Nwoke rushed for a career-high 232 yards against San Diego State.
Nov. 14, 2011
Opening statement: “With regard to last Saturday’s game, defensively I thought we did a good job. We knew going into the game we were going to have to stop the run, stop Ronnie Hillman. We certainly didn’t completely shut them out but we held them down, which we knew we had to do to win. I was real pleased with how physical our defensive football team, particularly our front seven, played. I thought that had a real impact on the game. Obviously we weren’t as good on third down as we’d like to be and they extended some drives. That’s an area we’ve got to shore up. Special teams-wise, when you look at the tape, the effort was fantastic. Guys were really playing hard in all areas there. We can do things a little better, a little bit smarter, in our lanes. We’ve got some things to correct there. That to me, the effort we’re playing with on special teams, is something to see as a positive. Offensively I think we had to come in and establish the run. We did that. I thought Chris Nwoke took another major step forward, just the way he was finishing runs and the attitude he was carrying the ball with. Obviously we turned the ball over twice. That did hurt us. We’re disappointed with the outcome but there are some things that we feel are positive, things that we can build on. Keep heading forward as we look forward this week toward TCU.”
On the identity of his starting quarterback: “I don’t know. Pete (Thomas) is day-to-day. We’ll know obviously more as he gets checked out today. We’ll see how available he is Tuesday. It does not look to be season-ending, I don’t think.”
On whether Garrett Grayson can still redshirt in future years: “He’ll have plenty of time down the road I think if that’s a possibility. I know a long time ago when I played I think I redshirted my fourth year (1979 at CSU). If there’s a way to help him out at some point we’ll do it. It was the right move. We’ve come close during the season to putting him in. He’ll play now. He’ll play some every game. We’ve got to commit to him. Even when Pete (Thomas) is back, be it this week or next week. I think Garrett (Grayson) deserves the right to play in the games. We’ll do that.”
On Pete Thomas’ injury status: “It’s a knee sprain. I don’t know. It’s not my job to be an expert in that. I would imagine it’s somewhat like what Paul Madsen did (MCL). It will keep him out maybe this week. Who knows? Maybe not. We’ll see.”
On if Thomas needs to practice by a certain day in order to play against TCU: “Not by a certain day but he needs to practice a certain way. I need to feel like he can help us win. If he’s limping around out there that obviously wouldn’t be the right thing to do for the team.”
On whether he will limit or change the offense to help Grayson: “No. We’ve never done that around here. It’s like when Pete (Thomas) was a freshman. We’re not going to curtail anything. If he’s our starting quarterback he’ll run our offense and we’ll go down the road.”
On if Thomas struggles early Saturday whether Grayson will play earlier than expected: “Well, everything is a feel. I’d make that based on feel. The only thing I can say is, like we’ve just talked about, is that we’ll commit to playing (Garrett) Grayson at some point.”
On the decision to play Grayson over M.J. McPeek: “He gives us a better chance to win.”
On if there was a thought of going with McPeek and saving Grayson’s redshirt: “No. I think you owe it to everybody on that field to give yourself the best chance. In our minds, coming out of spring football, I thought M.J. had a slight lead. As it’s progressed I thought Garrett went by him a little bit. That’s why he’s playing.”
On how many repetitions Grayson will get in games: “I don’t know how many but I think we’re committed to playing him now. We’ve got to get him in games. He’s not redshirting this year so he’s got to play this week. At some point he’s got to play in the two games after that.”
On how it affects practice repetitions: “You’d have to start repping (Grayson) more. You’d have to start cutting Pete back a little bit at this point. That’s fair to Garrett. He’s earned that right, anyway.”
On if Grayson will get more repetitions in practice if Thomas is available to play: “We’ll plan on playing him more so he’ll rep more.”
On if this is an evaluation period for Grayson: “I don’t know about evaluation. It will help him. It’s a good experience for him to play as it is with every quarterback. I think we’ve got a pretty good idea of what he is at this point.”
On what he liked about Grayson’s performance after watching tape: “I don’t know so much on the film, but on the sideline he’s a very calm demeanor, very sure of himself. The game wasn’t too big for him, for his first time out there. I was pleased in that regard.”
On tailoring the game plan against TCU more toward the run game if Grayson starts: “Well, we always want to work the run game; there’s no question about that. Yesterday and today is when we form our game plan so it will be easier to answer that tonight. We are what we are, just like TCU is. We’re going to run our offense, make some adjustments based on their alignments and their personnel, and then go down the road.”
On if the game plan changes depending on what quarterback starts: “It’s basically the same. You can do a little bit of that, not even based on ability but based on what guys do well. We’ve seen Garrett in a lot of practices out here and we’ve seen Pete. Pete does some things well; you tend to call those. Garrett does some things right; you tend to call those.”
On how he get Grayson prepared for TCU’s defense: “It’s like any game week. We’ll have some cut-up tapes and game-plan meetings and so forth. Again, it’s TCU’s defense but it’s our offense, too. It’s how he masters what we’re trying to do.”
