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SI: To what extent is there negativity around the program after the 4--8 season?
RN: People are pessimistic because we haven't given them anything to be excited about. It's been years since the team's been where we all think it should be.
SI: DO YOU FEEL ADDED PRESSURE TO HAVE A WINNING SEASON?
RN: IF YOU DON'T LIKE PRESSURE, DON'T GET INTO COLLEGE FOOTBALL COACHING. NO ONE'S GOING TO PUT MORE PRESSURE ON ME THAN I DO; THAT I CAN GUARANTEE.
SI: What are your thoughts on the schedule?
RN: I'll give you Coaches Axiom 101: The first game is the most important game. But anytime you play nine conference games, you better strap it on.
SI: How do you build a mentally tough team?
RN: You make it hard, you talk about [problems] openly and you try to get closer as a football team. It's not so much about holding artificial [team meetings] but having a lot of open dialogue as to how we are going to handle adversity. We test ourselves as often as we can.
SI: You played in Drew Brees's celebrity golf tournament in May. How'd you do?
RN: I shot a 73 and a 76, which maybe isn't outstanding for the rest of the world, but it was for me. It's my Walter Mitty life to be a golfer. My wife [Susan] was my caddie in the last round, and we're still married. Good chemistry. She only got mad at me for one three-putt.