Quotes From Dennis Erickson's Weekly Press Conference
Sept. 8, 2008
On Gerald Munns' injury situation:
'What happened in practice last week was, he broke his pinky pretty severely. He felt like he could play with a cast this past game, so he played. In order for it to heal correctly they have to put a pin in it, so that is what they are going to do tomorrow. So, he will have a cast on it and I doubt that he will play on Saturday, but he will play the next week. That is what I've been told by the doctors.
On the team's overall play against Stanford:
'I thought we played well at times. We played pretty good offensively and were able to mix it up, and we talked about that. They were able to do some things defensively that forced us to run the football and I thought we ran the ball pretty well. We made some big plays. Rudy [Carpenter] had another good game and our receivers caught the football. Also, our front played pretty well. Defensively, we pretty much stopped their running game to a point. They moved the ball sometimes on us, but we knew they were going to do that. We never gave up a big play, which is key. We just have a lot of work to do. We're not near what we need to be to compete in our league, but we are close to it.'
On Dexter Davis:
'He's so strong and an ex-wrestler, so he has tremendous balance. He's very explosive and gets into guys, then gets off them, then knocks them back. He's athletic and gets off blocks, which is part of the wrestling that he did when he was in high school. Plus, he can run so he really has all those things put together. He's not one of the biggest defensive ends we know, but he makes up for it with his explosiveness, strength and being able to run. He has played very well the first two football games and played very well on Saturday against Stanford. He played well all year last year though, so it is expected that he plays like that for us and I look forward to seeing him continue to do that.'
On if UNLV is a trap game considering Georgia is next week:
'We all know the schedule. You play one, then, you play two, now you play three. That has been our mindset ever since I've been here. When I first came here we talked about the winter conditioning program, then spring football and summer, then last year every week and it's the same this week, so our players know the schedule. They are also very focused on what they need to get done. This is a big game, when you look at Las Vegas and watch them on tape in their two games this year; they had a chance to beat Utah. Utah is a pretty good team. I think they are ranked in the top 25. They had a chance in the fourth quarter to beat them, so they're a good football team. They run the spread like everybody else does now. They're very effective and have a running back by the name of [Frank] Summers, who has been around there. He is about 235 pounds, and he's a beast who can really run in there. They move the football and they play a good defense. They are very capable of beating us. We are a team that has to focus every week against every opponent and if we don't, then we're not going to win the game and our players know that. They will be prepared to play.
On how Summers compares to Toby Gerhart of Stanford:
'They are similar. He's shorter than Toby, but he's a little bit thicker build. He's more of a bowling ball type guy, but he has the same kind of abilities that Toby has. He breaks tackles and if you watch him on tape against Utah, he made some big runs for them.'
On the mistakes made against Stanford:
'We made a couple mental mistakes. It's frustrating, because when you're down in there, you have to come out with points, and not three points, you have to come out with 14 points. We have to get better down there. We are going to get in a game situation where we are going to need those touchdowns as opposed to a field goal. We were down there three times, and the first two times with the first play we ran, we missed an assignment and just stupid stuff that shouldn't happen. Then, the third time we were down there we had all those guys in there, so we threw the ball and we have to be able to do that on the two-yard line. We have to be able to get in a tight set and the way everybody is sitting there playing for the run, go ahead and call the pass, which we did in one situation and [Dan] Knapp caught it. We'll continue to do that formation and work on what we are doing and we're not going to give it up. We just made mental mistakes, didn't block the right guy and just things that have happened to us down there in the past couple of years actually.'
On UNLV coach Mike Sanford:
'I knew him when he was at USC and a couple of different places. He's an outstanding coach and he's getting that thing going. You can see the improvement over the period of time that he has made, as far as the football aspect of it and the athletes that they are getting. He does a nice job. They're playing pretty well on defense right now, and they've kind of changed things around offensively the last couple of years. They've gone to the spread, so they have a quarterback who's athletic. They do a lot of the same things that NAU did against us, but we're going to see that. A lot of our opponents are doing that stuff, so it's not like it's a shocking revelation to us defensively, like it was a year or two ago, when there weren't as many teams doing that. In fact, we are kind of in the minority now, just lining up underneath the center. Maybe they will have to spend time getting ready for us doing something different.'
On the tight ends:
I thought they did some good things. When Andrew [Pettes] when out of there, obviously Jovon [Williams], Dan Knapp and Stanley Malamala all played. I thought Dan did a nice job. I was pleasantly, not surprised, but happy on how he played. Jovon made a great catch, but we have to get better at blocking. That tight end in the wing is probably the biggest improvement, but they caught the ball real well. It's an area that is getting better all the time. It has probably gone from what we thought would be, not necessarily a weakness, but we thought we would be young there. We're holding our own at that position.'
On using a fullback near the goal line:
'We did that last week and we will continue to do that down on the goal line. We did it against NAU coming out when we were down on the one-yard line, and brought it out pretty good. We had a fullback back there, well it's a tight end for us, not a fullback, but that is where he lines up. So, we will continue to do that. We had one on the goal line a couple times and it didn't look like it worked really well, but that is what we are going to continue to try to work on.'