Derek Hagan And Sam Keller Press Conference Quotes

Oct. 3, 2005


ARE YOU GLAD LAST WEEK IS OVER?'Not really. We put the game behind us already. We know that if we finished the game we would have come out on top.'

DOES THE TOUGH LOSS MAKE IT HARDER TO PUT THE GAME BEHIND YOU?'It might be a little harder, but once practice gets started Tuesday, guys will get going. There's still a lot of season left to go. We have Oregon coming up this week, so we have to put the game behind us no matter what.'

HOW DO YOU GET THE EMOTION BACK?'We have a great team and we've been working hard since January. Emotionally guys will come around. We're just going to make sure everybody gets up for the game next week. We have to keep fighting and keep playing. Also, making sure that everyone is coming out and working hard for the game against Oregon.'

TALK ABOUT Moey Mutz's IMPACT ON THE TEAM'Moey is just a hard worker. He's been working hard ever since he came in here. He started off as a walk-on and every year he's just getting better and better. Now he's one of the senior leaders on this team and he comes prepared to work every single day. It all shows up on the field. He's one of those players, who when we need him, he's going to step up and make a play.'

TALK ABOUT THE SUCCESS THE TEAM HAS HAD OFFENSIVELY AGAINST OREGON THE PAST FEW YEARS'I think we're just playing hard. A bunch of us seniors are 0-4 against USC and 3-0 against Oregon. Hopefully we can continue that and finish 4-0 against them. We have to make sure we keep our heads up and keep our mind right and keep fighting.'

TALKING ABOUT OREGON'S DEFENSE'They are experienced in their secondary, they are going to come down here playing hard because you know we've beaten them the past three seasons, Coach Bellotti will have those guys ready to go this week, so we have to make sure we're prepared.'

TALKING ABOUT Sam Keller BOUNCING BACK'I think he'll be fine. Sam is just one of those guys, when things go wrong he'll keep playing and he'll just put it behind him, we just got to be prepared, he's already in the film room watching film on Oregon. He needs to do the things he needs to do, some of the mistakes he made last week, he's going to make those corrections, and hopefully not make the same mistakes this week.'

AS A LEADER, TALKING ABOUT CALMING EVERYBODY DOWN'I think the veterans, we know what we have to do, but some of the younger guys you know haven't been in big games like that, and we just got to make sure their keeping their heads up, not letting that game bother them. There's going to be other opportunities in the years to come for them to step up and make some plays for this team.'

TALK ABOUT Lee Burghgraef FINDING THE ENDZONE'(LAUGH) That was probably one of the highlights of the game. Once he scored its like he fell into the endzone and we thought that he was going to keep that ball like they do in the NFL, but he ended up giving the ball back so. It was great to see him get into the endzone for the first time.

TALKING ABOUT PLAYING AGAINST JUSTIN AT USC'We've been going at it since we were little kids. We went to junior high school together, played Pop Warner football together, going at it every single play is just great. He's a great player and he's been starting for four seasons, he's one of those players that comes in prepared every single day, we really felt like with their secondary we'll get a jump on them. We got a jump on them but they came away with five interceptions. You know Justin is just a great player he works hard every single day and he is one of the leaders on USC's team.'

ON FILM WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE DIFFERENTLY'A few mistakes here and there cost us that game. We played great the whole game, we made plays all day long, just some mistakes that we made USC capitalized on it. That's one of the things I've been talking about, you turn the ball over 5 or 6 times more than likely your not going to win. In the first half we only had one turnover, then to come back in the second half and turn the ball over four times. USC just jumped all over us, they just kept putting points on the board, we kept trying to compete with them, but the game just didn't end up the way we wanted to.'

ON THE INTERCEPTION OVER HE MIDDLE OF THE FIELD IN THE 4TH QUARTER'That play was very strange, that's just one play I feel like I should make no matter where the ball is, it's just one of those bad breaks, the ball just happened to fall right into the guys hands, he really wasn't paying attention, he was falling down and the ball just hit him right in the gut. Its just an interception, but it's sad to see that guy got hurt, you don't want anyone getting hurt, especially not when they blow their knee out. I guess you can say he made a great play. It's just one of those lucky plays that happens and I think that was the turning point of the game right there. I jumped up and I was just trying to bring the ball in, I guess my momentum just caused the ball to fly out.'

