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September 27, 2014

Rocky Long

Donnel Pumphrey

UNLV – 17

COACH LONG:  I'm happy and excited for our team.  I thought they went out and played hard and executed well enough to win a game.

In this day and age, when the talent level is pretty equal, it is extremely hard to win a football game.  And anytime you can win a football game you've got to enjoy it and be happy, and I hope they're happy, and I'm proud of them for playing that way.  And we'll get next time out we'll give it our best shot then, too.

Q.  D.J., congrats on the game.  Seeing this game, was it set up for you to control the defense, how they ran, how did you feel about what you did tonight, what the team did tonight, kind of given what they were probably going to give you?
DONNEL PUMPHREY:  I felt overall we played well and their defense, they played well as well.  But we‑‑ our offensive line controlled the line the whole game, and they were able to open up holes.  And I was able to get through and we controlled the game.

Q.  (Question off microphone).
COACH LONG:  I thought it was.  I thought the ability to run the ball made the pass protection better.  I mean, you can't run up the field if you've got guys like Pump and our other running backs that can make them miss in a hole.
If you start running up the field and open up seams for them, makes the running game better.  You have to play at the line of scrimmage a lot more.  You don't get to push up the field as much.  And the first sack of the game, we had a mistake on protection.  The center went the wrong way.  But other than that, I thought they protected the quarterback pretty well.

Q.  (Question off microphone).
COACH LONG:  Quinn's getting treatment by the doctors right now.  So I don't know complete status.  But if they would have scored when he went down and we punted, if they would have scored that series, he would have gone back in the game.  He would've been fine but is since they didn't score we decided to take him out, precautionary measures.

Q.  Looking at his shoulder?
COACH LONG:  Yeah, looking at his shoulder.

Q.  I think at the end of the third quarter or somewhere around there you had 200 yards passing, 200 yards rushing.
COACH LONG:  That's pretty balanced, huh?  That was by design.  We're such good coaches, we did it exactly that way.

Q.  Just exactly.  That's a good number.  Nice number.  As a coach do you like seeing that?
COACH LONG:  Our team is based on our offense being 50/50.  But every game situation determines what you do.  If you're behind by a couple of touchdowns, guess what, you don't run it as much, you throw it more.
If you're ahead by a couple of touchdowns, you run it more, you don't throw it as much, if you're trying to be a 50/50 team.  And I'm sure they came in the game because they kind of showed it, they wanted to run it and then try to throw it over the top of us.
And by the fourth quarter, I didn't see any running plays except the quarterback scramble and running with it.  I didn't see any other running plays until about halfway through the third quarter.

Q.  Were you surprised with the personnel that they ended up playing with (indiscernible)?
COACH LONG:  The only surprise was when I saw an injury list of 31 guys, all of them played but one, I think.

Q.  Davis‑‑
COACH LONG:  That's the one.  All those other receivers were out there.

Q.  Do you think that's gamesmanship?
COACH LONG:  No, I think when they put out a list like that, they don't know.  And they listed him as‑‑ it's like pros, he's out, he's doubtful, he's probable.  I don't know what all those classifications are.  But they didn't say they weren't playing.  They just said there was a possibility they weren't going to play.  So that's easy.  I think Tom Brady is that way every week at New England.

Q.  Did you see anything different from D.J. than you normally see?
COACH LONG:  When I call defenses in practice he does that to us, too, and that kind of makes me mad.  When he does it to the other team, it makes me happy.
So the way he runs his‑‑ what you saw is what he is.  He's good.  And I'm not trying to pump him up, because we don't do that in our program.  (Laughter).  What's amazing is how hard he runs between the tackles.
If he weighed 230 pounds, a bunch of them would be in the hospital.  But since he only weighsone ‑‑
COACH LONG:  He doesn't knock them backwards.  But he runs it up in there hard.

Q.  What do you think you saw from your receivers tonight?
COACH LONG:  I thought our young receivers made improvement.  I thought they went up and got the ball couple three times to make the quarterback look good like we talked about earlier in the week.  That's the receiver's job to go up, get the ball and make the quarterback look good.  I think they did that a few times.
I thought that‑‑ I didn't see it all, but I thought they blocked really well on the perimeter when we ran toss sweeps.
So we got around the corner and Pump got to outrun some people.  And I thought they blocked really well on the perimeter.  I'm sure when I watched the film they made some mistakes, though.

Q.  Getting further in the game, is that due to need, in terms of your need in receiver position?
COACH LONG:  No, we have some receivers‑‑ obviously Ezell's not playing.  We have some other receivers that are banged up and beat up.  We don't redshirt anybody until the end of the year anyway.  So we needed receivers if they would play good, and he plays well in practice.  So he got to play tonight.

