Oct. 4, 2004
On Bonnell starting again: Yes he is. I thought he gave us some really good stuff. I thought he threw the ball really accurately. The only pass that I think he would take back was the one where he threw back across late in the game, everything else he threw was right on the money. I think Casey (Paus) did a really good job too. Casey is really good at that. Every time we've asked him to do that he's really come in and done a good job with that. He's really excellent at that, whether he's the starter or the backup, when he comes in in those situations he's done a nice job.
On having changed starters last week: We felt we needed to make a change and we did. I don't think Carl did anything out there to not be the starter and I also think Casey did a very good job, so I'm very comfortable with those two out there.
On Bonnell's health: I think so, that was a pretty good grind for him. Stanford is a good, strong, fast defensive team. They made him run, they got some hits on him, but I think he's fine. I won't see him until tonight, but I think he's fine.
On changes in the depth chart: There may be. For the most part, no, I think we're going to stay as is. Greyson Gunheim will now come in and compete for that position with Brandon Ala. I think he played very well and he's improving all the time. We have to find some replacement for Derrick, so we'll with Fountaine and Cunningham and Dre Simpson will get back up in the depth. Cody Ellis and Simpson will be the backup corners.
On new receivers: We really don't have anybody else to bring in. all the receivers are in the depth. We even moved some tight ends out, so we're playing who we have.
On dropped passes: You can beat them up with it and we're not going to do that, but they have to know that we're frustrated and they are too. It's not like they want to drop it and it's not like they don't want to catch it. Another thing the Stanford people did really a good job of, I thought they covered very well. They have excellent speed in their defense safeties and corners and we had some problems getting off them.
On Rice's offense: Rice is unique on offense. They run an offense like the Air Force and Navy. Air Force is in the wishbone, double wing, and they run all kinds of options. Swings, gainers, loads, trap, and they had a really good game with the load option. Their quarterback had a lot of yards. And they had a couple of plays on defense and San Jose did the same thing, particularly at the end of the game.
On shotgun package: That's our gun package and we've worked on it and we like it. I think Karl's good at it, it fits James a little more than some of that bang-bang stuff, that won't go away.
On team confidence: I think confidence is a problem when you have as many bad things happen that have happened to us. When you lose games in the fourth quarter where you've played well, yeah, I think confidence might be an issue. You're never going to win by thinking you can't win, so you'd probably better figure out a way to look in the mirror and find a way to think you can.
On San Jose State's comeback win over Rice: They just started throwing the ball and they made some big plays. You should see the stats printed off, it is all the way to the bottom with plays and it is just incredible.
On defensive play against Stanford: I thought we played so-so. We made some plays and got a few interceptions, but you look up and they still throw for a couple hundred yards. Their receiver was terrific and he was really hard to defend. They just have to throw the ball high up in the air for him to go get and if you don't have a 6'7" corner, he is going to catch it. He has done it to everybody and he is a very good player. Their quarterback is also very good, but pass defense is not what killed us. We only gave up 31 runs for a total of 81 yards, but then we gave up 3 runs for 150 yards. So you are playing fine for a while, but they break a play because of somebody not being in the right spot on one play and it's a long run. Sometimes our guys would try to fill in the gap, but they would overrun the ball and it would open up the whole for a long run. This has happened to us a lot and we are not the biggest bunch of guys out there. Stanford did the same thing against USC when they played him when it was right before the half and they started to relax a little bit, which opened up the chance for Stanford to get a long run.
On Stanback's health: His ankle was giving him problems, but I think that he will probably be full speed today when we practice and he will be the third quarterback. I am going to let him compete at quarterback, but in terms of other positions I don't see that happening.
On linebacker corps: Scott White has had back-to-back great football games and he went out there to play with the flu. He still wanted to play and he played very well. His game is improving and he is a smart guy. Joe Lobendahn is steady and Evan Benjamin is up and down all of the time. It would be nice for Evan to be able to steady his game a little bit because he has missed some gaps and done some good things as well. He is a talented guy that will go out there and make some big plays and get some tackles for loss.
On Joe Lobendahn playing his first full season: I think that he feels pretty good right now. I know that he feels pretty sore after the game, but I don't blame him. I think that he held up fine with a tweak of his ankle, but nothing has forced him to have to sit out at this time.
On running game: We ran the ball pretty well against UCLA and Notre Dame was a little harder to run against, as was Stanford. The option is part of what we do and we aren't the biggest and strongest guys on the line. This is a way for us to mix things up and not have to run a power blast play every down. The option opens up a variety of runs for us and we will continue to do that.
On San Jose State's defense: They are an eight-man front, double eagle. They are really quick and they have a little linebacker that really can play. He is not very big and I think that he is only 5'11" 210 pounds, but man that guy is quick and he is always around the ball.
On maintaining his own focus with an 0-4 record: I like what I do, but I can't tell you that every day right now is like being at a comedy club. You have to get up and go to work in the morning and I do. It's not an easy job and I can't walk around like that and portray that everything is bad and that there is no hope, then that is going to transcend to the staff, the players, and everyone around you. Now, there are some times where I shake my head and wish that things were different, but you have to do what you have to do. After 100 games, you are a veteran. There is no set thing or book that you pull out to deal with an 0-4 record, plus you have 115 or so guys and everyone is different. You have to treat every person differently because they all have their different hot buttons and it is our job to find these things and generate a positive attitude. You just have to know these things going in.
On bad breaks this season: Last week the other team turned the ball over four times and we couldn't do anything about it, which's our fault. We are the ones that had a punt blocked to really take us out of the game and that is not a bad break, that is somebody not doing what they are supposed to do. I would say that yes there have probably been some bad breaks, but a lot of the time you can dig yourself out and try to do whatever you need to do to win. When we do get a turnover we haven't made anything of it. We are fighting it and we need to turn that around.
On opposing defenses: Against Notre Dame we made more mistakes then we had seen in the last two weeks. Last week I think that we played an opponent that was just bigger and stronger then we are and we had a tough time dealing with them at times. Stanford has a pretty darn good defense that is tough to run against and they are very big.
On disappointing season: Unless you are Miami, Texas, Tennessee, or one of those kind of schools that reloads every five minutes with some new talent, everyone seems to kind of run in a cycle. You have a couple of tough years with a younger team and you just have to hang in their until you develop some pretty good veterans and get some good recruits so that you are fine for a couple of years. You see that across the country with 85 scholarships while you are trying to red-shirt some players. You get injuries, guys graduating, guys transferring, and these things will take a toll on your team. On top of that you add some academic things and you have less scholarships.