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September 18, 2012

Darren McFadden

Josh Wade

Q.  So the defense had a rough night last time out.  Talk about what was it like in the locker room after?  What did you guys talk about?  What's the morale?
JOSH WADE:  A lot of defensive guys are disappointed in the lack of our execution on our half.  The offense held it up for us pretty good.
We just didn't make enough plays on third and fourth down to get them off the field.  They found a way to keep drives alive.  It was disappointing for the defensive backs especially.  We talk amongst ourselves, and we know we have to get a lot better for this week because it's going to be another challenge come this Saturday.

Q.  What did they do that was so hard to stop?  It was hard to get a pass rush on, regardless of whether you did it up front; what was it about that team that was so tough?
JOSH WADE:  The quarterback he was mobile enough to get out and keep the play alive; and then we were not getting good enough pressure on him and he was just locating guys and putting the ball right on them.  He did a really good job with that.
And then we had plenty of opportunities to get them off the field, and somehow we just didn't execute and do enough to stop drives and get them off the field.

Q.  Do you guys feel like the last weekend was kind of a step back, defenses are taking a step forward?
LEON McFADDEN:  It's a step back but at the same time we can look at the film and learn from it and put it into play this week against San Jose.  These two teams are similar and we're going to have to cover guys.  Like Josh said, in the secondary, we have talked amongst ourselves and we have come to the conclusion that, you know, no matter who we are playing, you have to pay attention to your assignments.

Q.  There from watching the film of San Jose State, I know it's still pretty early in the week, but are you expecting a more formidable challenge than last week?
LEON McFADDEN:  Yeah, they have three good receivers and a better running back and tight end, so they have more threats.
Watching the little bit of film that we have already started to watch, these guys are going to come out hungry and ready to prove a point.  They are coming off a 2‑1 record so far and barely losing to Stanford by three; so they are a pretty good team.

Q.  Talk about the first points of game, seemed like you got your defense rolling.
LEON McFADDEN:  The fake (ph) to the house, that was coming from our line up front, getting pressure on their quarterback for him to get rid of it fast.  That's all credit to them.  That's the only reason why I was able to do that. 

Q.  At which point in the game last week, did you guys go and play more of a man‑to‑man?
JOSH WADE:  Coach switched it up a lot through the game.  There was situations where he wanted to put more pressure on the quarterback and to do that we had to go play man and he found a way to complete I ball and we would go back to zone.  Some of those were working for us.  It works off and on for us throughout the game, so it was majority.
And then in the fourth quarter, we started playing a lot of zone and that last drive, we were able to get them on the field and we played a lot of both.  It was just a mixture, we mixed it up a little bit, started playing more zone towards the second half.

Q.  So that was probably working better for you guys?
JOSH WADE:  I think so, yeah.

Q.  When you know that you're a young defense and still really learning to put on a pass rush, does that put more pressure on you to make sure that if the ball does come your way, you can't get beat?
LEON McFADDEN:  Yeah, I think it does put a little bit more pressure on us, being able to stay in coverage a little bit more.  I mean, but our secondary is experienced, so I mean, we are able to handle that task.

Q.  Would you guys say you gel better after a big loss like that, or after a big win against Army?
JOSH WADE:  Oh, yeah, I mean, it's definitely confidence booster.  I mean, it was strange transition going from Army, because they ran that ball almost every play that game.
And then to come out and have North Dakota come out and throw it around the park like that.  You feel good about wins, but we have to execute and figure out another game plan for the next opponent in front of us.

Q.  How valuable was it getting the experience of game speed against a team like North Dakotagoing into San Jose State?
LEON McFADDEN:  It's definitely valuable.  It's helping us going into this next week.  Like Josh said, you're playing against somebody who runs the ball and then the next weekend, they are throwing the ball almost every other play.  I mean, especially for secondary, that's what we want people to do is throw the ball, have action.

Q.  You guys have been around college football for a while, you're pretty experienced.  Like in the last few years, do you feel like offensive skill players are faster, better and just more skilled coming into college than they were before?  Last week you guys were not the only Mountain West team that got a lot of points as a defense; do you see a switch there at all?
JOSH WADE:  I feel like the game is changing a little bit.  I think a lot of teams are wanting to throw the ball more, a lot of screen passes and a lot of one‑on‑one matchups and trying to make guys miss in the open field.  But I mean, as a secondary, you've still got to be able to make plays and confuse quarterbacks and get to where you need to be to execute.
So yeah, I think that a lot of teams are passing the ball more and more as the game changes.

Q.  So how do you guard against the secondary?  Does it go back to fundamentals?
LEON McFADDEN:  Exactly.  You said it right there.  It goes back to fundamentals.  Each opponent you play you're going to have to pay attention to fundamentals, no matter their skill level.  If you're caught slipping, the ball will find you and it will be a big play.

Q.  Would you say you guys were a little over‑confident going into the North Dakota game as a defense, the way you played the week before?
JOSH WADE:  No, I don't think we were over‑confident.  I know a lot of guys on the team are competitive and we want to perform in front of any opponent that's in front of us.
I just think that we just didn't get it done in the sense that‑‑ making plays to get them off the field and cover guys well enough.  I know guys are going to be excited this week in practice, and we have got a lot to prove.  We have got a lot of game play and stuff to get in front of us, so we are going to go out here and cover better next week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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