Quotes From Dirk Koetter's October 18 Press Conference
Oct. 18, 2004
'Yesterday, the day after, is always a rough day whether you lose by one, or by 40. We got beat in all phases, and it was not how we wanted it to go down. We didn't rise to the occasion. I think USC elevated and played their best game of the year. We certainly did not do that. We can't let SC beat us more than once. They already beat us once. We have to move on from that, learn our lesson and move forward and look at UCLA. We are still a good football team. We still have a lot of good things ahead of us this year. We need our crowd support. We played against 90,000 fans last week. I think Cal had 60,000 fans for their game against UCLA last week. Our fans need to come out and get behind our guys. We still have a lot of good things we can do this year. We came out healthy, other than the normal bumps and bruises from a game. I think we will be as close to full strength as we can be. Zach Krula will not play this week, because of his Mono. His spleen is enlarged, and until that goes down, they won't let him play. Randy Hill is having his knee surgery today. He will join Brandon Rod in having surgery this afternoon.'
On impressions of UCLA:
'UCLA is a team that is playing hard right now. They are very dangerous on offense, because they have almost everybody back from last year. I think they have six different guys that started in the offensive line, two tailbacks, and a real steady quarterback in Drew Olson. Their wide receivers are a little bit banged-up, but I believe both of their two big-name guys are supposed to return for our game. Marcedes Lewis is one of the best tight ends in the league. They're scoring a lot of points, they're moving the ball, and they're not giving up any sacks. I think they have only given up six sacks in six games. They are running the ball very well. The next two weeks, UCLA and Cal, are two excellent running teams. UCLA is young on defense, especially on the front. They are playing a lot of different guys in those spots. Their defensive strength is in their linebackers and their safeties, who are returning players. UCLA is sitting at 4-2 and their two losses are to Oklahoma State and Cal, which are pretty good football teams.'
On Maurice Drew:
'We learned first-hand last year. We did a pretty good job on Drew, and then he broke off an 86-yard run. The guy can go the distance. You have to finish him, you have to get bodies to him, and get him on the ground. We learned it last year, and then all you have to do is take a look at that Washington film. He was spectacular in that game. The last two games for us, Oregon and USC, we haven't tackled as well as we did early in the season, so that will be a huge point of emphasis for us this week.'
On Team Leadership:
'We will tap into all of our leaders. We have to. What happened was we were riding high, and everybody was on the bandwagon, and now everyone will jump off just as fast. That is the nature of the beast. I told the team, `Nobody was on our bandwagon to start the season, nobody thought we were going to be where we are, so we just have to pick ourselves up from within our own ranks and get back to doing the things that put us at 5-0 in the first place.' We really didn't do any of those things on Saturday, unfortunately. I think we need, not just our seniors, but our leaders across the board. We need that to pay off. That is the coaches and the players.'
On UCLA offense:
'In the Arizona game, I heard Coach Stoops said their game plan was to shut Drew down. I have not watched that side of the Cal tape, I don't know if Cal went out of their way to do that. Arizona definitely did and UCLA had a big passing game that week. That's one of those things you can't have it both ways. You have to decide what you want to stop and you do it. That's the thing that makes UCLA so dangerous. They're talented enough to get you either way. They can beat you running or throwing.'
On Drew Olson:
'I think he is playing very well. I think he's an excellent quarterback and I think he's just getting better and better as his confidence improves. They're doing a great job in protecting him right now, too.'
On Zach Miller's progress:
'As poorly as we played Saturday, there were only a few bright spots and the guy that played best overall was Zach. He made two big mistakes in that game that cost us two sacks. But as far as his competitive edge and raising his level in both catching the ball and blocking for a true freshman, I was really impressed with Zach. I thought Lee Burghgraef did a nice job and I thought Grayling Love on the offensive line did a nice job as well. Other than that, we just did not perform at any position like we had earlier this year. For Zach as a true freshman, that just reiterates the player he really is.'
On UCLA defense:
'It's not a secret. I'm sure they'll tell you the same thing. They lost seven senior defensive linemen last year. Five of them are in the NFL right now. They only have one guy back who was 2-deep last year. They started a true freshman at one end, Brigham Harwell. They've had a JC transfer that started some games. They're just young and inexperienced on the D-line. They're rotating ten guys through those four spots. [Justin] London, their middle linebacker just returned last week for the Cal game. He missed some games and their other linebacker, [Spencer] Havner, is leading the league in tackles. And their two safeties are second and third on the team in tackles. They're just playing a lot of young inexperienced guys on their D-line. They have some good linebackers and secondary players. They're going to have to play their way into experience. The first game of the season, Oklahoma State, was not a passing team and really ran the ball hard on them. Now, everyone gets that tape and they sort of got exposed and everybody else had tried to do the same thing with various degrees of success.'
On rebounding from the USC loss:
'It has to start with the staff. That's our job. In any phase of coaching you can say anything you want, as much as you want. If you don't have buy-in from the players, it doesn't matter what you say. There's no doubt in my mind that the coaches and players are on the same page about how we have to comeback. We had a whole team meeting about it yesterday and I think the players left here last night understanding exactly what has to happen. When the bubble breaks the players get bombarded from every angle when they leave this building by family, friends, neighbors, relatives, and students.'