Simonton Meets The Press
Oct. 16, 2001
(How much better do you feel after the way you and your teammates played against Arizona?) 'I feel a lot better that the offense finally came out. We still got some things wrong, we still didn't click as sharp as I wanted us to, especially early on. We botched the field goal and luckily that didn't come back to bite us, but we're definitely showing some good signs of life now.'
(Do you feel like you're starting to get back into a rhythm, starting to run the way you're used to running?) 'Yeah, the whole offense did. We made some little changes with our alignments, some little things that you sometimes even take for granted - you may not think they'd be a big factor, but I think they really had been kind of throwing off our timing a bit.'
(Is the enthusiasm of freshmen like Derek Anderson and Cole Clasen infectious to the rest of the team?) 'That's what this year was supposed to be characterized by - out with the old, in with the new. We were waiting for guys to step up like that, to enjoy it. Clasen brings good energy every day, he plays hard, and that's why he got his chance and he made good on it. Young guys - it's just a key about nature. You just like being around him in the locker room, eating, he's always playing around. He just enjoys it right now, and it's just good having that mixture out there right now.'
(On the enthusiasm of Derek Anderson when he came off the field Saturday night) 'He's a kid - he's a big kid. I watch him and - I believe it's (defensive end) Dan Rothwell - both these guys are 6-foot-6, 6-7, and they just sit around and play and wrestle ... we just watch these dudes like, 'How do you have energy for this?' They're just big old kids. It's good, though - it keeps things loose. You like seeing it, because especially in hard times you need something to kind of laugh at. Even if you're not in the mood, you have to kind of look at those two and, like ... it's something to smile about. I enjoy the young guys.'
(OSU hasn't played Arizona State the past two seasons. Is it different preparing for an opponent you haven't played recently?) 'No, because I see them just as much as I see USC. If you're on TV, we watch it. We're always checking out who they've got, what their players are doing this year, so I know a few of their guys. (Running back) Delvon Flowers - we got a chance to hang out when we were in Hawai'i (for the Aloha and Oahu bowls). I know the guys and I've played against some of them already, so it doesn't make a difference, really.'
(There were some good holes opened by your line against Arizona, but it also looked like you were running as well as you have all season) 'Yeah, I believe that. It felt good. This whole team has been dealing with the issues, you know: Who are we? Where are we going? You kind of start doubting things, like 'Man, I'm not really playing the way I want to.' We just decided to come out and have fun. I had a wise little owl who told me, 'You're not looking like you're having fun. Your feet don't look happy. So I want you to just go out there and think, Happy Feet.' I kind of laughed, but she was right. I just decided to go out there and try to have fun with it.'
(Coach Dennis Erickson said OSU had a great week of practice last week, that came after a strong second half at Washington State and then came a big win over Arizona. Has that jump-started this team?) 'Once you learn how to do something, it's easy to do it again. We've learned how to win at home, we've got to learn how to go out and win on the road. You ended last week with a good feeling, and that's the first time. (Running back) Patrick McCall made a statement in the locker room before the game that we don't know how to celebrate in our own house, and that kind of stuck with me. We don't really know what it's like to go on the road and get a key win. We've got to go out with that same intensity, like 'I want to know what it's like to come back on the plane loose, not worrying about, we've got to be quiet because coach is going to be mad.' I mean, just enjoy it - we learned how to do it, hopefully, we can keep it up.'