Quotes from Dirk Koetter's Weekly Press Conference

Sept. 11, 2006

On the team's upcoming game at Colorado...

'The captains for Colorado will be [tight end] Zach Miller, [offensive lineman] Brandon Rodd, [defensive end] Kyle Caldwell and [safety] Zach Catanese. The number one most important statistic in football is turnover margin, and we are on the plus side. Even though our two turnovers led directly to 14 of Nevada's points, that just goes to show that their four turnover lead to points by us as well. I think another stat that jumps out at you is that we've sacked the quarterback 13 times in two games. I think its almost half as much as last year and I think we've only given up two sacks, so the ratio is 13 to two. That's been a big part of these two games and hopefully we can keep that up against Colorado.

Colorado, I've looked at briefly on film. I've looked briefly at their offense and more than briefly on their defense. Colorado is struggling offensively, there is no easy way to sugar coat it. Since I know their coaching staff well I know they are going to come out of it, hopefully not this week. They are playing well on defense on the other hand. Nobody is running the ball against them. They've been in two low scoring games where unfortunately on the wrong end of them. Colorado is a two-time defending Big XII North Champions, that's a BCS conference. They have got to have good players there and I know they have a good coaching staff. We certainly have our work out for us. Even though Colorado is sitting at 0-2, they are the best team we have played to date.'

On his relationship with Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins...

'Coach Hawkins and I were much closer six years ago than we are today, but that's because we saw each other everyday six years ago [while Hawkins was an assistant under Koetter at Boise State]. Dan was a very important member of my coaching staff at Boise State. He helped me a lot because he already had head coaching experience and I had not. We both are very, very busy. We don't speak as often [as we'd like to]. Our families remain close. He is always going to be an important part of my life and my career.'

On whether the familiarity will affect his preparation...

'We are going to keep the game plan we normally do. It has nothing to do with Mark [Helfrich, Colorado's offensive coordinator and former ASU quarterbacks coach] or Coach Hawkins knowing what we are doing. They watch our film. They know what we are doing. Just like I'd watch their film to see what they are doing. Identifying it and doing it on the field are two different things.'

On playing a struggling team...

'It's the University of Colorado, they are two-time Big XII North defending champions. They have good players and athletes. Compared to the two teams we've played, they are the biggest, fastest, strongest team we've played to date. That's always going to concern you. They are going through a transition with the coaching staff. I know how that is. They are going to break out against somebody. We are going on the road for the first time. Those two things we must be aware of. We have not played our best on the road in the past. That is something that we've pointed out this season. '

On wide receiver Rudy Burgess...

'Rudy Burgess is day-to-day with a concussion. We are one of few schools in the country in which our guys don't randomly come back from concussions. They take a baseline concussion test at the first of every year, and when a player gets a concussion he has to go back on the computer and he has to equal or get better than his baseline score before the doctors will clear him to have contact. It's not an arbitrary thing, there is a precise methodology to clear a guy from a concussion. Rudy will start taking the test either today or tomorrow. He will not be cleared for contact until he passes the test. We'll see how that goes. If I know Rudy Burgess, it will be hard to keep him off the field. It's not even up to him. It's up to him passing the test.'

On Colorado's season-opening loss to 1-AA Montana State...

'Every football game takes on its own shape. Obviously when a 1-AA team upsets a BCS conference team it's surprising. We play Colorado this week. We know the dangers in that. All you have to do is turn the film on to see their athleticism. It's there. We just have to take care of things and get better. We improved a lot last week. We hope to continue to improve. Great teams improve every week. We hope to improve at that same rate.'

On cornerback Chris Baloney...

'Chris has good ball skills. The interception against NAU he really made a play. The pick against Nevada the ball bounced right to him, however plenty of defensive backs wouldn't make that catch. We'll still take a turnover in the red-zone and we had a couple other defensive backs in position to make interceptions and they didn't make them. Ryan McFoy [safety] and Grant Crunkleton [cornerback] both made interceptions when they had the chance. Chris [Baloney] is off to a good start, he and Keno Walter-White are in a close battle [to be a starting cornerback]. It's nice to have competition on that one side of the field against [Justin] Tryon. If you noticed Keno started week one and Baloney started week two, the starter is named depending on how they practice. Litrelle [Jones] had a much better game this week. He was back to himself and he played a strong role on special teams.'

