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Postgame quotes

Oct. 4, 2014

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“That was a really satisfying win. It’s one that’s been sticking in our craw for about a year now (losing to Tulsa in 2013). I felt our guys came out with the right attitude, and came out to a fast start. We did some really good things defensively, trying to create some one-dimensional play out of them, try and stop the run a little bit, get a chance to affect the passer in the pocket, and I thought we did a good job of that. Guys got after him pretty good. Offensively, we knew we could maybe get some shots on these guys, and Rashard Higgins showed some explosive playmaking ability that we knew he had in him. Injury-wise, it looks like we might have gotten beat up a little bit late. We were just cautious there on Garrett (Grayson). He took that last shot down there and that was enough. Dee got the wind knocked out of him pretty good and they’re still looking at him. But other than that, that was a very satisfying win. We’re getting better as a football team. We’re starting to create an identity for ourselves and that’s important to establish this program for years to come. These guys are fighting and doing a heck of a job.”

(on having the fastest start of the season; avoiding a potential let-down after a big win last week)
“The let-down I wasn’t really worried about. I was more worried about just making sure that we took care of our business this week and we did. That was a great crowd out there, a sea of orange. It was great to see that many people come out and that means a lot. (On the first series) We did what we were supposed to do, but then again it wasn’t great. Garrett had to scramble to pick up a third down, but at the same time, that’s what we expect. That’s got to be who we are and what we’re all about. We’ve got to do a better job of working the first eight next week.

(on the improved pass rush)
“What I liked the most was that we held our pass rush lanes. We didn’t get way upfield, we were going speed to bull, and forcing that pocket to collapse, which really makes the quarterback uncomfortable. I thought those guys did a really good job of that. I can’t say enough. That was a lot of fun. It was good to get that one over with early, and we were able to play a bunch of guys. That makes you feel good as a coach.”

(on DE Joe Kawulok)
“He’s playing with much better pad level. He’s playing with great leverage and discipline. That’s the key. I think the one thing you see when you turn on the film with Joe: When you talk about do your job, he does his job. Some of those things he’s forcing back in to other people. He’s really developing into a really good football player.”

(on when he knew Garrett Grayson could play)
“We knew he could play on Wednesday. It was a matter of pitch count. At the same time, you could tell that first throw was just a little outside. But I thought he settled in and delivered a couple strikes in the mid to deep range to Rashard. That was good to see. His decisions were good. The timing on that throw to Charles showed me he’s fine. He’s gonna be sore, it’s that part of the year. Guys are going to be sore. If you’re not, you probably didn’t play real hard.  But we’ve got to get those guys back and continue to practice and the tempo we practice.”

(on Rashard Higgins’ ability to now be a weapon on the short pass)
“He’s shown he can finish. So often you get some chunks but then you have to put in your goal line (offense).  He’s not the only one on our roster that can finish though. We’ve got to get the ball in some of those other guys’ hands too. But at the same time, explosive plays are something that helps you win ball games. But let’s not discredit those turnovers the defense got. Those interceptions were huge. There were some really good things from this game, some good things to learn about and feel good about. We’re 4-1. That’s a good feeling. These guys are playing their tails off.”

(on being able to create more turnovers)
“That was big. I was happy for those secondary guys. So often they clank off their chest, but to see them finish was really good.”

(on RB Treyous Jarrells not playing)
“He actually got dinged up at the end of the Boston College game. He finished out, but then on Thursday he took some limited reps and didn’t feel real comfortable with it. He was a game-time decision, came out to warm up and just wasn’t sure it felt right. As you guys know, I’ll never put anybody out there who’s not ready to roll. Jasen Oden came in and got an explosive run for us, he did a good job there as well. There was some really good blocking down field as well, let’s not discredit that.”

(on Dee Hart’s play)
“He did what he’s supposed to do. I’ve got to get the guy to finish though (said while smiling). That foot race we’re going to have will be a dandy. But he’s a good football player and I’m glad he’s playing for the Rams.”

