Quotes from Derek Hagan's Press Conference

Oct. 17, 2005

Tempe, Ariz. - On missing football after not having played for 10 days:
'I really did. Just being away from it, when you are practicing, sometimes you don't really want to be out there because you know you have to work, but after watching the games this weekend, it made me want to be out there because there are so many different things that are going on. When you are getting ready to play, you have to focus on your game, but when you are watching other teams you can see what mistakes they are making and hopefully try not to make the same mistakes that they are making.

'I pretty much watched every game. I flipped through them all. The highlight was the USC-ND game. It was a great game where both teams gave it everything. Notre Dame had USC, but they had a few mistakes and USC capitalized.'

On seeing this year's opponents doing well against good teams:
'I think it does (show us we are a good team). We know that. Watching Northwestern beat Purdue and Oregon State beat Cal, those are two teams that we beat. We just have to get back into it. We feel great. We didn't play next week so a lot of our guys had a chance to get rested and come back from injuries. Pretty much everyone was banged up, but we're eager to get back into it. We had a great practice last night and we are definitely looking forward to this weekend against Stanford. We want to hit somebody else.'

On the team's confidence:
'Our confidence is the same. We have to make sure we keep it up there. Against Oregon, we had confidence, but we just didn't play well. That was the worst game we've played this season. We didn't do well at all on either side of the ball. That's one thing that we are focusing on this week, making sure that the confidence level is high. Once Saturday comes around, guys will be ready. They were ready for practice last night. We treated it like a game. We were out there flying around and making plays. Defense was out there making noise, we had a great time last night.'

On the potential loss of Sam Keller:
'It won't affect the passing game. If Sam can't go, Rudy (Carpenter) will have to step in and take over that role. He's been playing great in practice. He's getting the ball to us. We've been staying after practice to make sure that we have the right timing, in case Sam is not ready to go. We have to have somebody in there, either Sam or Rudy, and either one of them can get the job done.

'Rudy's delivery is different. But no matter where the ball is at or who is throwing it, it is up to the receivers to catch the ball no matter what. Wherever they put the ball, we have to be ready for it. We have to make the catch and make plays after the ball is in our hands.'

On Rudy Carpenter's development:
'He is coming around every single week. It started back in spring ball where he played great. He was one of MVPs in spring and he has been getting better and better each and every week. He's been learning from Sam, what he needs to do and how to check off his reads. Once he's on the practice field, he basically does the same thing. He's in there taking control of the huddle, making sure everyone is in the right spots. If he is in there on Saturday, he'll get the job done. He knows what he is doing.'

On what he's seen from Stanford's defense on film:
'They have a new coach, but its pretty much the same thing. We know that they are going to blitz on certain downs and they are going to have certain coverages. We just have to be ready for them. The one thing we want to do is establish the run and have them start bringing those safeties down, out of coverage. Hopefully, we'll be able to throw then over the top, but it all starts up front. Running the ball is one thing that we are trying to focus on for Saturday.'

On whether guys are ready for the game:
'I look for what we do through the week, because it all starts in practice. They say that you practice like you are going to play and when we were practicing against Oregon, we really didn't practice very well and it showed because we didn't play well. The first five games we practiced well and obviously some of the games didn't turn out the way we wanted them to be. Some guys are just out there not making silly mistakes, not having the mental breakdowns in practice that can bleed over to the game.

'I think (last night was one of the best practices of the year.) We had a couple days off. Some guys went home. We got to sit around and not play football for a couple days, we just got to watch some games. When we got back on the field, guys were flying around with fresh legs, ready to go. Last night, practice was almost like a game because we were out there hitting.'

On Stanford being a must-win:
'I think it is, but the next five games are must-wins for us. The Pac-10 is really moving around with teams losing. There are so many different things going on that you never know what is going to happen so you have to be prepared to play every week.'

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