Comments from Coach Crowton:
I'm looking forward to playing these guys at home. We want to come out and play well and be prepared for them. It has been an interesting week of preparing for them. Last week was a good win for us and it keeps us in the hunt for what we want to accomplish.
Q--New Mexico has a lot of youth and injuries. How do you think they have been able to get a 3-1 record?
Crowton--They have had some games that they played really well. Right now they are playing really good football. They have had a pretty good home schedule. They still have some tough games to go in conference. They have gone through a few quarterbacks, but I think their regular quarterback is back now. Their coaches have had to be really creative. New Mexico does some good things with their schemes.
Q--Isn't Matt Berry going to see the opposite of what he saw last week? And if so, how do you plan on preparing him for that different kind of pressure?
Crowton--The blitz will be different. Wyoming was soft in that they play a lot of coverage. New Mexico will mix it all up. We are trying to help Matt identify the different looks in our practices.
Q--Would it be fair to say that New Mexico and BYU are similar in the fact that you are both young and getting better?
Crowton--I think there are some similarities in that they are young and they have had some challenges like we have. There is a lot of youth in both teams.
Q--Can you talk a little about the bowl possibilities?
Crowton--All we can do is take care of one game at a time. We just need to finish strong.
Q--Can you talk a little about last week, specifically the running game and third down conversions?
Crowton--The running game is something we try to mix up a little. Whalen and Brown are both very good to have in the backfield. I felt like our run game was pretty good last week. We are just try to use all of our people. Hopefully we can create some weapons so it is difficult to defend us. Third down conversions is something that Mattt is very aware of how important they are to us. There is a big emphasis on third down conversions.
Q--Can you talk about the leadership offered by the seniors on the team this year?
Crowton--Defensively we are really young. Everyone but Jeff Cowart is an underclassman. We have a young group that is defining themselves because there is no one else to look to for the leadership. Tanner and Walkenhorst, and now Gilford are all leaders for us. We have some seniors on offense, but not many that are in a position to have the ball a lot. We do have some tight ends that are seniors. We are doing whatever we can to keep those tight ends close to the field. Sometimes we go with two or three of them in the game at the same time. We have had some injuries that hurt is with some of our seniors who were leaders. It is a process that is developing. We have some young guys who are really developing into leaders. I think we are going to have a lot to look forward to in the future. Our receivers are really coming on too. Kukahiko will not play in this game because of the JV game he played in earlier this year.
Q--How important is leadership on the field?
Crowton--It is very important. It is good for the quarterback and the middle line backer to be leaders. It is good to have an offensive lineman too. It takes time because you have to be confident with what everyone else is doing, not just your own duty.
Q--How is the health of Walkenhorst, Tanner, and Gilford?
Crowton--Jernaro is stronger today than he was last week at this time. Tanner said his anlkle is fine. Walkenhorst is not any worse than he was last Monday. They will all practice today and tomorrow.
Q--Is Keele going to go on a mission?
Crowton--He is going to go on a mission. He has the right to change his mind, but he has indicated to me that he will be going on a mission.
Q--How is David Christensen?
Crowton--He practiced yesterday. His leg has healed, but he has not practiced very much and so he got very tired. He will be able to play this week in limited action. He has just missed a lot of football the last few weeks.
Q--Do you think what Paul Tidwell did this year with special teams has been a highlight for this season?
Crowton--I think we have made a real conscious effort on special teams to do well in this area. Paul coordinates this with all of the coaches. Payne is kicking the ball far and away from the players so he deserves a lot of the credit. Denney has done great as a snapper too. Paul has done a good job of utilizing our personnel.
Q--We've seen matt Berry's progression over the last few games, but he still seems to struggle with turnovers. What do you say to him to help him deal with that issue?
Crowton--I don't want him to throw interceptions, but I also don't want him to get nervous and hesitate. He threw some interceptions in the San Diego St. game and I was a little nervous that he would come back a little timid. He didn't get timid though, and he came back firing, which was good to see. I just try to explain to him what happened. He is a bright kid and he catches on really quick. When he gets in trouble, it is because he holds the ball to long. I just want him to be confident and aggressive.
Q--With New Mexico, they seem to disguise what the safeties are doing. Could this be Berry's biggest challenge?
Crowton--He has to recognize when the safeties are disguising what they are doing. Berry needs to be aware of the safeties when he is dropping back, and if he does, he will do fine. This defense allows big plays. Hopefully we can capitalize on what they give us.