Q.  Pretty significant drive at the end of the game or end of the half.  Could you guys kind of sat on the ball there and go into halftime, pass the ball up (indiscernible), to get it down there?  Talk about weighing going for it versus sitting on it at that point.
COACH LONG:  Our offense was moving the ball well at that point.  And we had enough time in timeouts.  We had enough time to move it down the field if you can get one or two plays with some chunks.  That's what we did.  A couple of pass plays.
Lloyd Mills went up, that's one of those plays I'm talking about.  Quinn put it up there where the DB and receiver could go get it.  And Lloyd went and got it.  Of course, if the receiver bumps into him, it's an interference call.
I tell you what, I'd hate to be a DB playing now, I'd hate it.  They don't let them play football anymore.

Q.  What did you think about Casey's three PIs?
COACH LONG:  We've got to learn not to do that.  Because that's the way they're going to call it now.  I mean I think it's ridiculous, but that's the way they're going to call it.
And if you looked at‑‑ I think they got one, too, and the next play we ran an out over there and their DB was so afraid to even come close to the receiver.  It was like it was in practice.  I mean, I don't know what DBs are supposed to do.  They're supposed to let them catch it and go "oh shucks"?  I mean, I don't know.

Q.  Do you guys‑‑ in coverage situations, the guy chasing, this happened with Casey last game, where they're up, where they never turn the ball, where a guy doesn't turn the ball.  Do you coach them not to turn the football‑‑
COACH LONG:  No.  You want the fundamentals of it?  Because I used to play out there.  You want the fundamentals?
The fundamentals, if you're chasing a guy, the only way to catch up to the guy is when he turns and looks for the ball.  And you will gain one or two or three steps before the ball gets there.  So your eyes go to his hands, and when his hands, you see his hands grab the ball then you reach up and knock it out of his hands.
If you're running stride for stride with the guy or got the guy pretty well covered, now you put your shoulder in and you turn and look for the ball.  So it depends on where you are on the receiver.  And I thought that one, if you were back at Oregon State, I thought that was a great play.
By the old standards that wouldn't have been interference.  They want the receivers to be able to catch the ball and maybe let us tackle them.

Q.  (Question off microphone) interception, couple of DBs.  In the rotation, do you consider those are basically (indiscernible)?
COACH LONG:  We rotate Billy and Damontae and JJ rotate.  I thought Billy really played well.  I thought if you want a big play, I thought that was the biggest play of the game, when he intercepted the ball in the end zone.

Q.  Was that his coverage?
COACH LONG:  That was a form of his coverage.  You sit in the flat, make them think you've got the guy covered in the flat.  When they throw the corner route you go back there, intercept it.  Sometimes you don't get back there and intercept it.  No, he played it well.

Q.  Was it your call?  That was your call?
COACH LONG:  No, that's the coverage that was called.  And he executed it well, yeah.

Q.  And (indiscernible) the sickness, did you‑‑
COACH LONG:  Found out last night, 4:00.  He had an appendix.  Had to be operated at noon today.

Q.  (Question off microphone).
COACH LONG:  I thought the linebackers played pretty well.  We had did Damontae Davis in there too, junior college guy that hadn't played much.  But he was in there quite a bit too.  We heard at 4:00last night he got sick and had to take him to the hospital.  I think that's a three‑ to four‑week deal.

Q.  4:00a.m.?
COACH LONG:  4:00a.m. yes.

Q.  Three‑‑
COACH LONG:  Three‑ or four‑week deal.  I shouldn't say that.  I'm not a doctor and they haven't told me that.

Q.  D.J., the pass?
DONNEL PUMPHREY:  We called 13 low pass and Brunskill is supposed to be in the corner of the end zone and I was rolling out and I was looking for him.  And I could have walked in the end zone, but I threw the pass and it was incomplete.  But we were able to score the next play.

Q.  A passing touchdown?
DONNEL PUMPHREY:  Yeah, I guess.

Q.  You looked like you wanted it awfully bad, not just walking in the corner?
DONNEL PUMPHREY:  I didn't even pay attention to see that I was wide open for the touchdown.  He had been blocking all day.  I felt he deserved a touchdown as well.

Q.  (Question off microphone).
COACH LONG:  I am now.  (Laughter) but even quarterbacks, when you have sprint‑outs with quarterbacks, the ones that aren't natural runners, they always throw it, too, when nobody's there either.  But sprint‑out passes, it's supposed to have an option.
If nobody's there, you're supposed to run for it because that's safer than throwing it, right?  But a lot of quarterbacks do that.  Unless they're runners then they look to run.  Sometimes they run too often.

Q.  When was the last time you had four touchdowns before halftime?
DONNEL PUMPHREY:  High school, my senior year.

Q.  When was the last time you passed‑‑
DONNEL PUMPHREY:  Probably Pop Warner.

Q.  Did you ever throw a touchdown pass?
DONNEL PUMPHREY:  No, I don't think so.

Q.  What's the mom and Lili on your face, anything special for the game?
DONNEL PUMPHREY:  No, my mom she was able to come out.  And Lili, that's my daughter.

