Quotes From Dirk Koetter's Monday Press Conference

Nov. 13, 2006

TEMPE, Ariz. -

Head Coach Dirk Koetter

 

On UCLA's defense...

 

'They play a different style of defense.  UCLA is much more of an attacking defense.  WashingtonState is more of a `bend but don't break' zone defense.  UCLA is much more of an attacking defense and a lot healthier than WashingtonState was on defense.  Those two (defensive) ends (Bruce Davis and Justin Hickman) are ranked second and fourth in the country in sacks.  That is very impressive by those two.  They play down hill and their safeties are very involved, it's a very different style of defense.' 

 

On team's facing consistency issues in the Pac-10...

 

'I'm sure there are several reasons for that.  Injuries play a part.  Experience plays a part.  We are playing with a lot of young guys on offense right now.  We have had ups and downs, that makes it difficult for the players.  They have a tendency to concentrate some days better than others.  That shows up in their preparation.  I think we went through a phase earlier in the year where we didn't prepare as well as we should have.  Starting with USC and since then we've done a much better job of preparing in practice.  We are definitely inconsistent.  I don't think we've cornered the market on that.  I think if you are looking at the Pac-10, there are plenty other teams there and in the country that are inconsistent.  Look at WashingtonState.  WashingtonState beats both Oregon and UCLA and then loses to Arizona and ASU the next two weeks.  OregonState, who may be the hottest team in the league, goes to UCLA and doesn't even look like the same team.  I think a lot of that has to do with 18-21 year old males in college.'

 

On the parity in the Pac-10...

 

'It is pretty even.  There could be eight teams that qualify for bowl games, that has never happened since I've been here.  It hasn't happen yet.  There have been years where there haven't been six (teams to qualify).  You could get eight teams (bowl eligible), and then who knows what could happen to Washington if their quarterback hadn't gotten hurt.  I think that really changed their season once (quarterback) Isaiah Stanback got hurt.  I think there are eight teams that are pretty competitive in the conference.'

 

On UCLA's pressure defense...

 

'They force your quarterback to make quick decisions and get the ball out or he will get hit.  UCLA is just a lot more of a blitzing type defense then we saw last week.' 

 

On quarterback Rudy Carpenter's performance against WashingtonState...

 

'I've never stopped believing that Rudy Carpenter was a good quarterback.  I'm sure there is some redemption in there on some level.  We took a lot more downfield shots in this game because the defense enabled us to do so.  Our receivers made a lot more plays for Rudy.  You take out one or two plays and I think Rudy played fantastic.  There were still a couple plays that we could have had back.  Rudy played the best game he's had all year.  That is encouraging for our program because he is only a sophomore.'

 

On whether playing several underclassmen is encouraging for the future...

 

'I don't really think of it that way.  We are busy getting ready for UCLA.  We are playing young receivers right now.  Recruiting is obviously ongoing and we are going to try to better ourselves at every position through recruiting.  The fact that we are playing all young guys at wide receiver does bode well down the road.'

 

On the versatility of wide receiver/cornerback Rudy Burgess...

 

'The number one thing Rudy brings to us is his versatility on special teams.  He does so many things for us on special teams.  We'd like to get Rudy back out there on special teams.  He is very valuable covering kicks, returning kicks.  The receiver versus corner, he could help us either way.  In the brief amount of time he practiced this last week, he split time.  He took a few periods on offense and defense.  More than anything it is going to depend on Rudy's health and what he can do on that ankle.  He warmed up on Saturday and then wasn't able to go full speed.  I think that is pretty consistent with what other players in the Pac-10 are finding with this high ankle sprain.  It is costing almost everyone who has one almost two games or more.  We'll see what another three days of rest does when he gets back to practice we'll slide him in there.  The great thing about Rudy, he knows what to do.  It isn't much of a learning curve to get him up and running.'

 

On preparing to face either of UCLA's quarterbacks...

 

'Supposedly Ben Olson is getting close to getting back.  I heard he suited up the other night but didn't play.  (Patrick) Cowan has done a pretty job when he has been in there.  I'm impressed with the guy.  He is about 10 percent less on his completion percentage than Olson was.  He adds a mobility factor that Olson didn't have.  UCLA has to make that call with which quarterback they are going to go with.  Cowan has done a good job while he is in there.  We are going to have to be ready for either one.  You are always trying to get at a quarterback to knock him down in a legal way.  You never try to knock down a quarterback to get to his backup.' 

 

On the offensive comparisons between the two teams...

 

'They certainly have lost some excellent players.  There is no doubt about that.  (Tailback) Maurice Drew and (tight end) Mercedes Lewis were tremendous players.  I have always thought Chris Marquis was a good player.  His numbers are very similar to (tailback) Ryan Torain's numbers for us.  Ryan has just a slightly higher average per carry.  UCLA is always going to have good skill players.  Their offensive line is playing well.  They did lose a lot of people.  So they are slowing rebuilding.  When they had Drew Olson at quarterback and then they made the transition to Ben Olson who then got injured.  It has been a transition for then.  During spring and even fall camp, if you listened to (UCLA head coach) Karl Dorrell talk he made it look like the competition between Olson and Cowan was close for that quarterback job.'

 

On deciding to go for a late touchdown against WashingtonState...

