Transcript: Justin Fuente Press Conference
Sept. 1, 2014
"Obviously we're happy to be 1-0. Proud of the way these kids played last week and took care of business. We're ready to turn the page now and head toward UCLA and get prepared for one of the top teams in America. Coach (Jim) Mora has done a fantastic job turning the program around. I know this -I know our kids will be excited for the challenge. I know they'll do a great job preparing as we travel out there to take a shot at them."
"Defensively, we controlled the line of scrimmage. We played physical and with urgency. There's really not a whole lot to be upset about in that performance. Offensively we pushed the tempo at times. At times we got a little bit sloppy. We didn't take care of the ball well enough. I mean, if we fumble against the guys we're getting ready to play, they're going to pick it up and take it back for a touchdown. They scored 21 points on defense last week. Obviously we can't continue that trend, but I thought we had great leadership on both sides of the football, and guys that really came out to accomplish their mission and play well. When you play a game like that one last week, you really want to judge how well you play, not as much what the score is or what the statistics are. At times we were playing well on all three phases."
Was it nice to be able to go into the locker room and see all the smiling faces?
"I was happy for the kids. For me personally, when you're in the middle of the game, you're thinking about making sure you handle things the right way, getting people in and that kind of stuff. So it's nice to win, but to see the kids truly enjoy it, that's where we get our enjoyment - when you walk in and see they're genuinely excited and still trying to find out how they're supposed to show it. When you walk into the locker room and they're still trying to figure out how to let everybody know that they are excited, that's the fun part for us."
Do you do anything different preparation-wise with going out west and playing a 9:00 p.m. football game?
"It's a little different. Obviously we'll get back Sunday morning. Fortunately we're off next week, so we don't have that quick turnaround. I don't think it will make a huge difference except that it's late at night. It will probably be harder on the coaches than the players. We'll probably have to drink a lot more caffeine just to stay up that late. I'm not a late-night guy. But I don't think it will be a huge issue for us playing that late at night."
UCLA's offense struggled a little bit against Virginia, but would you say that's because it was the first game, or is UCLA's defense that much better and is going to have to carry that team?
"When I watched the film, obviously I'm watching a defense that scored 21 points. That's pretty impressive. After a one-game sample, they're pretty dangerous defensively. I think offensively they provide plenty of problems and will continue to improve. I don't think they're over there freaking out or panicking about their offense. They have a fantastic quarterback and good skill players. By all accounts they're going to have their center back in the mix and playing. After one game, yeah the defense was awfully impressive, but I don't think they're just going to have to hang their hat on that. I think they'll score plenty of points over the season."
On performance against Austin Peay
On keeping level of intensity up whole game
"Coming out from the start, I thought we pushed the tempo and 85 plays is where coach wants us to get to every game. I thought from the beginning, and coming out the second half as well, we kept the same pace going. We kept the intensity high and made sure no one got tired. I feel like overall we did a great job."
"He had over 100 yards rushing, which was pretty exciting. I'm looking forward to seeing what he's going to do for us in the future. Jarvis is a tough guy. He runs hard; he's a physical back. He's going to lower his shoulder; he's not running into the sidelines. He's going to get the yards. I appreciate him for that."
On the win
"It feels great. It's been a while and I'm going on my fifth year and haven't had many successful seasons. I'm just glad we came out with a victory. It was a team victory. Offense did well. Defense did well. Special teams did well. I was very excited."
On winning the season-opener
"It's been 10 years since we've won a season-opener. It's something you can't really describe. It was good to see the guys smiling in the locker room after all the hard work paid off."
On playing UCLA