Quotes from the UH-NMSU game 11/8/08

HA = Honolulu Advertiser
HSB = Honolulu Star-Bulletin
UH = University of Hawaii Official Site
NMSU = New Mexico State Official Site
LCSN = Las Cruces Sun-News

—————– Quotes from the UH coaches ———————-

About how his team played, UH head coach Greg McMackin (Mac) said:
“I thought today we were more like we wanted to get to. Our offense moved the ball. We gave up some big plays early. It was a real character test. They’re [New Mexico State] explosive, especially [Chris] Williams. I’m proud of the way our guys came back.” (UH, NMSU)

“We knew we were making strides. We finally put a full game together.” (HA)

Asked about their play on offense, Mac said:
“We had to replace three starters [from last season]. We have to win two more games.” (NMSU)

Praising their offense, Mac said:
“They (the offense) had sort of been feeding off the defense and special teams this year and now, all of a sudden, I thought the offense took over in the ballgame.” (HA)

“The offense kept us in the game. They’ve been sort of feeding off the defense and special teams — now all of a sudden I thought the offense changed the whole momentum of the ball game.” (HSB)

About the importance of this game, Mac said:
“This was a must-win game for us. We had to have this ballgame.” (HA)

“This was a must-win. We’ve had great practices. … It was a perfect week, and the guys responded.” (HSB)

About the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on David Veikune, Mac said:
“I’m really disappointed, we had a great player do something that we don’t approve of. He made a great hit. We don’t approve of taunting anyone. The hit was a great hit but I was upset about the taunting. I’m completely 100% against taunting. He’s a great kid and he felt bad about it afterward.” (UH, NMSU, HA, HSB)

Comparing Alexander to several excellent NFL QBs, Mac said:
“I’ve been around (John) Elway and (Warren) Moon and (Jeff) Garcia and some other pretty good ones. (Alexander has) that coolness about him on the field. He never gets shaken. He’s got a great ‘gamester’ attitude.” (HA)

About Alexander’s helicopter-spin 2-point conversion, Mac said:
“Greg pulled a John Elway out there.” (HSB)

About the closed-door meeting he had with the team during their first night in El Paso (the night after the Utah State loss), Mac said:
“That was such a tough loss. On Sunday, we had a real talk. It wasn’t pretty. I got some things off of my mind.” (HA)

About how he challenged several of the 30 seniors on their 64-man travel roster, Mac said:
“I love these players. These are the greatest players I’ve coached. They’re the best I’ve been around. They want it so bad — for the seniors, and for the state of Hawai’i. They listen to you. And they believe in each other. That’s why it was good to be on the road for the week. We were together. We were working for each other.” (HA)

About how Mouton was full-time on defense in this game, Mac said:
“Today we really needed him to come play on defense. We’ll still have an offensive package for him (available), but he’s truly a defensive player.” (HA)

About how Kealoha Pilares was back from injury, Mac said:
“We sure missed Kealoha. Boy, it was nice to have him back.” (HA)

Praising the play of Pilares and Libre, Mac said:
“Both those guys have done a great job.” (HA)

About having Pilares and Libre on the field at the same time, Mac said:
“That’s a good combination. We want to get as much speed and athletic ability on the field as we can.” (HSB)

About their success on offense in this game, Ron Lee said:
“The players just executed. We had options off of different looks. The players were together. They knew what to do.” (HA)

Praising Alexander’s play in this game, Rolo said:
“I think Greg has really come along. He made smart decisions. He knew where to throw the ball in certain situations. I thought he had his best game as a Warrior.” (HA)

About NMSU’s blitz scheme, OL coach Brian Smith said:
“They were bringing seven and we had six to protect (Alexander).” (HA)

HA Note: “NMSU defensive coordinator Joe Lee Dunn concocted a scheme in which any defender can be a blitzer. Dunn’s strategy for UH was to play man coverage on the four receivers and turn loose everybody else.”