(on momentum of the program)
“We’re moving in the direction that we want this organization to go. That’s everybody around it. Let’s credit this coaching staff for staying together and really instilling what it takes for these guys as well. We’re a long ways from where we want to be, yet I’m not going to downplay the fact that we’ve gotten here a little bit faster than we anticipated. A lot of that is how our guys think, and how they approach every day. They’re starting to get it. Yet we’ve still got a long ways to go.

(on true freshman Deron Thompson getting first carries late in the game)
“He’s that guy that’s been in the cleanup hole and we wanted to see what he could do a little bit. He may’ve even gotten a little dinged up. He’s a guy that gives us that extra bit of juice as well. We’ll fit him in (on special teams). He’s been a backup on everything, he’s traveled with us. We just felt it was an opportunity for us to get him in the game.”

(on how the running game led to better passing)
“The play-action was huge. No doubt about. When we get a little bit out of their safety on the play-action and get Rashard over the top, which happened a couple times. Late in the game they forced the middle closed. That was something we planned coming in. Anytime you establish a run, you’ve got an opportunity to be successful.”

(on the continued growth of Rashard Higgins)
He’s not there yet. But I told him after the game that this is the expectation and now let’s do it 100% every day. But I can’t tell you how happy I am that he’s a Ram.


DE Joe Kawulok

(on how much fun it was to get 3.5 sacks in the game)
“Oh, a lot of fun. But honestly a lot of that was the DB’s having great coverage, so the quarterback didn’t have anywhere to throw, so that gave me some extra time.”

(on the development of his game)
“I just felt like a lot of those sacks happened because of what the guys around me were doing. They were doing their jobs and their quarterback had to step up to me a couple times.”

(on the defense overall)
“I think we feel like we defend the pass really well, rush really well, and that we defend the runs well.”

(on how important it was to follow up last week’s win at Boston College with a convincing performance)
“It was a huge team win. We didn’t want to take a step back, we just wanted to keep climbing and moving forward, so I’d say it was a huge win and we just have to look to next week now.”
(on having everything “click” early today)
“Everyone was focused, we knew what we wanted to do and what we had to do coming into this game.”

(on the difference in this team, having gone 12-5 since last year’s loss to Tulsa)
“I think we have a lot of confidence as a team right now, and everyone plays for each other. No one is selfish.”

QB Garrett Grayson

(on Rashard Higgins)
“Usually around us, he’s quite the character. I don’t really know what just happened (in his press conference), but he’s quite the character around all of us.

(on the satisfaction of this victory)
“That’s something that, like you said, Coach Mac kind of harped on all week. We didn’t want to have a letdown. Obviously, that happens a lot in college football. You come off a huge win, and you come in the next week and lose to an opponent that you don’t think you should lose to. That was something Coach Mac made sure we were focused on all week. We had 4-1 in our minds. It’s been a while since CSU has been 4-1. It was kind of our goal, all week. We all talked about it. Seniors kept bringing it up, kept bringing it up, because obviously we’ve been here through the very tough times. So we kept bringing it up to the younger guys, because obviously none of us know what that feeling is like. So it’s a very good feeling to walk out of here with the win.”

(on the offensive balance)
“That’s a goal, obviously. We’re not a spread team, and we’re not an option team. We’d like to be as balanced as we can, so to come out throw for, I think it was 289 (298), and rush for 230 (234), that’s pretty impressive to have that kind of balance.”

(on his ability to play with his sore shoulder)
“During the week, I kept working it more and more. Thursday came along, and I took all the reps Thursday, and all of them Friday. Warmups today felt fine. I went up to Coach Mac’s office, I think it was Wednesday, I went up and told him that going back to last year this was a game that I didn’t care if we had to tape my arm on, I was going to play. I won’t say it’s a revenge kind of thing, but I just wanted to go out and prove to myself that I could play against these guys. I wanted to go out and have a good performance. Obviously, throwing a little two-yard route out to Rashard and he takes it 80 yards to the house, that helps it.”

