Simonton Meets The Press
Sept. 11, 2001
(Should there be a football game this Saturday? And how hard does this make it to concentrate on Montana State?) 'That's not really for me to say. If they decide to play it, we have to be ready to play it, if not, then I think we all understand why.'
(Where were you when you heard about the incidents in New York and Washington?) 'I was actually walking my dog this morning, and one of the neighbors was just pulling out and asked me, had I heard? and informed me what happened. I just kind of froze. It was kind of hard to swallow then, but it's just the times we live in.'
(How do you think it will affect your preparation today? Will you be able to concentrate on football?) 'Yeah. Like I said, it's just the world we live in. This is not something that's new, people are dying all over the world, it just happened here, so we can't hide from it now. We can't turn our shoulders and turn on an episode of 'Seinfeld' because it happened here. Just pray for the families of those who lost loved ones and continue to do what you have to do to keep moving.'
(If it were up to you, do you think football games should be played this week?) 'If you ask me, football's not important to anything that the world is dealing with. But this is an issue that's really facing us Americans right now. Football really isn't an important aspect of life to me - it's a game. Like I said, it's just not for me to decide. It's just not. If they decide to play it, I have to be mentally focused to play.'
(On the play of OSU's offensive line from Week 1 to Week 2) 'It was good. I think we really allowed them to fire off and be physical. Making them fire off into the running game keeps them aggressive so they're not on their heels, they're firing off and pushing guys around. Whenever you can establish a rhythm and let your line do what they do best - which is to go out and play fast and physical - it just kind of sets the standard. When they see you get them behind running hard, it really just picks up the feel of what we're doing. We're more involved in it. Even our pass plays still have that good physical drive forward. They did a great job and opened some holes and let me and Pat (McCall) do some good things.'
(How do you feel about your game from Week 1 to Week 2? Did you ever get into a rhythm where you had the same feeling you did last season?) 'I had twice the carries I did the first game, so you always feel a little better when you get some sweat going, when you get fed three or four times in a row. It gets you into a bit of a rhythm, so it makes it a lot easier.'
(How much of the success you had at New Mexico State was due to the offensive line's improvement?) 'We just didn't run the ball a lot in the opening game. We got ourselves behind a little bit, if we had run the ball we'd have had success. It's as simple as that. But we allowed ourselves to fall into a situation where we perhaps couldn't afford to take as many chances on the running game. I just think it was good for our offense in general - as well as our defense - for us to have the opportunity to go out and establish the run.'
(Do you have concerns, two weeks into the season, about OSU not performing yet to the expectations you had and that others placed on it? Where is this team and where do you think it has a chance to go?) 'I'm still proud of where this team is. The first game was a learning experience for everybody - for the coaches as well as us. It's a new year, and we just got slapped, we got our eyes opened. You've just got to let that one go. We lost one game last year, we lost one this year. We've just got to learn how to fight. We go out this week, if we have a game, and have a good showing, then take the extra week to prepare for UCLA and I think we're in good position. I'm still on it.'
(On finally playing at home) 'It's good. Opening up at Fresno State, and then back door to New Mexico State, it's not exactly two places you like traveling to. So to be able to stay out here, hear that home crowd - we've had a good following and we appreciate that. To really come out in front of our own would be good, and to have that extra day where we don't have to travel, to just rest up here locally and focus here, I think that will be a good benefit for us.'