Quotes From Andrew Walter's Monday Press Conference

Sept. 29, 2003

Tempe, Ariz. --

How are you dealing with things right now since they aren't going so well?
'I'm fine, I'm the same player I've always been, the same player who set records for ASU. This is a different team, different feel, different players, and we're a little out of sync right now. But we have to keep our focus on winning games, but again this off-season, I wasn't the one writing about myself or hyping the way things were going, those were outside perspectives.'

Were there too many expectations placed on you?
'No, I've always felt that I am capable of those things, so in terms of too much expected of me, I don't really buy that. Last year's squad set a lot of records, but we're not last year's team.'

Why are you out of sync?
'A lot of it is trust with the receivers and quarterback. We have to be on the same page. I don't know what the exact problem is, but I think we're close to figuring it out.'

Have you noticed your mechanics dropping off?
'Last year I was doing the same things I've been doing in these last two games. I know coach really wants to get the mechanics down, and we can flip on the tape and see things that I did last season that I'm doing this season.'

How would you assess the team's confidence level right now?
'We came in with confidence, but we also know we haven't gotten wins, and we need to get those wins to gain that much more confidence.'

Is it a different type of frustration this week as compared to the week before against Iowa?
'I would think it's about the same, whenever we lose is similar frustration. The same mistakes crept up as before--turnovers, not finishing drives, not being on the same page--so the frustration is about the same.'

Is it a different feeling talking to the guys after the game since your numbers haven't been as big?
'Somewhat, though I still feel that if I need to say something or voice my opinion then I have the right to do that. I know quarterbacks in college and the NFL that have had bad games and are where they need to be and can speak to their team in the locker room.'

Are you on edge that people are questioning your play?
'They can question all they want, I am where I was last year. Technique and fundamentals I have, I've been doing the same things in the last two games I did last season. I'm all about tightening down if you need to and if it makes you 5% better, then let's make ourselves 5% better. Come game time I'm not thinking of fundamentals, I'm just playing. They can question, but I'm not on edge.'

Does not having a go-to TE affect the play of the offense after losing Mike Pinkard?
'We don't run certain plays now, because we have to adapt to what we have. We evolve with who we have, and Mike Pinkard was a guy who had a chance to play at the next level and still does. It would be nice to have, but we need to take what we have and go with it.'

How significant is it to have Hakim Hill play so well?
'He gave us a breath of fresh air, we haven't had an individual 100-yard rusher in a while and he ran the ball well. It was nice to have 1st-and-10 and then get to 2nd-and-short, which we needed to do more and we did. Some penalties hurt us putting us into 3rd-and-long, but I think for Hakim it was nice to finally get into a rhythm back there and get some touches.'

Do you throw balls thinking Shaun McDonald would have caught them?
'Our guys know that we don't have the game-breaker that Shaun was. They don't have to feel like they have to fill his shoes. I know I can't just throw it expecting his burst of speed to go get it.'

Do you think you're one game away from turning the season around?
'I think so. Look at the Cardinals; they beat the Green Bay Packers and now everyone is talking about redemption for a week, then the next week comes and people are questioning them again. So one game, one week, the whole thing changes, all attitudes turn positive and everyone is happy. One win would be nice to get some momentum going again, and it would be nice to get it at home.'

Did you make headway on your timing issues and route issues with the receivers?
'I think we did. They helped the guys to be accountable for their mistakes in practice. We watched the tape and figured out what to work on. So I think those meetings did help me to see where they're coming from, but more importantly for them to see that I need them to be here at this certain point in time.'

About playing USC's defense:
'The front four is awesome, and they have a coach who is going to call a great game. They have great speed. We'll have to see what Cal did, but USC is definitely attack-style. I would assume they will try and come after us just like Oregon State, and they make plays.'

Was USC's the best defense you saw last year?
'Yes, they disguised the best. Coach Carroll brought his style, their safeties play sort of NFL-style. They mix it up and, again, he calls a real good game.'

How much difference will it be playing at home?
'Hopefully a lot. I think it'll make a difference just in terms of the comfort level.'

Do you have any specific recollections of last year's game against USC?
'We were close for a while, but I think we got frustrated offensively because we didn't seem to be clicking like we should have. When we had to make plays we didn't and obviously USC did.'

How encouraging was it to see Cal step up and beat USC?
'Every week in the Pac-10 someone could be knocked off, that's the way this league goes. We'll watch the tape and hopefully get something out of it. Cal must have done something right, so hopefully we can learn from them.'

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