About the 3 TDs that Chris Williams scored off post patterns, DB coach Rich Miano said:
“If you cover (the routes), it works out better. (Williams) is a good player, but we made him look like the best player in America.” (HA)

About how they need Mouton on D, Miano said:
“As many yards as we gave up in passing (394 and four touchdowns), we’re going to need him on defense. But I don’t make that decision. Coach (Greg McMackin) does.” (HA)

“Some of the things he does are amazing; the way he shuts guys down. He’s the best I’ve ever coached. I mean, you look at every game he plays and there are like three or four plays that are flashes. He doesn’t have a lot of interceptions but there have been like three balls caught on him all year. Two of those were comebacks and another was a tip. I think he’s back (on defense).” (HA)

—————– Quotes from the UH players ——————–

About how they learned from the Utah State game that they need to communicate better, Alexander said:
“We needed to start to communicate. Last week, (Utah State) did some things to us. We needed to talk. That was the big focus this past week.” (HA)

About how communication was critical because of NMSU’s defensive strategy, Alexander said:
“When (the Aggies) come down with the four-across man (defense), that changes everybody’s route, really. We had to make sure we were all on the same page. We didn’t want to leave anybody hanging. We did a good job of talking. Everybody was communicating.” (HA)

About how their offense is effective against blitzes, Alexander said:
“Crossing routes and stuff to the flats are good against man (coverage). That’s the beauty of this offense. They can bring heat, but we can answer with our routes.” (HA)

About how their game plan was effective, Alexander said:
“We had an excellent game plan. We knew what they were doing, we got what we saw on film and exploited it.” (HSB)

About how they scored a TD on their first drive to respond to NMSU’s TD on their first drive, Alexander said:
“One of our goals was to come out to a quick start offensively. After they scored that first touchdown it was good to come right back down and respond, I think that gave us a lot of confidence.” (HSB)

About how Pilares makes a difference to their offense, Alexander said:
“He makes a huge difference. He’s the most dynamic player we have on offense. He does a lot of different things for us, when you put the ball in his hands in space he’s going to make plays. We just have to give him the ball quick and let him go do his thing.” (HSB)

Happy to be back from injury, Kealoha Pilares said:
“It was good to be back with the boys. Especially after having to watch and not being able to do anything last week. I really looked forward to this (game).” (HA)

Pilares said that he liked playing at slotback:
“but I’ll play where ever they need me. Just being out there again was great.” (HA)

About his injured foot, Pilares said:
“It still hurts a little. It limited me doing some things, but, overall, it held up pretty good.” (HA)

“It’s been sore, but it’s been getting better. I just have to keep taking care of it. It hurt a little bit tonight, but I felt good.” (HSB)

About his 88 yards rushing and 2 TDs, Daniel Libre said:
“The line made it real easy and the receivers worked real hard on making some good blocks.” (HA)

“I give all the credit to our receivers and the line. They were blocking extremely well. They worked at it all week and it paid off.” (HSB)

About how Pilares is good at RB and slotback, Libre said:
“Where ever we put Kealoha he’s going to be a threat and if the running game is working, they can’t key on him.” (HA)

About how Pilares and he helps each other, Libre said:
“He opens up things for me and I try to open up things for him.” (HSB)

About how he reminded himself of his fumble in the Utah State game, Libre said:
“That was sitting in my head since it happened. My screensaver on my computer is that picture of me fumbling. I’ve been thinking about it and trying to focus on not coughing it up like that again and making plays out there to get a W.” (HSB)

About how they shortened their routes due to NMSU’s blitzes, Greg Salas said:
“You have to snap it.” (HA)

About how the WRs and Alexander needed to make their reads and communicate better, Aaron Bain said:
“We had to communicate better. We had to make the read, seeing what the defense was doing before the ball was snapped. Then we had to relay (the call) to the quarterback and linemen. Once you do that, it makes it easier for the quarterback.” (HA)

About how their lack of communication by the D led to NMSU’s early success on offense, Sol Elimimian (team-high 10 tackles) said:
“They scored on us early because we didn’t communicate. Once we started communicating, we played better.” (HA)

