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December 16, 2017

Mike Bobo

Nick Stevens

Evan Colorito

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Marshall - 31, Colorado State - 28

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Evan Colorito, Coach Bobo, Nick Stevens.

Questions, please.

Q. Mike, I'm sure you'll lodge your team's resilience and perseverance. Specifically, the big plays, four of which just absolutely killed you tonight. This game basically distilled down to four plays.
MIKE BOBO: Yeah, it's pretty much a microcosm of our season. Played pretty good at times, then giving up big plays, explosive plays for touchdowns. Those kill you defensively.

Offenses are good now a days. They do a lot of stuff. They're going to get yards at times. You can't give up explosives for touchdowns. That was disappointing.

But I thought our defense, you know, continued to play. They made plays. They put us in position, put our offense in position a couple times with turnovers, then we couldn't capitalize on offense.

The flipside, Marshall's four explosive plays, we had maybe two or three, but we had a number of opportunities for explosive plays in the game. We were not able to complete any of them or connect.

Like an old coach told me a long time ago: Open don't count. You got to execute, got to hit it, run the right route.

You have to give Marshall credit defensively. They were not going to sit there and let us do what we have usually done on offense. They were going to force the issue. They made the quarterback a little bit uncomfortable. That's what you want to do. Might not sack him all the time. I don't know how many times we got sacked, three or four, but the number of hits Nick took at times, it takes its toll on the quarterback.

They didn't shy away from our scheme. We're going to blitz, bring six, seven, sometimes they brought eight, which created one-on-one opportunities. A lot of times those are lower-percentage shots when you throw them down the field.

Q. Nick, did you expect them to be that feast or famine with their defensive scheme?
NICK STEVENS: I think we saw that a lot in third down. But they definitely brought a lot more than we saw in the film. I think we still had a good game plan for it. When they do that, you have to take shots, like coach said, one-on-one stuff. Got to get out quick. We just didn't execute in those situations.

MIKE BOBO: They've been a big blitz team on first and second down. But it had been a fire zone type deal, more run blitzes. When we got in our 11 personnel, they used their third down package, played a lot of man. Credit to them. They were doubling Mike, running a guy out under Mike. Really good game plan.

We had our chances. When you play like that, it's feast or famine. If you hit some of those balls, it could be a different story, but we didn't. You got to give those guys credit.

Q. Mike, how big of a loss was not having Trae Moxley in there tonight?
MIKE BOBO: This is probably his first year that he had been a regular starter for us. I thought as the season went, he had played exceptionally well for us. He's a big man. When teams run a lot of blitzes, he is able to set walls on the backside and dent the defense. We weren't able to set any walls against anybody tonight.

You got to give them credit. They were moving up front. Usually when teams move against us and blitz, we're able to set some walls against them offensively and divide the defense. We weren't able to do that tonight.

Like I said going into the game, that's a very good defense. They've got good team speed. You saw them run us down a couple times on the outside runs. They were able to close quickly defensively. Then in passing situations, they were going to make us make a decision in probably two seconds or less every snap.

Q. Nick, there were some times where you had better protection, but still went long on some long shots. Were you a little rusty from four weeks layoff?
NICK STEVENS: No, I feel like we've had good weeks of preparation, good practices. I felt like I've been throwing the ball well.

Yeah, I got to hit Gallup in those shots. I think it's a different ballgame. There were a number of them that he was open, and protection was solid. I missed some long. I didn't feel like I was throwing them all that far. I just got to give him a chance. Even if it's short, he has a chance to catch it.

MIKE BOBO: As a play-caller, you have to do a better job of not being one-dimensional. We were one-dimensional tonight. Defenses have the advantage. They did a good job of bringing pressure and mixing it up when they dropped guys out, kind of made me as the play-caller take those shots.

Deep balls are low-percentage throws, and we got to do a better job of getting the intermediate routes, as you said. We had some of them called. They did a good job of covering them.

At the end of the day, we're not built to throw it 52 times. Dawkins got a little bit banged up early in the game, they took his helmet. We had some issues. Had our opportunities.

Again, I think Marshall knew that, basically was going to stack the box, force you to take those shots.

Q. Mike, you talked about the loss of the coaches not being a distraction or hurting you. When you rushed for 70 yards tonight, you give up five sacks...
MIKE BOBO: That would be an excuse. Those coaches got hired by another school. They took that job. They left. The coaches that stayed here worked their tails off. I thought these players, these two guys sitting up here, worked their tails off. I thought our guys prepared. At the end of the day, we came up short.

It stinks when you come up short, it does. But I do think we're closer than some might think. I know we're closer than some might think. We got to figure out a way to make those plays in critical situations and learn how to win. We're still trying to learn how to win. You have to go through moments like that sometimes.

But I do think our team put themselves out there every game this year. They put themselves out there, all right? They weren't afraid of failing, and failed. It hurts. It should hurt, all right?

That's what we're going to build on, that feeling we have. We're going to go back to work. These two guys up here set a great example of coming back every week, being locked in, going to work, trying to represent this university the right way, which they did.

Came up a little short on the scoreboard. It stinks. Nobody's happy with that, not these two guys, not myself, not those players in the locker room. But you got to go back to work.

I got a good feeling of the direction we're headed. Sometimes you say, How can you say that when you lost the game? Well, that's part of it. That's how you grow, when you fail. Everything is easy all the time, nobody would amount to anything, in my opinion.

