Oct 052004
 
Authors: Jon Pilsner

With the CSU football team dropping to 1-4 after Saturday’s

conference-opening loss to BYU, The Rocky Mountain Collegian sat

down with CSU head football coach Sonny Lubick in his office

Tuesday to see what the coach is expecting of his football

team.

The Rocky Mountain Collegian: What are the positives you’ve seen

with this football team so far?

Sonny Lubick: I’ve seen a lot of positives that people won’t.

Maybe the fans won’t agree ’cause we’re sitting probably as badly

as we’ve been in 12 or 11 years. I see the positives. I see a lot

of heart, a lot of fight out there, a lot of try and effort. Some

kids are giving so much of themselves, while others probably could

give a little more. We’re playing hard, but sometimes we’re not

playing as smart as we should either.

C: What are the negatives right now with this football team?

SL: I’d say that the big thing is inconsistency. We can play

hard, but we give up a 10-yard play when it should be a 2-yard

play. Sometimes it’s the mental toughness. It’s going to be a

battle all the way through, and we’ve got to be mentally tough. We

have got to make tackles when we’re supposed to make tackles and

make good solid tackles; that’s one thing on defense. Offensively

same thing: we give up a block here, a play there, and it takes the

consistency out of the drive.

C: How do you think Justin Holland has played so far in his

first year as a starter, and how is he handling himself and the

offense now as the leader?

SL: I think he’s been good. The one plight on him is the

interceptions ratio. There’s no sense making excuses for any of us.

I don’t think we want to be team that looks at different things

we’ve done wrong. He’s been accurate, but you always want balance

in there. We try to establish the run, which will also help pass

blocking and help Justin. As he comes in and takes over this

football team, from my standpoint, the standards are very high for

him. I expect him to be very, very good. I expect him to be as good

at managing the football team as anybody. We’ve been satisfactory,

but we certainly haven’t been good enough. Justin can play better

than he’s played.

C: In the last game it appeared Holland was calling audible at

the line. Are you going to let him incorporate his own reads of the

defense?

SL: Well, we have that built into our system. He is very

knowledgeable at seeing defenses and he’s been as accurate. He’s

done everything that we’ve asked of him. If you take three

interceptions away, people would be saying what a great quarterback

he is.

C: Specifically, why is the running game struggling right

now?

SL: I think we need a touch more mental toughness. I think that

Uldis (Jaunarajs) has given us a spark. He has shown some

resiliency and mental toughness. Something that would help those

runs is if every fifth run or so, you might break a 20-yarder. You

just can’t live with 3-yard run all day. I think our offensive line

has been more than adequate. We should be running the ball a little

bit better, but we’re not.

C: What do you see the defense doing well right now?

SL: I think they’re playing hard. They’re playing with heart. If

you look at the last game, we go in there against a team that isn’t

a bad offensive football team. They have some balance. If you don’t

give them a turnover and they don’t get seven points off that, we

might be playing that game well into the fourth quarter 7-3 or

10-7.

C: How would you rate the play of true freshmen running backs

Kyle Bell, Gartrell Johnson and tight end Kory Sperry?

SL: It’s hard for Kyle; he just had his first game. I know he’s

going to be a good football player, as is Gartrell, but he’s been

injured. The answer to that will be in the next three or four weeks

for those guys. But for Sperry, I think he’s done very well for

us.

C: The CU and BYU games were close back-and-forth games that you

lost late. Have those game had an effect on the mentality of this

football team?

SL: They’ve had an effect on me and probably the fans and an

effect on the students. If you win, you come away from the game

feeling pretty good and if you lose, you come away feeling pretty

lousy. But, I don’t think it’s anything, from a football

standpoint, that will be a real detriment. It hurts, but I do

believe we will bounce back and play well.

C: Looking ahead to the rest of the season, what are you aiming

for?

SL: You’d like to see the players enjoy some real hard,

heartfelt victories. I try to be realistic. I know the players

might have goals of wining them all, and I really do believe we

have an opportunity to do that. You have to play very, very well,

and there’s not much margin for error. The most important goal is

to see our team continue to play with everything they have, play

hard, and play with a little more understanding and intelligence.

As long as they’re playing hard and improving, I know some good

things will happen to us.

C: Does the thought of retiring ever enter you mind?

SL: I’m still focused on coaching. I’d like to keep the program

at its peak. I know the fans like it. I’m really pleased with what

we’ve done. I want to keep going. If you compare it like the stock

market, we’ve been a pretty damn good stock for 10 years. It’s hard

to keep it up there all the time, and that’s what people respect.

The competition out there is fierce. To be on top you have to have

a lot of things going for you. Getting there is one thing and

staying there is another thing.

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