Quotes From Dirk Koetter's October 25 Press Conference
Oct. 25, 2004
On UCLA win:
'It is a lot easier to laugh after a win than after a loss. It has to be week to week. The silver lining of the UCLA game is, seven weeks into the season, we are bowl eligible and that,s something we all know we weren't last year. We know we are going to be in a bowl game. We talked to the team yesterday about every time you win you bump yourself up another notch on the bowl ladder. We don,t have 100% total control over that. It was an emotionally draining, hard-fought game on Saturday. We brought the players in yesterday, had the workouts and everything and said enjoy that win. Today is the players day off and we will start worrying about Cal on Tuesday. The reality for the coaches is that we started worrying about Cal last night. Cal has an excellent, excellent football team, in all phases and they deserve to be ranked right where they're at. We have four [games] left, and they're all going to be tough. I think we know now that this team has a little something to it as far as a little heart and character. We will see how it plays out and that will help us down the stretch.'
On Quarterbacks Andrew Walter and Aaron Rodgers:
'It isn't fair for me to compare them because I don't watch as much film of Rodgers as I do on Andrew. I watch a ton of film on Andrew. The thing that impresses me about Aaron is how unbelievably efficient he is. It wasn't that many years ago when the forward pass wasn't what it is today. If you completed 50 percent of your passes, that was good. Five or six years ago that was elevated to 60 percent, but no one has ever said 70 percent. His passing efficiency numbers are off the charts. Obviously Jeff Tedford is a very successful developer of quarterbacks. He and I have crossed paths on a few QB,s over the years and Jeff is a heck of a coach from a mechanical standpoint. Rodgers has almost textbook technique, whereas Andrew is a little bit more of a gunslinger. We coach Andrew hard on mechanics, but there are some things with each individual quarterback that I believe you have to leave alone. They are both very successful. They are both going to be first-round draft picks whenever that may be. My vote is that Rodgers goes out this year too. I hope he does. Although, I don't think we play Cal next year, I think that is our miss. In that case, I hope he stays in. Two awful good quarterbacks. I think there are three tremendous quarterbacks in the Pac-10 this year.'
On Andrew's Talent:
'Andrew is capable every time he goes out there. He had a great quote in the press conference after the game. He said, that was my ugliest game, followed by my prettiest game, and there is a lot of truth to that. Andrew was extremely ugly at times in the game, but in the fourth quarter, what he did in the last seven minutes, there are not many people who can do that. That first drive when we were down by 11 was a three-play drive. The big one to Terry Richardson down our sideline and then the play over the middle to Zach Miller, where he took the big hit. That pass to Derek Hagan on that first one, there are not many people that can make that throw. A pump-fake one way and then throw it 50 yards on a dime the other way. For Andrew to throw three picks, which equals his whole season and also six touchdowns in the same game, Andrew surprised me. The first touchdown to Derek, the 79-yarder, when you watch that on film, Andrew scrambles, gets spun-around and then kind of sidearm wings it down the middle of the field. All of a sudden we are in the end zone. I think Andrew is always capable. We threw for over 400 yards in that game, and we look at the tape and we should have thrown for 600 yards. We went in to the game saying we have to run it. So how do you figure that?'
On Defense getting worse each of the past three weeks:
'In the last two weeks, first off, we have played two pretty decent offenses. USC and UCLA are pretty good offensive teams and we are going to play another pretty good offense this week that may be better than both of them. Part of it is we are playing good offenses. Secondly, in the last two weeks our offense has turned the ball over five times. When in the first five games I don't think we turned the ball over more than two times in that five game span. We have given our own defense the short field. The kicking game has also given our defense the short field. We played against excellent tailbacks that make tackling difficult and we are going to play against an excellent tailback again this week. Our lack of depth on defense is starting to show up. We played 80 snaps on defense and 88 snaps on offense, which is above average in both areas. We got warn down a little bit. First off our captain on defense Ricardo Stewart was out and then Josh Barrett goes in and gets hurt, so Maurice London plays three-quarters of the game, who I thought did a nice job and had nine or 10 tackles. But it's not like we are substituting guys in there. Those linebackers are playing every single play. Robert James got in there a little bit. But I just think it's a combination of better offenses, turnovers, field position and wearing down a little bit. I think all of those things have affected us, but with all that said, when the defense needed three and outs at the end of the game and in the third quarter they got the job done.'
On Jeff Tedford:
'Tremendous job. Except for one week a year I am a huge Jeff Tedford fan. Good coach, got a good system, good staff, obviously he has the players believing they play very hard, fundamentally sound and efficient in all areas of offense, defense and special teams. They believe they are a really good football team.'
