home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


August 27, 2012

Manny Diaz

Q.  Do you have the same energy as the players do of finally playing someone different?
MANNY DIAZ: Yeah I don't think there's a team in the country right now that isn't looking forward to hitting somebody that wears a different color jersey than what they do. You can only practice against each other for so long and you just get tired of hitting the same people; I'm sure Wyoming feels the same way.
At the same time, what the other challenge, you are going to see another program that will ask different questions of you than what you see in practice every day; that sees us in a different light and will attack us in different ways than what we get in practice.
All of that is the excitement of Game 1, the unknown. Five games into the year, you have a pretty good idea of who somebody is. But first game of the year, they can come out, who knows what type of style of offense. There's a little bit of that uncertainty that takes you out of your comfort level, and you just want to get out of there and get going.

Q. Is it about living up to the hype and about sending a message? What is it about hype?
MANNY DIAZ: We can't possibly live up to any hype, because that's something that's intangible, and how could we ever define something that is undefinable. What we'll do is we'll hold ourselves to our standard and that's something different than what we did last year, and it's nothing different than what we do week‑in, week‑out and nothing different than how we conduct ourselves in practice.
And our standard of play is something we take very seriously in our room and that's something I don't think we'll ever determine ourselves by. Because things like hype and outside inferences come and go and change week‑to‑week. If we follow that, we'll ultimately lose sight of what's important, which is the bottom line is stopping the run, being good on third down, and being good in the red zone.

Q. How can the defense be better in the opener than last year?
MANNY DIAZ: What I'm hoping is that‑‑ last year, we thought we knew what we were doing. We looked like a team that we were pretty sure about our assignments, and I hope this year we are a team that knows our assignments and that there's just a little bit more aggression last year that you saw as the year went on. We can't wait six games this year to finally let it go.
So that's really the difference this year, as opposed to last, is what I'm looking forward; I'm looking forward to a team that plays fast from the opening snap.
Now having said that, we are going against an offense that's a rule of exception. They are going to line up in empty formations, they are going to line up in unbalanced formations; they can to line up in tackle‑over formations; everything to make you, when you say, hey, let's go, you know, fire up, knock 'em back and all then of a sudden, you have to get your protractor out there and start doing calculations on where they are all at, that's by design. That's what they do. They have very creative offensive coaches. We have to balance that with what we know in applying our rules to how we know they are going to attack us.

Q. How big is the momentum you got from the Holiday Bowl last year carrying over into this year?
MANNY DIAZ: We talked even before that game, the Holiday Bowl, of that sort of being the bridge into the 2012 football season.
We talked about with the Holiday Bowl, about as sort of a practice run of how we wanted to envision this team being, because we didn't lose‑‑ we lost really important guys but overall on the team we didn't have a large senior team and we knew a lot of the guys wouldn't be coming back. So the way we prepared and conducted ourselves, I think guys took confidence from that.
What I took out and what we have been stressing, and the credit goes to the players, our players were very well prepared to play that night. I know defensively they had a great idea of how Cal was going to attack us that night.
And what we have tried to explain to them is that if we will prepare that way week‑in, week‑out, the game becomes easier. So that's really what we are trying to do. We are trying to understand that with great preparation comes great confidence.
That's where things like swagger‑‑ it's like walking into a test and where you already know the questions to the exams before the teacher hands them out. That's the type of defense we want to be.
Last year, we kind of had an idea; we thought we knew the answers to the questions, and now we want to hit the ground running from day one. We have an idea of what the answers are and ready to go attack it full speed.

Q. Inaudible.
MANNY DIAZ: I don't know, this sounds like a cop‑out, I don't know who the defensive ends are in the country to compare them to.
Certainly probably from what they accomplished I don't know if anybody as a tandem ‑‑ I don't know if anybody had a tandem they could have accomplished that, but I'm not paying attention to that type of stuff.
What we need to do is for them to play as hard as they can play and make the plays that they can make to their ability. What I need them not to do is worry about a pressure of trying to live up to that type of hype. I was in North Carolina State when Mario Williams, his last year there, and if you remember, one of the bigknocks on when Mario when he came out and Houston drafted him, he had no sacks the first six games of the season.
Well everybody knew Mario Williams was there. And they were going to find a way to not have Mario Williams sack their quarterbacks. So everybody thought Mario was having a bad first half of the season; when in reality, the other teams‑‑ they were not going to let Mario Williams run around and sack the quarterback. And as the year went on he started getting more successful and we had to do some different things schematically to get him going.
The important thing for them is to make sure that they play within our system; make the plays are that are there to be made within our system. And again the tough thing is don't listen to all the outside things that can't be defined. When we are not worried about putting on tapes and doing things any different than what we did towards‑‑ in our best games that we played at the end of the year last year. And if we do that, everything else will take care of itself.

