Like our sports coverage? Donate to help support ECM’s sports section! Type “Sports” on the donation line!
Check out our sports section for more sports stories!
Follow @ECMagSports on Twitter for live sports coverage and in-game updates!
By Liz Alper
Video courtesy goaztecs.com
For videos of Anthony Luke and Parker Houston's portion of the press conference, click "read more and scroll down"
October 3, 2018 (San Diego) - With the bye week over, SDSU football is back in action and set to take on Boise State on Saturday. Coach Rocky Long, junior tight end Parker Houston and senior defensive end Parker Houston sat down with the media today.
"We consider conference games more important than our non-conference schedule, so we’re excited about getting into conference play and see where we stand right away," Long opened with. "Got eight straight weeks of conference games, so hopefully we can start out playing well at the beginning.”
Long doesn't know how good the Mountain West conference is this year. "...We’re just starting to play each other right now. I think there are a couple of surprise teams. Obviously, Boise is one of the better teams in the league; they always are and they’re a really, really good football team this year. Now, I think Hawai’i surprised people and I think Utah State has surprised people with how well they’re playing right now.”
Long sees no difference in playing Boise on the road versus at home. “I think it’s the same as playing anywhere. Any time we play on the road it’s hard. The toughest part is that they’re very good.”
Long talked about what it will take to beat Brett Rypien and the Broncos. “Both teams are going to try to do what they do. They’re really, really explosive on offense. They have a great quarterback, some outstanding receivers, but they have really good running backs that run the ball hard. They’re averaging over 40 points a game, they’re averaging over 500 yards in total offense. I mean, they’re an explosive football team, so the best way to have a chance to win is to keep them off the field. That means on offense, we have to control the ball and get some first downs and those sorts of things. But that’s easier said than done because they’re pretty good on defense, too.
“I think he’s (Rypien) playing much better this year than he did last year. They do put another quarterback in there, but very, very seldom. He’s playing the whole time and he’s the most experienced quarterback in our league. He’s playing at a very high level. He reads coverages as well, he’s very accurate with the football and he’s got the receivers that’ll go get the ball...I think he’s smart; he’s very accurate with the football. But I think he reads coverages better than most of the quarterbacks we play against. He’s the best quarterback we’ve played against to this point..."
“They’ve been very successful for a long time. That’s a sign of many good things. They’ve got nice facilities, it’s a great town, they’ve had outstanding coaching staffs and they have an outstanding coaching staff right now. They recruit good players, too. That’s a formula for everybody to have a good program.”
There shouldn't be any problems for the Aztecs returning from a bye week, Long says. “...I think they like to play football and I’m sure they enjoyed their time off. But I’m sure they’re ready to play.”
The Aztecs and Broncos mostly play at night, but this Saturday, they're playing at 1:30 p.m. Long talked about the difference. “I think that’s a concern for us playing that early since we don’t do it that often. But they don’t it very often, either. I don’t think that’s an advantage to either team. I think that’s the way it should be. I wish we played every game at 1:30 on Saturday afternoon. I wish every one of our games was then, but they’re not. So it’ll be different for both teams to get up that early and get ready to go on. I don’t think it’ll make any difference to either team, but we’ll see how it turns out. We’re used to playing at 7:30 at night. We’re still half asleep at 1:30. I mean we’re taking naps and watching TV. So it’ll be interesting how that works out. But it’s nice to play in the afternoon.”
Long doesn't think SDSU and BSU are rivals. “I think you have to play a school many, many, many times to have a true rivalry. I think whenever you have teams together that have played well in the past and have won conference championships, that adds a little flavor to the game. I think it adds a little excitement to the game."
Long gave an update on injured quarterback Christian Chapman. “...He’s throwing passes in individual drills. In scout team work, he’s playing quarterback a little bit on our offense against the scout team. Any stuff where it’s 1s-against-1s and 2s-against-2s, he’s not doing any of that yet. But he’s actually jogging around, he’s throwing the ball.”
On the Aztecs' secondary: “We’re trying to get better in practice every day … every time they play, they get better. They’re better now than they were four weeks ago. They’re better now than they were last week. They’re getting better as it goes..."
Houston also commented on the Aztecs' injuries. “It’s just fighting against adversity, every team goes through it. Nothing new to the game, nothing new to the sport. We’re all together and some of us have lived together. You trust your brothers next to you and you know the next guy up is going to step up and do his job just as well as a starter could.”
Luke watched the BSU-Wyoming game on his day off and picked up some tips on the blue and orange. “They’re fast. They’re really fast. Their receiving corps is really good. I just know that their offensive line sets are pretty good, so we need to be able to get a good rush in and give our DBs some help because this game is going to be tough. They’re a good team.”
SDSU takes on the Broncos at 1:30 p.m. MT/12:30 p.m. PT in Boise on Saturday.