Quotes From Coach Dirk Koetter's August 30th Press Conference
Aug. 31, 2004
Coach Koetter talks to the media at Monday afternoon's press conference about kicking off the new season and this week's game against UTEP. Game time is set for Thursday at 7 p.m.On Recruiting Arizona players:'First of all, I don't think this number  of guys in Arizona is silly. I had somebody write me and say that was silly. Those guys are all Arizona high school football players on our roster. Nobody else has that kind of quality and depth on their roster from the state of Arizona. If anybody is recruiting Arizona football players better than we are, I would like to see who that is. Let me read off some numbers of schools in the Pac-10 on the number of guys in the recent recruiting class who have not qualified. We have one school with nine, another with seven, one with four, one with three, several with one or two and three with zero. Again, three, four seven and nine non-qualifiers, that number is silly. I want to talk about what a commitment means. Commitment to me means not taking any more recruiting visits. When guys commit to us, we ask them to end the recruiting. He is committing that he is going to come to Arizona State and we're going to commit to him that we're going to be there for him as long as he takes care of his business academically, and in the community. Two good examples of that are Robert James and DeAndre Johnson. They made a commitment, we made a commitment and we have stayed with them and they have both worked their way up to be major contributors to our team this year. All these people that ranked the [recruiting] classes in February, when those guys aren't qualifying, how do those classes look now? Why are we ranking them in February? We need to be ranking them in August when they report to campus. Or better yet, ranking them a couple years down the road when they actually play. We have had players who have gone to 'better programs' and I don't see them playing. When I first came to ASU, I wouldn't let the biographies say which programs we 'beat' for recruiting. It doesn't matter where they are playing, it matters if they can play in your program. I would like to set the record straight; I take recruiting very seriously, our staff works very hard. Anybody who thinks that number [of Arizona recruits] is silly, we can talk about it.'On UTEP:'Our guys are really fired up to have a game here. There is only one freshman guaranteed starting in this game, and that's Zach Miller. He will be in the starting line up at tight-end and h-back. Gabe Reininger has been cleared medically to play, but we're going to keep him out of this game. That was my decision. Gabe practiced inside run last night, which is the hardest practice, but I think it is in Gabe's best interest to keep him out a couple more days. Jordan Hill will start. We really don't know what team they are going to bring in. We can only speculate. We assume they will run the Washington State offense. That's what got him [Mike Price] where he is. Their special teams coordinator is a guy named Jeff Woodruff. Woodruff is a son-in-law of Don James. I think the strength of this UTEP team; I really like their linebackers. Those guys can run and hit. The tailback Jackson is a good football player. They have one of the best punters around. The [punter] averaged 40 yards a punt last year. You can speculate that they will do the same things. They may come out in something totally different than we prepare for. This is new personnel for Mike, and there is really no film to go on. Next week, Northwestern, we have watched every one of their games from last season. Sure, they could change, but they have the same staff and the head coach has the same philosophy.'On Mike Price:'Mike Price came from winning 10 games his last two or three years coaching Washington State. Then he went to Alabama, and now UTEP. I think it is going to be different for him with updated personnel. UTEP has some fine football players.'On Koetter at UTEP:'I worked for a guy named Bob Stull, who is now the athletic director at UTEP and he taught me the Don James philosophy of football. He wanted us to do everything the Don James way. He taught me a lot of stuff that I had no clue about. He taught me how to recruit, how to evaluate the recruits, how to organize a staff, how to organize a game-plan.'On Concerns for Game:'There are always areas of concern, but you get to a certain point after 20-some practices where you need to play a game. You can only tell guys so many times before they have to go out there and learn it. I like where we are at, but in the game of football there are unexpected situations. We have a book full of situations and we have covered all of them to a point, but these are 18 and 19 year old kids. The only way they can learn some of that stuff is to do it on gameday. There is the officiating, the fake punt, onside kick, fake field goal that you don't know about.'On Officials Calling Numbers on Penalties:'I voted against that. I voted against that myself because the only reason there is an argument on the other side is because in basketball you call out the foul and you also call out the good things they did too. In football they any time I am going to get called is when I'm holding, I'm in the backfield, and they call out number 75. I'm not a big fan of that and if you noticed the other night, one of the first times they did it, they called the wrong number. I think the officials do a great job. They have a hard job, way harder than most people think.'On not Hitting Tailbacks in Practice:'Yes, we have not been hitting them in practice. Every extra day we save on Loren [Wade], Randy [Hill] and Hakim [Hill] is a day off. The other reason is that they are all starting on at least one special teams. Randy is starting on four special teams. We are still putting the finishing touches on that location. Obviously all three are going to play. We will eventually settle on one feature back, but that won't be the case Thursday.On Loren Wade:'I don't think Loren is quite where he needs to be to carry the ball 25 times a game against other teams in the Pac-10. That's why we won't go that way on Thursday night. Loren is about 90% where he needs to be.'On Effects of a Thursday Game:'Our routine has been thrown off in a number of areas. Tonight we are practicing late, at 7:30 to 10:00 or so. Monday, usually our day off, we have a lot of guys with afternoon and evening classes. On Wednesday night we are not going to go to a hotel. We are going to have the team meetings and all that stuff here [in the ICA building]. On Thursday, a school day, our guys have a big break from classes on that day. The whole team will be attending a movie. That's mostly to keep them occupied and keep them out of the sun most importantly. I think the break from Thursday to next Saturday will make up for itself.'On R.J. Oliver's Injury:'R.J. plays a certain style. We won't press as much. Josh [Golden] and Mike Davis have their own style. With R.J. who was in press 90% of the time, maybe we will drop Josh into press 80% of the time.'On UTEP Special Teams:'That's one part that we won't know, whether they run a wedge return or a wall return. Whether they run tight punt or a spread punt. Whether they run a middle return or a wall return. Are they going to block all the punts because we have a new punter? Are they going to drop everybody back and return the punts? These are things we just don't know.'