Head Coach and Player Quotes from 2006 Pac-10 Football Media Day

July 28, 2006


Head football coaches and players from all ten member institutions met with the media in Los Angeles for the 2006 Pac-10 Football Media Day.


Head Coach Tyrone Willingham: 'This is one of those exciting days that kicks off the season, as we are beginning to get our players back and seeing the fruit of their labors from this summer. I am excited because in this Conference, quarterbacking is such a key ingredient, and we are fortunate to have Isaiah. Not only is he a great athlete , but he's a person that you would like to have leading your football team. His growth will not only affect his own ability but that of our entire football team, as well ... One of the major goals for next season is not to have the 9:30 slot at this meeting next year ... Our entire Conference is stronger top to bottom and our elite teams have showcased themselves very well in the past few years.'

QB Isaiah Stanback: 'We are very excited and ready to improve upon last year. We worked very hard this past Spring and we are looking forward to the season .. I like the fact that we are playing all the teams in the Pac-10, you want to see how you can compete against everyone.'


Head Coach Bill Doba: 'Beginning of Spring I didn't think we were very good, but as we progressed we got much better. Our last scrimmage was very crisp, we had good hitting. What we have to emphasize, however, is that last year we competed, but we didn't finish. Not finishing is just as much mental as it is physical. We need to finish strong ... Defensively, we have to find a corner. Our linebacker core is solid, but we are a little short on depth.

The offense is the strength of our football team. Usually the teams that have experience at quarterback are the successful ones in this league and we have that ... The thing that concerns me more than anything else in opening up at Auburn is the humidity, so we're not going to talk about it. We're just going to go play. We'll prepare and work hard start to hydrate at least a week before.'


Head Coach Mike Stoops: 'It's a great time of the year and the next 3-4 months are the best time of the year. There are certain things we need to do a whole lot better and we have worked very hard on becoming a team. You are not going to win until you become a team and this group has made a tremendous amount of improvement. Our defense will be greatly improved, having nine starters back. We have three tremendous linebackers. Our offensive line will be much improved as we have quality players across the board that have some experience. It gives us great hope for this season because this team has been doing a lot of work over the past couple months ... From top to bottom, I think the Conference has a chance to be the most competitive it has been. There are a lot of teams making improvement and it's a very complete league and it's setting up to be one of the best years in a long time.'

WR Syndric Steptoe: 'These past two months that we've been together, all we can think about is the season but we know we have to take it one game at a time and come out and beat BYU.'


Head Coach Mike Riley: 'We are excited about the start of the new year. We had a productive off-season and we've grown a lot since last year. When you look at our offense, our entire offensive line is returning, our quarterback is returning and I feel good about the core that is heading into camp. We slipped a little bit on our defense last year, but we were still tops in rushing defense. We have some outstanding people returning and they have made a commitment to our program as we head into camp ... Matt Moore has ability, he has a great arm and is extremely tough. We went through some lumps starting a new quarterback, he was new to us, our system, but he made tremendous plays. We obviously turned the ball over too much, but my feeling is that through that year of experience, all the growth, he will have a good year ... I like the full round-robin, it's most equitable. You can count on the sequence and I like the 12-game schedule.'

S Sabbie Piscitelli: 'I think the biggest thing that happened last year was that we lost that momentum. We beat a good Cal team on the road, we had a lot of confidence, but a couple opportunities didn't go our way. One play can make a game and there were little things we didn't capitalize on.'


Head Coach Walt Harris: 'We're very excited at Stanford as we have a lot of big things going on right now and hopefully our team is one of those ...

The new stadium is going to add a whole different feeling to going to a game. The last seat in the last row of the lower level is the same distance from the first seat in the old stadium. There is not a bad seat in the house. They kept the old stadium look, which is great. They've upgraded and built a brand-new stadium, but it still has that feel of Stanford ... I think from the standpoint of Conference interest, playing every team is great. But I think it's going to be hard to go from playing 11 games to 12 with the same amount of people ... The good thing about playing against a Conference opponent to start the season is that it helps your practice, helps your camp, but the disadvantage is that it does go against your Conference record.'

QB Trent Edwards: 'It's going to be an extremely competitive year but I'm encouraged that we are playing all nine other Conference teams, 12 total, and hopefully a bowl game at the end. I'm really looking forward to the new season in the new stadium.'


Head Coach Dirk Koetter: 'We have 13 guys on the offensive side of the ball that have started at least one Pac-10 game. The big question I'm sure everyone wants to know about is what we are going to do with two great quarterbacks. I think a two-quarterback system works, but not with Sam and Rudy. The guy that is playing the best will be our quarterback and the other will be the backup. Both of these guys can do the job. We have a lot of playmakers on our offense. We have seven different offensive lineman that have started, I think something like 86 starts among them. The key for our team is on our defense, we only have four starters back ... I was a little bit surprised with how Rudy played because if you go back two Spring seasons, he didn't play all that well. When it came time for Rudy to be the starter, I thought he would be okay, but did I think he would lead the nation in passing efficiency? No. But he is a competitor, very tough on himself and he adds that dimension as a runner. He makes that first guy miss, where Sam is a more prototypical quarterback who stands in the pocket.'

