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
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
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
C: Specifically, why is the running game struggling right
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
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
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
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
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.