Just watched Rocky Long get introduced as the new head coach at San Diego State, replacing Brady Hoke. Thank you, Internets! Long, who spent 11 seasons at New Mexico and went to six bowl games, did a great job during the 20 minutes he spoke and delivered some pretty funny one-liners. I hope they translate onto this here post.
A couple of notes:
Long said he would keep the offensive and defensive philosophies the same. Because his defense is unique and complicated, there are only a few people who can run it. He has reached out to them. If neither wants the job, he will remain as defensive coordinator. Offensive coordinator Al Borges is off to Michigan with Hoke, but Long plans on running the same pro-style offense.
He also said he has reached out to all the current commitments San Diego State has and they all are firm in their verbal agreements.
His thoughts on building upon a 9-4 season: "Coach Hoke did an amazing job getting this program started in the right direction. The foundation has been poured. It's not solid yet. There's a long way to go before we are going to be considered a great program, but everything is in place here that we can be a great program. ...
"The Mountain West Conference championship is the first goal, but I don't think it will stop there. There's teams in our league that go to BCS games and win the BCS games. There's no reason that cannot be us. It's going to take a lot of hard work with a lot of good players. The most important thing in any program are the student-athletes in your program and we are blessed with really good guys and good football players who have learned to work hard, learned what's important in their lives and know how to act and be appreciative and how to treat people. That will not change."
On whether this is a stepping stone job for him: "This is going to be my last coaching job. I hope it lasts 10, 15, 20 years. I hope I'm on the sidelines like Joe Paterno. But this is going to be my last coaching job, so I better make it my best coaching job."
On fans who have bitterness at the way Hoke left: "I wouldn't understand that bitterness. Brady did a great job while he was here. He was given the opportunity to get the job he has dreamed of getting. There's nobody in this room that wouldn't take the job they dreamt about since they were the little kid. There's no reason to be mad. In fact I'm glad he's gone because I'm standing up here."
On what he learned in his two seasons as defensive coordinator at San Diego State: "What I enjoyed the most was watching someone else be the head coach. After I'd been one and learning from him ... there are some things he did very well that you go, 'When I had a chance why didn't I do it that way?' I learned a whole lot more than I thought I would about being a head coach. Some I didn't agree with by the way. He didn't do everything right."