Dirk Koetter's Weekly Press Conference Quotes

Sept. 3, 2001

Opening Comments
'We're excited to play, we need to play a game. As (SDSU Head Coach) Ted (Tollner) eluded to in his call, one of the places we're at right now is that we've been practicing against ourselves so much, we're not even sure what we need to work on the most.'

'We have a plan of installation, we have to get this in by this date, you have to work on your two point play, your two minute offense, onside kicks, hands team, all that stuff. It's all in, but can we execute it all under game conditions, that remains to be seen. Until we play a game we won't know that.'

'It's very hard to sit back and watch other teams play on TV, especially teams we play later, UCLA, Oregon, Oregon State here in the last couple of days. San Diego State last week. It's hard to watch those teams when we're not playing. By next Saturday night, some of our opponents will have already played three games in their season. There's nothing we can do about that, it's weird because I've never been in a situation like this before.'

'We had two really good days of practice on Saturday and Sunday, we call them our San Diego State bonus days. On Saturday we practiced like an extra Tuesday practice, on Sunday we practiced like a normal Wednesday practice.'

'We are relatively healthy going into this week, Delvon (Flowers) is by far the best he's been. He looked pretty close to full speed the last couple of days. Emmanuel Franklin is another guy at corner who looks like he is pretty much back to normal. Donnie O'Neal is pretty much back to normal.'

'The main question mark that I'm sure people are wondering about is Daryl Lightfoot. I'm not real sure of Daryl's status right now because unfortunately, on top of getting his jaw wired shut on Thursday, his grandfather also passed away. Daryl has been in Yuma attending the funeral for the past few days.'

'We are really looking forward to Saturday. I think Coach Tollner, like any coach, was a little hard on his personnel. I thought the (SDSU) defense played pretty solid. I thought the numbers they held Arizona to, two hundred and some odd yards total offense, that's going to win you a lot of games. As he said, they gave up ten points in other areas of the game...Offensively, we know they hard a time getting on track. We know those receivers are very talented.'

'Most coaches would tell you that having a game under your belt is an advantage, and that's the part that we are most nervous about. I'm sure San Diego State will iron out some of the problems that they had, and will be better in those areas this week. On the other hand, we're not sure what our problems are right now, so we'll know that more next Monday.'

Are you concerned about first game jitters from your players?
'We try to take the approach that that is why we practice the way we do. If we're doing things right on a consistent basis in practice, then we should do them right in the game. And you take the fact that we have a pretty experienced team. We have a quarterback who has started, I think it's safe to say that Jeff (Krohn) isn't going to be nervous, he's going to be ready to go on Saturday. I think since we have an experienced team I hope that's not a problem, but you never know.'

Do you have a set depth chart?
'We pretty much know who is going to go where. I always kind of downplay the depth chart. The depth chart really doesn't matter, it's always a work in progress because on offense we use so many multiple personnel groups we're always going to be running running backs, receivers, and tight ends in and out. It really doesn't matter who starts, it matters how much they play. All the guys that were 'competing' for playing time, they're all going to probably play in the game, it's just a matter of how much they play, and most of that is determined by health and how well they practice.'

Is the offense where you want it to be?
'I don't think the offense is ever where you want it to be. People ask this question all the time, do you have everything in. The playbook is never done. I'm not afraid to admit, I watch games on TV and we're going to put in three plays Fresno State ran last night, I like those plays and they worked. It's never over, it just keeps evolving based on what the opponent does, what you can do, who's healthy who's not. Is the offense at 100% efficiency, no, is it a work in progress, yes.'

San Diego State's Defense
'(SDSU) ranked 45th in the country in defense last year, so they are pretty solid. They love to give you those five man rushes, bring at least one linebacker, their two outside guys are good blitzers. Our general philosophy is to make sure we have our protection covered first. It's tough for Jeff (Krohn) to throw when he's getting smacked around. We're pretty concerned with their blitz package, they're good at it.'

Inexperience of the corners
'Until our corner's do have experience, teams are going to try and go at them. Teams are going to go after our corners not just because of their experience, but because in our style of defense that's what you have to do. The trade-off is that our defense is going to bring heat from everywhere. It's hard to figure out where they are coming from because there are always eight guys up there and you don't know which four are coming. We have to help our corners by putting pressure on the quarterback. If we're doing a good job with our blitzes, and if we can put pressure on them in a four man rush when we're not blitzing. The that's going to make our corners jobs a lot easier. If we aren't putting pressure on the quarterback, it doesn't matter who we have at cornerback.'

Offensive Line concerns
'I don't think people should be worried about our offensive line. I've maintained since I got here that I think it is probably the strongest part of our team...I sleep better at night knowing that we do have a solid offensive line. I don't think we're as deep as we'd like to be, but every team in Div. I football has depth problems at one position or another.'

Do teams from a smaller conference come into games with more determination?
'I think any team that is scheduling up so to speak, has a chip on their shoulder. We did at Boise State, we wanted to beat a team out of the WAC or the Mountain West. I think Fresno State is a great example of that, the last two weeks they beat both Colorado and Oregon State they were playing with a chip on their shoulder. They wanted national recognition, and they got it. They look great. So I think that exists.'

You don't want to start the season with a loss, and SDSU doesn't want to go 0-2....
'For us, we have to worry about ourselves. If we go out and play the way we are capable of playing, everything is going to work out fine. We're not going to go out there and play a perfect game our first time out, nobody does. But if we go out and play as well as we can, and overcome the mistakes we make. When we do make mistakes we don't go into the tank, we can just rebound and move on to the next play. If we can just take care of our business, things are going to work out fine.'

Are you excited?
'I'm excited, but I learned not to get too excited on Monday, I'll save that for Saturday. We've got a long week, I have to get some sleep before we get there. But I'm excited, I'm looking forward to it. That's why you're a coach or a player, because of Saturdays.'

Is the defense ready?
'I think our defense is ready to go. I'm excited to see our defense, I know how many problems our defense gives our offense, and I can tell you, as an offensive coaching staff, we spend hours in the meeting room deciding how we're going to protect the quarterback, how we're going to run the ball. Our defensive style is to outnumber you everywhere. We believe in trying to get a hat on a hat, and it's hard for us too move the ball sometimes because they have us outnumbered.'

'I'm really excited to see our defense play. With all these things I'm saying about them, I want to say to the media, we're going to give up some big plays, that's the style we play. Our goal is to have three negative plays in the offense for every big play we give up. For every play over 15 yards, we want to have three plays go our way. Either a sack, a tackle for a loss, a blocked pass, something along that line. Let's not kid ourselves, if you play aggressive on defense, you are going to get burned a few times. That's going to happen. That's what more and more defenses in college football are going too. There's a lot less bend but don't break defenses.'

Concerns on special teams
'If you watch any of these college games the first week, how many blocked punts did you see, how many perfect snaps that the punter drops... That is probably in a first game the thing that keeps you awake the most, how are we going to do in the kicking game. Are we going to do the right things, are we going to have penalties, are we going to line up right, will they have trick plays, will we have trick plays, that's the game, and that's why Coach (Tom) Osborne is over there working on it right now.'

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