(on coming out of the game)
“It’s good. I came out there at the end. We had the lead, we were pretty comfortable, so I didn’t want to take any chances. Like I said many times before, Nick can do just as good of a job as anyone. So I was totally fine with where we were at.”

(on being 12-5 since last year’s loss to Tulsa)
“It’s a pretty fun feeling. It’s a good feeling to be a part of. I think since 2002, I think this is the best stretch CSU has had. Knowing those teams, the Bradlee Van Pelt era and everything like that, to go back and to compare yourself to those guys, it’s a good feeling. It’s a huge part of this program’s history, and Sonny Lubick, that’s when it all kind of started with those guys. To kind of compare yourself to them, it’s a really good feeling, like I said.”

(on Rashard’s improvement)
“I think the head coach of Tulsa came up to him after the game and said, ‘You’re a completely different player than you were last year.’ I think that’s pretty evident. I’ve talked him up since he first walked on campus. I saw the physical tools that he had. He just needed to adjust to the speed of the game. I think, from here on out, it’s only going to get better. I’m actually a little bit jealous that the other quarterbacks are going to get to play with him his junior and senior years, because that kid’s going to be a star. I’m obviously very happy that we have him now.”

(on Rashard’s personality)
“He does have a pretty good personality, too. He’s a character, like I said. He jokes around all the time. Sometimes to a fault, almost. He tries to take everything. He’s not serious at certain times, and people have gotten on him. He just likes to enjoy life and enjoy the game. You can tell he’s seriously beyond happy to be out here playing. He’s one of those kids that just really enjoys the game of football, you can tell. I don’t call him Hollywood. Just Rashard. That’s just what I go with. Every once in a while, I’ll throw it out and call him Wood. But I don’t know if I’ve ever called him Hollywood.”

(on the return to conference play)
“Like Coach Mac said in the locker room after the game, this is the real season now. We’re 0-1 in conference right now. To get where we want to go, we need to keep winning out. Hopefully Boise will lose a game and we can get in that Mountain West championship, because that’s obviously our goal. It has been since the start of the year. Like I said, this is our real season. This is what we’re playing for. We all need to focus in a little bit extra, watch a little bit extra film, and go out and get this win this weekend.”

(on the competition in the Mountain Division in the Mountain West)
“We know we have to win out, like I said. Come in every week, watch some more film, because Nevada’s a heck of a football team. They’ve played everybody they’ve played, Arizona, they took them to the wire. We know they’re coming for us. We beat them pretty good last year, so we know they’re going to be teeing off on us. It’s all about how we answer. If we’re going to take the punches, we’ve got to respond and punch them back.”

WR Rashard Higgins

(on the game in general)
“Good day today. I give credit to my team, my line, just giving Garrett (Grayson) enough time to throw the ball and find me wide open.”

(on the satisfaction of the win)
“It shows us where we’re at, I would say. It also gives us enough strength, building the climb, it just gives us a great amount of energy going into our next game.”

(on the importance of starting fast)
“That’s what Coach always harps on. He says, ‘start it fast.’ We even have a period (in practice) called ‘fast starts.’ We practice it every day, so why not come out here and do it?”

(on the difference in getting off to a fast start today as opposed to other games)
“We were just clicking on all cylinders, I would say. Everything can’t go our way all the time, but when it does, it’s God delivering.”

(on the crowd)
“To see everybody wearing orange, Aggie Day, I heard fans hollering ‘Hollywood’ and stuff. All I can do is salute. Thank y’all for coming out, we’ll put on a show for y’all.”

(on how much fun he’s having, and the TDs)
“I’m really having fun. Me and Garrett, just going back to practice, we practiced on everything we knew to get ready for the game. We saw that they play Cover 4, and we practiced posts all day in practice. I got tired running them in practice, but look – we did some posts in the game, and scored on them. I’ve never had four touchdowns. That felt good, too.”