Q. Inaudible?
MANNY DIAZ: I go for turnovers‑‑ we want to get more turnovers and touchdowns than we allow and that translates towards winning. I'm not going to beat ourselves up because we shut somebody out of our end zone and only got one turnover and we had a great day on defense. If.
We let somebody score three times on our end zone‑‑ we want to win that will help our chances of winning. I've been in it where we've had three turnoversoff line sacks; you get two, but you play, you know, lights out and you sit there and act like‑‑ inaudible‑‑ after the game. That's our deal for turnovers and that is a great challenge.
One thing that Wyoming has done since Dave Christensen has been therethe last three years‑‑ the year before he got there, there were 117th in the country in turning the ball over. That margin is in terms of how many times they gave it away.
And since he's been there now they have been in the teens every year in total turnovers including last year with a true freshman quarterback. When you consider they are an option offense where the ball is being pitched and things like that where they are putting the ball in harm's way a little bit; it's pretty astounding numbers for three years in a row to not have 20 turnovers through 12 games. That will be a big challenge for us to try to turn a team over that doesn't turn the ball over very often.

Q. What have you seenfrom ‑‑
MANNY DIAZ: We are going to find out. We have no choice. I know Jordan Hicks has provided great leadership. Jordan is ready to go. I think Jordan is ready to sort of piggyback off the performance he had in the Holiday Bowl last year. I know Demarco Cobbs is eager to get in there and play. We think very highly of what he's able to do, and Steve Edmond, as well.
Just have to go in there and do it. That's part of what this game is experience is all about. You have to go in there and play, and find out what it's like being a down for every down player, and once that happens, it just becomes easier every time there afterwards. I'm just looking forward to those guys getting in there, getting their first game under their belt and then being able to move on from there.

Q. And the freshmen‑‑
MANNY DIAZ: Freshmen we just hope that when we talk to them that they are not like looking up in the stands and counting all of the people that are looking at the JumboTron, because it is an experience.
It's hard to‑‑ you know, hard to imagine what it's like to play in front of 101,000 people for the first time. Things are going to happen really, really fast for those freshmen that first night and that's why generally speaking, the development of a college football player, what you want is your freshman's first impact to be on special teams because it's a lot easier in theory to stay in your lane on kickoff than it is to get lined up when Wyoming goes empty with four receives to the field.
So if I know that if you can't handle standing in your lane off kickoff, you probably can't handle the four wide receivers. But once you start to handle that, now I'm ready for the next thing, coach, what's the next thing. The next thing might be to block this guy on kickoff return; and then what's the next thing. That's how you start to build and ‑‑ it's no different than at work.
You have a job, you may start off in this department and prove that you're able to handle that department, they start giving you more responsibility; a football team operates in the exact same way.
Where you have problems, whether in the workplace or in a football program, when you have to hire young, new people and put them in massive roles of importance where they don't get that natural development.
We are in a position now defensively where we worked this way last year, we are more experienced in our first 11, so now, the newcomers that we feel very highly of, we can start them off in the mail room a little bit and then work them into‑‑ later on.

Q. Along those same lines, can you compare where you were a year ago?
MANNY DIAZ: As coaches? I think the biggest thing as coaches, there's no doubt it's better in terms of just being in the war together. I don't think the coaches are counting the players in the seats, I promise.
I do think having been in battles and understanding how we penetrate in that type of setting because we only get to do it 12 days a year and what we have done from January to today, that environment you get put in on game day‑‑ but the biggest thing is our relationship with the players. We understand the players more and they understand us and they know how we respond on game day and know how we act on game day and what our expectations are. And now we are past all that and we can just go hit the ground running and be ready to go.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297