Quotes from Coach Dennis Erickson's Weekly Press Conference
Oct. 1, 2007
On his assessment of the win over Stanford:
'Well, it was a good win for us, anytime you can go on the road and win. I thought we played very consistent, obviously played dominant on defense in that particular football game against all aspects of it. We seem to be getting better and better every week on defense. We haven't been tested offensively. We will this week obviously with Alex Brink and Washington State, all the weapons that they have. But we played great defensively. I thought offensively we ran the football extremely well. Obviously, because of our ineptness in the red zone, Thomas Weber was Pac-10 special teams player of the week. But I thought we played better offensively, and we're getting better all the time. Our offensive front played. We ran the football pretty well. We played very well on special teams, not just Thomas, but everybody else. To win in California for the first time, obviously I hope it's not the last, but it was a good win for us, puts us where we're at. Obviously, for this football team, every week is a new week. We just have to continue to improve and get better. Our schedule gets harder and harder as we get into it. Playing up in Pullman, I know how that is, having been on both sides of it. It's probably as difficult a place as there is to play in the Pac-10, so we're going to have play as well as we can to win the football game.'
On the defense shutting out Stanford in the first quarter:
'That's what we talked about all week, coming out of the gate and playing well. We've done that defensively for the most part. Obviously we're playing the run real well at this point. When you can do that, and then you get ahead and you make the offense pretty one-dimensional, where they have to throw it all the time, it makes it a heck of a lot easier. Again, mentally we're playing a lot better. We're not making near the mistakes that we made early in the year, coverage-wise and gaps and things like that. The longer we play this defense, the better we get. We can add things to our package because we've gotten better and learned what we were originally taught in the base package and what we're doing. We just have to continue to improve and get better all the time. Again, we're playing a lot of guys on defense, particularly in the front, which keeps guys fresh and that makes a big difference.'
On what made the difference in getting more sacks against Stanford:
'A couple things: the quarterback held the ball a little bit, which is because of coverage a lot of times, didn't have a place to go with it. So if you just hold it a split-second, you're going to get sacked. That's probably the biggest difference. So we were able to get to them, and they were throwing the ball down the field a little bit more than others have in the past, so you've got to hold it a little bit longer, and our rush was better, there's no question about it. Dexter Davis brought it pretty good. We brought `backers a little bit more, not blitzing-wise, but in zone blitzes, and we were able to put pressure on them with that.'
On DT Saia Falahola:
'He played pretty good, for [his first game]. He went in, and for not playing and being out as long as he was, I thought he did some darn good things. He'll continue to get better all the time.'
On what his expectations were for this point of the season:
'I don't know. I never know that. You don't know where you're going to be. I just know that if we continue to improve, and continue to practice like we've been practicing that we'll get better and better all the time. Where that takes us, you just don't know. But as long as we improve, and as long as we work hard practicing, and we play hard on Saturdays, good things are going to happen to you. That's basically what we've been doing. Where we're at to where I thought we would be, I always expect us to be good. I always expect us to improve, and we've done that.'
On winning the first road game of the season:
'It was a good win anytime you can win on the road. Believe me; it won't be near as difficult as it's going to be this week. The atmosphere at Stanford is not near like the atmosphere that we're going to face as an opponent in Pullman. It's a good place to play when you're the coach at Washington State and it's not a good place to play when you're not, so I've been on both sides.'
On what makes playing at Washington State difficult:
'Their students are pretty tough on you. It's a very boisterous crowd, very into it. I believe it's homecoming. People come from over all the state of Washington, it might be one of two or three games that they come to from Seattle or wherever they're at, and they get into it. It will be noisy. Who knows what the weather's going to be like? We're not worried about it, but we've also got to be aware of it. It's the reality of playing on the road. All those things combined, it's a tough place to play. A lot of people went up there with pretty good football teams and come out not with victories. We just have to focus, concentrate on what we have to do this week in practice, understand that there may be elements, understand that the crowd's going to be tough, obviously they'll be very tough on me, and then just don't worry about it. Try to take that stuff out of it and just get ready and play.'
On the weather changing in Tempe and the effect on the team:
'We haven't practiced during the day. We will start this week. We're changing our practice regimen. Normally, when it's really hot out, we've been practicing at seven o'clock at night. We will start practicing tomorrow starting at four, which we'll do the rest of the year. I like it better that way, just as far as our student-athletes are concerned, as far as school and study hall and all those things. So the next seven or eight weeks, whatever it is left in the season, that's what we'll do. As far as the weather in concerned, I don't think you can beat it right now. It's pretty darn good. That's why there are four million people around here.'
On playing an afternoon game this week after five night games to open the season:
'It just means you don't have to sit around all day. That's hard, sitting around. Obviously we haven't played a day game, but I'm excited about playing at one o'clock.'
On areas the team still needs to improve:
'All. We've got to get better in all aspects of it. As I've said earlier, you've just got to improve every week. You've got to look at where you're at, and you just get better and better all the time. I don't think there's an area, or there isn't an area that we don't need to improve on. We've got to improve in every aspect of it.'
On coaching against two of his former Washington State players, Timm Rosenbach and Steve Broussard, this week:
'That is going to be interesting. Timm Rosenbach coaches the quarterbacks, and he played quarterback for me in '87 and '88 at Washington State, and then Steve Broussard was an All-American running back there and he's coaching the running backs. So it will be interesting to see them. Of course I converse with them a lot anyway, so to go compete against them, it will be interesting. They've both turned into outstanding coaches. I'm very proud of what they're doing, so it will be exciting.'
On Washington State QB Alex Brink and WR Brandon Gibson:
'I've followed Alex Brink for a lot of years, ever since he came out of high school in Eugene, Oregon. I've watched him grow just because I'm a football fan. He's gotten bigger. He's gotten stronger. He can throw it. He's, in my opinion, one of the better quarterbacks in the country. He gives himself a second chance. He's got a lot of mobility, very accurate, good arm. The offense that they run, they spread you out. Besides Gibson, they've got [Michael] Bumpus, they've got some skill to be quick-striking, which Washington State's been for a long time. They do a lot of the same things that we do, a lot of the things that we did years ago that we still do. So they're very explosive. As I said earlier, we have not faced a team offensively that's near as good as them, so it's going to be a huge test for us on defense.'
On the offensive line play improving through the game against Stanford:
'We made some adjustments, and we just started playing better. It wasn't all the offensive line. I think guys have a misconception of that, that when there are sacks that it's always the offensive line. That's not necessarily the truth. It could be a back. It could be holding the ball. It could be a blitz that because of whatever call; it might be a hot throw. So there are a lot of things involved in that, and our offensive front, we've had some sacks, we've made some mistakes, but we're playing pretty good. We're running the football really well. We're being very physical. Again, you're going to have sacks. That's just part of the game. You'd like to go through a game without any. But it's a combination of a lot of different things, and we just have to clean that stuff up.'