger players and you develop that also through the recruiting process.”
On being able to travel well and do well:
“It’s what we talk about every day, having great road focus. You have to have great leadership. The great thing about our players is they expect to win. They are use to going into situations; we opened up the season last year you know over the holiday at Rutgers opening a new stadium. You know our players have played in some very challenging and difficult venues and bulldog stadium will be one of those venues. But our players have been there, now our younger players that are playing for the first time have to rely on our older players. But I think you deserve victory you earn victory in how you prepare. We practice in what I call controlled chaos in everything that we do, with different change of paces in practice. I don’t like to be a creature of habit. I like to through sudden changes at our defense at our offense, you know practicing with crowd noise. All of those little things you try to simulate game like conditions, but you never really know until the live bullets are flying.”
On Zach Collaros:
“I think he has taken great strides since day one of spring football, all the way to the spring game and now. He has unbelievable confidents, you can’t rattle him. I think the big thing is that teammates around him believe in him. That they believe in him and that’s the mark of a great quarterback. He has instant respect and he goes out there and he is like an offensive linesman playing quarterback. You know they are going to see him in the trenches with them and I think that’s critical. Right now I like the way he is executing our systems, in terms of from the play action game to the run game to the drop back game. He understands where he is going with the football. So I think he has progressed and will continue to progress, but I really like where he is at right now.”
On the difficulty for a quarterback to get trust:
“It’s earned and it’s earned over time in those four games you just talked about. He earned their trust and he earns that trust each and every day by the way he carries himself, the extra time he puts on film study, and when he talks people listen. So I think he has earned it and our players I know they look up to him.”
On the decision to make Collaros the starter:
“It wasn’t a difficult decision and I wanted to see how he would compete. That’s not to take anything away from any of the other quarterbacks, their just as valuable as Zach is. But I thought that he really stepped it up and the big thing about playing quarterback in our system or any system is you have to make great decisions. It’s all about the ball, the ball is the program. You know the ball holds all of our dreams, goals and aspirations. We can’t turn the ball over and the biggest thing for him, is that its third down and eight of not forcing the ball into double coverage and understanding hey punting the ball is a good play, we are going to play field position, put the ball on the self and let’s play the next play. Those are the things that we had to educate him more. Hey a check down is sometimes better then forcing the football and play field position. That is where I think his game has really elevated.”
On the difference in style of play between Vidal Hazelton and Mardy Gilyard…
“I think their style of play is a little different. Vidal is a little bit bigger wide-out, and he plays strong. Mardy has a lot of wiggle and shake. Vidal’s attributes are that he is strong, physical. He can go up and get the football, and he’s got great straight-line speed. That’s not to say that Vidal can’t make somebody miss, but I think their gains are a little bit different in regards to the style and in terms of their strength and how they run routes.”
On the philosophy of practicing every situation in practice preparation…
“ We haven’t had the luxury of practicing on grass, so the ability to have the Cincinnati Bengals down the road [really helps]. We greatly appreciate their organization for allowing us the opportunity to come and practice at their facility. And again, it’s just preparation. It’s attention to detail, the small detail. [Grass] is a little bit different feel. It’s big in the special teams; the way the ball bounces on your kicks, and the different things in that regard. It’s just trying to, as they say, dot every ‘I’ and cross every ‘T.’”
On practicing at the new Jefferson Avenue Sports Complex…
“We’ll start that next week. I’ve toured it just about every day this week, and it’s a first-class facility. Our hats are off to our administration. They’ve done a tremendous job. We could actually go and practice there right now, but one thing that you have to take into consideration is the moving of all the equipment, the sleds and all that. I’d just assume us prepare for this week, and when we come home to prepare for Indiana State then we’ll get into the Jefferson Avenue Sports Complex.”
On how to prepare for the time difference in traveling to play at Fresno State…
“We don’t make too much of a big deal about it. I think, sometimes, if you make too big a deal of some things, [the team] starts thinking about it. This team had the same situation at Oregon State last year. Last year at Central Michigan, we opened up on the road at Arizona. We’ve had some night practices so we could get used to playing under the lights again, and we talk about getting your rest, but other than that, once we get there, we’ll set our clocks and our watches back three hours, and we’ll just keep the same time frame.”
