On how to prepare the team to play in a big environment like the Big House and Coach Sanchez s college football team he rooted for

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1 TRANSCRIPT FROM UNLV FOOTBALL WEEKLY MEDIA CONFERENCE Sept. 15, 2015 Opening Statement Head Coach Tony Sanchez Here we go heading into week three, going into the Big House (Michigan Stadium) to play Michigan, and our guys are excited about it. (We re) disappointed with the outcome last weekend, but we got right back into it Sunday and went right back to work, and the focus is on Michigan. On the injury status of quarterback Blake Decker Sanchez It s not a hamstring injury. It s obturator internus. It s a better injury than a hamstring because he ll come back much faster. He actually started practice today. So, he did all of the exchange drills and threw the ball. So he will be suited up out there. Will he play or start? That s questionable right now, but he ll be available. On whether the offense will be tailored toward Palendech if he starts Sanchez Yeah a little bit. Even when Blake went down it was a run-pass play. So, our offense is our offense. We re still teaching it and our guys are still learning it so we re not going to tweak it too much. On the plan to redshirt quarterback Dalton Sneed or not Sanchez Absolutely, and Blake won t be down long. If he got hurt again, then maybe. But right now he is (the third-string quarterback) because we don t have (quarterback Kevin) Thomson. I m sure he ll be traveling to every game this year, and if we don t have to burn the redshirt we won t, but if we do we will. He s ready to go. He s a good young guy. He s got a lot of good skills in him. We have trust in him. You don t want to put too much on a true freshman, but we have a lot of true freshman (the coaches) have put on a lot already. Together we re growing as a team and they ll be ready as the time comes. On how to prepare the team to play in a big environment like the Big House and Coach Sanchez s college football team he rooted for Sanchez Well first of all, to answer your first question, yes I am a fan of college football. I loved it as a kid growing up. You always love watching games at the Big House; so many memorable moments. The thing I respect so much is their history and tradition. They just do a great job of embracing it. So it s going to be fun to be a part of that (on Saturday) afternoon. To bring in our guys, it s no different. At Cal High we played at Seahawks Stadium. We brought them in a day early and walked them through to kind of get the jitters out. When I coached at Cal High we played at Oakland Coliseum where the Raiders played, and same thing we got

2 them a day early. At Bishop Gorman we had a chance to go play at the Cardinals stadium. We did a lot of those things previously so it s the same thing as what we ve got going on with these guys. It s a great, historic opportunity for these guys, and we don t want these guys thinking about that on game day. We ll have our one hour practice at a local high school and bus over to the Big House and let the guys walk through, take some pictures and enjoy the moments so they re ready to play the game. On if Coach Sanchez has been to the Big House before Sanchez I have not been there. Yeah, but you know when I was a player I played at Florida. They were ranked number one at home. I got to play against Iowa. My first game to coach in division one football was against Texas and also a chance to coach against LSU. So I ve gotten the chance to be in big environments. On whether if he s excited to play there Sanchez Yeah I m excited. It s a game day, and we just can t wait to get back on the field. It s exciting, but we need to be in the pocket and the mindset that it s just a football game. Kind of like the movie the old movie Hoosiers. They measured the free throw line and the hoop; it was the same size. On whether tight end Jake Phillips and defensive back Peni Vea have thought about playing in the Big House and what does it mean Vea It s an exciting opportunity. You don t have many (opportunities) to play in there. Then again it s just a game; just another football Saturday. Phillips If you re focused on the stadium you re focused on the wrong thing. We got a team to play against and that s all I m concerned about. On playing well against UCLA s wide receivers in the second half Vea As a secondary we just have to keep growing. We have a lot to improve on. We just have to keep having each other s back. We just have to tackle more, starting with myself. We didn t do too well on that. On whether the secondary improved Sanchez Yeah, the biggest thing we talked about is not giving up explosive plays, and you take away that 52-yard run where we were literally un-gapped in the same play. Other than that the largest run was 16 yards and gave up no pass plays over 30 yards. That s a big thing not giving up any big plays. We improved in that department and we ll continue to do that going forward. We held them to field goals and the defense was put into some bad situations, and fought their way out of it. Overall I was proud of the way they played and there s still room for improvement on both sides. On whether he had any kids coached at high school recruited by Jim Harbaugh

