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SAN DIEGO STATE UNIVERSITY MEDIA CONFERENCE


August 6, 2012


Nat Berhe

Gavin Escobar

Jake Fely

Alec Johnson

Colin Lockett

Leon McFadden


Q.¬† Talk about the off‑season workout program, but all accounts it's been pretty tough.
LEON McFADDEN:¬† We brought back a program that we came back faster stronger than we've ever been.¬† He brought back some old things that Coach left with but it's helped us in the off‑season both in the weight room and on the field.¬† Everything he does is all explosiveness and we are going to be good this year.

Q.¬† To be as good as you were last year‑‑ do you think you're better than you're going to be‑‑
JAKE FELY:  I think there's always going to be opinions from everybody else that we are going to be the underdog, because we are San Diego State and we are supposed to be underdogs.
This year we are going to be out with a bang and everybody is just going to feel for us to do better on the field.¬† Just because people were thinking that we are lower than nine out of ten of the conference teams but really I think we are above that and that's going to influence us to do better on the field and also in the film room so we can get smarter.¬† So I feel like we are better than‑‑ (commercial).

Q.  Rocky said that you guys would be one of the strongest positions on the team or deepest, what are your thoughts on that?
JAKE FELY:  We do definitely have a lot of depth on our linebacker core but our main focus, we have a new linebacker coach, so I'm thinking that he's going to help us out to get better and to take the leadership that Miles left.  Since Miles left he was a big part of our linebacker core and he was a good leader, so if having a new coach in there is going to help influence us to get better and to help the team and help our defense.

Q.  As the top returning tackler on this team, do you feel like you have bigger responsibilities in terms of leadership or what does that mean?
NAT BERHE:  I think it just adds more pressure to perform.  But you know, the great ones rise to the challenge of being able to be leading tackler, again, and again.
So not too worried about it.  Just see it as a stat and that's about it.

Q.  How much more comfortable are you guys with Rocky's defense and how much of a factor do you think that will be this year playing this style?
LEON McFADDEN:¬† 3‑3‑5 defense is a hard defense to learn.¬† It takes about two to three years to actually understand the scheme and understand where everybody goes.
So this year we should go into this year knowing this defense better than we have in this past year, and it's a defense where all 11 hitters are on the ball and you really have to pay attention to your position and knowing what your assignment is.

Q.  What makes it so hard to learn?
LEON McFADDEN:  Playing with an extra DB on the field, he needs to know where he needs to go at all time, so he has to be able to cover somebody in the slot and that takes a lot of skill.

Q.  Coming in as a group together, is this the year you take a step forward in terms of taking a step forward as an Aztec?
JAKE FELY:¬† Everybody is going to think thatwe came from a school that ‑‑ (commercial)¬† it's about San Diego State.¬† No, we are all about trying to win here and bring a winning record here, winning all the time, a winning season and just winning all the time.¬† That's what I want to bring here.¬† Even though we are from Oceanside, people are all going to think I'm Oceanside, but I'm San Diego State now and that's where I want to be from.

Q.¬† On the Carl Weathers thing, when a team finds out that a well‑known guy played in the program, what does that do for you guys as players?¬† Is it simply more pride in the program or does it get you a little bit more revved up to play?¬† What do you think the impact of that is?
LEON McFADDEN:  You said it right there.  It gives all of us a little bit more pride in taking more time to learn about the history of the program; knowing that you're playing for something much bigger than yourself, and that's what it all comes down to.

Q.  Coach talked about obviously the defensive line is a little bit young; is there some sense of wanting to pick those guys up, and how will you do that from a leadership standpoint?
LEON McFADDEN:¬† The young guys know, it's all about competing and nobody has a set spot.¬† All of the young guys that are filling in, Arias (ph), Dontrell, all of those guys are competing for that No.1 spot.¬† And that's all it comes down to and at the end of the fall, we know who will be our starting D‑Line.

Q.  How about you, Leon?
LEON McFADDEN:  Hopefully after the fall I'll be starting on September 1.

Q.  Burning hot topic of the day is:  Who is Carl Weathers?
ALEC JOHNSON:  He's Apollo Creed in Rocky.  We learned that in the team meeting the other day.  Some of the younger guys didn't know it.

Q.  Who knew it?
ALEC JOHNSON:   Cody Galea on defense knew it.  He was the one that got asked.

Q.  How do you go through high school without seeing Rocky?
ALEC JOHNSON:  Younger generation.  Just not our thing.  (Laughter) I guess is the only answer I have.  I didn't see it until I was older.  But yeah.

Q.  What does it do for you mentally or why do you think Coach talked about him?  What does it do for the team in regards to planning out?
ALEC JOHNSON:  It's important to now our history and tradition here and important to know that people have come through these halls and just respect the past, past Aztecs, and I think that's important.  Coach wanted us to stress the importance on that.