(on his interaction with QB Nick Stevens after the fourth TD)
“I said, ‘Nick, how’d that feel, bro? I told you, if you throw me the ball, I’m going to get it in the end zone. I don’t care where it’s at, I’m going to get it in the end zone for you.’”

(on the 73-yard TD)
“When I caught it, I saw that the cornerback was pressed. That’s what we practiced on, that the cornerback was going to press me. I got off the line freely, and I saw, I’m not sure who it was, I think it was Fred (Zerblis) – he was my lead block, coming out to get the cornerback. It was just me and the safety. I put a move on him, made him look dirty. I just turned on the jets after that.”

(on the importance of the run game)
“The run always opens up the pass. We took shots down the field, and we completed them.”

(on the crowd calling him Hollywood and the atmosphere)
“That’s what I live for. I’m a big time player that makes big time plays. That’s what I live for.”

(on who he looks up to in the NFL)
“Dez Bryant. He’s on my favorite team, the Cowboys. I also look up to [Jacksonville Jaguars WR] Marqise Lee. I always watch his highlights before a game like this. It gets me motivated. We came out here and won, man. That’s a good feeling.”

(on his consistency)
“I really need to work on, I would say, my blocking, but catching the ball, that’s just lack of focus if I drop it. Just doing things that don’t require the ball, blocking – my craft, I would say.”

S Trent Matthews

(on the play of the defensive line and CSU’s six sacks)

“That’s just credit to them. They’ve been working hard all week. I talked to them before the game and they said, ‘waste time, waste time, and we’re due for more sacks.’ Coach Lupfer, he challenged them before the game. I knew they were ready, so I knew they were going to come out today with more sacks.”

(on how much easier it makes his job when there is a good pass rush)
“It’s always easier. Knowing in the back of my head, when they get a sack, that just puts more pressure on the quarterback to get it out quicker or for him to make a mistake. That’s like a piece of cake to a DB, really, to have the extra boost that you can have for the D-line to make a play for the quarterback to mess up. You can have him throwing picks and dropped balls.”

(on the team’s progress since last season’s loss to Tulsa)
“We’re just taking it game by game, day by day. Coach Mac preached to us about restoring the order, and getting back what’s ours. We had the mindset every day at practice, Monday through Friday, that we were going to challenge each other. After the half, we knew that they’re a team that comes back, so we had to step it up another notch.”

(on the two interceptions in the first half)
“That just says that if we work hard enough at practice, more turnovers will occur. We just have to keep it up, watch film, see how we did it, and try to execute it going into the next game.”

(on defending the pass well in today’s game)
“Film. We did more film as a defensive back crew. Thursday, we watched probably 10 more hours of film, so that’s probably the little ingredient that helped us out today.”

(on his knack for interceptions in the endzone)
“I guess, I’m on the Jugs (machine) constantly. Going back to my freshman year, I dropped so many, so that’s always in the back of my head. I just try to stay consistent with catching the ball.”

(on the importance of today’s interceptions)
“Any turnover that occurs in the game is always good. Coach (Marty) English always mentions that ‘the next play is the play that can determine winning and losing.’ When they got in the red zone, I knew that might be the play of winning and losing. I don’t take it for granted. I do my best.”

Tulsa Head Coach Bill Blankenship

(On effort)
“I thought the first half we were back on our heels again. I thought Colorado State did a great job at being more aggressive. Taking it to us, not just making the early place, but attacking us. We jokingly say we need to start the game with a three on the scoreboard because we play much better in the second half.”

(On momentum after Patterson’s catch)
“Well our offense is a very young group with some play making ability, but they also ride a real wave of confidence, and they need plays like that to build their confidence off to get the motion and the momentum going. Again you know CSU did the same thing by getting their big pass plays early and getting their momentum, and that’s what good teams do.”

