Aug. 10, 2011
On whether he considers this his team: “Yeah, it’s my team; and the rest of our seniors’ team. We’ve put in the most work and been through all the transitions of this team, you can say it’s all our seniors’ team.”
On what he and fellow seniors are telling younger teammates: “Don’t take any season lightly. It is going to go by quicker than they really realize. You got to give every opportunity your all. You got to take advantage of every opportunity you get.”
On dealing with outside pressure to win: “You can’t listen to all of that. You just got to go out there and play. I really feel that our team is going to be a great team. You have to keep encouraging guys through those grueling practices, especially like yesterday, our first two a days; a lot of guys were tired and sore, so you got to tell everyone to push through that and give it their all.”
On opening the season with a conference game: “It’s a big difference. You can’t take any game lightly, but this is a game that can jump start our season. If we get out there and get a win, it is going to put us at the top of our conference and give our season a great outlook. If we can just get out there and get that win it will spark some good things for our season.”
On not starting the season against CU: “It’s weird because every year we always start off with them. It’s kind of good to try to get some wins under our belt before we play a school like Colorado so we can get our confidence up going into that game. It’s just going to be different.”
OT Paul Madsen
On his absence from football: “I served a two year LDS Mormon mission in Lubbock, Texas, and returned after that to play football. This is my fifth season.”
On the expectations of the offense: “I think bigger things are expected, but I think we can carry that expectation and fulfill it. I think we have a real good returning quarterback. I think our line is working excellently right now. We have a lot of cohesiveness and I think we are going to really surprise people this year.”
On his final photo day: “It’s kicking in. It’s the last time. I remember back in high school when I took photos and where I stood in lines, and now it’s my last time. Yeah, it’s a great experience. I am really grateful to have played.”
On team chemistry: “I think there is great chemistry. There is a lot of energy on the team. A lot of people want to get their jobs done and are willing to sacrifice for it. I expect great things from this team.”
On pressure to win for Coach Fairchild: “There’s a sense of urgency, but more than that there is a sense of passion. We want to get out there and dominate that field. As an offensive unit, we want to get that ball downfield and be efficient. Then on the run game, we want to open up those holes. That is what we are focused on; we are focused on succeeding and we are not really worried about the pass so much. I really am excited about it.”
On having a favorable early schedule: “I have noticed that but we just have to take one game at a time. New Mexico is preparing for us right now. We can’t look past games. Every game has to be as serious as we can possibly make it.”
RB Derek Good
On his expectations for his final season: “My expectations are just to come out and contribute to the team and give them everything I got when I step onto the field. That’s my biggest contribution that I am trying to do, when I step onto the field, make something happen for the team, not necessarily for my own personal satisfaction.”
On going from a walk-on to scholarship player: “It means a lot. I came in here and worked hard and finally got that scholarship. When you get a prize like that, it just shows that finally all your hard work paid off.”
On team goals: “Just coming together as a team. Come together as a team and play it like a team. When you sit there and can look side to side and trust both your teammates, you can be a lot better, a lot more sound.”
On competition for playing time at RB: “We all have something to offer. We all have a talent. I love my running backs and we all get together, and all get along really well. We all have something to bring to the table, so when one of us gets in there we are cheering each other on.”
QB Pete Thomas
On difference from this season and his first year: “I can just read and react. I don’t have to think at all out there. I just read the defense and get the ball where it needs to go.
“It’s a huge change (from last year). I knew what I was doing last year, but I wasn’t as quick as I needed to be in terms of making my read and getting the ball where it needed to go. I am a lot quicker this year; I know a lot more about defenses and our offense.”
On improving upon last season’s record: “We use that as motivation. CSU and Fort Collins and the community, they deserve a better product on the field. We have been working real hard to do that and I think we will put a better product out there on the field so they can be proud of us.”
On what specific areas he has been working on: “You can always get better in every area. Even 12-year NFL veterans get better in every area. But mainly just quickening up my drop, get my arm healthy, and working on my pocket movement”
On whether the starting free safety position is his to lose: “The position was up for grabs during the spring so that’s the way it is right now. You know nothing is set in stone. We still got a couple of guys that came in as freshmen who are working hard.”
On how competition for the starting spot has helped him: “The move from receiver to safety kind of caught me off guard last year in the first place. I didn’t really see myself being able to battle for the starting spot moving from receiver to safety. I never really saw myself as a safety in college, so it was kind of an eye-opener when they told me I would be able to compete for the starting spot. It’s been fun.”
HEAD COACH Steve Fairchild PRESS CONFERENCE
On changes made by QB Pete Thomas compared to last year: “To take someone out of high school that did not have a redshirt year and throw them in there is unfair. But I’ll say this, it was a good learning experience for him and when you looked at us in March when we reinstalled our offense, you can see he took a big step forward and now he is an experienced quarterback.”
