Crowton: We're Moving Forward

Head Coach Gary Crowton

Crowton -- We're looking for some answers, but I feel like we can make progress. This is a short week so it's not a lot of time to sit back and reflect on what happened last week. We just need to go forward. Matt (Berry) came in the office this morning and watched the game film. I think he's learning more and more each week. I'm going to be going with him a little more exclusively this week, unless there's an injury. Bret Engemann will be his backup. I still may use Pendleton some, but not as much as I did last week. We're just going to move forward and build off last game. The defense played pretty good for the most part. This week's match-up is pretty good. Colorado State is a good football team. Their defense is very sound. They have guys that have been there a long time and they know what they're doing. Offensively, they've got some weapons. They've got a lot of leadership. Their quarterback has started now for two years and he's got a good feel. They have a young guy they're bringing along at quarterback, which they have played on a few series. He's throwing the ball very well so there is a good one-two punch. Sapp, their running back, is a very savvy, very physical player that can run the ball. He's been around for a while so he is very mature as a player. Their receiver, Pittman, is playing very well and making a lot of plays. They're a very good football team and we need to play well. We haven't, but it's time we go out there and do it.

Q -- Colorado State has won a lot of close games. Can you talk about what that does for their confidence?

Crowton -- The reason I felt like they've won a lot of close games is because they have great leadership. They've got some great senior players and when the game goes down the stretch, they don't make a lot of errors. They know each other as well. They've played together long enough that they have a good feel for each other. There aren't any surprises. That's why they're playing well in close games.

Q -- You said you were going to go with Matt Berry more exclusively this week. How did you come to that decision?

Crowton -- I think he has a little more experience after last week. He's getting better. I feel like I don't need to narrow it quite as much this week. He's got a full game's experience plus a series before and two J.V. games, so he is getting to be one of the older players on this team.

Q -- With not a lot of time this week to think about last week, is that a good thing?

Crowton -- No. We're going to look back on it enough so that we can see where we are. I look at last game and I feel like, offensively, if we just would have converted on some of those red-zone situations, which we've been good at, it would have been a totally different game. The fact is we didn't, so we're looking at that and trying to get back to some of the things we've done well in the red-area.

Q -- Can you talk a little about the struggles you've had on third down?

Crowton -- I think it's all related. I think it's youth. We had some good games where we did well on third down earlier in the year, but we've had some struggles the last two games. If we made it on third down, I wouldn't have to go for it on fourth.

Q -- What were the problems in the red zone?

Crowton -- We didn't score. We just didn't, that's all.

Q -- What were some things that stuck out about Matt Berry on Saturday?

Crowton -- I thought he got into a little bit of a rhythm. He was very accurate when he knew where to go. He didn't know where to go all of the time. When they didn't fool him with a different look or different press, he knew where to go. I think he'll get better and I think we just need to keep going with that.

Q -- You mentioned that you feel like Berry is going to get better. Where is that going to come from, from film or from playing?

Crowton -- You're hoping he improves. You'll never know until the game comes on. In my experience, when you play a new quarterback one week, they usually come back and play better in the second week, unless they're very mobile. When they are very mobile, they actually don't play as well as they look on film. There feet get them out of trouble and they are able to run all over the place. Like Brandon Doman, when he played early, he made some real good moves with his feet. When I watched him two years ago, he made some real good moves with his feet but he made some errors throwing the ball. The first pass of the Utah game in 2000 was run back for a touchdown. But he also had some big runs against CSU last year. So players that are mobile are able to hide their lack of feel for the game. Usually by the second game, they have a good feel for the rush coming at them, how much time they have, where they have to put the ball and what can happen if they don't put it in the right place. With the experience of a full game, I think the next time he plays he should have a little better feel for it. That's what I'm hoping for.

Q -- Do you spend any time speaking to your team about their confidence?

Crowton -- I did that after the game and we had two meetings during the week talking to them about where they are. It is important to let the guys know where they stand. Regardless of what everyone else says, they will know what they need to do. Everyone has an opinion and I want them to know where they stand with me. I usually tell them to learn from all situations they are in.

Q -- Are some of the things conference teams are doing to prepare for you striking?

Crowton -- Everyone is looking to us because our offense was so good last year and we have a staff that is doing some different things. I guarantee CSU has had a game plan on us since last year. I'm sure they will go back and look at it again and see what we are doing now. I have to get us ahead so other teams are not prepared for what we are going to do.

Q -- Did you have to correct players in your system last year like you have done with players this year?

Crowton -- It is hard for us to go forward. I have to go back even though it is our second year. In our cycle of game planning, we are a little behind right now. The longer we are here, everyone will start getting a feel for this and it will start to work itself out. We are not getting the returns out of some of our plays this year that we did last year. We have to go back and make the plays more conventional for what we have on this team. We have to repeat them enough so the guys get comfortable with what we are doing. CSU has players that have three or four years of experience of what they want to do. Our guys are new to this whole thing.

Q--With missions and recruits, you will have new guys every year. How are you going to deal with that challenge?

Crowton--Even though we are going to have new players, we are going to have 11 guys back on defense. Many of our new players will have gone through our system with spring drills and red-shirts. We have to get our system strong. That is what Lavell Edwards had going for him. I'm not quite there yet.

Q--What is the best thing you're doing right now that you can build for in the future?

Crowton--I need to get the quarterbacks to help each other and spread them out a little. They are all a little new to what we're doing. Another year of experience will move our team that much further along. We are running the ball well, but I don't want to go exclusively to the run right now. We need to get more big plays off of the run for touchdowns. That will come with experience. Our offensive line protection is getting better. Our tackles and defensive ends are doing better each week.

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