bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Walker Interview :: 11/09/10

bleedCrimson.net: Your overall thoughts on the game?
DeWayne Walker: We beat them in almost every category except the scoreboard. You can always point at the kickoff returns that they had against us to say that that really gave them a leg up on us. It's unfortunately. It just shows that sometimes when you think you've outplayed somebody it doesn't show up on the scoreboard. We've had a chance to experience that now.

bc.net: Right before the end of the first quarter, Utah State called a timeout so that they could try to score the touchdown in the first quarter as opposed to letting the clock run out and trying for the score at the start of the second quarter. I thought it was kind of a big deal and nobody has really talked about it much. How much of a psychological difference is that going into the second quarter with a 14-7 score instead of a 14-0 score?
DW: I think when you're in the heat of the battle it's probably more conversation after the fact. I know we kind of looked at it the same way you're looking at it to a certain degree but it's kind of something that people aren't going to talk a whole lot about.

bc.net: The Aggies' offense in the first quarter was very good and it seemed like the momentum had carried over from that game-winning drive against San Jose State the week before:
DW: Yeah. When you look at that first half even despite the kickoff return we looked like a football team. I thought offensively, defensively and for the most part on special teams up until the kickoff return it really looked like we were playing together as a team. That's where we're trying to get to. We're trying to be more competitive and I think you always come into a season wishing for the best but at the same token I just think, my whole mindset is let's get to that competitive level and then I think once we can get to that competitive level then the wins are going to come.

bc.net: The defense did a great job against Diondre Borel. He really didn't have one of his better games.
DW: I thought it was a great plan that Coach Lindsey and the defensive guys had. We caged him up pretty good. I thought from a passing standpoint the secondary and the linebackers had good coverage for the most part. I was pretty happy, any time you can keep that offense under 300 yards you've done a pretty good job.

bc.net: What are some of the other positives that you're able to take away from this game? Despite not coming out with the win the Aggies really did outplay Utah State for the entire game with the exception of two kickoff returns.
DW: I just think it's improvement. I know everybody wants instant wins. It's funny because I do a lot of research on head coaches' record that have taken programs that really had losing traditions and built them up so I'm kind of in to that. I just think it's going to come. I think right now we're building a system and we're building a program and to be honest I'm not really into moral victories but it was just good to see our football team play as a team. It's just unfortunate that we didn't get the 'W'.

bc.net: In the last two and a half games going back to the second half of the Idaho game, then the San Jose State game and this last game against Utah State, it really seems like your team has started to make some pretty big strides in what you're wanting them to do overall as a team. Have you seen that same progress?
DW: Yeah, it's funny that you say that. I wanted to say after the Idaho game, I really made a change as the head coach. I talked to some close friends and you're always searching and now I'm able to be the head coach. I'm starting to be able to run this team the same way that I ran our defense with UCLA. We had the great turnaround there when I was there and it was really more just attitude checks and really just paying close attention to how we're doing things. Even the players have noticed it. A lot of closed door meetings and a lot of making them even more accountable. I just told them it's time for this football program to get more into the competitive stage of this process and then hopefully we can finish the year out, get as many wins as possible and this same attitude will be in our offseason program and I'm looking forward to seeing where we will be at this stage next year.

bc.net: You've referenced the changes last week and this week. What's been the biggest change you've made as the head coach in the last three weeks?
DW: Probably just even more accountability. We've made these guys pretty accountable but I'm making them even more accountable now. I think we've gotten these guys' attention even moreso in terms of accountability and I think it's working.

bc.net: You've been playing a lot of new players, young players and freshmen. How are they doing as far as grasping everything that you guys are trying to throw at them?
DW: I think they've grown a lot. When you look at some of the young guys on offense, Kenny Turner has come on strong, Matt Christian is really starting to look a lot more comfortable, Aundre McGaskey has had a pretty good year, Davonte Wallace has had a pretty good year, Taveon Rogers is starting to come on. Those are five new bodies on offense.

When you look at the defensive part of it, Mahoney, he's still starting to get his feet under him and he'll be back next year. You look at all three linebackers, they're new and we get two out of three of them back. When you look at Darien Johnson, he's a freshmen and he's played quite a bit. He's gonna be one of the five or six DBs next year. George Callendar is going to be a very good player that will probably be a starter for us. Even though Donyae Coleman had been here, he's really turned around. Collectively when you look at the new guys that are playing a lot of football this year, they'll all be back. It'll be something to build on and we need to put some more pieces with that group to continue to be more competitive and win more ballgames.

bc.net: On Saturday you take on Louisiana Tech what are some of the things you're looking at in preparation?
DW: It's going to be a tough one. Sonny Dykes has done a good job. Dooley left him some pretty good players and I just think they're really starting to click on all cylinders in terms of what he likes to do offensively which he has a good offensive plan. Defensively I know they had a lot of good players last year. They're probably not playing as well defensively as they did last year but I still think it's a very good 3-6 football team. I know he wants to try to get some more wins so he can kind of build and get his team rolling into next season and I just think we'll have our hands full. It's two teams that are trying to build some respectability and we'll just see how the game is played on Saturday.

bc.net: Defensively for the Aggies, there has been a lot of progress from the first game up to the last game. What are some things that you've been pleased with in the progression from the first game to this last game?
DW: I think Coach Lindsey has done a great job really giving them his undivided attention and I think the defensive coaches along with Coach Lindsey have done a good job from that perspective. I know Coach is holding these guys accountable. I think he's done a good job scheming and putting our guys in a position to be successful. I just think the accountability piece of it and his undivided attention has really made a change.

bc.net: What are some keys to coming out with a victory on Saturday?
DW: I'm always going to put the pressure on the defense. We're going to have our hands full with this wide-open spread style. We've got to get the ball back to the offense and the offense is going to have to hold on to it and we're going to have to score some points.

Then the return game, they've got some very good returners so we're going to have to come up with a scheme to not let their return game beat us again.

This will be a pretty strategic gameplan to try to slow these guys down because they're definitely a space team offensively and in their special teams game. Hopefully we can take advantage of their defense a little bit.