On Colorado's kicker Mason Crosby and ASU's kicking game...

'He [Crosby] is an awesome kicker. I think the altitude definitely plays a role in the long kick offs and field goals. Crosby's a tremendous kicker. I think really this is a match up of two of the best kickers in the country. I would place Jesse [Ainsworth] in the top realm of kickers as well. We score a lot of touchdowns in the red zone so Jesse doesn't get a chance to kick that many field goals. Jesse got a chance to kick a longer field goal this week. It was a combination of a good push by Nevada's front, less than stellar protection by us and a low kick by Jesse that combined to equal a blocked kick. I'm very confident in Jesse up to 55 yards, he makes them consistently in practice. Crosby is going to do the same for them.'

On ASU using multiple running backs...

'We definitely need to define the roles of the running backs. When [Pac-10] conference play comes at the latest we need to define that. We are still trying to establish the roles that are taking shape each week. We feel good about five running backs on our team. We feel good about our sixth, Rodney Glass, who is a redshirt. That's one of the penalties of being deep; you have to keep them all happy. You have to find a role. All of those tailbacks are playing significant roles on special teams. Ryan Torain has done a great job covering kickoffs, and Keegan Herring had a big hit on punt return. He [Herring] was also the first guy down the field on kickoff. I would like to see those roles defined. Part of that is up to them to define it in kick off and in practice. All though we are happy with our running backs we need to be consistent with our reads based on our blocking schemes. We have to be more consistent.'

On suspended wide receiver Jamaal Lewis...

'We are still waiting on information on Jamaal Lewis. I'm hoping any day to have information on that and move forward.'

On defensive end Loren Howard...

'Loren worked out with the team yesterday. It was run and lift day. He lifted with the team. He ran on the side. He is cleared for anything, even playing, for up to his pain will allow. It's a quad injury. They couldn't tell if he was re-tearing or if he damaging scar tissue. He had to sit for a week. I haven't seen him yet today. It is usually the day after where you are going to have more pain or less pain. I would say Loren is close but questionable for Colorado, hopefully probable for California. I'd love to have Loren out there. He is a difference maker. If we can get Loren in the mix, that would be great. Coaches have to coach the guys that are there. I'm confident that when Loren returns he will contribute.'

On freshman quarterback Danny Sullivan...

'It was just a great opportunity to get him in the game. Danny was nervous, as you would expect for his first game. Danny has a very strong arm. Sometimes when you have a strong arm you can't wait to show it off. He about decapitated [wide receiver] Jeff Gray on that one out-route. He is playing well at practice. But game speed is different than practice. The experience was awesome for him. He is not where he needs to be at. I still look back, as a true freshman, Rudy [Carpenter] wasn't near where Danny was at, so I'm pleased with where Danny is at.'

On ASU's offense...

'Our defense was a major factor in that game. The nice thing, we did show some explosive plays on offense. We didn't do a good job on that against Northern Arizona. Some of those young receivers were able to get in there and make some great plays, [sophomore] Nate Kimbrough, [freshman] Chris McGaha and the catch by [sophomore] Mike Jones. We aren't running the ball like we need to on offense. We are executing like we are capable on offense. I have expectations of us executing and our numbers are pretty good. We are going to see better defenses, beginning with Colorado, which is way more talented on defense than any team we've played.'

On ASU's offensive line...

'I think in pass protection they've been outstanding, but in run blocking we've been inconsistent. We make our calls based on identifying the [defensive] front and teams have been mixing up the front on us. We've been having some miscommunication on identifying our front calls. That's just shooting yourself in the foot. If the defense beats you that's one thing, but if you beat yourself by not making the call that's another thing. And Colorado is going to test us on that, they do a real nice job of mixing their [defensive] fronts.'

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