3 Sanchez When he was at Stanford we had a young man from Bishop Gorman go to Stanford, and when I was at Cal High he recruited two to Stanford with Coach Shaw now who I ve known. It s kind of funny looking back at his first season, which I believe was At spring football, my staff and I at Cal High are sitting there in the waiting room at 6 a.m. and he comes walking in and says, who are you guys? I say, I m Coach Sanchez at Cal High. Here we are a bunch of years later, so that s kind of a neat deal. On if he followed Harbaugh s career Sanchez Yeah I did. You know it s kind of funny because as a coach you don t think about that. When he comes running out you don t get intimidated. When his team comes running out behind him it s a little intimidating. I m just making light of it. You don t really think about that stuff. It s really about you and the X s and O s. Its good talk and I get that whole part of that, but he s a good coach wherever he s been. The thing I respect most is the toughness he brings. That s such an important ingredient in building a program and trying to do here at UNLV. Absolutely. If you don t have that you can t hang your hat on anything. On the tendencies by Harbaugh Sanchez Well I think it s obvious. They re a big physical team and they want to put you in a phone booth and fight. They run power and run more power. That s what they do, and because of that it kind of dictates what type of defense they have. It s a very physical brand of football. It s Michigan football. On Michigan s starting quarterback Sanchez He s done a great job so far. They re turned the ball over five times I believe in two games. I believe three picks to two fumbles. We do a good job there. We got three turnovers last game and we have to continue to grow on that. I think in these big games we ve got to create turnovers and give ourselves opportunities. So again it s a new system, a new offense for him and new situation. So we ve got to do what we did last year and not let the quarterback get settled back there. On if facing UCLA s starting quarterback prepares you for this quarterback Vea They are kind of similar in some ways pocket quarterbacks. Against Rosen, he s a good quarterback, and I m sure this guy s a good quarterback so it s prepared us a lot. On preparing Palendech Sanchez You know nothing s different. It s hard to explain. I think any in the coaching profession knows the process you go through that starts on Sunday night and ends on game day. That doesn t change who s in there, and so we ve had a lot of time with Kurt. We had the entire spring, the summer at our camp, and we ve been through a couple of games. You saw him go in week one and I know he s kind of gotten beaten up outside of here right now. But week one what does he do? He goes in and drives straight down for a touchdown makes a couple of nice plays. It was a tough situation last night, and he felt the pressure and tried to do

4 a little too much. There was a lot of stuff we could have improved on, and it starts with me. It s not all on Kurt; it starts with me and rolls down there. He ll be fine. We just have to calm him down and make sure Sneed is ready to go and also Decker; we ll see what happens with him. I have faith in Kurt; that s why we recruited him, and we believe in him. On the time zone difference Sanchez These guys are used to being up at that time. It s kind of a normal deal for us. It works out for us real well. You re going to have that time change when you travel so we have to make sure we do a good job of getting these guys to bed on time and getting their motors started. Again they are used to running out there at that time. On any advantages or disadvantages each coach brings with experience at different levels of football Sanchez- Again you don t take any time to think about that. I ve coached against a former NFL head coach last week and I coached against one of the successful college coaches in Northern Illinois the first week. I think we re doing a good job and it s not really under consideration at all. He s a good coach. It s why he s had the opportunities he s had so far with what he did at San Diego, then Stanford and then look at what he did at San Francisco. Unbelievable job, and now he s got a turn at Michigan. We re taking a different course here. Same goal, same results and we re getting it done our way. On Michigan s defense Sanchez Physicality. Really big and physical up front. They re real sound. They don t do a whole ton of stuff. They re going to play with one high safety and they re going to load the box. I m sure we re going to see some similar things that we saw against UCLA. They gave us a little bit of a different look than we thought and copycat a little bit of that. They re still building and developing, too. You have to remember they have a new coach and they re in their third game and evolution. I m sure they are more focused on them as we are more focused on ourselves than them. On why the defense has seemed to struggle more in the second half Vea We have really good first halves so we come out excited and energized. In the second half it seems like guys are coming out not as much. As seniors we have to do a better job of keeping everybody on their feet and just keep them going and energized. On watching the Notre Dame-Michigan rivalry Sanchez Oh absolutely. I think that s the big difference between growing up between guys now and then. We didn t play games on what do you call them, Xboxes or whatever. It was Nintendo and we had four plays to choose from. We watched football. You went out and played football, and when it got dark you came in and watched it. It s a great game. On the team s injuries

5 Sanchez- Besides Blake we have defensive lineman Jeremiah Valoaga about a week away from getting him back. That will be a big addition getting him back to the defensive line. We re excited about that. That s the only injury we have right now.

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