On Wednesday September 26, Gary Crowton and UNLV head coach John Robinson addressed media at the Tucanos BYU Coaches Luncheon. Following is an opening statement by coaches Crowton and Robinson, as well as the question and answer session that followed.
OPENING STATEMENT -- John Robinson, UNLV head coach
"The season has not gotten off to a good start obviously. We blew the first game. I think we had Arkansas and we were fairly dominant in that game but we let it get away from us. We dropped a punt, which game them great field position right at the end and they won. Northwestern was a very good opponent and favored in the Big Ten. That was a relatively close game, but again we self-destructed. Last week we played Arizona and we played poorly. I thought Arizona was really a good team too. We are not playing at the level we can. Probably the most glaring statistic about us is that we are giving the game away. We have turned the ball over ten times and seven of them resulted in quick touchdowns. That is just a devastating statistic. Our quarterback isn't playing very well, he's off to a slow start. Defensively we've done pretty well. Last week we fell sort of flat-footed and we were unable to slow Arizona down."
Q: You said you aren't playing at the level that you can play at. What do you have to do to play at the level that you can play at?
A: We need to all play better. We need to be more relaxed, I think we are getting a little uptight. We need to play with the confidence that a winning team plays with. I think we are stressing a little bit and looking for answers and we just need to relax.
Q: With the slow start, is the bounce-back effect a philosophy you are using with the players?
A: Yes. When you get down to a week, you just talk about that week. What you need to do when you are losing and thing aren't going right is not to be obsessed with what is wrong. You need to be focusing on what you can do well and look to win the next game. We play eight more "next games," and if we win six or seven of those games we are going to have a winning season. If we win seven of the next eight games, then we are going to either be champions or co-champions of the conference.
OPENING STATEMENT -- Gary Crowton, BYU head coach
"I'm very excited that we get to play again. It's been a long three weeks. The coaches and the players are looking forward to getting back and playing. UNLV was picked ahead of us in the conference. Our team is very mindful of that. We played them in a very close game last year, and they are also very mindful of that. We recognize that UNLV has played a tough schedule. They probably are going to put that to rest because it was non-conference and now they have to concentrate on the conference games. They have lost no conference games to this point, so that kind of gives them a shot in the arm as a recommitment to what they need to do. We felt like we did a good job in non-conference play. Now we need to move into the conference and really concentrate on it. We are excited to get going in the conference.
Q: Are you concerned about the long layoff?
A: I am a little concerned about it because we have had some success early. I don't want the players to get complacent or lose the focus and concentration that they had earlier in the season. I do have some concerns about that, but I believe in the team and I believe that they will focus on what needs to happen and will do well.
Q: Can you discuss the role of the new practice facility in your recruiting?
A: The University has grown so much over the years. It has grown from 6,000 to 33,000. The practice facilities have changed a little bit but not that much. This facility will help everybody because we will be able to have a separate facility that we can meet in and that will make more space for all programs. When recruits come in they will know they have a top-notch opportunity to train year round. This will help us train for bowl games and in the off-season.
Q: You said UNLV was an outstanding team despite their record. What is it that you see that made you say that?
A: I watched the Arkansas-UNLV game. Arkansas had to convert two fourth-down plays on the last drive. Arkansas played a very close game defensively against UNLV and did the same thing against Tennessee. That let's me know that UNLV's defense is very good. Because they are going in to the conference games they can look at it with a new perspective. That perspective is, "the preseason games are over. We were picked to play well in this conference. If we go in there and play well against BYU we can still win the conference."
Q: Are all the little injuries completely healed now?
A: All those little injuries we had before are healed up, but we just get new ones all the time. We are pretty healthy. We have some practice bumps and bruises, but it's nothing serious.
Q: How important do you think it is for the team to start quick after the long layoff?
A: If we start off well, things will be good. If they don't, I'm not going to panic over it. I think UNLV is going to come out very aggressive and we need to weather that aggressive energy that they will have early. I'm anticipating this will be a full 60-minute game. I think our team is hungry to play. I don't want them to be too emotionally high. I want my team to be steady like we have been all season. They will come out high and so will UNLV, we just need to weather that energy.