Head coach Kyle Whittingham talks about Louisville and San Diego State at this week's press conference.
Oct. 8, 2007
We had a nice win at Louisville. It was good to get a solid performance like that from our offense. That was the most encouraging thing about the win. Our offensive production was solid across the board. Brian Johnson played well. He's finally starting to shake off all of the rust from being sidelined for nearly two years now. He's been playing at 90 percent, and if there are no setbacks, then we expect him to be at 100 percent in the next couple of weeks.
Darrell Mack had over 100 yards of rushing and the offensive line did a nice job at pass protection and in the run game.
The Louisville game was a tale of two halves, defensively. We held one of the most potent offenses to just seven points in the first half. And, in the second half, we didn't look so hot. Brian Brohm started to play better and they finished with 467 yards passing. Fortunately, we had enough in the tank to secure the win.
On special teams, Louie Sakoda did well for us. He had a solid game punting, and he put the game out of reach with his 46-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. He did miss the first extra point of his career but that wasn't his fault. The ball was sideways and it's hard to kick it that way. Louie was named the Mountain West Conference Special Teams Player of the Week and he was deserving of it after the effort he gave.
Some things we need to work on this week: we left four points on the field at the end of the first half. Brian Johnson did a great job of moving the team in the final minute, but he wasn't able to finish it. He completed a pass in-bounds, thinking we still had one timeout left, and the clock ran out on us.
Overall, it was a great win. Our coordinators had a great game plan going into the Louisville game, but it boils down to execution. Our players executed the game plans very well and they deserve the credit for the win.
They are 1-0 in the conference so their season is just beginning for them. Our games with them have been competitive in the past. As long we keep this momentum going, keep preparing like we have been, and take a lot passion in to this week's game, then we should be ready for them.
On assessing the team halfway through the season
We were disappointed by the play early in the season. But, that has improved. We're getting a lot of our injured guys back, but the guys that were pressured into action because of injuries did a great job for us. They became good players.
We're 3-3 and we don't have all the answers, and we have some deficiencies that we need to clear up. But, lately, I've been encouraged by what I've seen from the team.
On offense, things are heading in a positive direction across the board. On defense, I didn't say this earlier, but they did an excellent job against Louisville's run game. They turned Louisville into a one-dimensional team, and we got them out of whack. I think our defense is tackling better now, but we need to get better at our pass rush.
On losing linebacker Kyle Brady for the season
That was a big negative from the Louisville game. He has a ruptured Achilles, and he's a fifth-year senior. So, he is lost for the rest of his career. That's tough to swallow. We lost a player who was committed to this team, a hard worker and a team leader. So this loss hurts. We have guys who are going to need to step up in his absence. Stevenson Sylvester has been doing a good job for us this year, and Joe Jiannoni has stepped up, playing on an injured ankle the last couple of weeks.
On the offense at Lousiville
Brian Johnson looked sharp. He completed 77 percent of his passes and had 300-plus yards throwing, and he made some critical plays when we needed them. It was almost a flawless performance, except for the clock management problem and the C-Q exchange that was fumbled. But, Brian brought his A-game against a good team and on a nationally televised game. That's what good players do.
On Darrell Mack and the running game
Darrell Mack pounds the rock. He's averaging over 100 yards per game and we need that from Darrell. It's safe to say our confidence is very high in him right now. Talk about someone that was pressured into duty, Darrell has stepped up and he has felt comfortable with his responsibility.
On offensive linemen Corey Seiuli and Caleb Schlauderaff
Corey is still not at 100 percent. When you're on the offensive line, you need to be able to push off, and Corey isn't quite there yet. Caleb is doing very well for us, and as a redshirt freshman, he's exceeding our expectations. When Corey is ready to comeback, that's when we'll assess the situation between them.
On returning to conference play
Nothing changes in our approach as we get ready to face another conference opponent. We're an excellent practicing team and that's not going to change just because we're going to face a conference opponent this weekend. We didn't play well in the first two league games, so we're going to go out there this weekend and change that.
On the league thus far this season
It's still early. Some teams have only played one conference game yet. But, you had Wyoming beat TCU, Air Force beat TCU, and then New Mexico and BYU have last week off. Not enough games have been played to make a guess yet. But, Wyoming, I think, is playing the best right now.