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2016 NAU Football Media Day Quotes

2016 NAU Football Media Day Quotes

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Head Coach Jerome Souers

Can you talk about the loss of Ryan Hawkins on special teams?

It's a huge loss. Ryan evolved into the triple-threat guy: he could do punts, kickoff, and he did a phenomenal job place kicking. I don't think you could effectively replace the contribution he had. What we hope to do is get the kind of production you need at each of those positions and skills that'll keep your team in the game.


The conference schedule is not a cake walk…

That's part of the fun of the conference; the parody is amazing. There are some great coaches in our conference and they've put together teams with great ability. Each week, if you don't bring your best, you could stand to lose a game; there are no gimmies. Contrary to what people may think, when you look at win-loss records going into a the Big Sky Conference game, throw them all out because it'll be won by the team that plays the best that day. There are teams top to bottom that can beat you.


Who is NAU Football?

I think this team is relentless. They're hungry to play. We were not satisfied with last year. We had a conference championship slip through our fingers against Southern Utah on the road last season and the little things made the difference in the game. I really believe our guys have come back hungrier and they are willing to do more than they've ever done, with regards to making sacrifices to get better.  They've competed against each other and they've demonstrated the kind of determination you need to be great.


Sophomore Quarterback Case Cookus

Who is Case Cookus outside of football?

I'm kind of a goofy guy. I've heard I'm a goober a few times to describe me. I just love having fun. I love going out and playing as many sports as I can. Doesn't matter if it's football, basketball, pick-up soccer games, ping pong…I love competing and spending time with friends.


What is it going to take for NAU to be atop the Big Sky standings come November?

I think it's not worrying about being on top. It's worrying about us winning one game at a time.


If you could give the QB's a nickname, what would your group be called?

I know Coach (Tim) Plough probably wouldn't like it, but the "Gun Slingers."


Junior Wide Receiver Emmanuel Butler

What is something from last season that you learned that has helped you prepare for this season?

Stats do not matter at all. Our goal was to win a conference championship, and we had two players on our offense that had amazing years. We even had a running back that had an amazing year, and it still wasn't enough. We really have to grow as an offense and mature as people not only on the field but also off the field to win a championship this season.


How do you see yourself using your size to your advantage?

I feel like when balls are in the air, I'm going to make the play. I feel like the coaches and Case trust that, and I feel like my size—being 6'4", 220 lbs—it allows me to get up higher than most guys that are covering me because I'm taller and stronger.


If you could give the WR's a nickname, what would your group be called?

"The Playmakers."


Senior Running Back Kendyl Taylor

You're a bit of a triple-threat. What's the best part of your game?

I think the best part is that it's a mystery. I start out at running back or receiver, and I can switch back-and-forth. I can do all types of stuff, so the versatility really causes a problem for the defenses.


As a veteran on the squad, what is your personal goal for the season?

My personal goal is to help us win and hopefully get a national championship, definitely a conference championship as well since we're ranked No. 1 [preseason]. Your senior year, you just look back and your mindset changes a little bit as you get older. You really become team oriented and want the best for everybody: the whole organization, school and program. 


If you could give the RB's/TE's a nickname, what would your group be called?

The "Goof Balls," to be honest. The tight ends are a goofy bunch and we're kind of a cool, laid back bunch. So, you put us together and it's a fun atmosphere.


Senior Offensive Lineman Jacob Julian

Have you seen a difference so far in this camp compared to camps in previous years?

Definitely. The expectation, the culture I should say, has completely changed. The new coaches, the new players, we have created this new type of expectation among us that has been much more focused and more driven and tough all around so we are more competitive, we're faster, we're stronger, and it is just the coolest thing to see I guess in all five years I've been here.

What's one of your favorite memories as a Lumberjack?

I think a few years ago, my sophomore year we played Southern Utah in the snow and it was a great win for us, but it was such a weird experience. I had never played in the snow even though being up here, we're in the dome and it was just such an interesting experience, I had some of my best friends there, the guys on the o-line, because I'm an o-lineman. The game was so difficult and challenging the opponent so to come out on top like that was awesome.