On the continual improvement of Pete Thomas: “He will take a big step. The nature of that spot (quarterback), even in the NFL, from your 10th to 11th year, you’re improving at that spot. He’ll continue to get better and I have said all along, I would be very surprised if he doesn’t have a great career here for us.”
On the improvement of Thomas’ fundamentals: “From a fundamental standpoint, he’s a big guy and big guys tend to not be as compact as you need to be throwing the football. Technically, he’s more compact and moving around in a shorter space, which is a real positive in our offense. When a pocket gets pushed, you do not want to move a lot, and big guys, sometimes, they get caught in between strides. He’s much more compact technically; that will help him.”
On Thomas’ freedom to change plays: “There are packages in the run game that when a play is called he will deem it either a good play or get us into something else. There are some runs to passes that he will do. He’s not going to call the game, I guess is the best way I’m going to put it.”
On opening playbook for Thomas’ second year: “There are more possibilities for us because of his experience.”
On players who have been nice surprises in practice: “To varying degrees, we were looking at yesterday’s practice, there’s some offensive linemen in that second group that are probably a little farther along than I would have thought they were. Derek Good continues to impress me every time we hand him the ball. I don’t know if they are surprises but people are a little farther along, a little better off than you think. And then you look in another area and you say we are making too many mistakes there; I expect this guy to be a little more consistent than he is.”
On a running back by committee, or a workhorse RB: “I am comfortable with it either way. When Gartrell (Johnson) was here, we thought it was going to be committee but he deemed it to do it the other way and that’s good; he had a great year (2008). I think we were the first team in NCAA history to have back-to-back 2,000-yard backs a while back when I was an assistant here. It can work either way.”
On opening against New Mexico: “It’s definitely that much more important because it’s a conference game. Personally, I like opening with CU; I just think having that whole offseason, giving the state of Colorado and both communities the whole month of August to talk about it, I think that’s a great thing. I really do. I’ve said all along it’s a great football game for everybody to play CU in Denver; it just didn’t work out that way (in 2011). But it’s paramount for our football program to get off on the right foot, even more so because it’s a conference game.”
On changes made to the coaching staff: “Coming out of spring football, I knew it was a positive for our program. I knew our coaches liked it. I knew our players liked it. There weren’t huge changes but there were some, and I felt it was needed after the way we finished last year.”
On possibilities of true freshmen getting playing time: “Still early, but we will need some help from our freshman safeties. We have some very talented freshman safeties, whether that shows this year or not, that’s quite a task but we hit on a few guys there. I like both our freshman wide receivers (Charles Lovett and Lee Clubb). They will play; I can make that decision right now.”
On move of Elijah-Blu Smith to cornerback: “He is a natural corner and that’s where his future is. With some of the things we are doing with our corners now, it just made too much sense; he’s too good there. It gives us an added depth at corner, it gives us another tackler outside, and it gives us some flexibility in some nickel and dime situations with those type of corners. Having said that, we got to develop quickly at safety.”
On defensive line depth: “I do not know if we have a dominator on that side of the ball, in the line. When you look around, it’s the same here when we had some very good defenses here, or most anywhere, if you are going to be good on defense you want a difference-maker up front, and I am not sure we have that. We will see; there is a lot left to be developed.”
On TE Crockett Gilmore’s abilities: “He’s very, very talented. You hate to anoint anybody something, but I would be surprised if he’s not one of the better tight ends in the league right off the bat. He’s big, he’s strong, he blocks. He had over 20 touchdowns in high school as an inside receiver. He’s just a gifted athlete and wants to play, so I would be surprised if he’s not a very good tight end for us.”
On what Gilmore can do for the offense: “We have never had the go-to receiver here yet. You look at San Diego State last year, you single one of those guys up, they’re going to win all the time. We haven’t had that yet, but we think we are getting there. If you can run the football effectively and get inside guys to participate in your pass game, then that kind of takes a little bit of the load off those guys outside, which will be a good thing.”
On his job security: “I don’t worry about security. I think it’s the nature of Division I football. Somebody asked the other day, ‘Are you on the hot seat?’. It was hot the first day I took it. You can go 9-3, and turn around the next year and get fired. That’s just part of the deal. I knew what I was getting into. I knew this was going to be a multi-year thing. I knew there would be some bumps in the road but I think we need to show some improvement, there’s no question.”
On the status of RB Dorian Brown: “There is probably room for a freshman back to not redshirt. We have three of them. When he’s going to be practicing on a regular basis is to be determined. He’s close; we are being precautionary. The doctors will have something to say with that but I would be surprised if we don’t have him full-go at some point in a week or so, and then evaluate.”
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