Q.  Is your daughter here, too?
DONNEL PUMPHREY:  No, she wasn't able to make it.

Q.  Seemed like the quarterback effort, when drops back, seems like he's looking around for extra seconds back there.  Do you feel‑‑ was that by design?  Were you trying to contain him back there?
COACH LONG:  No, I think you have to give him credit.  No, we rushed most of the time four guys.  We didn't rush any more than four to try to give our DBs help on crossing routes and those kind of things and hopefully the linebackers that were zoning up could run him down when he broke containment.  Because he does that to everybody.  He's really a good athlete.  He's very illusive.  He's fast.
So the rush was supposed to keep him in there.  But if you watch every single film he gets out of there.  You have to have somebody to go run him down when he comes out.

Q.  (Question off microphone).
COACH LONG:  No, we didn't spy.  But we would drop, in man coverage we'd drop two linebackers in zones and they were supposed to come get him if he broke contain.

Q.  Beyond the win, how much improvement did you see?
COACH LONG:  From last week?

Q.  Really from‑‑
COACH LONG:  I think the biggest improvement I saw was the wide receivers.  I thought the offensive line played better than they did last week.  But you've heard me talk.  I think our offensive line is very talented and they're big and strong.  They ought to play like that.
I thought‑‑ we're really young and beat up at wide receiver.  There's some guys playing that are kind of beat up, too, and those guys have to step forward for us to have a chance.
We've got a good running game, but as you saw late in the game, they can put nine or ten guys, if you're not going to throw it, they can put nine or ten guys up there, then it's really hard to run.

Q.  (Question off microphone).
COACH LONG:  Mostly.  If you've played to this point and played quite a few snaps nobody's full speed.

Q.  How about defensively, where do you feel‑‑
COACH LONG:  We're okay.  I thought we gave up a couple of long passes tonight that I wish we wouldn't have.  But otherwise I thought the defense played well.  He scrambled out of there late in the game and got some rushing yardage, because in college it counts as rushing yardage.  In the pros it counts against the pass or something.
He got some yards rushing the ball which was‑‑ so that I don't know the stats, I'd see individual stats here.

Q.  I think that 360 some yards passing, is that to be expected given how much they had passed?
COACH LONG:  No.  I think that the two long passes made that yardage bigger than it should have been.  It should have been 270 or something like that.  But you give up a couple real long ones and you get three or four interference calls, it seems like 700 yards passing.

Q.  I know you credited other guys around you with the running game.  But how much of a thrill is it to have a special night like this to be able to score?
DONNEL PUMPHREY:  It's actually a blessing that I was able to get to the holes and make guys miss.  So overall I felt like the offense played a great game.

Q.  (Question off microphone).
DONNEL PUMPHREY:  It was actually a power design play and it was a check.  But he was looking for the bubble route and the receiver didn't run a bubble route.  So he ended up just handing it off.  And it was fortunate that it was wide open.
COACH LONG:  Gotta get lucky once in a while.

Q.  D.J., how many of your college games has your mom been to?  I know she's seen high school.
DONNEL PUMPHREY:  She's been to every home game since last year.

Q.  Coach, Meredith, any update, went to the locker room?
COACH LONG:  AC strain.  He went into the locker room, checked it out, made sure it wasn't serious.  He went back in the game.  It's not anything to do with the operation that he had on his shoulder.

Q.  (Question off microphone).
COACH LONG:  Eric Judge hurt himself in practice Thursday.

Q.  Can't say for sure?
COACH LONG:  No, it was his knee.  He should be fine.  It just got sore and it was stiff today so he didn't play.

Q.  The last offensive drive (indiscernible), first off that first play, completion (indiscernible), whether or not that play is successful (indiscernible).
COACH LONG:  No, we thought we had enough time with the timeouts to take it down and score if we got a couple of big chunks in there somewhere.
The pass that Lloyd Mills gave us a chance to score a touchdown rather than a field goal, if that's what you're asking.  But no, we thought we could score with the amount of time that was left on the clock and having all the timeouts.

Q.  (Question off microphone).
COACH LONG:  Yeah.  I think probably exceeded our expectations, since he's playing as a true freshman he's probably exceeded.  Now some of that has to do with injuries, too.  They're getting an opportunity they might not have gotten otherwise.  But if they get an opportunity and they play well, they need a pat on the back.

Q.  (Question off microphone).
COACH LONG:  I think he's a great athlete.  I think he's going to be an excellent wide receiver.

Q.  How did Quinn play?
COACH LONG:  I thought Quinn played well.  I only saw two throws that I didn't think were very good.

Q.  Both were near interceptions?
COACH LONG:  Both were near interceptions.  Both guys were open and he underthrew.  He underthrew the fullback in the flat.  And he didn't put an outroute far enough outside and there was a linebacker between him and the outroute.  We actually caught the pass.  And Hazely caught it.

Q.  But you thought in general?
COACH LONG:  Otherwise I thought he played well.

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