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December 13, 2012

Adam Dingwell

Rocky Long

Dominique Sandifer

COACH ROCKY LONG:  Basically we're here to answer any questions you might have.  It's been a long time since we've played, but the game is a week away, so it's getting kinds of exciting.

Q.  Does the rain remind you of the game two years ago?
COACH ROCKY LONG:  When I got up this morning, I started worrying, it reminds me exactly how it happened two years ago.  It rained the week before the game for a couple days, then had a couple‑day break and then rained all the way up to the game, so I hope that's not a repeat.

Q.  How has practice been?  Have you started putting in your game plan?
COACH ROCKY LONG:  We practiced on Tuesday and that was the first day we actually put in game plan stuff and we are going to practice today.  So we are going to practice today and tomorrow and then Saturdays off and then Sunday we go to the hotel and start the game week preparation.

Q.  Can you talk about for your guys, a chance to play at home in front of a packed stadium?
COACH ROCKY LONG:  I heard that ticket sales are going well and if I'm not mistaken, two years ago when we played in the game against Navy, that was a record for the Bowl.  Hopefully we break that record.
But I think that our players wanted to come to this game all along.  It gives our fans a chance to see us play.  I think most everybody on our team loves San Diego, or they won't be here.  I think it's a special deal for our team to be playing in front of a home crowd.
Now, I also know how well BYU is followed.  So I'm guessing that if anybody thinks there's a home‑field advantage, I'm guessing that's going to be wrong.  I think that half that crowd will be for us and half the crowd will be for them.
I think it's a neutral site, other than we have played in that stadium more than they have, but I hope we outnumber them.  It would be really nice if we outnumber them but I've been in these games before and it's usually a 50/50 stadium.

Q.  What do you think about the environment?
COACH ROCKY LONG:  Well, I think our team plays better when there's energy in the stadium, and whenever you get a big crowd, there's a lot of energy in the stadium and I think our team plays better when there is energy there.

Q.  What have you learned about their as you have been preparing and watching film for the game?
ADAM DINGWELL:  They have a really good defense.  They are up there with the nation's best, but as an offense, we don't really focus too much on how good they are.  It's about what we can do and how well we can execute the plays that we have called.

Q.  How nice is it to be playing in a Bowl game?  It really is quite an honor and it kind of changed in the past few years, San Diego State football has really changed into a culture where you get Bowl game bids?
COACH ROCKY LONG:  I love the way you put that.  I think it's an honor an da reward for having a good year and going to a Bowl game should be a good experience.
So I mean, we want to win, but the emphasis on winning is a little bit‑‑ comes from a little bit different angle when you're in a Bowl game.  And like you said, it's been a long time before San Diego State got into a Bowl game and now this is our third straight and hopefully it's a habit that everybody considers everybody year it's going to be a Bowl year.  I mean, that's our plan.

Q.  Not to get too far ahead, but you've had a chance to see some of the younger players who did not get as much practice time.  What did you learn about next year's team in the last couple of weeks?
COACH ROCKY LONG:  We have some very talented young players, but they have got a long way to go.

Q.  It looks like BYU sort of struggled offensively all year.  What do you see out of their offense?  They haven't really put up a whole lot of points.
COACH ROCKY LONG:  I think they are really good on offense.  I just think that people try to compare them back to the years that BYU threw the ball 50 times a game.  They are not that kind of offense anymore.
They are more of a pro‑style offense where they want to try to run the ball and use play‑action pass.  Their quarterbacks are really good athletes that scramble around and use their feet.  I think people are comparing them with the years‑‑ BYU was one of the very first programs to line up and spread you out and throw it around the ballpark and threw it 50, 60 times.
I think they are very good on offense.  People that say that are just people that are not used to‑‑ or they are used to seeing what it was in the past.  I think that they play offense to their defense, because their defense is one of the top ranked defenses in the country, so a smart coach will have the offense tailored to the strength of the defense.

Q.  How excited are you for the things that go along with the Bowl game, Sea World and the luncheons and stuff, and how do you balance getting ready for the game and making sure you're concentrating on football?
DOMINIQUE SANDIFER:  All of that is a privilege and all of that is an honor.  It's fun and it's exciting for the team and a reward for the season we had, but at the same time we are all still focused on the game and that's the main objective.

Q.  Is it hard to get focused after having so much time off or is it really easy to refocus because it is a Bowl game?
DOMINIQUE SANDIFER:  No, it's not hard to get focused.  I guess we took that bye week off and as Coach said before, we came out slow.  But the main thing is for the seniors to keep energy in practice and we have been out there practicing, hitting each other, going aggressive, being fast, so I think we are pretty focused and I think we'll be ready.

Q.  Can you talk about your offense is so well rounded and you've had so much success, the challenges of going against a BYU defense?
ADAM DINGWELL:  They have a really good run defense, and their pass coverage is pretty well, too.
But like I said earlier, it's not really about how good they are at defense and run stop and other things like that.  It's about us being able to run the ball when we want to and being able to throw the ball when we want to.
So that's kind of what we are focused on and you know, I think we'll have a good game plan.  The coaches are working hard, we're working hard and we are just ready to get out there and go play.

Q.  Is Chase going to be used pretty much the same way?
COACH ROCKY LONG:  The plan going in was to use Chase the same way, him and Adam alternating like Walter did.  Yeah that's the plan going in.

Q.  Does he do similar things to what Walter did?
COACH ROCKY LONG:  Chase has his own talents.  He doesn't have the experiences Walter has, but he's a guy that's got some quickness, can make people miss.  And now he's short like Walt, and he's compact and strong (laughter), so hopefully he'll be just as hard to tackle.

Q.  I asked Steve the same question, moving forward and big picture of college sports, do you think it's more important to attach yourself to a name or power conference, or with schools that fit with what you are trying to do athletically?
COACH ROCKY LONG:  Well, I think I've mentioned this before.  I think the Division I college football is going to five or six major conferences and they are going to have a tournament and I think it's going to happen real soon.
So you have to be associated with one of those conferences or associated with those kind of teams to be considered to go into that mix.  Here, we want to be able to play for a conference championship, as well as a National Championship.  And the only way‑‑ in my opinion, the only way to do that is to be associated with those leagues that are going to be in that tournament.

Q.  What do you think those leagues will be?
COACH ROCKY LONG:  I think they are developing as we speak, and I think it's not over yet.  I think there's going to be a lot of teams moving around over the next two or three years before they get to the tournament.
I even saw‑‑ not next year, but the year after‑‑ or is it next year, they are going to four teams?  And ESPN the other day, they had a mock‑up of if it was this year, a 12‑team tournament and as soon as TV starts talking that way, guess what, it's getting ready to happen.

Q.  Are you concerned that the basketball might pull out of the league‑‑
COACH ROCKY LONG:  I don't think that has anything to do with football.

Q.  Do you think that affects the stability of the Big East core football?
COACH ROCKY LONG:  I don't know if it will or not.  When I say those conferences are going to be in the tournament, they are going to break off to five or six super conferences and be in a tournament, I think it's going to be all football related, because basketball already has a tournament.

Q.  How do you think your program would fare if you played in the Pac 12 right now?
COACH ROCKY LONG:  This year's team?  I think we would be just fine.  I think we would be in a Bowl game.  I don't know if we would be playing for the National Championship, but I bet you we would be in a Bowl game and have a winning record.

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