TALKING ABOUT HOW TOUGH IS IT TO PUT THAT PLAY BEHIND YOU'After that play it was rough, I went to the sidelines and watched the replay and you know it was just one of those plays I felt like I should have made. Sam put the ball on the spot where I was the only player that could get it, I jumped to get it but the ball just didn't get up in my hands.'

TALKING ABOUT ANY POSITIVE THINGS TO TAKE AWAY FROM THE GAME'We know we can compete. We know that we got six or seven more games and we can win those games. Our two losses came to the number one and number five teams in the country, we know that if we had won those two games we'd be in the top five right now so we just have to put those games behind us and keep playing. We need to keep getting ready for Oregon this week because we know they're another good team that jumped on top of USC, they just didn't finish.'

TALKINGABOUT IF THIS LOSS FEELS BETTER THAN THE 45-7 LOSS LAST YEAR TO USC'Well losing feels bad anyway you go, you don't ever want to lose you know especially when the number one team comes into your house. You are up on them and the game just gets away in the end and you lose the game. Last year after we lost, a bad loss, just getting blown out like that on television 45-7 guys just really didn't want to be on the sideline anymore when the game got out of hand in the first half. We know we competed with USC and we felt like we should have won that game but we just got to finish, you know they're not number one for nothing. They play four quarters of football.'


EXPLAIN LOSS TO USC'It's hard because we know we had it, you think for a couple of days how life would be different if we had won these games, even though you go back and try to rewind and pick out some things that you wish you could just do over, but once you get over that you know that's what yesterday is and today is for, come tomorrow it's time for the Ducks so you got to have a short memory when you are a quarterback and I have one so, it's not as hard as you may think.'

ON WHAT THE USC LOSS TEACHES'You know that I'm not perfect, I'm not going to be perfect everytime. I fought hard. I was over aggressive sometimes and I just got to learn for the future even though you're playing an excellent team just stay within yourself. Everyone was talking about how we were going to coward down and flinch and stuff, that really got to me because I never do that, so I was not scared for one minute the whole game. It never hurt any of my confidence, and maybe that hurt me a couple of times because I was too aggressive on some of the throws. I just wanted to win so bad, so in the future just stay within myself, trust the offense.'

ON OREGON'S QUARTERBACK KELLEN CLEMENS'I haven't seen him that much from what I hear he is pretty good, he's running the new spread offense which gives him a lot of options, he can run a little bit. I haven't seen much of him it looks like he's got a good release, he's a good Pac-10 quarterback.'

ON SENIOR ASU WR Moey Mutz'He's one of my best friends on the team, you can't say enough about him, we played ball all the way back against each other in high school, I think that last time I had more that five picks in a game is when I had three, and [Moey] had all of them when they played against us, just a little side note (laugh). Moey is a great guy, he's one of my best friends and he's a stud, he comes to work everyday and he's one of those reliable guys, he's very smart, he gets open, he finds little holes and sits down and he has deceptive speed, so he's a great receiver, he'd be a starter in a lot of offenses in this country, he'd be the number one go to guy in a lot of offenses.'

ON INTERCEPTION IN THE FOURTH QUARTER'I got hit after I threw that ball, after I got hit I was on the ground I looked up and I saw it in his hands after I got hit, and I was like `nice', that's one of those freak plays that just happens for a really lucky team that is number one and they haven't lost and they've had a lot of breaks go their way and so it's another one that went their way, it was the turning point in the game, I wish it didn't have to happen that way, the kid that caught it you know was in the right place at the right time and so, it's just a bummer that it didn't go our way.'