On the responsibility of the entire team helping Grayson: “I think that’s true. I think that’s true, anyway. I think that’s true if Pete is in there. I mean, the quarterback always benefits from good protection, productive run game, wideouts that separate. All those things, if you do them well, the quarterback looks good. If you don’t do them well, the quarterback struggles.”
On what he’s seen in practice that Grayson brings to the team that Thomas doesn’t: “I think Garrett can bring some similar things. I think he’s accurate with the ball. I think he does some things and knows our offense. Maybe he can get us out of some runs and into some better plays. Again, one thing is doing it at practice, and another thing is doing in at the games. Hopefully he can make that transition if we go with him.”
On what things moved Grayson ahead of McPeek: “Production. Just production.”
On the status of Mychal Sisson (broken ankle) and Weston Richburg (broken hand): “Day-to-day. You guys saw him move around pretty good last week (at practice). He was down there on scout team last week. I would say he’s got a chance (to play this week) but I think we’ll know a lot more tomorrow. Same thing with Richburg. He’s got a fractured hand. We’ll see where he’s at tomorrow.”
On if Richburg thinks he can snap the ball with his hand: “You can’t. No. When it’s your snapping hand you have no chance at snapping the ball. We’ll just see where he’s at.”
On if Richburg will snap left-handed: “Yeah, you can do that. That’s part of the deal; you try to find out if you can snap with the other hand or play guard.”
On moving Richburg to tackle: “Guard or tackle, yeah. That’s a possibility, and like you said, snapping with the other hand. The other possibility is he’s out.”
On the offensive line: “They’ve done a nice job. I still say this is a fairly talented offensive line. It’s got a real big upside. We have been banged around pretty good so one thing you like at that position is keeping the guys in there, playing next to each other and gaining some continuity in terms of calls and those sorts of things. They did a nice job. We were able to get on a complicated defense (SDSU), get on the people we needed to do, and get Chris Nwoke started, which is half the battle. Like I said, Chris did a nice job finishing the runs.”
On if there was a different feel with the team Sunday: “I keep saying this; I sound like a broken record. They really have a tremendous attitude. They’re a fun team to be around. They practice hard. I think when we go into team meetings and talk about things we do well and things we don’t do well, the want-to factor is there. I have no reservations that we will go out tomorrow and practice well.”
On if he was surprised with the TCU-Boise State outcome: “I was not surprised. Anytime you play the defense that those two teams play, it’s going to be close. So I thought TCU had a chance. Boise (State) is a good football team. Obviously we’ll need to play TCU a lot better than we played Boise (State) to have a chance.”
On what he likes best about Gary Patterson’s defense: “Their speed, No. 1. That’s what jumps out at you. You certainly don’t want to get lulled to sleep thinking it’s a 4-2 structure because it’s anything but a six-man front. It’s a seven-, it could be an eight-man, nine-man front depending on your alignment. It can number the run game differently than the San Diego State game, or the same in numbers. They can make it tough running the football.”
On if TCU’s defense puts more pressure on CSU’s passing game: “It always does. That’s why we’ve said around here we’d like to do both. There comes a point where they can really load it up on you and make it tough to run.”
On dropped balls against SDSU: “I would imagine the wind had something to do with it. There were some opportunities we let get by in the pass game the other night. Usually you’re a little more concerned with the quarterback in those conditions, being able to put it there and put it where it’s catchable, and not have it be too much influenced by the wind. Garrett and Pete both did a nice job there.”
On if there are any specific drills designed toward dropped balls this week: “No, not based on the game. We do ball drills every week.”
On if it is weird to go into a week not knowing his starting quarterback: “Not at this point. We’re proceeding like we always do. It’s kind of been that type of year for us; whoever is available for us plays. We’ve had these questions at a number of positions all year.”
On if the quarterback decision lasts later in the week, whether it will affect preparation: “No. I think whoever is available will play and rep and that’s who we will go with. We’ll always go with the guy who gives us the best chance to win.”
On now that there is competition at quarterback whether that will benefit the team: “I think it always does. I think competition at any position is always a good thing. That’s why we’re continuing to recruit and load up. I think good football teams, that’s how they are. I wouldn’t picture Pete being complacent at all; he’s not that type of kid. It’s always good to have more than two. I hope we can develop a third and fourth quarterback here.”
On who Sisson will replace if he is available to play: “I don’t know that he bumps anybody. I think we get a rotation going. Again we’ll make that decision based on when he’s available.”
On if Sisson will practice more this week: “Yeah, no question. We’ll ramp it up more. Same thing we did with Paul Madsen; same thing we’ll do with Pete. You take them out there and run a little bit, then there’s change of direction, then there’s individual, then there’s non-contact team, those sorts of things. As you progress along you do those things until you’re game ready.”
On if Richburg could fill in for Paul Madsen: “Anything is possible at this point.”
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