Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain, cornerback Bernard Blake and receiver Joe Hansley answered questions at Monday’s press conference about pulling off the win at Nevada, starting the season 5-1 and more.
Question: What did you take away from that Nevada game?
McElwain: At times we might have lost some of our focus and allowed some of the clutter of extracurricular things to get involved. That is not indicative of how we go about our business, and we need to get that corrected. But that’s a heck of a win against a really good football team on the road.
Q: What did you learn against Utah State last season?
McElwain: I learned that they beat our tails. I mean, it was embarrassing. They took it to us, plain and simple, they took the game to us.
Q: How does it feel getting votes in the Top-25 USA Today Coaches Poll?
McElwain: I would do cartwheels if I could, I’m just not athletic enough. But I think that’s kind of neat that people are starting to take note of what we’re building and the direction we’re headed.
Blake: We really haven’t noticed that. I didn’t know about that until you just said it. Those are things we really don’t try to get ourselves concerned with.
Q: Where has Garrett Grayson improved the most?
McElwain: I think his understanding of the game plan and then the application against safety rotation, shades of the tackles, whatever it might be. I think he’s playing faster because of his understanding. Our offense is fairly complex when it comes to that position as he found out early in his career.
Hansley: In the huddle he can talk about the play more in depth. He knows what everyone is doing on the field. He basically just has a better understanding of the offense.
Q: Do you expect defenses to start keying in on Rashard Higgins more?
McElwain: I sure hope they would because he’s made some explosive plays. Whether people start kicking coverage to him a little bit, putting a man and a half on him or however they’re going to do it, I think they’re going to be aware of where he is.
Hansley: Nevada started clouding it to his side a little bit and putting two guys on him, but obviously he still had a huge game, so I think they’re going to have to do some more stuff to stop him.”
Q: What can be said for Blake’s involvement in the community?
McElwain: There’s a lot of things he’s done outside that really speaks for what kind of man he is. I think there’s a lot of respect from our team because of that.
Blake: It’s just a chance to open up my eyes and realize that with this platform I can touch the lives of many people in the community. It makes me appreciate everything that I have, and everything that I don’t have as well.
Q: How has the secondary elevated their play lately?
McElwain: We’ve got some pretty good competition in the back end now, and guys are playing that way. That’s part of a building a program is building the competition at positions.
Blake: Anytime you can take advantage in man-to-man coverage and take away one side of the field it opens up packages for other guys to go blitz.
Q: How does it feel to start out 5-1?
McElwain: It’s something our guys should be proud of because they’ve done it as a team and they’ve built it the right way. There aren’t any quick fixes in this deal. When you make quick fixes, that’s when the wheels can really come off and they haven’t so far.
Collegian Sports Reporter Emmett McCarthy can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @emccarthy22.