Simonton Meets The Press

Oct. 23, 2001

(What's the state of your team right now?) 'We're thinking that we have five games left, and we could make it six.'

(Quarterback Jonathan Smith said earlier today that he feels like he should be doing more - do you feel some of that same frustration?) 'You go through everything right now. Me and Pat (McCall, tailback) stayed until about 1 o'clock last night just talking, and we had to laugh because you just find yourself going in a circle. 'What if this?' and 'Maybe we this' and 'Maybe we should this' - you can't explain it. You've got to just come out and prepare and just kind of laugh and say, 'I'll see you tomorrow'.'

(What did head coach Dennis Erickson say in Monday's meeting with the team? Was it generally positive?) 'Everything at this stage is going to be positive, even if it's something you don't necessarily want to hear - it's for the benefit of the team, it's for making positive strides. I don't think there's too much you can say right now that's really just negative, they say what we need to hear, and it may not always be what you want to hear, but it's what you need to hear.'

(Do you agree with Erickson that OSU just isn't making the plays necessary to win right now?) 'Straight up. We're just not. You get some guys who are out here making great plays - J New (James Newson) is one of them, he goes out making great plays, hustling - but we're just not exciting each other right now, it's not rubbing off. I don't understand why, but it's just not rubbing off and we need to, we have to fuel each other. I don't know what else we're waiting for. If we don't excite one another, we're just not going to be excited.'

(Do you feel you and the rest of the seniors have reached the limit in what you can do to motivate the others?) 'I don't know. It's something you always have to question yourself - 'What is this?' 'Can I do this?' As seniors, we just realize we've got to start making some exceptional plays. But that still doesn't guarantee it's going to ignite a flame, and that's what we're talking about here. James Newson goes up over three people and comes down with a catch, before that, he's on the sideline making a catch. Cole Clasen is making fingertip catches. If that's not exciting, I don't know what is. As seniors, we can go through the same process like, 'Man, I need to make a great play.' But it still doesn't promise it's going to ignite a flame everywhere. We've just got to start feeling each other.'

(Do you still hope a convincing win over California could get the ball rolling for the final five games?) 'We still haven't played a perfect game - nowhere near. We got the ball rolling, we had an opportunity to keep it rolling last week and we didn't. That's my only focus, I want to win five games so I can get to a sixth. I'm a family man, I love my family, but I don't necessarily want to see them at Christmas time. This is all I have - this is the only thing left, and it's not guaranteed - I could bust a knee and be done now. But this is the only season I have guaranteed left, and I want to enjoy it and extend it as long as I can. That's our focus right now.'

(What concerns you about California?) 'Nothing. I don't even care about Cal, all I can look at is the Beavers and what are we doing. I don't care about Cal and whoever else we face. It's about us. We've lost to some good teams and we've lost to some straight-out bad teams. It's not about Cal, I wish Cal the best of luck in their season.'

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