ON TAKING ANY POSITIVES AWAY FROM THE GAME'You know everybody in the world can see, everybody in the world wants W's and that's pretty much what everybody cares about is wins, but when you look at it, and coach Koetter said it, we fought and we competed and we were with them. If they want to call USC on of the best teams ever we had them on the ropes and the same thing goes for LSU, so what we can take from this is that we're just as good as them, it's horrible that we couldn't win them, but I can look anybody dead in the eye and say that we are one of the best teams in the country, and you know if somebody wants to disagree with me that's fine, but I really believe that and I think everybody on our team believes that, as well as our coaches and that's what we can take from it, you know it's just painful to lose that way though when you know your as good or better.'

TALK ON IF SAM WAS GLAD THAT LAST WEEK IS OVER? PLAY REST OF SEASON'I really liked last week because I kind of like that stuff, the big atmosphere and everything going on, we finally had a gigantic crowd with as many people as I've ever seen in an upper deck section, I like that stuff I like all the stuff surrounding if I could go back and do it all over again I would you know now that it's over it's over and it's time to move on, that's just part of the season, this week's a very critical week we can't let USC beat us twice. We have to come out and practice hard and go just as hard as we did last week, because this is not a slouch coming in here and these guys are really angry at us for beating them ever since I've been here, two times at there house. There going to come down here with a lot of fight so we just got to look forward and be ready for this week.'

TALKING ON PROBLEMS WITH THE HEAT'I didn't have any problems with the heat, because I was so focused on the game, the outside factors that you can't control you learn to block out. I can block anything out pretty much when I want to, so the heat wasn't bothering me. I was just sweating a lot and I had to towel off a lot which is fine but that's one of the things about being a Sun Devil you play in the heat and you love it, that's for the other teams to come in here and moan and cry about. I don't have a problem with the heat that's part of our deal.'

TALKING ABOUT A CHANCE OFA LETDOWN VS. THE OREGON DUCKS'Derek and I and the leaders of the team aren't going to let that happen. It's not going to, we are going to come out just like we did after people thought there was going to be a letdown against Northwestern, we are going to come out and were going to be firing on all cylinders, because that's the kind of team we have.'

TALKING ON YOUR BIGGEST GAME OF YOUNG ASU CAREER'Purdue was huge because it was my first one and it was a bowl game, but you know when you look at everything surrounding the game on Saturday, I'd have to say that game that was pretty huge and it was a lot of fun. I was just loving it. We were winning and everything is going good, even when they scored I said that's fine we're just going to come back and score and we did, then they came back down scored and I though we were going to go right back and score again, and so I was just loving that game. It was the biggest game I've ever played in, wish we could've won, but given all the circumstances in them being the number one team and how we were right with them, I can say that was the biggest game.'

SAM ON SEEING Lee Burghgraef SCORE A TOUCHDOWN'It was great to see Lee get a touchdown and the way it happened too. He just held on to that thing so tight, that was good that was fun. I was happy to get Lee the touchdown, and number one I was happy to score the touchdown, because we had to go ahead with five minutes left in the game, we were first and goal on the foot yard line, I thought the coach was going to call a running play. He called a pass play and I was kind of surprised but, hey anytime he calls a pass play I'm happy, and then it went to Lee and it was just pretty fun.'

CAN ANY TEAM CAN BEAT USC'No I don't think so, those running backs are just too good, and the defensive scheme is very good, and they've got athletes on defense, they wanted to knock their defense all week for being inexperienced and not having all those guys in there, those guys were good, those guys were real good. Bing and Wyatt, their linebackers, were good, and their d-line was real good. They want to say their weakness is their defense I'd say you're wrong, and so I don't think they're going lose, that's just the way I see it.

TALKING ABOUT WHO HAD A FASTER DEFENSE: LSU OR USC?'Darn close, I'd say they are both fast, I don't know that's a great question, because it's so fresh in my mind, USC. Maybe but I think their both close, real close, as far as team speed on defense.'

TALKING ABOUT COMING BACK AFTER A TOUGH LOSS'I think we're good at that and I think it's because it's so important not to go into a tailspin, and we had leaders last year and leaders now that won't let that happen and I think it's just part of our team psyche that when we lose you know rather than feel sorry for ourselves we feel sorry for the team that has to come in here and play us. We're going to be ready and it's just part of who we are not stay down in a rut.'

