Quotes From Quarterback Andrew Walter's Monday Press Conference
Oct. 20, 2003
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Following is a transcript of Arizona State quarterback Andrew Walter's Monday press conference:
Is the game more enjoyable now that its over and you can look at the video?
'Yeah, it was cool. It definitely won't get old watching it that's for sure.'
Did it seem like time stood still while the ball was in the air to Skyler Fulton on the game-winning play?
'Yes it did, as soon as I threw it. I was a little off-balance and I looked up at the ball to see if it was going to be good. I looked at Skyler, and I looked up at the ball and it looked true. It had a spiral, and I thought the distance looked pretty good, and then I lost it because the defender did a good job of covering him up. I could hear everything get quiet except our fans, and I looked at the official, and they were looking back and forth, and when he threw his hands up, I just went off. It was sweet.'
What was going through your mind when you saw the referees' arms go up?
'You don't really think, you just go nuts. I took my helmet off, and ran over to the pile, and got suffocated by everybody. It was amazing, it was the greatest game I have ever been a part of in terms of finish.'
You've never been in a last-play type of a situation before where the game's outcome was on the line?
'Well, the Holiday Bowl last year, the hail-mary pass was incomplete, so that is the other side of that kind of game. I have been in some of those games, in high school, where it comes down to the last play. Without a doubt this was, by far, the best finish.'
What was going through your mind when you took the field with 36 seconds left?
'We had to go 60 yards to get into the end zone after Daryl Lightfoot's punt return. We had 36 seconds left, and I was thinking, 'I need to get the ball to someone down the field who is going to make a catch, and maybe more'. As it turned out, Matt [Miller] made a great catch, and then one to Derek Hagan. Maybe if the ball hit Derek in stride, it could have been better, but it looked like to me that the open hole was closing. When we missed the first one from the 5-yard line with Skyler I thought, 'we had our chance,' it was a good play call. And with three seconds left we better get the next one and it was a good one.'
The final two plays were ones you have worked on?
'Yes, we had worked on those all week. I thought Coach Koetter would go back to the same play, because Skyler was so open. The last one, a play we had worked on for many weeks now, let him go up and get it.'
Do you get tired of telling the story about the final drive?
'I don't offer the story up to people, but if they ask me I will tell them, because if people ask then I assume they want to know. I won't hesitate to go through the whole story. It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing maybe, hopefully not, but its nice to have some video footage of it. It was something that happened so fast, to have a memory like that in a video or on the radio is nice, it's nice to have the chance to re-live it.'
How did you keep your composure with all of the calls going against you?
'I came off a few times and I said 'we deserve to win this game, so let's go win it.' We have to go win with everything stacked up against us. We have to go defy all the people who said we couldn't do it. In our minds, it was vindication when we did win. Our mindset was, 'we deserve to win it, let's go win it.''
It must have been a very frustrating game with all the calls against you.
'Yes, it was very frustrating, and that was part of the vindication at the end. To get down there three times inside the 5-yard line, and get penalized, we started looking around and throwing our arms up. Very frustrating, but I credit the guys around me. They said 'let's finish it.''
Did you have a chance to win it if Derek Hagan didn't make that play at the end?
'It would have had to be a 30-yard pass to the end zone rather than a five-yard pass, and a long pass gives the defense time to react. I think Derek had a great game, and I think that was part of it. He made a great catch on one that the officials called pass interference. The offensive line didn't let me get sacked, and the one sack that happened I was outside of the pocket, so you have to credit everybody.'
How does this win impact the rest of the season?
'Hopefully we can use it as knowing that it's never over until it's over. We had some momentum coming out of the Oregon game. We have to keep our nose to the grindstone, and use this game as a confidence-builder.'
What are your thoughts on going against a much better defense this week?
'I hear the front seven for UCLA is really good. In the Pac-10 everybody has talent, and they're going to be ready to go. They have a great defense. I will be able to know more when I watch some film on them.'
Have you guys reached the point where you feel you can score on every possession?
'I feel that we have. In terms of the Oregon game last year, in the second half, every drive, except the last one where we took a knee, we scored. I felt that at times so far this year, in our last two games where our running game is workin it really helps. Last year we didn't have the ability to hand it to a back and get 15 yards. Now, it's not just the 40-yard bomb that will score for you. There is more versatile play-calling because of the run game. You can do more with a good run game. I have felt that this year, at any given stretch, we like our chances that we will score.'
The running game continues to progress in your mind?
'Yes. Loren Wade had a great game, his running style is, hit the hole as hard and fast as you can and go. Hakim Hill is great out of the backfield running and catching. Our running game is good, and our line is playing great. To have a line not be on their heels makes it hard on the defense, and it can also help us on the way we run a draw.'
Do you feel comfortable in those types of tension-filled situations like in the UNC game?
'Yes. Again I feel that we have gotten a lot better with the receivers and the quarterback being on the same page. If we had been in that situation earlier in the season, I don't know if that's going to have the same outcome. It is important that we are all clicking now, so we are able to get that last drive going at the end.'