Each Monday after regular season games, head coach Jim McElwain and a few players from the CSU football team field questions from members of the media. Check out what Coach Mac, tight end Crockett Gillmore and linebacker Shaquil Barrett had to say after Saturday’s win vs. Wyoming and how they are preparing to play Hawaii this week.
Q: Is the difference (in the way the team played Saturday) just more mental? Is it their mindset and the way they approach what they’re doing on every play that is the difference between that San Jose State loss and this Wyoming win?
McElwain: Well, in every loss. It wasn’t just that loss because you saw glimpses. Here’s the hard part now: the ‘am I willing to put that into it to get that out of it’ because if you do, then you have expectations and you can’t use excuses anymore.
Q: Do you think the seniors are starting to take more ownership of what’s left of this year?
McElwain: There’s no doubt in my mind. However, are they satisfied (after beating Wyoming) in their one shining moment on something that should be expected on a daily basis? Moving forward, I think, is going to answer that. Do I think they have it in them? Absolutely. Are they willing to grasp it? We’ll find out.
Q: It seems like you almost have more energy after a loss. Does winning take more out of you emotionally or put more pressure on you? You seem a little more critical after this one.
McElwain: I’m not ever satisfied. I mean it’s almost like, ‘yeah, duh, (winning) is possible if you take the proper steps within the process.’ It doesn’t temper my excitement for the people surrounding the program.
Q: What are the challenges of playing on the island (the Rams travel to Hawaii this weekend)?
McElwain: I know that the travel over, you can use it as an excuse to maybe not play to your fullest, but how we handle it will be part of the growing experience (to) see if we’re mentally capable of taking the distractions and understanding what business trip we’re going on here.
Q: Have you guys in the senior class gotten to the point where it’s this season, enough is enough and you want to do all that you’ve been told to do?
Gillmore: I think we’ve had that mindset that we were going to be that class last spring. When (Coach McElwain) came in with a new regime, that’s what we focused on: being the class to really change the culture around here, and I think last week (vs. Wyoming) we finally put a game together, but at the same time we’ve got to continue to build off of that.
Q: You guys have always been really careful to not say what the “dream” part of your team slogan “1TTD” (One town, one team, one dream) is, but is it safe to say that a bowl game is one of them?
Gillmore: Absolutely, I would say so. It would be a disappointment (to not go to a bowl game); this team deserves that, they deserve more than that. We need to continue to win, take it week by week but that is a goal of ours.
Q: How do you keep (the momentum from last week) going into this game (at Hawaii)?
Barrett: It’s going to be up to all of the players. There’s nothing else the coaches can do. Every week they come up with a good game plan and some weeks we executed but we didn’t finish the third and fourth quarter so we just have to get better and it’s how we attack practice … We have to get stuff done instead of just going through the motions.
Football Beat Reporter Katie O’Keefe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.