Quotes from Tuesday's Insight Bowl Press Conference
Dec. 24, 2002
Phoenix, Arizona - About the Insight Bowl'As I have said many times, I have had the opportunity to be in many different bowl games, but none are operated better than the Fiesta/Insight Bowls (the Insight is operated by the Fiesta Bowl organization). Oregon State is looking forward to the game, I think it is a tremendous match-up. The University of Pittsburgh is a very good team, playing in an excellent conference. I had an opportunity to watch Pitt on television a couple of times - the team has great speed on defense and very good athletes on offense. We are really excited about the game, like I said, it's a tremendous matchup.'
The health of the team'We lost David Lose, who was our starting left guard, in the last game. We do have Brian Kilkenny, our starting left tackle, back. We are about where we started the year in terms of health.'
Playing in a bowl game'The great thing about bowl games is you get a chance to practice for three weeks, and you get the opportunity to play on national television.'
About OSU cornerbacks'When you have corners who can come up and bump you, particularly Dennis Weathersby, and take receivers out of their game-it is a huge benefit. You can do a lot of other things defensively. It will be a tremendous battle between Dennis and Larry Fitzgerald, he is an awesome athlete. Dennis has made a big difference in our defensive philosophy because he allows us to do so many other things.'
About having a young quarterback'Anytime you have a young quarterback playing they are going to struggle at times, and they are going to be very good at times. It has been a learning process for Derek Anderson. He played well very early, then struggled in the middle of the season. Derek fought through those struggles in the middle of the season, and has played very well lately. From the last half of the Stanford game he has made very good decisions.'
>Anticipating a defensive game'I look at that stuff on paper and it never seems to work out that way. When you think it is going to be a defensive battle, it usually ends up being 50-48. When you look at the stats and the strengths of the teams, it certainly looks like it could be a defensive battle - no question about that. To me, the game is going to be about turnovers, just like every other game is.'
About the resurgence of Oregon State'I'm very fortunate to have two coaches who laid important groundwork at Oregon State University. Jerry Pettibone did a lot of work in terms of facilities, and Mike Riley did a tremendous job with talent. We have been fortunate to build on what they started. Oregon State people are very hungry, they haven't experienced a lot of wins over a long period of time. We are able to fill our stadium for every game, you can't get a seat. We have built a beautiful indoor facility and now we are working on expanding our stadium. Oregon State University is a great place to go to school. I'm very proud of what we have been able to do as a staff, and I think things are going to continue to get better. We are attracting better athletes. Are we able to out recruit USC and UCLA regularly? No. But we are able to find athletes who fit into our system. Oregon State is going to be a team that people will have to deal with for a long time to come.'
About Pittsburgh'Coach Walt Harris has done a great job. I coached against Pittsburgh a couple of times when I was at the University of Miami, and I watched them go through a couple of coaches. Pitt has improved its facilities, and the current coaching staff has developed talent. When you look closely at Pittsburgh, there are a lot of similarities to Oregon State. I would think the Pittsburgh people are very proud of their football team.'
Does Pittsburgh remind you of another team Oregon State has faced?'Defensively, they're a lot like USC. Offensively, they're a lot like Arizona State, although Pitt's quarterback is more mobile. Those are the similarities that I see.'
How has Miami stayed on top of the college football world for so long?'Good players. Miami has tremendous access to great players because of how strong high school football is in the area. I've said this many times, I learned a lot about work ethic when I was at Miami. Guys wanted to win. I'm very proud to have had the opportunity to be a little part of the great success that program has enjoyed. I think everybody is going to see a great game at the Fiesta Bowl.'
Has the offensive line been a big part of Derek Anderson's recent improvement? 'Definitely. The offensive line is such a key to any football team. We had some injuries early and it took us time to make adjustments. When you have a good offensive line you have a great chance to win any football game. We are very young on the offensive line, other than Mike Kuykendall, but overall they're playing very well. It's very encouraging to me to have most of these guys back for next year.'
How good is Steven Jackson?'I've seen a lot of running backs in my career, but to me Steven Jackson is as good as anyone I have coached. He has great size and speed, and I think those of you who haven't seen him play in person are going to enjoy watching him.'
If you finish 9-4 compared to where you were in August, would you consider this to be a successful season?'Very successful. When you look back to the three-game losing streak, well, I guess that was my fault, because I thought we were a little better than that. This team battled, they came back, and I'm very proud of them.'
What are the differences between coaching in the Pac-10 and Big East Conferences?'When I was in the Big East it wasn't near as good as it is now. In the Pac-10, I don't care if you are playing the last place team, you better be ready to play. The Big East is pretty darn good now. Again, in the Pac-10 you have to be prepared to play every week, and I think it is starting to get like that in the Big East as well.'