Here are some of the things the Utah State head coach had to say about his team, heading into the Aggies matchup on Saturday night against Seattle.
"It is going to be interesting tomorrow with the bowl game and all of the excitement there. It is going to be a game where we are going to have to create our own enthusiasm and that will be good for us. We have been trying to work on having a little more pep, a little more energy,more enthusiasm during practice and getting the guys talking to each other more and that sort of thing. You have heard me mention that they are kind of a quite team, but in practice this week we have made some progress in terms of themtrying to take responsibility for how we practice daily. We are not there yet, but we are making some progress in at least some of our practice habits. With finals going on, that was a process to. We weren't very good day one, but we've gotten a little better over the last few days. That part is encouraging.
"Seattle is a scary group talent wise. We have watched them on film and they make some plays and rebound the heck out of the basketball. Aaron Broussard is a first-team all-WAC player in our league, I think. He is very impressive. Clarence Trent was at Washington and transferred, and EricWallace is a big, physical guy. Every spot is full of guys that are impressive to look at and impressive to watch on film."
Are There Concerns On Your Part About A Small Crowd Saturday?
"What we have talked about is the need to have a little bit more pep, energy and enthusiasm and all that on a daily basis inpractice. Sometimes in the past we have relied on the Spectrum crowd to get us going and with the students bailing out of here today, if not earlier, and everyone being in Boise, we are going to have to generate our own enthusiasm or the crowd that is there is going to have to help us. Hopefully they will dothat. This is going to be a little different."
On What The Team Learned During The Second-Half At Wichita State:
"I don't know if we learned anything, I think that it was encouraging. I don' think that you can say that in the second half we turned this major corner. Anytime that you are in their situation, and we have been in the past, you sometimes relax a little bit when you are up by 20 athalf. At least we didn't fold the tent, we went out and played and we made some progress. We played well offensively. One of the biggest concerns for our team is can we guard talent and can we rebound with athletic talent? We really had a hard time rebounding against Wichita State and that is my concern against Seattle. I think (the second-half at Wichita State) was encouraging, but I don't think that it was a major lesson learned or anything like that."
On Trying To Protect Home Court With Four Straight Home Games:
"You start playing for that after you play Seattle. We are not in a position to look to far ahead, we have got to try and focus on each and every game and see if we can find a way to win. It is nice to havefour games in a row at home, you would like them a little better spaced butthat's not the way the tournament is. Our tournament is always a preview ofwhat you are going to see in our conference tournament, that is how we have always sold it to our players. But it is back-to-back-to-back and Christmas is right around the corner, and you can pretty much count on your veteran players tofocus on the task at hand before they thought about Christmas. With a lot of new guys and young guys we do not know what that situation might be, but wewill start worrying about that on Sunday."
On Only Playing One Game This Week:
"We had Monday off was all. We traveled home on Sunday and that is kind of what we always do, take Monday off so they can get back-to-back days where they are not practicing. We have tried to shorten it a little bit with finals going, but we practiced Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and of coarse today. We really needed some practice time and hopefully it has done us some good. Again, we are not there but we have shown a little progress this week with what is necessary in practice to have a chance to compete, that'sencouraging a little bit."
On Playing A Home And Home With Seattle This Year, A Year Before They Join The WAC:
"It gives you a taste of their system and the type of players that they are going to have, which are talented players and you can get a feel when you go up there for the arena and traveling to Seattle and all of that stuff. I certainly think that it has some merit."
On Danny Berger Giving The Team An Offensive Threat:
"Yeah, we desperately need it. Danny (Berger) not only put the shots in from three but he went by some people and made some plays off the dribble, which was really good to see. I am real confident that Danny can give us some offense. I think that the thing he needs to focus on is rebounding and can he not be a liability on defense. His quickness is not at a high level, so he really has to focus defensively and he still has stamina issues when he gets tired. When you aren't the quickest guy in America in the first place, when you get tired it just compounds the problem, but the offense is certainly something that we need. He has got to work on the rebounding and the defense."
On Kyisean Reed:
"Kyisean (Reed) played well at Wichita State and we will start Kyisean (against Seattle). Jordan (Stone) has had, for whatever reason, a stretch where is hasn’t done the things that he was doing early. He gives us physicality, but he has got to rebound the ball and he has got to improve his low-post game. He is not a low post threat yet to where you canthrow it to him and he can go score it. He gets some garbage points off theboards and things like that and that is certainly positive. He is a freshman, he is scrambling trying to figure out how he needs to contribute. We didn'tstart him in the second half at Wichita State because he struggled in the first half. He has just got to stay the coarse and get better, get better in the low post, get better in rebounding the ball and be more consistent with the things that he does. I love how hard he plays, I love his physicality, but he has areas of his game that really need to grow."
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