RT Andrew Carnahan: 'We're going to get out there and do our best no matter who is at quarterback. Either one of them can get the job done ... Sam is always fired up, always talking, whereas Rudy is more calm, doesn't say quite as much but that could change once he gets more familiar with the system.'


Head Coach Jeff Tedford: 'We are very excited about the season. We have the potential to accomplish quite a bit, we have a lot of skill on both sides of the ball. We have a true test right out of the gates at Tennessee, but I'm looking forward to the leadership that people like Daymeion are going to provide for the rest of the team ... I think some of those crossover games are very important to college football, it's something that's good for us, playing in Tennessee and in that environment ... It gives our team a lot of confidence to have Nate Longshore back. There will still be a tremendous amount of competition at quarterback, but it gives the team that much more confidence to know any of those guys can go in and get it done ... There are certain parts of the spread offense that matches our talent very well. We are not changing our offensive philosophy, but the spread attack does give you the option to have two running backs on the field at the same time. The luxury that we have is that our tailbacks can spread out and catch the ball ... There are external and internal expectations and we focus on internal expectations. It's all up to us to go out there and get the job done.'

CB Daymeion Hughes: 'We really look forward to the challenge of playing at Tennessee, coach Tedford is going ot prepare us well for the game. We have to throw the obstacles out of the way and compete like we know how to do.'


Head Coach Karl Dorrell: 'We're eager and optimistic about our season going into 2006. We had a tremendous season last year and it was fun to watch our team grow and mature. The team made some great steps and there were seniors that stepped up to make tremendous years for themselves. Those guys are now gone and the challenge for us now is to figure out who to replace them with.

This 2006 team is a very close-knit team. This team will grow so much from last year, just from one season of winning and knowing what it takes to be a contender. I expressed the optimism of the season last year and we narrowly accomplished what we were trying to do. This year is no different, we are very capable of taking a big step. We have new faces, both in the coaching staff and who you will see on the field, but we are capable of doing things at a very high, competitive level ... We have to challenge ourselves each and every week ... We play all nine Conference members this season and everybody is fair game and has the opportunity to prove their worth.'

WR Junior Taylor: 'The next step for UCLA football is a Pac-10 championship.

Last year we made great strides, but we are not satisfied with 10-2, we want to be the best and to win the Pac-10 ... My leg feels good, the speed is still there, but I have some rust to shake off during camp. I'm going to be ready to go.'


Head Coach Mike Bellotti: 'We're excited about the turnaround we had last year and the positive response to the new offense, which might have had a bigger effect on the other side of the ball. That group of young men were a tremendous group, they turned things around and learned from what we didn't accomplish the year before. There are two areas that are important to our success this year - the continued development of our quarterbacks and at running back. Dennis Dixon is the starter heading into camp, but I expect Brady to push Dennis in camp and throughout the season. The other position is at running back where we have a great 1-2 punch in Jonathan Stewart and Jeremiah Johnson. The chemistry might be more important than the talent, but I feel that we have both. We have a very tough schedule starting with Stanford right away. We go to Fresno State which is a tough place to play and then come home to play Oklahoma so we will know a lot about our team in those first three weeks ... I think it's better to play all 9 teams because now the champion is determined by who you play, not who you don't.'

C Enoka Lucas: 'We feel confident heading into the season, we have all five returning starters on the offensive line. We've been enjoying Eugene and are looking forward to the season.'


Head Coach Pete Carroll: 'It's great to be back here. We find ourselves in a position where we were a few years back. Three years ago we lost our quarterback, a running back and many other key players and we are now facing those same issues again. Hopefully we will respond just as well. The Coliseum is sold out for every game next year for the first time ever. What is unique about this team is that we have the culmination of three very big recruiting years, and those classes have a sense of what this is all about already. We have a lot of guys that can play and battle for playing time.

There are a lot of exciting things that are going to unfold for us at camp ... It doesn't seem to be different this year as compared to last. Being the No. 1 team going in didn't put any pressure on us last year and it's not going to change how we are right now if we don't have that ranking. There are different issues each season, new challenges, exciting challenges. I'm refreshed that there are so many things to be determined this season ...

This Conference is so loaded with offense, I don't know how it could get more productive than it's been, but we'll see how everyone can get better.'

C Ryan Kalil: 'Losing a Heisman winner has happened to us before, we know we have guys that are going to rise to the challenge ... I think one of the things that has made us so great as a unit has been our depth, but I see us being just as dominant as before with the people we have coming in.'

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