What the other teams were saying during Day 1 of MWC Media Days
LAS VEGAS -- Rocky Long is always good for a quote.
Tuesday's Mountain West Media Days was no exception for San Diego State's head coach.
Long has been in this league a long time. Like, 30 years long. He's coached at his alma mater, New Mexico, San Diego State and even spent four years in Laramie as a defensive coordinator in the early 80's.
In other words, he isn't afraid to speak him mind. And if it were up to him, he will be doing for years to come.
"As long as the players aren't too much trouble and we can keep winning," Long said inside the Green Valley Resort in Las Vegas. "I want you to know I am very lucky. We have really good people in our program. I have very few issues. I've been on teams as an assistant and head coach where we've had a whole bunch of issues. It's not worth it.
"The issues I have is guys who are late to a meeting. We can work that out at 6 a.m. and he doesn't do that again."
Long has a few opinions on instant replay, too.
"We should get rid of replay and live with the damn call," he said. "We got a call against us and instant replay didn't save us. We lost the game. I can show you on film exactly what instant replay showed and the official still called it wrong. So, why don't we just eliminate instant replay and let's live with the call? I'm for that ... Let's just call it and let's go."
And how about the Albuquerque think-tank, The Rio Grande Foundation, calling for a merger of the sports programs at New Mexico and New Mexico State?
"That's really hard to do when they are about six hours apart," Long said, smiling and shaking his head. "Are they going to bus and meet them in the middle to practice? Nothing is in the middle. That's a great one."
Long's Aztecs play in Las Cruces Sept. 14. Long still doesn't care for the Aggies.
"We are staying in El Paso, because I refuse to spend a dime in Las Cruces," Long joked.
Tony Sanchez was all smiles as he sat at his table inside the media room Tuesday.
The Rebels head coach has plenty of reasons for the grin. First, he is the only one who didn't have to travel this weekend, and secondly, UNLV will be moving into the new home of the Las Vegas Raiders next season.
There was a third reason, too.
"Yes, thank goodness. Last time we landed in Laramie it was minus-1 when we got off the plane," Sanchez joked about traveling to Wyoming Sept. 28. "Boy, when that sun went down over the stadium, it was freezing."
Sanchez also recalled the last meeting between the Cowboys and Rebels, a 69-66 shootout at Sam Boyd Stadium that ended in three overtimes. UNLV won the game, but Sanchez said he definitely "needed a drink" after that one.
"I thought, they have 98 yards to go and no timeouts. We go this," he recalled. "Then they drive down the field and Tanner Genrty makes another circus catch for a darn touchdown. That was the craziest game I have ever been a part of."
Back to the Rebels new digs.
Sanchez said he expects an NFL stadium to only help in recruiting. He said Raiders tickets will be so expensive and hard to get, he hopes the locals will come spend a Saturday with the home team. Sanchez admitted that Sam Boyd Stadium is just too far out of town. That hasn't helped recruiting -- or at the gates.
"If you could pick that stadium up and move it on campus, that would be perfect," he said.
The shell of the new stadium is nearly complete and sits on the west side of I-15 across the highway from Las Vegas Boulevard.
SAN JOSE STATE
Head coach Brent Brennan fielded plenty of questions about the Spartans program Tuesday. Mainly about how they plan to dig themselves out of a two-year streak that has produced just two wins.
According to Brennan, help is on the way in the form of a new $40 million state-of-the-art Football Operations Center.
But, if the Spartans lay another egg this season, will Brennan be around to see it? He's 3-22 overall in his first three seasons in San Jose.
"Well, I think it will have an incredible impact on recruiting," Brennan said. "I really believe that this generation we are recruiting buys with their eyes more than any generation in the history of our country. Everything on the phone is 'look at me, look at me and how cool my prom outfit is. Look at my cool new car that I bought.'"
Brennan pointed to programs like Oregon and Washington State, who have sunk millions into its football facilities. With the money and commitment came wins, he said.
"Washington State built the facilities and what, won 10 games last year? They have been a bowl team for six or seven years in a row," he said. "That's way in the middle of nowhere. That facility thing is big for young people."
Count Nevada linebacker, Lucas Weber, as one guy who could care less about preseason ranking, polls or All-Conference selections.
"It's preseason," Weber said Tuesday. "I don't think anyone pays attention to it."
Weber was a key cog in the Wolfpack's turnaround in 2018 where they went from 3-9 to 8-5, including an overtime win in the Arizona Bowl. Weber, who started his career as a running back, racked up 56 tackles, 10.5 of which were for a loss. He also added 5.5 sacks.
Weber agreed that UW's Logan Wilson should be considered one of the best linebackers in the conference. Wilson wasn't a first-team selection. Neither was Weber.
"It is what it is," he continued. "Personally, I don't care. As long as we do well as a team, that's all I care about."
The Aggies don't speak until Wednesday, but the goodies they left on the table in the media room did all the speaking for them.
There were heart-shaped candies in a baggie, equipped with a photo of quarterback Jordan Love.
They say: "#10VEforHeisman"
That's a heck of a way to start a campaign. There were also notepads featuring the MWC preseason Offensive Player of the Year selection. It features white hearts, an obvious play on Love's last name.
The defending MWC champions spoke Tuesday in Las Vegas.
And they still had that title-game win over Boise State fresh in their minds.
“I’ve seen it probably -- maybe 50 to 100 times,” said Ronnie Rivers, the Bulldogs star tailback who is on the Doak Walker Award Watch List. “I’ve watched the full game probably at least 10 to 15 (times.) It never gets old watching those type of games and remembering the feelings of those experiences.”
Fresno State knocked off Boise State 19-16 in overtime to claim the conference crown on the blue snow-covered Albertson's Stadium turf.
Last December -- right here in Sin City -- the Bulldogs outlasted Arizona State 31-20 to win the Las Vegas Bowl.