TALKINGABOUT Lee Burghgraef AS A RECIEVER'He's not one of our first three options (laugh), but he's got good hands. I'm not going knock Lee, he's a stud, he's an athlete he just not as fleet of foot as Zach or Jamaal, or B. Miller, but you know he can do anything, put him in the right position and he'll catch the ball. He's a fantastic blocker and he's so reliable, he's just always in there, but you know as a receiver he can catch just about anything, so you know you just got to pick the right spots to get him out there. He's probably not going match up well against most of the safeties in the world, but he's got great hands, he's an athlete.'

OREGON'S FOCUS ON RUN, NOT PASS'Oregon State dared us to pass, so if you dare us to pass were going to pass, so you know, but my eye's light up any week because we have the capabilities of going out and racking up yards and touchdowns against anyone we want, just as long as we don't shoot ourselves in the foot. Look how good our guys are. There's ways to beat any defense that they put out there against us, so if there style is to be aggressive and put a lot of guys in the box and play downhill like Oregon State did, and force us to throw and make plays and that's probably what were going to do, so we'll be ready.'

MINDSET IF POCKET BREAKS DOWN'My mindset is that it's probably better to wait and see if somebody else is open who's a little bit faster and more athletic than I am, that's just my thought process, and I feel like I can make more plays with my arm than my feet, when I scramble around a little bit sometimes really big plays can happen out of that, so sometimes you give them a chance or throw them away. If you can get five yards you just duck your head and run, but that's just part of it, they were covering us really well, they dropped into their coverage, cover 2, cover 1 a few times and their linebackers got into good positions to take our over the middle routs away. Sometimes you know when our pocket breaks down, you got to get out of there and run you know that's just part of being a quarterback. You got to make plays on the move sometimes.'

TALKING ON INTERACTING WITH ANY USC PLAYERS'Not really I kind of got off the field kind of quick, Lawrence Jackson came up to me after the game because we play the Cal/Florida Bowl on the California team he did well that game and played hard, he was in the backfield a lot, more of my interaction with him came verbally with him during the game, that's the way they are, they like to talk a little bit, so I talked right back at them, I'll always remember this game, the crowd, the way my linemen fought and we fought hard and had that game and should've had that game, you know just take back 3 or 4 plays and it's a totally different game.'

TALKING ON TRYING TO FORCE PLAYS'I could have made that throw, maybe just a little earlier, but you know some of them were not open, some of them made great plays, the one that came out of Derek's hands and that was a freak play it fell in that guy's hands and he got hurt at the same time. I feel so bad, you never want anybody to get injured but the ball falls in your hands and you blow your knee out, if that's what happened to him, I mean that's just a weird play. The one on the sideline the first one in the second half that was a force because I mean, in scramble rules you know your rolling out and the play broke down. I thought Derek was going to keep coming towards me and you just put it in a spot where he can get it but that was a total force on my part just trying to make something happen when I shouldn't have. There's another pick where they tipped it and the guy got it that's just them getting their hands on the ball and making plays. I had to check that one because there was a lot of guys in the box on a run play, going back I wouldn't have even checked it, I would've kept the run play, because we probably could have got it off, I just checked to a pass play I wanted to get it to Derek but the guy got his hand on it and made a pick. I'm trying to think of all the other ones because there seemed like there were so many, but that's part of football and give credit to them for making those plays.'

TALKING ABOUT HOW BIG WAS SPECIAL TEAMS'Oh man, you watch the film and our special teams really beat them in all phases, you know kickoff, punt return, punt, everything we handled them well on special teams, and that showed, and that's just credit to how hard we play, we know guys like Terry Richardson, the guys that you don't hear about working their butts off on special teams, it really shows up on film.'

TALKING ABOUT THE INTERCEPTION ON SIDELINE TO HAGAN'They were running this coverage we hadn't seen, some three deep weird coverage, the one time were going take a shot they pick that coverage to put in there, you know it didn't work so I came back to Derek and he comes back towards me and I threw it and tried to make something happen on the sideline. That kid Wyatt kind of snuck in the back door, I don't even know how he did it, It was just a force and a bad throw, bad decision I should say I should've just thrown it away, but that's me being overzealous I guess.'