On adjustments made for Saturday:
'A lot more than you will ever know. As the week unfolded that combination of Preston Jones, Chad, Lee, Rudy and Antoine, who all played tailback in the game, we really had no idea who was going to be in there. Antoine Saulsberry played tailback for three days. All of those guys have strengths and all of them have liabilities. None of them have really played tailback in a game. I mean played real tailback, meaning running between the tackles, blocking a defensive end or a linebacker. So I didn't know how all of that was going to work. I thought the offensive coaching staff did a great job of having that organized. There was a lot of scrambling. For example when Zach Miller got hurt in the last six minutes. Zach is another key figure in all of our personnel groups. Brent Miller and Jamal Lewis had to come in and we had to juggle that a little bit too.'
On tailback Depth:
'That is a good question and I wish I could give you an answer but I can,t. We'll have to see how practice goes this week and see how it goes. We'll have to see how it plays out.'
On Andrew's ability to elevate his game:
'One thing for sure is experience and confidence. When you guys talk to him every week, you know Andrew is a pretty even keel guy. Whether its me screaming at him or fans screaming at him on the road Andrew can keep his wits about him when a lot of people would get frustrated by that. He has a lot of confidence in himself, and well he should. He has been there before, that's the experience. Just look at his career. At San Diego State and Oregon his first year, at North Carolina last year and again last week he has done it before. It's like that at any level for a quarterback. The more times you do it, the more times you believe you can do it.'
On defensive challenges presented by Cal:
'They present a lot of challenges, not just on defense, but on both sides of the ball. They are very sound, they don't beat themselves. They are an excellent tackling team on defense, they get off blocks very well, they will blitz you, play a soft zone, they mix it up, and they play extremely hard. So if you look just at the stat sheet, nobody is doing really great. They aren't giving up points, they aren't giving up rush yards. Then you think to yourself that you should be able to pass against them, but you look at the stats and nobody is lighting them up there either. They are going to present some challenges, but what a great position for us, what a great opportunity for us. I think our guys are pretty confident in what we are doing too.'
On similar offenses presenting similar challenges:
'I think we know each other's tendencies a lot. Both teams will try to give each other a few different looks. But it still comes down to execution. I thought we had a good game plan for Cal last year and we got blown out of the water. That comes out of how hard you play and turnovers and those types of things. But, especially this late in the year when you see each other on tape you know each other's tendencies already. I'm sure there will be some new wrinkles there on both sides.'
On opportunity for young guys:
'It's just a great message to all the players in our program that we're going to do things by the book and by the way expect our guys to act. The fact that we can win the game on top of that makes me very proud of the guys that stepped up that were unproven. The leadership group on our team told me it would happen that way when I asked them. It couldn't of worked out any better.'
On Aaron Rodgers:
'The key to any quarterback is disrupting his timing. Another thing that's great about Rodgers is that he put on 10 or 15 pounds. USC put pressure on him and he was able to slip out of there and run the ball. He doesn't make any mistakes. When some quarterbacks are pressured they'll make bad decisions and throw it into traffic. He never does that. He'll pull it down and run with the ball or he'll drop it off to somebody.'
On Cal's backfield:
'They have an awesome 1-2 punch. Arrington has the speed to go all the way and the power to break tackles and hit the holes quick. Lynch is one of those guys that breaks a lot of tackles and runs hard. Lynch seems way more advanced than a true freshman. He's their version of Zach Miller. It seems like he's a better player than a true freshman. It seems like he's a junior. What a 1-2 punch those guys have been. This is going to be the third week in a row we've played a team with two excellent tailbacks.'
On Cal and USC:
'Both have excellent quarterbacks. Both have a set of two good running backs. Both teams are well coached. Both teams are playing with confidence. Neither team beats themselves. I think with the name recognition as far as their recruits USC has a much deeper and more talented team but you wouldn't know it by the way Cal plays. I think Cal plays right at the same level with USC. That obviously showed up when they played them the last two years.'
On the emotions after UCLA game:
'I was very tired Saturday and I'm sure all the players were too. We were all tired. I woke up pretty happy on Sunday.'
On the one week break for the Cal game versus a two week break for USC:
'It is what it is. You don't have any control over that. When you have one week like this, basically the film watching is never ending. There is a lot of tape to watch this time of year.'
On what he didn't like during Saturday,s game:
'I don't like how inconsistent we were in all phases and I told the team that yesterday. We were very inconsistent. We made it a lot tougher on ourselves than we needed to.'
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