(On Evans’ performance)
“We didn't protect him very well. I don’t know about his decisions, I will have to grade that off film. I know in the third quarter where he really started to try and do too much trying to make a play and instead of throwing the ball away, there were a couple of sacks that I think were on him. There are others that we didn’t block very well, so it works both ways. The quarterback needs to learn to get the ball out of his hands and the routes are there to use them and if not lose it.”

(On big plays today)
“They are huge. Coach Guy will always tell you that the big thing we grade on defense is something called ratio. Our big plays we make on defense compared to how many we give up, and we gave up way too many. We had trouble tackling their back. The speed receivers on the screen, that was really tough for us.”

(On where they go from here)
“Get ready for Temple. That opens up conference play. We are 1-0. We have to go in and fight for the chance to be 2-0. We have to rally our guys, and what I told them in there is if they could see what I see, then where we can be with this group is we can take to heart. It is discouraging coming back in here watching the clock tick down and being 1-4.”

(On new segments)
“Absolutely, this is all been trying to get into the get better moment as you get into conference. This is where it really plays out for us. Fortunately, we got the win for us at Tulane, and we need to get through this segment. I do believe we are a better team. We didn't show it in the first half, but the other side of it is I think this is a very, very good Colorado State football team. They had some big time wins, they have good play makers. I think they are well coached. I think they did a really good job.”

(On injuries)
“Well there’s a reason starters are starters, and when they’re not out you're not as good. That is the reality of it. Injuries happen during the season, and we have to put guys in and make plays. It was great having Derek Patterson back. He sparked some plays for us on offense. We lost our center during the game. We didn’t have Foxworth didn’t play for about three quarters and he is one of our leaders up front. So those are always tough, but again everyone in football has to deal with that and overcome it.”

(On Keyarris’s injury)
“He kind of got banged up at Thursday practice.”

Tulsa Player Quotes

DE Derrick Alexander

(On what he feels the team needs to do to put itself in a better position to win)
“I feel like we need to start faster. That’s always a big deal. When it comes to the second half, it always seems like we come out and play better, but we have to get right and start starting faster.”

(On why he thinks the team starts slow)
“It always comes back to the practice. We have to practice starting faster and it will go from there.”

(On whether he think the defense can build on the stops it had today)
“It’s something that we’re dependent on. We have to keep building on our defense and we have to keep on truckin’. We have to keep on keepin’ on. If we do that, we could be a pretty good football team.”

(On how he keeps going when the score is 28-0)
“You just can’t lose hope. You go back and you rely on that work that you put in before and you go back and think about the summer. You think about the guys that are next to you and you can’t give up on them because they’re looking to you.”

(On how Colorado State’s offense compares to the other offenses they have faced this season)
“We knew they were going to run the ball and that their running back was going to cut back. We had to get to the quarterback and we did that for the most part. They did a good job, but we have to do a better job as a defense.”

WR Derek Patterson, WR

(On how it felt to be back on the field)
“It felt good to be back out there with my teammates. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the win, but we’re on the right track so we have to keep fighting every week.”

(On his big catch)
“Coach says the plays have to be made and it doesn’t matter who makes them. They called my number and it worked out perfectly. I just tried to make a play for my teammates.”

(On how difficult it has been to be watching games from the sidelines instead of playing)
“It’s pretty difficult. You’ve been through spring, summer and fall camp with these guys, and you get hurt and have to be out a few weeks, it sucks to just watch but I’m glad to be back out there.”

(On how they can sustain momentum)
“We just have to keep believing that we can move the ball and score on anybody and just keep believing that we’re as good as we want to be.”

(On how he keeps his spirits up moving on)
“We just have to keep fighting. Obviously we want to win, but this was a non-conference game, and we’re looking forward to conference (play) this upcoming week and we’re already 1-0 so we want to continue that trend.”

(On whether he thinks the effort was there after last week’s triple OT loss to Texas State)
“I feel like the effort was there, but we made mental errors and had missed assignments, but I thought the effort was good. We fought pretty hard.”



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