Q.  Colin, obviously you were on the other side of the ball at one time; from your perspective, having played in the Mountain West, how far has Leon come?
COLIN LOCKETT:  I remember when we were getting recruited Leon was on my recruiting trip and me and him bonded really well, got on very nice our first year.  I think we were weight lifting partners.  Leon has come a long way.  He has come a long way as everybody else.
Leon when he started out, he was starting out basically since his freshman year and I feel like he's the most complete out of all of the corners that I've seen.  He has it all.  He has the competitive aspect, the speed, jumps high.  You guys interview him and he's great at that, too.  Leon has come real far, and he's definitely going to make an impact now and even at the next level.

Q.  Inaudible. 
COLIN LOCKETT:  I feel like competition, and here, he has it all.  A couple of things he has to work on but as far as the whole thing that you need to have as a corner is the confidence.  Leon has got it looking left and right, and the next play he'll knock one down and the next one he'll pick it off and take it the distance.  That's the best thing about Leon; his competitiveness and the way he can forget about a play and bounce back within seconds and then make an impact for the team.

Q.  How has that affected you?
GAVIN ESCOBAR:¬† He's got me better ever since I made the switch.¬† I feel like I was‑‑ I wanted to still play defense but then when I made the switch, I was like, you know what, this is going to be best for the team and he helped me get better.
In the off‑season we were working out and doing stuff‑‑ say our work outs at the beach and stuff like that but he helped me get better as a total wide receiver and I feel like that's going to help me help the team playing against one of the corners I've played against.

Q.¬† The old clich√©‑‑
GAVIN ESCOBAR:  I just got recruited as a corner.  Most teams recruited me as a corner and that's just how everybody else saw me was as a corner but I have a history of playing wide receiver in high school.  I came here and they put me on that side of the ball and plus we had depth at wide receiver with Vincent DeMarco (ph) and all those guys and I felt like they just put me there for the time being and saw that I guess I would have had a better career in wide receiver.  So that's where the switch came from.

Q.  We have this complete reversal on wide receiver now with this class, with this group, how do you look at it now compared to last year?
GAVIN ESCOBAR:  I see across the board, you know, five, six receivers that can all make an impact this year.  We have got tall guys.  We have got short, shifty guys.  We have got fast guys.  We have got, you know, guys that you can stretch and guys that you can block.  It's a total, complete whole as a wide receiver group; you have the tall, the short and I feel like that's going to be the most important thing that we have depth.
We didn't have as much depth last year and we didn't have the experience at all last year.  Denso I think had four plays or five catches or something like that, and so now we have got the experience with me and Denso, and even Osmond Nicholas and Nikos (ph) coming back from the injury and he was the third receiver with Vincent Demarco.
So we have got the experience like I said, and we have got all the tools to be one of the best wide receiving course in the nation.

Q.  How do you improve upon what you've done the first couple of years? 
COLIN LOCKETT:  Our goal is just to keep getting better every day.  I know personally I have to focus on my run blocking, I'll be working on that in camp and keep working on my route running.

Q.  Do you have any thoughts on what Katz showed you as quarterback?
COLIN LOCKETT:  He brings a lot to the offense.  He's a bit more mobile than the previous quarterback and he can get out of the pocket and check he can and he also has good arm strength to throw it downfield. 

Q.  How does he differ from Ryan in how he delivers the ball?
COLIN LOCKETT:  Well, you know, you can't replace Ryan's arm.  He's got an arm, obviously NFL arm and Katz has a good arm, too, but he's just more mobile and he can create plays and make them longer and get out of the pocket and just make plays go longer with the scramble and everything.
ALEC JOHNSON:  I would say Katz is mobile.  It's hard to compare Lindley and Katz.  It's something that you can't do.  But I've been impressed with what Katz has done in spring and we'll see.  I'm excited to see what he does in camp.

Q.  Has he shown already that he is an experienced guy?
ALEC JOHNSON:  It's something you feel.  It's kind of an aura that you just feel he has confidence and experience, something that comes when you're a senior and you have some experience at the position.  So, yeah, you definitely feel that.

Q.  Getting more mobile and keeping plays alive longer than Ryan does, how does that change for you?
ALEC JOHNSON:  Not really, I'm just blocking as long as I can.  I don't look back and see if the quarterback is throwing the ball or anything.  I'm just blocking as long as I can.

Q.  Talk about the young offensive line, what are your thoughts about how guys are going to be able to transition?
ALEC JOHNSON:  I think we'll be fine.  I think we have experience.  Colquitt (ph), he's been playing and he has experience in another spot but it's pretty similar, tight end, tackle, or fairly similar positions.  You're still blocking a lot at tight end.
I think we'll be fine.¬† Experience I don't think is going to be an issue.¬† We have‑‑ me and Nick coming back and have some pretty good experience there and Billy, the right tackle, we'll see.¬†¬† So I think we'll be fine.¬† I think we have enough experience.

Q.  Coach also said that offensive players are smarter than defensive players.
ALEC JOHNSON:   Numbers don't lie.  (Laughter) numbers don't lie.

Q.  The last three guys didn't agree with you.
ALEC JOHNSON:  Hey, numbers don't lie.  (Laughter).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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