2003 Pac-10 Football Media Day Quotes

July 30, 2003

Pacific-10 Conference Commissioner Tom Hansen
'You are all well aware of the expansion that has taken place on the East Coast, in the ACC. This subject came up again at our athletics directors meeting (Tuesday), and our members have looked at all facets of this. We've determined that we are not going to be directly or indirectly affected by what happens in ACC or the Big East. In addition, our members are very comfortable with our configuration and have no desire to change. We have not discussed expansion.'

California head coach Jeff Tedford
'Our players reported last night. We're very excited to get started. We have a lot new faces. We lost 24 seniors last year. That will be our main objective through camp, to evaluate these new faces so we are prepared to play Kansas State come August 23. (Senior) Jonathan Makonnen came in as a JC transfer last year and he did a phenomenal job for us. He brought great leadership and work ethic to the wide receiver group. We 're looking for big things this year from Jonathan.'

California senior wide receiver Jonathan Makonnen
'We lost a lot of good seniors in Kyle Boller and Nnamdi Asomugha. But every year you have to get players to come in and take those spots. It's a good chance for players to step in right away. This year there's not a big drop off in talent as far as the players Coach Tedford has recruited. I think the new players will take those spots and show that we can play with the best teams.'

Stanford head coach Buddy Teevens
'We have questions to be answered at the quarterback spot. The receiving corps is led by Luke Powell. He really is the leader on our team. On the defensive side of the football, we have some seasoned veterans and players who've been through it before. We're expecting big things from our defense this year. We have tremendous cohesion and there's a great deal of enthusiasm about where we are at this point.'

Stanford senior wide receiver Luke Powell
'(Quarterback) Chris (Lewis) and I came into college together. This is my fifth year with him, and I've seen what he can do physically. Has has the capability to be an All-Pac-10 quarterback. He's proved it time and time again, winning big games at Oregon and against USC. Our whole offense struggled last year, and it was not a good gauge to judge Chris by. He's looked stronger this summer and he's making good decisions. All the guys are 100 percent behind him and have all the faith in his abilities.'

Arizona head coach John Mackovic
'As we turn the corner from 2002, which was an interesting year, we have made some adjustments getting ready for 2003. We changed from a flex to a 3-4 defense. We brought in a new defensive coordinator and added some new coaches on offense, although we didn't make a lot of changes to our offense. We had a terrific spring. We were very competitive and enthusiastic. We played a lot of short sessions and the players liked it. We came out of the spring feeling like we made progress and were much improved. We report next Tuesday and we'll take the next step forward from there.'

Arizona senior tackle Brandon Phillips
'(Last season) has been talked about quite a bit and we're done talking about it. We want to be able to move forward, and I think spring practice played a big role in that. We played so well as a unit and I was surprised at how well we came together. It was probably the best spring since I've been at Arizona, and spirits were very high. ... These are tough kids who have really seen and been through a lot and I think it will be reflected on the team this year. We have a tough team.'

Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti
'Anytime you don't finish the previous season as you would like, it puts more focus on the offseason. We did not do a good job of finishing games and finishing the season last year. We need to play better pass defense and a lot of times people like to point the finger at one position and say, 'that was the problem.' That's not the case as we also need to be better as an offense. We have to replace some key people on offense, losing Keenan Howry, Onterrio Smith and George Wrighster. But our players have accepted that challenge and understand that for us to be successful, everyone needs to be on task.'

Oregon senior linebacker Kevin Mitchell
'Last year was not our best year, and as a team we have put that behind us. We had a great spring. We're excited to get into fall camp and get some good things going. ... We did start off good (last year). But our philosophy is not how you start, it's how you finish. And we did not finish very well. We didn't know how to patch it back together. We can't rely on the coaches to do that for us - they're not the ones on the field. Once you get stuck in quicksand, you can't get out, and that's what happened.'

Washington head coach Keith Gilbertson
'It's been a strange process for me to become the head coach at the University of Washington. It wasn't an easy thing. I very much enjoyed working with Rick Neuheisel. He was very good to me and my family and it was sad to see him go through that. At the same time, I'm thrilled to have this opportunity. For me it's a marvelous chance. ... There's a lot of newness in our program. There's a new head coach, a new offensive coordinator, a new offensive line coach and a new defensive coordinator. At the same time, we'll carry on and conduct business as usual, but there are a lot of new things in our program. We'll work through training camp and see where we're at. We have a very good player at quarterback. (Cody Pickett) is as competitive of a guy I've ever coached, including guys like Marques (Tuiasosopo), Billy Hobert and Dave Barr.'