About how this win was critical for them to get to the Hawaii Bowl, Sol said:
“We knew what was at stake. This was a must-win for us and that’s how we approached it as a team. The offense played a heck of a game.” (HSB)

About how the offense is improving and has more confidence now, Adam Leonard said:
“Those guys (the offense) are hitting their stride. It takes a while with all the guys they lost, but they have more confidence — and it shows.” (HA)

About how they needed the offense to do well in this game, Adam said:
“It would have been a different game if our offense got stopped.” (HA)

About scoring a TD on defense after not scoring when being on offense for two games, Ryan Mouton said:
“It was a little weird. They (teammates and coaches) were telling me, ‘You score on defense but you couldn’t even score on offense.’ ” (HA)

About the TD, Mouton said:
“it felt great.” (HA)

About his 91-yard INT return, Mouton said:
“They couldn’t run on our front seven, so we knew they’d be passing. When they did, it (the ball) kind of fell into my hands. I was like, ‘Oh, I got the ball; let’s go.’ ” (HA)

“Solly (Elimimian) tipped the ball and it just dropped in my hands and a couple of the guys led me to the end zone.” (HSB)

About how he was almost knocked out of bounds before he reached the end zone, Mouton said:
“I didn’t know there was a guy behind me and (he) almost knocked me out of bounds.” (HA)

About wanting to remain full-time on defense, Mouton said:
“Hey, coach, with as many yards passing as we gave up. …” (HA)

About the importance of this game for their bowl chances, Mouton said:
“We knew we had to win three of the next four (after the Utah State loss), and this is a great start.” (HSB)

About how Chase Holbrook was able to elude their pass rush so many times, David Veikune said:
“He had that third eye. He could tell when someone’s coming. He reminded me of Colt (Brennan). There’s no way he could have seen the defender coming. But he feels it, and he has a great arm, too.” (HA)

Apologizing for his taunting of the unconscious NMSU player, which resulted in a 15-yard penalty, Veikune said:
“I would like to apologize to their whole team. We were having a battle. … I thought he would get up and talk trash, like we had been doing the whole game. I knew it was wrong. I shouldn’t have talked, anyway. It was a selfish thing. I apologize to him, and to his team.” (HA)

About intercepting Holbrook’s pass with about a minute left in the game, Erik Robinson (whose family made the 9-hour drive to attend the game) said:
“The play came my way.” (HA)

About his first start as a Warrior (after shifting from DE to DT before this game), Francis Maka (1.5 sacks in this game) said:
“I felt really comfortable there (at tackle). Because they pass a lot, the coaches gave us the freedom to move around, even on the inside. A lot of times I just beat the guy off the first step.” (HSB)

—————– Quotes from the New Mexico State coaches ——————

Asked about UH’s offense, NMSU head coach Hal Mumme said:
“Well they did a lot of things well on offense today, we did not take care of business there. Our offense did a bit better on a patched up line. We were not able to run the ball well today at all. It was a 14-point turn around in the first game and that is a big turn around.” (UH, NMSU)

About how they played hard to the end of the game, Mumme said:
“Yeah, our kids have been battling. They are playing as hard as they are able to play. We are just really beat up right now. I guess our performance was not necessarily good, but it was hard.“ (UH, NMSU)

About how Chris Williams played in the game, Mumme said:
“He did really well and I think all those guys did a fine job today. Our receivers are battling hard and they did not always play great, but they played hard.“ (UH, NMSU)

About how Williams has overcome his hamstring injury, Mumme said:
“Chris has had to deal with an injury the past couple of weeks and that’s tough. But he battled back and had a great game against Hawai’i. He’s a great kid and has had a great career. It was nice to see him have some big plays. It’s fun to watch him play.” (HA)

About Chase Holbrook and their OL, Mumme said:
“Well, we played with our ex-fullback at tackle, our right guard at right tackle and played with a freshman at center, a back up right gurard and the only guy starting who started the season is Chuck Taylor and he is doing a great job in the line. But we just got a lot of new faces and I was proud of the way we protected Chase because Hawai’i has a good front line.” (UH, NMSU)

