Quotes From Dirk Koetter's Monday Press Conference

Oct. 30, 2006

TEMPE, Ariz. -

Head Coach Dirk Koetter


On the effectiveness of ASU's offense...


'We were doing a lot on offense the first three weeks.  We were just going full speed ahead.  Then we hit a road block at California from a turnover stand point.  Oregon was a total meltdown.  I think we have more confidence in our offense now than we did in that stretch.  When you are putting your game plan together you are looking for things that will work against different defenses at certain times.  You do temper that with your personnel.  I think our offense is playing more efficiently, especially Rudy [Carpenter].'


On quarterback Rudy Carpenter's improvement...


'I think Rudy has done a nice job just getting back to taking what the defense gives him.  The Washington game was a great example of him checking the ball down to the running backs.  [Tailbacks] Keegan [Herring] and Ryan [Torain] delivered by getting 10, 15-yard runs.  I think Rudy now realizes you don't have to make everything a big play.  Big plays will come.  The deep pass that he tried to [wide receiver] Brandon Smith, we were expecting a totally different coverage than that.  He [Carpenter] read the coverage correctly.  That is a by product of when you are taking what's there and not guessing.  Rudy is really reading the coverage well and taking what the defense gives him even when it's the check down.  It has really allowed him not to hold it so long, which has cut our sacks down.  He has raised his completion percentage, which is about 80 percent in the last two weeks.  His efficiency is back up where it should be.  He is being very productive with out turning it over.  That is how he was playing all last year.  I just think we went through a two or three week stretch where he tried to do too much.' 


On OregonState's win over USC...


'[The win] was impressive.  I think they've done a nice job.  USC moved the ball, but they also had a lot of turnovers.  They took advantage of the situations and held on until the end.  USC has been in three previous games before that.  Washington, Washington State and we have all played them close.  I think everyone thought it was bound to happen and OregonState was the team that got it done.' 


On playing against OregonState after the win against USC...


'They are hot right now.  OregonState has won three in row.  They played BoiseState five weeks ago and just got trounced, 42 to 14.  Now they've come back five weeks later and beat USC.  They look like a different team, they have so much more confidence.  Their tailback, Yvenson Bernard is one of the best backs in the league, although he didn't help last week.  That punt returner Sammie Stroughter is leading the nation in punt returns.  Their defense gave up over 300 yards against BoiseState and probably hasn't given up 300 since.  They are second in the Pac-10 in rush defense, people are having a hard time rushing the ball against them.' 


On OregonState's rush defense...

'I haven't watched the earlier games.  I have just watched their most recent games.  So when I watch them on film, the last couple games I've watched, no one is running the ball on them.  They look real solid on defense.  Before the week is over, I'll look at what was going on earlier in the year.  I usually work my way back from most recent game.' 


On safety Josh Barrett...


'I think it has been for the last five weeks that Dan Fidler, the safeties coach, has said, 'Josh has had his best game this week,' and then the next week, 'Josh has had his best game this week.'  Then he played his best game and so on.  I think Josh played in [safety] Zach Catanese's shadow last year. I mean Josh has got more confidence, both those guys are playing well.  Josh is such a great athlete with speed and power.  He is playing well on special teams, he has really developed into a great player.  He is doing a great job as a leader.  He and Zach Catanese are a couple of our top five leaders on our team right now.' 


On injured offensive lineman Stephen Berg...


'He is done for the season.  He has some more follow up tests and doctors appointments today.  There are relatively sure he has a torn ACL.  It was non-hit injury.  It was a screen play and there was a screen on both sides of the field.  He just planted his knee when he was going to make a block on a defensive back and it just gave out on him.  It is too bad for Steve.  He was playing well and was also doing a great job as a leader.  What a terrible way for him to end his year.  He was being a great team leader.  He has been a three and a half year starter and he has moved positions to help the team.  It is a tough way for Steve to end it.  Hopefully we can get [offensive lineman] Brandon Rodd to come back this week.  If Brandon Rodd can come back at left tackle we can have either Julius [Orieukwu] or Richard Tuitu'u fill in at right tackle.  Julius has experience on both sides so he can be the swing guy.' 


On the team maturing through the season...


'When we were down 21 to nothing against USC in the first quarter, I think that's the point where our team took a turn for the better.  When we got down 21 to nothing, that was a dangerous part of the season.  It was a good opportunity to cave in, but they didn't.  We came back and we carried that over to Stanford, and then we definitely carried it over to the Washington game.  We got off to such a good start against Washington.  We played well.  We played well on defense earlier.  When they came back and tied it, anyone who was there, the crowd really got into that game in the fourth quarter, it was a totally different stadium.  We were backed up and we had to punt from our own 15-yard line.  I think that was another opportunity for us to cave.  Our defense really came out energized in overtime. [ASU defensive coordinator] Bill [Miller] made some nice calls and our guys made some hits on the quarterback on second and third downs.  Obviously our offense was able to punch it in.  I think this team has learned to stick together and hang in there.  I think we are playing team football.  We haven't been beating ourselves except for some bad decision making in penalties.  Our defense is playing well on third down and not giving up big plays.'


On the atmosphere at OregonState...


'It has a lot more big time flavor now that they've put the finishing touches on the stadium.  Last year was my first time there [since Reser Stadium has been completed], and that stadium was impressive.  The players like their turf, it is a lot more spongy than the Washington turf.  Our guys were feeling in their joints yesterday after playing on that hard surface.  Now it is a big time college football atmosphere and their fans are really into it.  The crowd is really loud there, I think it bothered USC at times.  They had four or five false start penalties due to crowd noise.  In Corvallis, they support the Beavers hard.  It will be really similar to last week, only their stadium doesn't hold as many people as [University of Washington's] Husky Stadium.' 


On brothers Jeremy Payton of ASU and Bryan Payton of OregonState...


'They are very similar in their style of play.  Bryan has really gotten big.  He is listed at 215 pounds.  It is funny when you see flashes of him on TV and they look identical.  We tried to recruit Bryan here.  I was very surprised they didn't go to the same school.  I thought they would both come here or both go to OregonState.  I was surprised they split and went their separate ways.  Brian has had a long road.  Where Jeremy played as a true freshman, Bryan has had his ups and downs as far as making it to this point.  Coach [Mike] Riley said he started playing him in just nickel situations and now they are playing their safeties like we do, left and right.  He and [Sabby] Piscitelli make a nice tandem for them [at safety].  He is a similar player [to Jeremy Payton] in that his specialty is coverage.  He is a good cover guy like Jeremy is.  They ask their safeties to do a lot in the run game as well, and he is one of their leading tacklers.'

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