On Fresno State’s ability to control the ball in last year’s game and Ryan Matthews’ role last season…
“A lot of it was him [Matthews], but they have a very talented offensive line. They range anywhere from 280 [lbs.] to 350 [lbs.] across the board. Again, it’s their physicality. So I think it was a combination [last year]. It was their receivers blocking, and it was obviously the running back. They’re a very, very explosive offense. They feel very good about their skill positions, and it’s going to be a formidable challenge for us.”
On Fresno State’s Robbie Rouse replacing Ryan Matthews…
“[Rouse] is a very explosive player. He did play a little bit in our game last year. I think he had over 400 yards rushing last year. He’s an explosive player. Rouse is very, very talented. [Ryan] Colbum, I think, is a very, very good quarterback. He manages their systems extremely well. Again, they put a lot on his shoulders, and he’s very accurate. The thing that Ryan does that you can’t take for granted is that he’s very athletic. He can also make plays with his legs. So our points on the quarterback and our rush points all have to be going in the first game. We have to play great defense in terms of discipline and being a gain-tackling defense.”
On losing defensive players from last season and the defensive players he has this season…
“I’m comfortable in our first unit. We still have to have some individuals step up in our second unit and continue to develop. Roney Lozano is a true freshman, and he’s not going to play in this game, but we have to continue to develop him for the stretch of this season. An individual like Rob Trigg who hasn’t played a whole lot of football, he’s going to have to come in and be able to give us snaps. Jordan Stepp, a nose guard out of Indianapolis, is in the same situation. He has to come in and be able to give us snaps. We have a philosophy where we want to play as many defensive linemen as possible, so our backups are basically like starters in our minds. That’s where I think the development of our team is going to lie, especially on the defensive side of the ball, is how our back-ups play.”
On the game at Fresno State being scheduled as the first game of the season…
“All I know is that it is on our schedule. It’s game one, and we have to play it. Again, they have our attention, and the great thing about playing Fresno is that our players understand the battle that they were in last year. They have our attention and our respect. But now, obviously, to have to go into a hostile environment, travel across the country to the west coast, it just makes it that much more challenging. But it is what it is, and for us to continue to grow our program, we have to be able to go in these types of venues and perform up to our expectations.”
On the football program at Fresno State…
“I think that if you talk to anyone around the country, they have everyone’s respect if you look at what Pat [Hill] has been able to accomplish there. Trent Dilfer is a very good friend of mine, and I know when we speak he talks about the pride he has in playing there. If you look at all the NFL players that they produce and you look at their fan support, it’s a program, and they’ve built a program. I’ve always said that when you have a very strong program, it’s much evidenced in your offensive and defensive lines. If you look at their program, that’s what it is about, and now their skill players as well. So across the country they have the respect of everyone.”
On UC’s 18-game regular season winning streak…
“We haven’t talked about it one time. Our expectations here are that we expect to win every game. We prepare to win every game. We don’t really talk about that much at all. They understand more the expectations of what we expect when we take the field, and the effort that’s required to prepare week in and week out. I just think it’s something that when you expect to win, you have to deserve to win. Our players understand, but I don’t want them focused on the winning streak, I want them focused on Fresno State, the type of team that they have, and the effort and the mentality that it’s going to take to win that football game.”
On his personal excitement to take the sidelines as the head coach at UC for the first time…
“I’m very excited. It’s been a long time, and it’s been a long eight months and some-odd days. But our entire staff is really excited, and I think our players are really excited about it. Where we started out weak, they’ve had a real workman-like mentality. Last night I saw a lot of energy and a lot of excitement. Now we just have to be able to curb that energy and focus on the small details that it takes to win. I really haven’t had a whole lot of chances to really think about it personally, it’s just trying to prepare our team to play our best Saturday night.”