Q. Nick, how disappointing is it, the three straight bowl losses?
NICK STEVENS: It's definitely tough. You have an opportunity to play in the post-season, play an extra game, have some fun with your team, and in my opinion the most fun you can have is winning games like that. There's nothing like being able to go out there, put up a lot of points, have success on both sides, have a great time.

But, yeah, I mean, coach always talks about finishing. He has from the start. I think that's been something we've been striving for. You know, I think we finished well towards the end of the regular season, but haven't been able to pull together an entire season, including the last game.

I'm not exactly sure what that comes from, but I think we had a good game plan, we just didn't execute it well enough.

Q. Evan, defensively, start out strong. Fourth quarter seems like you started to turn things around. What was the key there?
EVAN COLORITO: I just think honing in on our keys, some of those explosive plays, someone being inside when they should have been outside, not spilling a block or whatever. It was minor changes we had to make.

I just think we put our hearts all on the field. That was what made the difference when we made those key stops.

Q. You said you think you're close, Mike, even though there's frustration. How much urgency is there to get over that hump, coaching staff, recruiting coming up?
MIKE BOBO: To be honest with you, it feels like there's a lot of urgency and pressure to make those decisions, especially with the early signing day. I keep telling myself we're still only in December. Usually a lot of these changes happen in January or after bowl games. Things have happened a little bit sooner this year.

That's one of the reasons why we're flying back tonight. I got to get to work on a coaching staff. I got to get to work on recruiting. We got a signing day on December 20th. Something new for everybody. We got to figure out what guys that are committed to us are going to sign. We still got some guys we're recruiting. Can't go on the road, so it will be a lot of conversations, conversations with coaches.

I don't know if I'll get that in place before some of those changes, the direction I'm going in coaching, by the first signing day, but definitely hopefully before we go back out on the road in January.

We've got four days before December 20th. We're going to talk to our guys that we're actively recruiting, see how many guys we can get signed that we feel really good about as students and athletes. After that day, we're going to regroup and it's going to be a five-and-a-half-week sprint to the next signing day.

We just got to add in some coaching changes, a 10th coach. We got a lot of things we got to get straight before we go back out on the road.

Q. Evan, Nick, what was the attitude of this team when Marshall took a lead?
EVAN COLORITO: Just that it was still our game. I think we could make a big comeback, end up winning the game ultimately. When they had that lead, kept our heads up, kept fighting, even though the defense didn't make stops, so we could get with the ball to our offense and they could score. That was really it.

Q. Nick, on Thursday Mike made a comment about you not necessarily being the most nimble quarterback in the world. Did you joke with him at all after scoring two rushing touchdowns tonight?
NICK STEVENS: No, not really. Those touchdowns came at a point when we were still down. It wasn't really time for joking around. It was about going back and getting the ball back to the defense, then for us to go score again.

Yeah, there were two of those, so that's nice. But, yeah, I think we were still locked in. Kind of to piggyback off of what Evan was saying, in those situations, we were in the mode of this game is not over, we've been here before, we can put up points, stop offenses, like we're still in this, so...

Q. Mike, Nick, what is the mental recalculation that you make when Dalyn doesn't have his helmet, Marshall is scoring in the second quarter, you have to keep up?
MIKE BOBO: I think it's next man up. I know we had some guys down. We had suspensions in the first half. We addressed that. Our next guy was up. I thought Darius May came in, made a nice run. Izzy had some nice runs on one of those drives.

We sit over there and act like we're not going to be able to do anything if a guy goes down. That's not really how we're built. The next guy has to be up, be ready to go for their opportunity when that arises. That's how we train.

It's football. Those things happen sometimes. You got to keep playing. I thought our kids did keep playing. I thought they continued to play hard the whole game, gave ourselves an opportunity in the fourth quarter to win the game, and we didn't finish.

That's the bottom line, we didn't finish, didn't make the plays. Marshall did. Credit goes to Marshall for making the plays. It hurts for these seniors, these two guys up here. We'll regroup and get ready again for next year.

Q. Coach, with the emotions running so low in the locker room, what was your message to the team afterwards?
MIKE BOBO: My first thing was I told them I loved them. I told those seniors that I appreciate everything they've done for this program, how they've represented this program. I did not recruit probably 85% of those guys in that room, but they were all in for Colorado State. They were all in with my vision, what I wanted to do with this program, the culture that we're trying to set.

I thought these two guys are two of the main guys. Really didn't matter what happened. The next day or the next week, they manned up and they went to work. I told them it just wasn't a three-year relationship, it's the rest-of-their-life relationship, I'll be there, call, come see you, whatever you need.

You are what your record is, okay? Let's be honest. You are what your record is. But there's some hurt in that locker room. Quite frankly, when I got here, we had guys in that locker room that didn't want to go to bowl games. Never seen anything like it. Didn't want to play after Christmas.

Now these guys are competing and playing their tails off. And they hurt, all right? It hurts for these guys because they invested so much and came up short. If we can learn from that with the rest of those guys in that locker room, we can get where we want to go.

I'm going to use it as a positive. We're going to go back to work. It's going to be harder this year than it was last year, but I do appreciate those guys. I think we've come to a point where there is no quit, there is no lay down. There is investment, and there's pain, which it should be.

Q. Evan, I saw you nodding your head a lot when coach was talking. How do you feel about the relationship you have with Coach Bobo?
EVAN COLORITO: We've just grown over the past three years tremendously. From not playing much on defense, mostly being a special teams guy, to becoming a starter, we got so much closer. I think the trust between us just continues to grow, will continue to grow throughout our lives.

I think he's the right man for the job. He's done a great job with all the players and staff in this program. He's a hell of a coach, nothing short of that.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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