Quotes from Coach Dennis Erickson's Weekly Press Conference
Oct. 8, 2007
Tempe, Ariz. - On Washington QB Jake Locker:'I watched Jake when he was in high school. The thing about Jake is not only is he a good quarterback and good person, but he gives you so much trouble because of how versatile he is. He's big. He's fast. He can run. He can do all the things that are really necessary to be successful at quarterback. He's young, but he's 230 pounds and he gives you that other element of scrambling and doing the things that are very necessary to be successful. They'll put him back in the shotgun and run some of that spread stuff. He's a problem. He really is a problem that we're going to have to deal with.'
On the win over Washington State:'It was a good win. We were able to go on the road in a very tough place to play and win. Lot of people, as I've said before, have gone up there and not come out successful. We didn't play our best game by any means, but then again, that was part because of them. There's no question about that. We were able to find a way and make plays at the end on offense, running the football. Then on defense, making plays at the end to force them to kick a field goal. We didn't want to put ourselves in that situation, but we were fortunate enough to make our kick, they weren't. We came out of Pullman with a win, so we're 6-0 and 3-0 in the league, and that's where we wanted to be.'
On Washington's defense:'If you watch them on tape, which we have, and you watch them against University of Southern California and you watch them against UCLA, those two games in particular, the ones that I've studied the most, they played extremely well against both those teams. They've got a lot of seniors on that defensive football team, a lot of guys that have been around there. I believe they're very well-rounded. Their front seven is extremely good. They run to the football really well, and they haven't given up a lot of big plays. They've played the run real well for the most part. They're a real solid football team. As I've said many times, you can take, maybe all of us now, fling us all up, and you just never know what's going to happen, on any given Saturday. That's been proven time and time again in this league. Again, if you're not ready to play, if you're not prepared, if you turn it over, or if you make errors, then you're going to lose a football game. Sometimes schedules kind of dictate where you're at. They had to play Ohio State, then they had to play down at UCLA, then they had to play USC. So they're 0-2 in the league, so this is a big game for them to get back in it, because all of us are in it. As you look around, all of us are in it, as far as opportunities to go to bowl games, opportunities to compete in the league. I don't know that there's anybody that's out of it right now.'
On Washington:'They're a good football team. Tyrone's obviously a good coach, does a great job. They're a very disciplined football team. I know their coaching staff very well. I guess, as many years as I've been it, you know about all of those coaching staffs pretty well. [Offensive coordinator] Tim Lappano was my offensive coordinator at Oregon State, he was with me at Seattle and at San Francisco. I know what he's about. Chris Tormey, who coaches the linebackers, played for me at Idaho and coached for me. [Defensive line coach] Randy Hart's an extremely good coach, [defensive coordinator] Kent Baer, I know all those guys, and they're awfully good coaches. They're going to be prepared. So it's a matter of how either team executes on Saturday as far as the outcome is concerned.'
On his team's resiliency:'It comes from leadership within. You try to set the tone as a coaching staff, try to instill confidence that they're doing the right thing and that we're doing the right thing, but then you've got to have some good things happen with that resiliency, and we've been fortunate enough to have that happen. We've got awfully good seniors that have been successful that are pretty darn good leaders for us, and that helps. It doesn't have to be seniors either, but we do have good leadership on our football team. When they're out on that field, we're not with them. You've got to have leadership in that huddle on both sides of the football, and I really believe that we have that.'
On his team's pass protection problems:'It's a combination of so many different things. For the naked eye of somebody looking at it that doesn't know anything about coaching, you would put it on one thing, but there are so many different things that happen. It gets down to our whole offensive football team, and being accountable and doing our job. It can be one thing one time and another thing another time. We're not frustrated, but we've got to get it fixed. You're going to get sacks, those guys are on scholarship too on defense. So you're going to get sacks, they're going to come after your rear end. Washington State came at us, they brought six or seven guys, or six guys all the time, and we picked it up a lot of the time too and got some plays. That's part of football. Obviously we've got to get better. There's no question about it. If we want to win our seventh game, we've got to get better at it, and it's not like we haven't spent a lot of hours looking to solve the problem. I just think that we all should know that it's not just one thing. It's a number of different things. You can take the six or seven sacks that we had in that game, and there's probably five different things in all of them. It's our responsibility to get it fixed.'
On the team's injuries:'We've got some bumps and bruises. I think the real key is whether Brent Miller will be back to play. Saia [Falahola] tore his elbow again. He's going to have surgery, I believe, next week, and he's out for the year for sure. Other than that, we just had some bumps and bruises and they all should be back for Saturday's game.'
On whether TE Brent Miller's absence has negatively affected pass protection:'I don't know that has anything to do with any of it. Brady Conrad actually went in and did a heck of a job. In fact, that was a real positive, because he had been hurt the last three weeks, so he hasn't even suited up. That was the first game he started, and I thought he played extremely well.'
On how important the run defense has been to the team's success:'It's huge. Over the years in coaching, the teams on defense that play the run the best usually are the teams that win. We've been very good. Now, we're going to face some really good running teams as time goes on. It's the old saying, and Coach Kush will say the same thing, if you can stop the run and if you can run the football, then you've got an extremely good chance to win. That will never change, I don't care when; it just won't change. If you can stop the run and you can run the football with success, then you've got a chance to win. It doesn't necessarily mean you're going to win, but it gives you a pretty good chance to win.'
On whether K Thomas Weber will remain as the punter:'Yes. Tom punted well last week in practice. JJ [Jonathan Johnson] has been a good punter here. He's just kind of been in a slump. But Tom has been punting it very well. I thought he punted it extremely well in that game, and we'll continue to go that way.'
On the overall play of Weber this year:'Pretty hard to argue with it. 11 times I loved him. That one he kicked Saturday, that was pressure, to win a football game. He's come a long way. He's gotten confidence. There were times in fall camp where he wasn't kicking it real good. He's got a lot of confidence. The other thing that he's doing is he's kicking that ball off so well. He knocked three or four out of the end zone, I believe, on Saturday against Washington State, but he's always kicking it down there where we can go down and cover the thing, which really makes a huge difference too.'
On whether penalties were a problem against Washington State:'I don't think so. We had six or seven. I just don't see that as a problem. The one I was upset with was the unsportsmanlike penalty [on Justin Tryon] that we had, which, he knows it and I know it, and I don't think you'll see it again. Sometimes you get excited in games, and that should never happen, but sometimes that happens. You're playing on the road, you're catching a little flak there, and he makes a play, and he's pretty excited about it. But it's inexcusable because it hurt our team. Other than that, they called a late hit on Robert James, which the guy was still up on his feet when he got hit. I don't think penalties hurt us near as much as they hurt Washington State.'