 

'It was not really a decision to go for a touchdown.  When we put (backup quarterback) Danny Sullivan in the game with eight minutes and 35 seconds left in the game and we ran 13 plays.  Twelve of those thirteen plays they all-out blitzed us.  Ten of those twelve blitzes were double safety blitzes.  There aren't a whole lot of plays in the play book.  You are just limited in what you can do against that.  And when a team uses double safety blitzes, you are either going to get next to nothing or if you break the line of scrimmage there is no one back there.  (Tailback) Preston Jones broke the line of scrimmage.  If that was a thirty yard run for a touchdown, no one would be saying anything.  But then he ran it down to the one yard line.  I had 15 seconds to decide whether to run it straight up the middle or take a knee.  There are plenty of people who think it is much more embarrassing to have someone take a knee on you than to just try to run it and try to have them stop you.  Out of common courtesy I did apologize to Coach Doba (of WashingtonState).  He didn't seem to make a big deal of it.  I don't know what you wanted us to do differently.  We subbed with nine minutes left in the game.'

 

On UCLA's defensive ends...

 

'They are very quick and they both have excellent counter moves.  Their defensive coordinator puts them in positions to make plays.  He brings the heat a lot.  He makes it difficult, with his blitz schemes to double team his ends.  You have to rely on single blocks a lot of the time.  I think our two tackles, Brandon Rodd and Juilus Oriekwu are good pass blockers but I was just looking at those national stats and you see that they are ranked second and fourth and they have combined for 22 sacks, that's a huge challenge.  I think we had a similar challenge last week with WashingtonState's ends (Lance Broadus and Mkristo Bruce).' 

 

On safety Zach Catanese...

 

'He had a pretty good collision in the opening kick off against OregonState.  I think I mentioned last week that his chin strap broke in half.  It was hard to see on film but he got a pretty good stick on that guy.  Zach is such a good player for us and he did not play well for us against OregonState.  He played so well in this game we gave him the game ball against WashingtonState.  I think that is the mark of a good player, who can have a bad game and come back the next week and back on track.  Zach has been very solid for us in his last two years.  He is getting ready to play his last home game.' 

 

Quarterback Rudy Carpenter

 

On the success in the passing game against WashingtonState...

 

'It feels good because we haven't done it all year.  We were able to air it out and have success doing it.  It is a little frustrating too because it is so late in the year.  I expect to have it happen a lot earlier because I haven't been playing well but I guess it is better late than never.  In practice we had a plan.  We found out WashingtonState might be getting a defensive lineman back and we had to make an adjustment to our strategy.  It didn't change our whole plan.  They ended up using a three down front for the majority of that game so we were able to throw it.  I told Coach (Koetter) I wanted to throw a lot.'

 

On the pressure defense of UCLA...

 

'I think it depends on what type of pressure.  We have a saying here, 'if you blitz we score.'  We think that we should be able to beat one-on-one coverage.  We just have to do a good job of getting the ball out and getting it off on time and having our receivers make plays.  We might not be able to attack down the field as much but we will be able to do a lot of short passes and run along way.'

 

On the play of ASU's receivers...

 

'I think early in the game it kind of started out similar to OregonState.  (Tight end) Zach (Miller) and (H-back) Brent (Miller) made some big catches, but we still had some big drops that could have been some big plays.  They came back and played strong after that.  You want to see how those guys react after making mistakes and I think they did a good job, just staying positive and believing they can make plays.' 

 

On learning from the season...

 

'I have been through so many different phases through the season.  I am asking myself, 'why I am playing bad,' or, 'why our team is not playing well?'  There are so many different things. Last week I sat back and thought, this is a really good season for me.  It is my first full season as a starter.  We are learning a lot and we are learning together.  And we are all going to be around here for a long time.  You can be successful all the time and that is easy.  But you can also be knocked up a little.  I think it shows a lot to people how you react.  It is easy to do well when you always playing well.  It is harder to play well when things aren't really going that great.' 

 

On UCLA's offense...

 

'They lost their quarterback (Ben Olson) earlier on and that (Patrick) Cowan is doing a good job.  I know both those quarterbacks pretty well.  Ben is a pretty good friend of mine.  Anytime you lose your starting quarterback it is going to be an adjustment period.  I think if you really look through out the Pac-10, there aren't that many offenses that are off the chart successful.  I think the clock rules have a lot to do with that.  We are averaging 25-30 less plays a game.  I think it makes it hard for people to get in rhythm.  I know they don't have too many big name guys but they play well as a team.'

 

On ASU becoming bowl eligible...

 

'I think an impressive finish is winning the next two games.  It doesn't matter if it is by one point or by 100 points, all that that matters is that you are the best team in stadium that day.  We still have a chance to go 9-4 if we win the bowl game.  Last time we had nine wins was when (former ASU quarterback and current Oakland Raider) Andrew Walter was a senior.  It wasn't long ago that 10 wins got you into the BCS.  I think we can still end up pretty well.'

 

On playing UCLA as a California native...

 

'UCLA was where I originally committed to out of high school.  Everyone made a big deal about that last year.  I just want to play well against a team you great up watching and wanting to go to.  It doesn't really matter.  Every game for us is like a one game championship.' 

 

On knowing UCLA quarterback Ben Olson...

 

'Ben Olson and I are from the same city.  We went to rival high schools and we played against each other in high school.  We see each other when I go home.  I worked out with him a little over the spring.  It is fun, but it is good from where we are from.  I think every game I've played in the Pac-10, I've played against someone from my area.  It is cool it shows how good our area is at football.  It is good to know that they are successful.' 

 

 

 
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