Quotes From Dennis Erickson's Weekly Press Conference

Oct. 20, 2008

On what the team can still accomplish:
'Well, we have half of our season left, and that's the bottom line; all Pac-10 games, so a lot of good things can happen. Obviously you have to take it one at a time, but we can still have an outstanding season. The bottom line with us is just taking it one at a time, and getting that first win. It's pretty hard to look past anything other than that, but we do have a lot of games left and I'd like to carry it over to our football team. They will really fight back and play well the last half of the season, so basically that's what we have talked about. We've practiced pretty well; again, we have to carry it out on the football field. They are a very resilient group. The players are a lot of times more resilient than the coaches and writers. Like I said, we had a good week of practice this last week, but basically that's what we talked about.'

On the team's focus:
'They're motivated. They're competitors, and they want to win games as bad as anybody. They know what it takes. It's how we prepare and practice every day during the week. It's not that we haven't practiced pretty well, because we have. They also understand that they have to focus all the time in order to prepare and be ready to play at a high level. and on Saturday against Oregon, they have to be prepared.'

On Oregon's two quarterbacks, Justin Roper and Jeremiah Masoli:
Well, [Justin] Roper is a little bit different. He is very athletic, but I don't know how much he is going to play or exactly where he is. But, you prepare differently for both those guys. [Jeremiah] Masoli is a guy who can run the option. That's what they do. He is an outstanding runner. He might be the best of anybody they have on their team. So, when he is in the game, obviously there is a lot more option involved. When Roper is in there, he is a little bit more of a thrower. So, you prepare for them, but it depends on what they are going to throw more at you. Obviously with one they are going to throw a little bit more and the other one, he can throw it, but they're going to run the triple option aspect of it. As I've said all along with the spread offense, there are a lot of different kinds and a lot of different people running it differently. They happen to be one team that does different things with the same offense, depending on who their quarterback is.'

On how preparing for those two quarterbacks compares with preparing for Dennis Dixon:
'I don't know if I'd want that one back. He was pretty good. Masoli is a transfer from (City College of San Francisco), and again, he brings a lot of things to the table. He is as good of a runner since I've been around doing that. Then, you have Roper, like I said earlier, who can throw it and run it. Then, a year ago they had Dixon who did both, and he was their guy. I know that Mike [Bellotti], since Dixon got hurt in our game, felt he ought to have a couple of different types. That is why he got a junior college player, and the other guy was coming back, and they had a freshman, but they do different things with it. But, I do know that Dixon was good at all of it.'

On what it takes to still have an outstanding season:
'Winning this game this week would be outstanding, and then we'll work our way forward. That's all we can do right now. I just can't look that much further down the road than what is happening right now. As a football coach, you can't do that, and as a football team, you can't do that. At the end of the year I'll tell you what I think, but right now we just have to come out and play well against Oregon; play better than we've played and try to win a football game. Then, we just move on from there. Unfortunately I've been in this situation before and it's not fun. Guys that work real hard, like our guys, will fight through and win that one game. That's all we have to do is concentrate on winning one game; that's the bottom line. When you're on a losing streak like that, that's what you have to do.'

On the defensive line's play against USC:
'What we've been able to do now is, we're running eight players through there. Obviously the guys we had coming back are playing really well right now, Dexter [Davis] and [Luis] Vasquez at ends in particular. We didn't even have David Smith (against USC), but Lawrence [Guy] is playing extremely well, and Saia [Falahola] played pretty well in that football game. We have eight or nine guys that we run through there, so we're able to substitute. Obviously, the first four play a little bit more than the other guys, but they're getting better all the time. Coach [Grady] Stretz does a nice job of rotating them in there. They're learning how to run and they're playing pretty well.'

On if they will make any philosophical changes at this point in the season:
'Well it's hard to make philosophical tweaks; that to me is easier said than done. You just have to execute what you're doing better. Obviously we are not going to go change our whole offense and all of a sudden go to the triple option or something like that because there are so many things involved. What we do have to do is move people around a little bit more and just continue to improve on what we're doing. Our running game is not going to change, what we did in passing game is not going to change. We may move people around a little bit more to give them different looks as we go through the season, but we've been doing this ever since I've been here for two years, so we're not going to go tweak anything, just continue to execute. We're young in some areas, so I look for those guys to improve quite a bit, and we have to start making plays. To me it's just a matter of making plays and execution. It's about protecting a little bit better and being able to establish some kind of run. We've done that at times, but we haven't been very consistent. We've played some awfully good defense, but we just haven't been consistent. We have to become more consistent on offense for us to have any success in these last six games.'

On what he saw from the Arizona-Cal game on Saturday:
'I think Arizona is playing extremely well. They're very good on defense in the second half, blitzed a little bit more, and they have a lot of weapons on offense. They're playing very well at this time; one of the better teams in our league, no question about it.'

On K Thomas Weber:
'Thomas has had some problems, and it's a lot easier for him to fix it than me, believe me. He'll work his way through it and he's obviously concerned at times. I think anytime you change the snapper and holder and all those different things, it's like anything, the confidence factor. He kicked the ball really well last week during the bye week. I expect him to get right back on track.'

On Weber's punting:
'He's punting the ball real well. He's putting it down inside the 15. You just wonder f sometimes is it too much to do both, but he is punting the ball really well.'

On QB Rudy Carpenter's health:
'We practiced last night, and he was a lot better than he was the week of the USC game. It depends on how it continues to improve this week. I thought he threw it pretty well last night. I don't know if he will be 100 percent, or if he will ever be 100 percent this year, but he will be better than he was against USC, unless something happens this week.'

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