Quotes From Dennis Erickson's Weekly Press Conference
Nov. 10, 2008
On how the win feels:
'Not forgettable, I'll tell you that. After as many weeks as we went through, it's a good feeling. We played well at times, particularly the last couple of weeks, and to get a win like we've said all along, to get that one win to start out with after six straight loses is a pretty good feeling. We still have to deal with what has happened in the past. At least now you can look forward to, hopefully, a few more before it's all over with.'
On seniors stepping up on Saturday:
'It's good to see them play like that. For whatever reason, offensively, there's a number that we could sit here for a week and talk about that we haven't had the productivity that we need offensively. Finally, we were able to run the football. Keegan [Herring] broke some long ones for us, which we really haven't had happen during the season at all, but that's the kind of runner he is. Once he gets to the second level of the defense, just to the linebacker, he can do a lot of things. He was able to do that, which in turn opened up what was going on in our passing game. Mike [Jones] made some big plays. They were doing some stuff, like rolling to Chris [McGaha] a little bit trying to double him, leaving Mike singled up and Rudy [Carpenter] was able to take advantage of that. We got some big plays in the passing game. Finally, we scored some touchdowns down the red zone, which obviously makes a difference in what transpires. Moving Shaun [Lauvao] outside the tackle and Zach [Schlink] inside the guard really helped us on our offensive front. Shaun, protection-wise, is very good over there. I thought Zach for his first game did a very good job. Anyway, that group against Washington blocked a run pretty darn good and protected pretty darn good. We had a couple sacks in the first series and then after that I thought we protected real well. So, when all that stuff happens, obviously you move the football and those guys on offense. Then, I thought defensively, Troy Nolan and Rodney Cox probably played their best football. They made plays, they came up support to run and it was good. Now, we just have to work on getting that fourth win for the seniors and see what happens after that.'
On Garth Gerhart and Zach Schlink:
'Well, [Garth] Gerhart played well the whole second half and did some really good things. We're young, and I'm really proud of how those kids came in and played this last week. Football is important to some of those guys and they came in and played like it and finish blocks. He played very well when he was in there. As of yesterday, Zach was going to get an x-ray and an MRI, because he has a possibility of a torn cartilage and an ankle pull. We'll know more about Zach here this afternoon I'd guess.'
On the affect of the UNLV loss:
'I've thought about that a lot. There are some yeses and nos to that. I think we learned that anybody can beat anybody, so you have to be careful. That's the first thing we learned. I don't know if it was that, as much as kind of how our schedule was set up and coming off of that loss, which nobody ever thought we were going to lose. So then we come back and play Georgia and on through the schedule. So, it had an affect, but I don't know if it had as much of an affect as you might think.'
On Washington State:
'Well, Paul [Wulff] played for me for two years at Washington State. He was a great player at center and a great Cougar, a very resilient guy. They've had injuries; they've had things go on, they've just had a lot of things go bad. You watch them play at times and they play well. They play hard all the time but they've lost all their quarterbacks. It's been trying for them, but knowing him, they battle every week. Knowing him they're going to come in here and battle and play like heck against us. Last week against University of Arizona, going into the fourth quarter, they were in the football game. They scored points, they play hard on defense, but they've lost a lot of guys, plus they're young. It's more about us and we've just got to get ready to play and try to get a second win in a row. It's like I told our team yesterday, we've been in this room a lot of times here this year where it hadn't been much fun, but it was a little bit better feeling yesterday and we have to keep that feeling going.'
On Keegan Herring's season:
'Obviously the hamstring pull set him back. He was set back during camp then came back and re-pulled it. I don't even know if he was healthy during the Stanford game, so that set him back another month at least. We felt like going into that game [Washington] he was going to be our second back and he deserved it, with what he has done for this program. Then, as we got into the Washington game we decided we were going to go with two guys in that game, Shaun [DeWitty] and Keegan. We were going alternate them and try to give him a different look. That's what happened and he got some opportunities. Our front did a good job and he got to the second level of defense, which is where he is really dangerous. Once he gets to those linebackers, with his allusiveness, he can make some things happen. So, it's a combination of being hurt and a combination of opportunities has probably been the definition of his season so far. The great thing is he has three football games left to finish it out the right way and that's how we are going to approach the season with him. He's a pretty good 1-2 punch and if you look back to last year, earlier when it was him and Ryan [Torain], it was a pretty good combination. He's done a lot here and he can finish up the right way. People block for him and he has that secondary and did some awfully good things.'
On special teams standouts:
'There have been a number. Oliver Aaron has done some really good things. Angelo Fobbs-Valentino had done some really good things when he was healthy. [Mike] Callaghan, Zach Richards, we've actually been pretty good on special teams most the year, other than getting those two punch blocked. Other than that, we've covered kick-offs and covered punts pretty well. There are a lot of guys; those two just jump out at me now. We've done a pretty good job on special teams.'