Andrew Walter Quotes From Weekly Press Conference
Oct. 21, 2002
Arizona State sophomore QB Andrew Walter met with the Phoenix media Monday afternoon after his record-breaking performance in ASU's 45-42 win over No. 6 Oregon in Eugene. Walter was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week and Sporting News National Player of the Week after throwing for a Pac-10 and ASU record 536 yards.
How is the feeling after the Oregon win and have you settled down yet?
It still feels real good. I am going to start really looking toward Washington tonight and get back to work. It was a great win, but we have a big game ahead of us.
How difficult was it at the beginning of the season when you were not a starter?
It was pretty difficult at the beginning of the season and I tried to focus on the little things; hanging around the guys and just make the most of what reps I got at practice. The reason you are here is to play on Saturday's, so, yes it was very tough.
Since you were recruited by Bruce Snyder, how close did you come to leaving ASU?
It was definitely a decision I had to make. I was not pleased coming out of spring practices, but, it is something that I didn't want to give up on. I have always wanted to play at ASU, I was born and lived here in Phoenix, so, this is home and I didn't want to go anywhere else. It was important to me to stay. I never really second guessed it any more than a though of what could have been.
At what points were you aware of your yards (went on to throw Pac-10 record 536)?
After the third quarter they showed the stats on the JumboTron and I just happened to catch it when it flashed up there. I didn't even know where all the stats had come from because it just didn't seem like it. Against Stanford and North Carolina, both those games I could feel the yards piling up.
Share with us your family's thoughts and how the atmosphere on campus has changed?
I've gotten a few more phone calls from friends and family back home, so it is nice for them to enjoy it with me. Today, nothing has really changed on campus, except for a few comments here and there saying 'nice game' and stuff like that.
Do you look at the coaches decision from spring ball with how you are playing now?
I didn't agree with the decision made after spring ball to not start me, but I wouldn't change anything. Going through struggles makes you enjoy the high times more and keeps you grounded. If I would have had success right away and throughout my career I could have thought that I was the greatest thing since sliced bread and I don't. So, to be grounded and be humble, that situation really helped me to get to where I am right now.
After a win like this to what degree have the expectations of the team changes?
No question the expectations have changed. Before this weekend, the only pressures were on ourselves because we all had big expectations. Now more people have caught on with the attention toward the program. The expectations toward the program and players are more of a tangible thing to grasp. It is a reality now that we have expectations from our fans, from the nation and we can go out and grab what is there. I think a lot of players are excited and the mood in the locker room, on the field and in the huddle has changed.
How do you feel about your comeback drives this year and do you feel its due to your maturity?
I really think the drives that we have put together are a combination of things. You don't want to go into Autzen Stadium and go down 21 points, because that sure isn't how you draw things up. But, to come back in that type of atmosphere and respond is huge and I would say it is just the mental attitude of this team. A lot of guys on the team said they looked at the scoreboard when we were down 21-0 and it didn't even register that we couldn't comeback and win the game. It is not where we wanted to be, but our attitude gave us chance to win. You can't measure it in stats, in wins or losses; it is just confidence and what makes this team go. The comebacks are special and speak volumes toward the character of this football team.
How has your relationship with Coach Koetter evolved over the last year?
I would say it is very healthy. The communication lines have always been there, but now it is really open and it truly reflects the state of this program and where we are as a team. The feeling between coach and I is really great and I think that is the way it is pretty much for our whole team right now.
What allowed you to settle down after struggling against Oregon State and Oregon early?
That is a good question. Against Oregon State it was kind of a situation where I got early and couldn't find a rhythm or get things to click. I asked Coach Helfrich (ASU QB Coach) if there were any nuances that he went through when he was a player that could help me. This game didn't start out good early with two interceptions early and the offense wasn't clicking in the first quarter. But, it felt like we were close and the rhythm was maybe just a half a beat off. I really think it was just our team relaxing and letting things happen. We didn't press and just played our game.
Does your past ties to ASU allow you to put a win like this in some sort of context?
I think so. The win that I've heard it is equated to is the 19-0 win over No. 1 Nebraska in 1996. I think this is the highest ranked team ASU has beaten since then, if I am not mistaken. It is definitely special, but, to be honest, before high school I didn't follow it too much. I think it is a great win for our program and the school and it is real special.
Do some people give you a hard time after not keeping the game ball after setting the ASU and Pac-10 Passing Record (536 yards)?
No, I wanted to throw it into the stands, but didn't know if I would get a penalty or something, plus, that is pretty disrespectful to the Oregon Ducks. We were all celebrating.
Do you have the game ball?
No, I don't, it is probably with the rest of the game balls from that game. I have to go get one though so I can remember that game.
How much does the system and the coaches help you?
After the game, I said, the system allows you to put up numbers like that. Any given day you can throw for 400 yards. The calls that were made were absolutely perfect in the situations. The coaches really had the right calls and with the some of the athletes we have on the field, those plays can really hurt other teams. There is no question about throwing to Shaun McDonald, as that guy catches everything. He made some great catches on some poor throws. More often than not he is making the big plays. Having someone like him on our side is great. Hopefully he will be around next year and we can keep this going.
Was there ever another school you considered during the recruiting process coming out of high school?
No, not seriously considered. There were other schools, but I didn't make any other official visits. I always had my plans to play for Arizona State. I didn't plan on going to any other football camps. I was sold right after coming down here for the camp.
Does the face-to-face play calling help you at all?
It just helps so you don't miss any signals. I am not a fan of it, because I get tired running over there all of the time. I would rather have it signaled into me, but in a case where you are in a loud and crazy environment like Autzen Stadium, it really helps.
How had Chad Christensen handled all of your success?
He is great and is the ultimate team player. Ever since he has committed he has been a team player and only cares how we can get better. He has been nothing but supportive and tremendous to remain a team guy. It would be tough to be put in a situation like this and he has handled it with the utmost class.
What did you see Oregon do differently on defense in the second half?
One of their players comments in the paper was that maybe they had to play some younger players due to injuries and they had to play more zone. But, our big plays came when they were in man coverage. They made us pass and we capitalized on it. We picked up the blitzes better in the second half and were just able to open up our offense. When you put some of our receivers up against anyone, they are going to win.
What do you think this program can accomplish given the recent success?
We are an extremely young team and will get a lot back next year. What we will be able to accomplish this year will surprise some people, but we expected this. All the hard work in the offseason has paid off and will continue to pay off as we grow older as a team and more confident within the program. I think the most important thing is that a younger team like ours is learning how to win close games and seeing how fun it can be to win.
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