If you could give the offensive line a nickname, what would your group be called?

"The Great Wall of NAU."


Senior Safety LeAndre Vaughn

This is your senior season. What are you most looking forward to?

I don't want to sound cliché, but I am interested in how the season is going to end. I want to see how it is going to look in the end. You know, I want to see why we are picked number one. I want to see what the championship may feel or look like again. You know, I want to witness that one more time and get another shot at that.

The secondary has some young talent on board, how are you showing them the ropes?

I think the best thing I do is just try to communicate with them and tell them you know, take your time, learn the plays, learn the playbook, get everything down in reps and just try to take them under my wing. We have some talent there.

If you could give the safeties a nickname, what would your group be called?

I think I'll just take it from Ronnie Manning he says "D-Boys" his squad. That's his number one so I'll just steal that from Ronnie.


Sophomore Cornerback Maurice Davison

How is camp going for you so far?

Camp is amazing. I'm one year in so I already know what to expect. We've got guys competing on both sides of the ball, so it is fun.

As a sophomore, how can your game continue to evolve?

Transitioning from my freshman season to my sophomore season, I plan on having a lot more confidence due to the fact that I have a year under my belt so we will see how that goes this season.

If you could give the cornerbacks a nickname, what would your group be called?

The Moe's. That's my nickname so that's what we'd be called.


Senior Linebacker Jake Thomas

How do you teach some of the young players while still competing against them in camp?

You still compete, you still do what you need to do, but at the same time if they are struggling you need to be able to give them a hand. I think it is important for the younger guys who aren't exactly, you know they are newer, they don't really know the little insides and outs of being a veteran, so I think show them by example and be able to answer questions and help them.

How have you grown as a player over the years?

That's a little bit of a loaded question. I think mentally and physically I've grown. Physically I've changed a lot of things in order to be better on the field and then mentally just expanding my knowledge on the game and doing what I can to be the smartest football player out there.

If you could give the linebackers a nickname, what would your group be called?

Probably the "Meat Heads."


Junior Defensive Lineman John Herrero

What do you look forward to most about camp?

I like how much time we all spend together. We have a lot of new guys this year, but we're finding out that we're really all one big family. Sometimes we get tired of each other, but that's just how it is. In the end it just makes us tighter.

What opponent do you always get pumped up to play and why?

Personally it's Eastern Washington. They are always ranked higher than us, but we've beaten them two years in a row. They have one of the best offensive line so that's a good challenge for us on the defensive line. I feel like when they come to our house this year, it will be one of the most packed games and we're looking forward to it.

If you could give the defensive line a nickname, what would your group be called?

"Wardogs." Whenever we do our breakout we always say dogs, and because of our depth and our toughness I think Wardogs fits us just fine.


Junior Running Back Corbin Jountti

How has the offense evolved from your freshman year?

Tremendously. It's evolved in the terms of speed definitely. We have a lot more threats to offer the different areas, making us very versatile in all areas from receivers, to backs, to the O-Line.

How are you able to balance your studies and athletics?

It's a matter of prioritizing. You have to do what you need to do in order to relax later.

If you could give the running backs/tight ends a nickname, what would your group be called?

I would say "Dangerous." We're definitely Dangerous, because we're flying under the radar right now.


Senior Defensive Lineman Siupeli Anau

What pregame rituals do you have?

The biggest pregame ritual for me is my prayer. I grew up in a Christian home where my parents always instilled that into me. For me personally, it's brought me this far.

Have you seen a difference so far in this camp compared to camps in previous years?

This camp the depth and competitiveness we have is up there. There's no drop off from first string all the way down to third or fourth. It's good to see that our competitiveness, talent, and playmaking ability is showing.

If you could give the defensive line a nickname, what would your group be called?

This is shoutout to Javi, we'll be the "Gun Line."

Game 9: NAU at Weber State
November 1, 2016 Game 9: NAU at Weber State
Game 8: NAU vs. Montana
October 18, 2016 Game 8: NAU vs. Montana