About their onside kick try when the score was 35-24, Mumme said:
“The onside kick was something we had planned all week, we felt like there was a weakness that would could exploit, it just didn’t work out.” (LCSN)

About Mouton’s interception for a TD when NMSU was close to scoring with the score just 21-14 at the time, Mumme said:
“That play swung the momentum to Hawaii. It was a 10 or 14 point swing. It was a bad break, A.J. and Chase have made so many big plays for us. I’m not going to point the finger at them. Hawaii’s defensive back made a great play and run.” (LCSN)

Feeling like their team played well, especially considering they had just 6 offensive linemen, Mumme said:
“We did some good things and played more like we want to and that’s going upfield more with the passing game. Chris was tremendous, he’s been battling a hamstring injury for a couple of weeks. He was ready to go and battled hard. We didn’t run block well, but injuries to our line and our backs have limited us. We’d be more efficient if we were healthy.” (LCSN)

Asked about playing Fresno State next week, Mumme said:
“Fresno is beat-up like us and they lost a heartbreaker last night to Nevada. We just have to play hard and keep our heads up.” (NMSU)

“We have to worry about Fresno State now. We’ll get to work on them, that will be a tough game.” (NMSU)

Praising La’Auli Fonoti’s adjustment from LB to DL, Mumme said:
“La’Auli had a good game today. He’s playing hard and he’s accepted his new role well and done some nice things.” (HA)

About how their players from Hawaii like La’Auli were motivated for the game, Mumme said:
“This game is a big deal to our kids from Hawaii, and they really got up for it.” (HSB)

—————– Quotes from the New Mexico State players ———————-

About how they wanted to get the ball more to Chris Williams this week, QB Chase Holbrook said:
“We definitely wanted to get Chris the ball more today. He was feeling good and he was able to get behind the Hawai’i defenders. Chris has great speed and he has a great knowledge of the offense.” (HA)

“It was nice to see Chris get back into the groove. He showed why he’s one of the best in the nation. He has good speed, and it was good to see him get back in the end zone today.” (HSB)

About how turnovers hurt them in the game but they still have a chance to become bowl eligible, Chris Williams (7 catches for 221 yards and 3 TDs) said:
“We did some good things on offense, but turnovers continue to hurt us at key times. But the season isn’t lost or done. We have three more games left and we can become bowl eligible.” (LCSN)

About how his focus is on winning and making a bowl game instead of his stats, Williams said:
“I just want to win. We still have three games left and that’s important because we can still be bowl-eligible.” (HA)

About how he likes NMSU’s offense, Williams said:
“I love this offense. I’ve had a great chance to make plays and consistency has been a key. I have great people around me at all the key spots.” (HA)

About his TDs of 84, 23, and 83 yards, Williams said:
“I haven’t had long touchdowns this year. It felt good to stretch my legs, get some long runs and get in the end zone a few times. We just try to build from there.” (HSB)

About how he had 7 catches for 160 yards and 2 TDs against UH in 2006 (he missed the 2007 game due to injury), Williams said:
“When I play against (Hawaii) I guess I just play pretty well. It’s hard to get open, but we just found some holes.” (HSB)

About how UH played well, DL La’auli Fonoti said:
“Hawaii did make some key plays, especially on third down. We have to come out better in the first half and on the first drive and make plays. Hawaii is a good team and its quarterback played well.” (LCSN)

About moving from LB to DL, La’auli (7 tackles, 2 sackes, forced fumble, QB hurry in this game) said:
“It has been a huge adjustment for me going from linebacker to the defensive line. I’m learning how to read the offensive line a lot better and I’m trying to be more consistent every week in terms of assignments. I still have a few games left and I want to finish strong. I wasn’t sure how the move would work out when they told me about it.” (HA)

About the 3-3-5 defense they changed to this season, La’auli said:
“The coaches here at NMSU have given me the chance to play in this defense and I’m trying to take advantage. It’s a different defense, but it gives me a chance to move around and make plays. It’s tough being in the trenches with all the big guys, but I just have to adjust as best as possible. I have to do what’s best for the team.” (HA)


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