Washington senior quarterback Cody Pickett
On the firing of Rick Neuheisel: 'It was a bad situation. Coach Neuheisel was a great coach, a player's coach, and we all enjoyed him. But as a team we pulled together and we realized if we had to have a new coach, we would want Coach Gilbertson. We have a game coming up real soon and we're all just trying to get ready for that.'

Oregon State head coach Mike Riley
'We report on Sunday and begin practice on Monday. In some ways we got a bit of a late start and pushed spring practice back a far as we could. Our two main goals were to get to know our team - we watched as much film as possible - and the other thing was we wanted to get the system established and see what we needed to add. As far as that it's an ongoing process. Our fall camp is huge for us, being new and getting things started. We need a solid start. I've been a Pac-10 gym rat since I grew up in Corvallis, and I've never seen it better. We can all look at 'SC as setting the standard after their season last year.'

Oregon State senior linebacker Richard Seigler
'We were excited for (former) Coach (Dennis) Erickson to pursue his NFL career. The administration did a great job in hiring Coach Riley. He's a legend in Corvallis and everyone around Oregon State is excited to see what we're going to do this year. As far as the team goes, we're very happy. Coach Riley came in, brought in a great staff and was enthusiastic in the spring and ready to go.'

UCLA head coach Karl Dorrell
'I'm excited about being back in the Conference. I've always been very fond of the Pac-10 as a player and throughout my coaching profession. Even when I was in the Big 12, I always kept in touch with the Conference and what was happening. It's a great feeling to be back, representing the university that I went to school at. ... I call it the honeymoon period. The excitement of being back has been great, but now it's 'Karl, you gotta win.' I'm excited about this football team. From a preparation standpoint, the team has not only met but exceeded my expectations. They understand the challenges and that nothing comes without hard work.'

UCLA senior wide receiver Craig Bragg
'It seems like the day we lost (to Colorado), everyone gave up. But not this year. We're going into a huge season as prepared as we can be, not just focusing on one game. Every game we have to be as competitive as we can be. It's about the confidence level, too, and about not overlooking anybody. We need to be prepared to play and get ready for the next game, and the next game after that.'

Arizona State head coach Dirk Koetter
'We're excited that we've been picked to finish much higher (second) in the Pac-10 media poll than last year. It's a tribute to the work done by our coaches and players. We were picked to finish ninth last year and finished third. This is a tremendously wide open Conference race, more so than many of you might think it is. Several teams have a chance to win it all, including us, and we're just excited to get started.'

Arizona State junior quarterback Andrew Walter
'It helps me to be recognized and know that I'm not going to sneak up on anyone. At the same time it puts some pressure on you, but I can't control that. People's expectations are nice, but you can only control what you can do. It's better to be in this situation, to be known and recognized and have people know what you can do.'

USC head coach Pete Carroll
'It's been a tremendous offseason. We're very fortunate that we had the year we had. It feels like we're starting over in some ways. This football team, led by Keary Colbert, has big shoes to fill and we're excited about the challenge. We have a number of huge games coming up, including the road game with Auburn, and we'll take them as they come. We have some key elements of our team that we have to uncover and determine who the best players are. We need to take a look at the young guys and see where they can best fit in and help us.'

USC senior wide receiver Keary Colbert
'(Quarterback Matt Leinart) is still learning and compared to Carson (Palmer), Carson had a lot more experience. But Matt or whomever will be the guy will get there. We'll just have to wait and see.'

Washington State head coach Bill Doba
'We went into spring concerned about replacing a guy named Marcus Trufant. But we're very confident with Karl Paymah. We were also concerned about the defensive line positions after losing (tackle) Rien Long, our Outland Trophy winner. But positive side of that is other players are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and the chance to start. It's tough to replace a legend like Jason Gesser, but we are very confident in Matt Kegel. He knows our offense and has taken over the reigns of the leadership.'

Washington State senior quarterback Matt Kegel
'I feel very confident. I've been around for four years. I'm fortunate the coaches believed in me enough and now it's my show. Replacing a guy like Jason Gesser can be very hard, but if I can help my team score as many points as possible and put us in a position to win, than I'm doing my job. ... I've learned a lot at Washington State and about being a quarterback in the Pac-10. I cherish the upcoming year.'

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