bleedCrimson.net: Your overall thoughts on the win?
DeWayne Walker: It's a 'W'. I know it's kind of cliche but I thought we did some good things. The final score was 49-19 so whatever that means to anybody but it means a lot to us. I thought offensively we did some good things. We got stuck on 28 for a while and defensively when we got stuck on 28 we kind of let them ease back into it a little bit. But all in all I think the defense when we were able to get the three takeaways to allow 21 points answered by our offense, it just shows that at least after week one, we finally closed the game out the right way. I was happy to see that.
I thought our cover teams on special teams were very good. Our punter [Cayle Chapman-Brown] did a great job. I thought our kicker [Brock] Baca did a great job. There were a lot of positives and obviously there's some things that we need to correct that are correctable to get ready to try to beat a very good Ohio team.
bc.net: The punting game in particular was good in the game, your punter averaged 50.5 yards per punt. How big of an advantage or a difference was that for you guys?
DW: The kicking game, that was big. I know that was a struggle last year, especially our coverage teams struggled, our punting wasn't great, our place kicking wasn't very great so really we feel like we're much improved as a whole. We just need to continue to get better and perform at a high level on special teams.
bc.net: On the kickoffs with the touchbacks moving up to the 25 yard line this year, how big of an impact did you see with that in this first game?
DW: I think that's critical. I think we've got to tell our guys if the ball is kicked in the endzone to just take a knee and let's take it on the 25. I think in college football when guys are trying to bring the ball out two and three yards deep and they're only getting to the 15 or 16 yard line, you're losing seven, eight, nine yards versus trying to gain those yards.
bc.net: When we talked last week one of the things you were hoping to see carry over from last season was the big plays and you certainly showed you're able to hit big plays again.
DW: Those are something that Doug Martin brought to us, explosive offense and we have explosive players so that's something that hopefully continues to be a staple in our offense. We showed that on Thursday night and hopefully we can keep that going.
bc.net: Your team finished with over 100 yards rushing but you got the bulk of that late in the game. How important is it for you, especially in this game against Ohio, to get the run game going early?
DW: You've always gotta have something to work on. I know people are critical in some areas, the third quarter our offense couldn't score, our defense let them back a little bit, the running game wasn't very good. You've always gotta work on something, that's just football. The thing I like is that with six minutes left in the game I told Coach McManus, "I'll buy you a steak dinner if you can milk this clock for six minutes," and he did and that gave us a chance to milk the clock but also gave us a chance to run the ball.
You've got to look at our roster. We've got brand new players. Defensively you're talking about maybe three starters that played every game for us last year. Our offensive line [Davonte] Wallace and [Andrew] Kersten, you've got brand new running backs. It takes time to develop certain aspects of our game. When you look at our secondary, every secondary player that played last year never started a game. They never started a game. I just think it's going to take time but I think we have the right mindset and we have the right kids. This team is only going to get better.
bc.net: With the way the defense finished out the game, as a defensive coach it's got to be real pleasing for you that when the game was kind of teetering on the edge of going either way that the defense came up big with three takeaways.
DW: Yeah, when you look at it, I'm a head coach, I'm offense, defense, special teams and I'm in charge of the whole football team but I know that there's a lot of accolades are going towards the offense with the passing yards and all those good things but the defense was the reason why we closed the door on Sac State with the three takeaways. Now the offense capitalized on it but without those three takeaways you don't know how that game could have gone. That was encouraging to see our defense step up at a time that was critical for our football team.
bc.net: Who were a couple football players that really stood out to you that maybe didn't have big numbers but didn't miss any assignments or miss any plays?
DW: When you look offensively, Tiger Powell, he's a goal line runner, he gets those tough yards for us. I thought he showed some things. Jerrel Brown, he's not a big secret to me but to Aggie fans, I think this guy is a solid receiver. Those two guys in particular. They caught my eye. Defensively, I think a guy that's probably going to start for us this week, Cam Fuller. We're expecting Cam Fuller to be a good corner for us. Trashaun Nixon played a good game for us even though he got beat on the one wheel route by the running back that kind of contributed to some things in that third quarter but all-in-all he played a very good game. Those are just some guys that kind of stick out that I thought played good for us and I think these guys are going to continue to improve.
bc.net: When we talked in the offseason one of your focuses in the run game was wanting to be able to pick up first downs on the ground in short yardage situations and I think you had three or four of those in the game and were able to pick it up each time.
DW: I know we pride ourselves and I know Coach McManus prides himself in terms of toughness. We're going to get that type of toughness from our front guys on offense and our backs so we've got to be able to get those tough yards. I think it helps having Tiger Powell and Mustafa who pride themselves on having that kind of toughness.
bc.net: When you look at this Ohio game coming up on Saturday and you faced them in the opening game last year so you've had a chance to see a lot of what they do. How much of an advantage or how much help is that to you in preparing for this week?
DW: I think it helps I think we have a general idea about their football team. They have a good football team. Nobody is ever going to argue that but at the same time we think that we've improved to so I think this is going to be a great test for us to see how far we've come. We're going to this game not believing in competing, we're going in thinking that if we play our way, we have a chance to beat a very good Ohio team.
bc.net: Looking at some of the game film from the Penn State game what are some thing that stood out that are maybe a little bit different than last year?
DW: There's not a lot of difference to be honest with you. I think there's some things that they're not as good at as last year and then there's some things on tape that they're probably a little better. We're just trying to make sure we take care of our house and make sure we're ready to go.