Quotes from Coach Dennis Erickson's Weekly Press Conference
Nov. 5, 2007
On the mood of the team after its first loss:
'We're upbeat. We looked at the football game and evaluated ourselves, what happened, and so forth; got that out of the way yesterday. Today, as soon as that was over, we're preparing for UCLA. We lost the football game, lost the football game to a good team on the road. As I said after the game, we had chances. We really did. Defensively, we didn't play very well for the first quarter and a half. After that we settled down and played pretty darn well against a very explosive football team. We had our chances on offense and didn't take advantage of them, or else it might have been a different football game. But it's over and done with. It's not like when we went in there and got beat up. That wasn't the case. It was a good football game. We had our chances against a good football team and didn't win it; so now all of our attention is on trying to go down to the Rose Bowl and beat UCLA.'
On struggles running the ball inside the 20:
'It was a number of things. There are just a lot of different things. We've got to look at it. We've been very good down there most of the year. We weren't [against Oregon]. Sometimes when you get in a stadium like that, where it's really noisy, you have a little trouble getting off the football like you need to. I'm not making excuses. The bottom line is that maybe we should have done some different things. I'm the first guy that evaluates myself every week. We just didn't get it done. We'll learn from it and hopefully it doesn't happen again. Anytime you get in the red zone, it's not easy. It's hard. That's just the nature of being down there. Oregon made some big plays. We did not make a lot of big plays that ended up in touchdowns and we have before. It just happened that way and we'll get better at it.'
On the offensive line and the high number of sacks taken against Oregon:
'There were three or four that were cover sacks where we couldn't get rid of the football and then we fumbled a snap, so as you look at what happened. Everybody says you had nine sacks, the offensive line played awful, that's not the case. Yes, we missed some up front, but anytime you have sacks, it's a combination of things. That's just what happened. They did some good things defensively. We had some opportunities there. That's happened to us before, and it happens to a lot of people throughout college football and in the National Football League. We just have to shore it up. UCLA is awfully good up front and they bring it pretty good, so we're going to have to make sure we shore it up. We're going to see it all the time. That's just how it is, so we just have to adjust.'
'All I can evaluate is personnel and they've got good players. They've had some big wins and they've had some losses. That's just the nature of it. They do a good job coaching. They've got a lot of talent. They can run the football with a great deal of success. They're very similar to us in a lot of ways. It's going to be a very difficult game for us.'
On Rudy Carpenter's leadership:
'He's just got to be himself, like he has been. We've got pretty good leadership on this team. We've got some really good seniors that have battled through a lot the last four or five years, probably not winning as much as they wanted, coaching change and all the different things that have happened to them. Rudy has been a good leader for us all year. He goes out and gets prepared. The bottom line is getting prepared to play and he spends a lot of time doing that. The players see that. This is a team that has prepared very well for each week and Rudy does that. He's a leader in that way and in how he practices. He doesn't miss a beat in practice. I don't see anything changing this week.'
On the goals that are still possible for this team:
'We talk about it all the time. It's out there. We're where we're at because we've played our way into it. So it's pretty obvious to our football team how important each game is for us to have an opportunity to have a successful year. We've got UCLA this week. Their back is against the wall like ours, as far as having an opportunity to compete for the Pac-10 championship and to do good things with this season. Our players know that. They know what they've got to do and that's just simply to win one game at a time.'
On UCLA, having played four different quarterbacks this season:
'The number one thing UCLA is going to do, regardless of who their quarterback is, is they are going to run the football. They've got a really good offensive line, they've got some skill outside and they're going to run the football. That's what we've got to prepare for. You can't really prepare for different quarterbacks. You just have to prepare, because they've done the same thing with them, and that's run the football. So we don't know who is going to be the quarterback, to be very honest with you. It could be one of two or different three guys, so we just have to prepare for the offense itself.'
On the team's injury situation:
'We're in pretty good shape. Paul Fanaika is going to be day by day. I believe he has a very good chance to play. Zach Krula will be out of this game. He hurt his MCL. Chris McGaha was hurt, but he looks like he's going to play. So Zach is the only guy that we'll have missing in this football game.'
On LB Mike Nixon:
'Nix has been a real pleasant surprise for us. He's a veteran. Anybody that's played in the minor leagues in baseball enjoys flying much more than buses. He's mature. He's been around. He brings a real quiet leadership to our football team. He's playing very well. He's very smart, understands what's going on and plays every different position at linebacker. He's brought a lot and made a lot of plays, but probably more than anything is his leadership ability, how smart he is and how he understands the game.'