Quote's from Derek Hagan's Weekly Press Conference
Sept. 26, 2005
Tempe, Ariz. - On waiting to play USC again since last year's loss:'We've been waiting on this game since last year. Last year they embarrassed us in the Coliseum but this year is a new year and we are definitely looking forward to it.'
On why ASU has a better chance against USC this year:'It's not necessarily that our chances are better. We know that we have a good team. We knew last year that we had a great team, but we just didn't show up to play USC. This year, we are 3-1 and we are turning things around. We are looking forward to having great practice, a great weekend, and a great game. We are going to be ready for them.'
On the difference turnovers make on the game's outcome:'If we don't turn the ball over, we know that we are going to win the game. Last week, our defense caused six turnovers against Oregon State and our offense didn't have any. That's plus six for us. Obviously, we are coming out and playing great. Whenever you don't turn the ball over, you should win the game. When you have six or seven turnovers, more than likely you are going to lose; there's not much more you can do about that than come up with the loss.'
On the national perception that USC cannot lose:'We already know that a lot of people are thinking that USC is not going to lose. In our minds, we feel like we can win this game. If we come out and play four quarters of football like we have been doing, executing on both sides of the ball, we can win. For our offense, it all starts up front for us with the line. We need to get the running game going so that we can let Sam take his time in the pocket. We can spread the ball around to different receivers. With our defense, they need to just do what they have been doing: flying around the field. We need to get that extra effort to make those plays.'
On how important this game against USC is:'This is one of those games, but we have 12 games this season. This is a game, however, that we're going to have to get up and ready for it. We have the number one team in the nation coming into our house and whenever the number one team comes to visit, you have to be ready for it.'
On how LSU prepared ASU to play No. 1 USC:'I think (it really helped prepare us). It was another big game for us and it was early in the season. Even after all that happened with the game moving, we were really looking forward to it in front of our home crowd, which was a big factor. Obviously, that game didn't turn out like we wanted it to, but we felt like we played a very good game.'
On having ESPN Gameday visit campus this weekend:'It's more for the fans. It's great to have Lee Corso and his crew out here, it's great publicity for the school to see the country watching us on TV, but its more for the fans that are out there cheering on the Sun Devils and getting ready for the game.'
On the USC Defense:'They have great defense, but their secondary is weak right now. They have some guys that are injured. However, they are not the number one team in the nation for no reason. They have had a great defense for the past two years and Pete Carroll gets those guys going. They will definitely be motivated this week because they want to compete and win another national championship. We really want to be the ones who stand in the way of that happening this year.'
On how unstoppable the ASU offense is:'If we come out executing and take it one play at a time, I really feel that we can't be stopped. We have a great offense and guys that can make plays at any time. Whether it is at receiver, running back, or tight ends, we have playmakers on offense and you never know who's going to get the ball.'
On the defensive pressure on Sam Keller:'I think that Sam (Keller) likes to get hit. Whenever he gets hit, he gets up and starts laughing. He'll sit there and tell us, `Guys, I just got smacked.' But he gets right back in the huddle and gets ready for the next play. He is just one of those guys that if he wasn't playing quarterback, he'd want to get in there on defense and hit somebody himself.'
On how good USC's offense is:'They have playmakers all across the board. They have Reggie Bush, LenDale White, and then they have both of their receivers that are all playmakers. All of those guys work well together and they probably have the best quarterback in the nation in Matt Leinart so there is no telling what they are going to be able to do on offense.'
On the last chance to beat USC:'This is my last time playing USC and we haven't beaten them in my four years. This is our last go around for the 20 seniors on this team that have not beaten USC. This weekend is a wonderful opportunity for us to upset them.'
On the team being awestruck by USC's ranking and its record:'We know that they have a great team, but we have a great team also and we just have to come out playing hard. They are human just like us. They are going to make mistakes throughout the game and we have to take advantage of them when that happens.'
On what beating USC would do for the ASU football program:'It would skyrocket (this program). If we win this game, there is no telling what is going to happen. Nationally, everybody will be watching out for Arizona State. They have won 25 straight games and have not lost in a long time. It would be great to upset them in Sun Devil Stadium and we think back to that 1996 team that upset Nebraska in Sun Devil Stadium and went on to the Rose Bowl. We hope that something like that can happen for us.'
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