Quotes From Dennis Erickson's Weekly Press Conference
Nov. 24, 2008
On this year's senior class:
'These seniors, you can go through them all, some of them have been here a couple of years, some of them have been here through their whole career, but obviously they've had a lot invested into this program, won a lot of football games, been leaders in this program and had a lot of success. To me, Senior Day is really important that we all get together and let them go out the right way at home. That's what this week is all about as far as I'm concerned.'
On which of the seniors stand out in his mind:
'You have to look at Rudy [Carpenter] and what he's done. He's been a starter for a lot of years and won a lot of football games at that position, which is not an easy thing to do. What he has accomplished at that position is about as good as anybody who has ever played here, at that position. You can go down through everybody. Start wherever you want to start. Troy Nolan is a junior college transfer who hasn't been here the whole time, but again, I don't want to point one out and not the other, but when you look at what Rudy has accomplished, statistically and as many games as he has started at that position without being hurt, it's pretty amazing to me.'
On how Carpenter has handled his time here:
'He's handled what has happened this year. Obviously, when you're a senior and you've had the success that he's had, and to only have won four games right now in his senior year, obviously it's disappointing, not just to him but to everyone else in the program. He's handled it very well. Obviously we've had a new offensive front and there are just a lot of different things that he's dealt with. I compliment him, because he's never sat there and complained or done anything like that. He has just played. Like anybody in life, you mature. Since I've been here, how he handles things is awfully good as far as I'm concerned.'
On the impact made by the seniors who were junior college transfers:
'Well, you take Troy [Nolan], Luis [Vasquez], Morris [Wooten], they've had a tremendous impact on what has happened in last two years on defense; there's no question about it. You get junior college players and they help the program get better, and obviously we were very fortunate in getting those guys. They've had a great impact on how we've played defensively. Luis has had a great career, Morris has had a great career and Troy has had a great career, in the two years that they've played. They've had an impact on Arizona State.'
On Oregon State's success this season:
'Without a question, you look at what Mike [Riley] has done there and his coaching staff, and it's a total tribute to them. I've mentioned this before, they believe in what they're doing, and they recruit the kind of kids that fit into what they do. They play hard, find a way to win and they've had a number of different times this year to win close games and they've won. Obviously we were one of them, last week was another one, USC was another that they found a way to win, and to me that says a heck of a lot about Mike Riley and his coaching staff and the players. Obviously now they have one more, but what a great year, what a great program and a great group of coaches.'
On UCLA's defense:
'They are as good of defense as we've seen. You take their two tackles, [Brigham] Harwell and [Brian] Price; those are dominating football players that make it very difficult. If you're good in the middle, like they are, and penetrate and create problems, that's where it starts. They have a lot of experience in their front seven, and their secondary has played very well for them. So, they're one of the better defenses that we've seen. They get four-man pressure. When you can get four-man pressure, you can play zone behind. They'll play man and zone, but when you can get four-man pressure, you can play zone, so you have to be able to throw it in the right places.'
On if they take momentum into this game coming off two straight wins:
'It's always easier after you win a couple games obviously. A bye is a lot more fun after you win a game. Again, we understand where we are at, but we've had some success and that always helps. Having confidence always helps, and they're (UCLA) the same thing. You can take our two teams and they are very similar. Our records are similar, we're both pretty good on defense, and both have struggled at times offensively. It's very similar and we're all trying to fight for the same thing; trying to get that fifth win. So it's very similar.'
On the Pac-10 possibly ending up with two BCS teams:
'It would be awfully good. That obviously could happen. To get two in the BCS, it didn't happen last year, happened this year and it's happened before, so that says a lot about our league.'
On the perception of the Pac-10:
'There's so much parody in our league that people knock each other off and every week is a hard game. I think when you end up playing each other, it almost prepares you for playing anybody, and I think that's what has happened. I think as these teams go into the bowl opportunities you'll see some pretty good success there.'
On having UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel back in the conference:
'I like Rick. He's an outstanding football coach. I competed against him when he was at Washington and he'll get that program going in the right direction. It's his alma mater, a place that he feels very strongly about. He's very well known and a good recruiter. It's good to have him in. As I've said before, there's not a bad coach in this league, and he just adds to it.'