Quotes from Derek Hagan's Weekly Press Conference
Nov. 21, 2005
On the rivalry and his final game as a Sun Devil:'This game means a lot to me. It's the final game of my senior season and its going to be the last time I get to walk out of that tunnel, and see all those fans in maroon and gold, screaming for us. It's been four great years, and feels like it has just flown by. It's winding down now and it would be great to go out with a win against a rival like UA.
'Last year's game has definitely been lingering for all of us. We never imagined losing that game with the way we were playing last season. We came out strong but we didn't play well at the end of the game. Andrew Walter got injured and Sam Keller did a great job of filling in, but we just didn't win. We wanted that victory and we want it this year as well.
'We know what a great opportunity we have this year. If we win, we go to a bowl game. All 115 guys on this team need to be prepared for this game, and all of them will be prepared.
'This does feel like a chance at redemption for us. They beat us last year down there and this year we have to defend at home. At 5-5, winning this game would change how we define the season. It would give us bragging rights in the state for the year, but it would also mean a lot looking forward for the program, having a winning season and making a bowl.
'We're looking forward to playing them, and a lot of people do. The fans love to get involved in this one because it is the rivalry and it means bragging rights for the year for the entire state of Arizona. We have to be ready for this one.
'This is Arizona's bowl game. They are going to come in and try and spoil our chance to go to one. They have seniors who this is their last game at UA and maybe their last game ever.'
On the season:'It's been an up and down year. Five games into this season, we were playing great and we looked like one of the best teams in the country, even though we were 3-2. After we lost to USC and dropped three straight, our morale was real down. But we got back on track and we're right where we need to be. Even after the loss last time out, we all knew that we played hard against UCLA and we know what we are capable of.'
On the UA defense:'They have a pretty good defense and a lot of experience with their returners in their secondary. Their guys are playing hard every down and making the plays they need to. We just have to match that, in terms of intensity and execution, for all four quarters. We have to do our job.
'They are a zone team. They don't play too much man-to-man coverage. It will be up to us to look for holes in the coverage and take what they give us. We'll be looking for the big plays over the top.'
On the seniors:'The seniors have done a great job of bringing the younger guys together, and trying to teach them what we've learned about the program in our four years. We want to let them know how to get things done. That's the impression that we are trying to leave the underclassmen with so that when they get to the point we're at, where they are the seniors that the rest of the team is looking up to for guidance, they can bring the other guys along like we helped them.'