Head coach Todd Graham
On Taylor Kelly’s improvement from last year:
"I think he’s much more mature and he has a lot more of a mastery of what we’re doing."
On the team's performance:
"I was really proud of our team. I was really proud of our guys. We talked specifically about what we were trying to do: 100 percent ball security. We wanted four takeaways and we wanted zero penalties. I think they did a real good job and obviously dominated a team we should dominate."
On Taylor Kelly as a leader:
Taylor is a heck of a quarterback and a heck of a leader. You can see how comfortable he feels in the pocket and operating our system. Tonight you can see there’s a lot more people to spread that ball around to. I’ve got a lot of confidence and I know we have a very good offense. I know we got a chance to win a championship because we have a championship-caliber quarterback.
On the team’s pace of play:
You know, I thought we played slow. I thought from what we’ve played in practice, I thought we were playing slow. I don’t know what it was, but we’ll figure it all out. I thought we were kind of sluggish. We’ve gone a lot faster than that in practice.
On Kelly and team’s progression:
I think he’s gotten a lot better. You know, I think every one of our guys has gotten a lot better. It’s one game, but we need to stay focused and stay humble. I’m fired up that we got the Big 10 champion coming in. I was very, very excited about our students tonight. I think that was the most that has ever attended a game. They were packed in there and I was really, really fired up about that. This place is going to be rocking next week and our guys are looking forward to it.
On expectations for the season:
"I don’t think I could’ve had it go any better than what it did. I like the fact that we got challenged a bit in that first drive. One of the things I wanted to do was be dominant in the rush defense. We gave up a few passes I didn’t like, but I‘d rather be stopping that run. The biggest thing that I was encouraged with tonight was the discipline. I’m hearing our guys coach each other."
On the Tillman Tunnel renovations:
I love taking the field with the guys. It’s a great atmosphere coming through the Tillman Tunnel. It’s been renovated. It’s pretty awesome. It’s pretty neat standing there and it’s got Pat’s life-size picture. It looks like he’s taking the field with us and the guys are banging on that gate. It’s pretty cool and pretty intense. I have to kind of take a deep breath and remind myself that I’m not the one playing.
On the receivers:
"Jaelen is a big, physical guy who can go up and get the ball. He gives us a nice target out there. He’s learning, so he’s only going to get better. Obviously, Rick did some good things and Kevin is the leader of that group. D.J. is obviously very, very versatile, so we got a lot of weapons. We just got to continue to get better. I think our receiving core is what I thought it was."
On the freshmen class:
"I am 100 percent committed to 2013. We got to be smart about what we’re doing. We got a lot of quality players in that freshmen class and there’s no way we’re going to redshirt all of them. We’re just trying to be smart about it. We’re just cautious with that."
On the first Sacramento State drive:
"I was kind of mad. I was trying to figure out a way to stop them, so that’s about it. We were supposed to be down, but we were off. It was little things like that that were giving them first downs that we don’t usually give up."
Quarterback Taylor Kelly
On comfort this year vs. last year:
“I felt a lot more comfortable with the offense and the players. The offensive line did a great job tonight, giving me the ability to get some time back there and get it to my playmakers. So we just got to be able to improve on the running game, I think, and just get that going for next week.”
On hitting eight receivers in first half, thoughts on working with more weapons:
“Yeah, you know we had weapons all across the field. They were always getting open. Chris (Coyle) and Rick (Richard) Smith, and Jaelen (Strong) and DJ (Foster) they’re great playmakers and I trust what they see and they find great windows for me.”
On zone reads and wide open plays up the middle:
“It’s hard on a defense to stop what we do. They can’t be right if your read is correct. I’m just keying one guy and if he comes up for the run then we have a pass behind him. If he drops back then we have great running backs to run the ball at him. It’s hard, and the thing we got up from up top and (Offensive Coordinator) Coach Norvell and just what they were doing tonight.”
Tight End Chris Coyle
Biggest difference in Kelly this year:
“Truly, it’s his confidence. It’s his second year in the system. It’s a tough system to play in, we have a lot of different looks, a lot of different formations, and different moving parts every single play. One play could have five different looks that we can give to the defense. So, the biggest thing is that he understands the playbook. Like you said, we got more weapons now so he’s comfortable with spreading the ball out and it’s going to make it so the defenses can’t key on any one of us and he did a great job of spreading it out tonight.
Zone reads and wide open plays up the middle:
“I think one of the biggest things that can help us is that we really focus on running the ball and we really focus on being physical. So what that does is bring the defense in and we’ll get one of those guys biting up, stepping up on the play, and it’ll allow us to take a step and then get vertical and we’ll just blow right past them.”
Sacramento State head coach Marshall Sperbeck
On missing the field goal to start the game:
"Well you know we missed a good opportunity there to start the game off on a good note. We didn't convert and we did struggle for the most of the night. That would be an understatement."
On how the missed field goal affected the momentum:
"I don't know, could have, would have, should have, right? The bottom line is that we need to do a better job on executing and our field goal team. We had two blocks in our first game, the block tonight, so that's something we're obviously not doing a very good job with.
On being held scoreless for two games:
"It means that we're not executing very well. We've gone against two very good teams and that's frustrating. You're playing against different teams who are very good on defense and it's a hard go at it."
On what went well on the first drive:
"We executed well, made some key third down plays and converted on third down. I think we had three third down conversions on that first drive so we had a good rhythm going and then it stalled out and we didn't make the field goal. But it's a long game and that's just one possession, you have to be able to bounce back and have more of those types of possessions. You know last week we had four possessions with 13 play drivers or more and we didn't score there either. We just need to be better in the red zone and make our field goals."