Quotes From Dennis Erickson's Weekly Press Conference
Dec. 1, 2008
On the defensive performance against UCLA:
'Scoring that many points, it's remarkable. I haven't been around a performance where they score that many points. I've been around really good performances, where you've stopped them and done a really good job, shut them out, things like that, but to score that many touchdowns, I don't know that in my lifetime I'll even come close to being around that again.'
On Rudy Carpenter:
'He means a lot to Arizona State, and Arizona State means a lot to him, probably is the best way to put it. He has had ups and downs in his career, like we all have. He's had successes and he's had some games where he wasn't as good as he wanted to be. He loves Arizona State and has given everything he has to Arizona State. When you watch him in the off-season going to other sports and sporting events and things like that, it just kind of shows you how much he cares about Arizona State, so to me that's the biggest thing. The football aspect of it, to start as many games as he has and to be hit as many times as he has been is quite an accomplishment. It just shows you how tough he is and how he hangs in there. He's very competitive.'
On Carpenter's 42 straight starts:
'To me, it's amazing. 42 straight starts; think about it, that's a lot of games. As much as we throw the football and as he did before, to hang in there through some good times and some bad times says a lot about him, a lot about his character.'
On what it would mean to beat Arizona:
'This is a huge rivalry game. So, for either team to win that one is probably bigger than any game, I'm not speaking for University of Arizona, but for us it's the biggest game every year, and has been forever. I assume it is at the University of Arizona. So, whoever wins that game has bragging rights for a year. Fortunately, we've been able to come back from 2-6 and win some games and have an opportunity that if we were to win this football game to go to a bowl game. That would be something special for us. The game itself is more than any bowl game you can go to, I'm sure for both teams.'
On the importance of playing a rival game:
'Anytime you're playing a rival game, like Arizona and Arizona State, and obviously I've only been in it once and this is the second time, it doesn't make any difference what the records are or what you're playing for, it's a rivalry game and that's what it's all about. I've been in, fortunately or unfortunately, a lot of rivalry games in my career. When I played at Montana State, the Montana vs. Montana State game was as much to me as a Florida State vs. Miami game. That's just how rivalries are. That's why they make college football; that's what college football is all about.'
On UA quarterback Willie Tuitama:
'Great competitor, a guy that has improved. I watched him play when I was at San Francisco, I watched him play the year that I sat out and then I watched him the last two years. He's just a great competitor. He's a huge leader. You can tell he's a big leader on that football team. He and Rudy are very similar in that they are very competitive, they're both fighters and you can see why they move the football. He makes plays, he's smart, and I can't say enough about him.'
On ASU's defense scoring four touchdowns against UCLA:
'You've got to have luck in that kind of situation. You have to play hard, be around the football and all those things. You've got to have some things happen the right way. Sometimes you get behind, you're trying to make things happen on offense and you throw where you shouldn't, and fortunately we had a couple picks. First one, like I said, was one of the most unique plays in all of football that I've ever been around. There's a reason why it has only happened a couple of times in football with that many scores.'
On going to Tucson for the first time as ASU's head coach:
'It will be different. I've been down there a number of times to play, but this is totally different. Great stadium, and when I've been there before, great fans. It's a little different now obviously. It's a tough place to play. Obviously as you know, people don't go in there and play very well, because it's a hard place to play. That's what's great about a rivalry game, you do down there one year, you come back here for one, so it's fair for both teams. It'll be interesting, like all rivalry games are.'
On the comparison between Oregon's and Arizona's spread offenses:
'Well, they have a lot of tools and use them differently than Oregon. They both run the football extremely well. That's the number one thing; they really run it well. Their offensive lines are both good. Oregon, obviously because of their quarterback and what he does running it, they run the option quite a bit more than Arizona, but Arizona throws it more. Arizona has a lot of skill at wide receiver, with [Mike] Thomas, tight end [Rob Gronkowski] is unbelievable and they have good running backs. They've moved it very successfully; they call it the spread, but there are two different kinds of ways that they do it. '
On why the offense is struggling:
'It's a number of different things. I thought that the three weeks before this, obviously opponents have some things to do with it, but I thought that we were able to get the run going. Even against Oregon State, I thought we ran the football well. We just couldn't get anything going, just no rhythm. We couldn't run it, we had guys open and there were just a number of different things. There was just not anything coherent that we were doing. Hopefully, we can be a little bit more consistent this week or else we're going to have a lot of problems. If it was one position, one chronic problem, you could obviously change it. That happens, you drop a ball, you make a bad throw, you don't protect, you don't run block, it's a number of different things. Obviously, when the season is over with, we have to re-evaluate what we're doing offensively and hopefully find out some of the problems. It's not just one thing or one person when you fail like that. Hopefully, we can do some things this week to get better.'
On his view of the BCS:
'I don't know if there's ever a right way. If I was at Oklahoma, I'd be very happy. If I was at Texas, I wouldn't be very happy. The BCS is as close as we have now to get it done, but there's always going to be somebody who isn't happy. That's how it's been every year and that's how it's always going to be every year. If they have a playoff and there are eight teams, there is going to be a ninth team that is going to be upset. It's hard when somebody beats somebody and then they are behind them. To me, that's hard when they go head to head, one team wins and the other one is ahead of it, but that's the nature of the BCS right now.'
On Morris Wooten:
'He understands what we're doing defensively. Athletically, he's a very talented guy. He can run and gets hits. Coach [Craig] Bray has done a nice job of just bringing him along.'
On Arizona State's ability to reach a bowl game with a win:
'If we win it, we go to a bowl game. If we don't, we don't and we don't deserve to, and that's just how it is. We're playing an awfully good team now, that's a good football team on both sides. They're a point or two away from being in the thick of a lot of this, and Mike [Stoops], as I've said before, has done a nice job over the last five years getting good football players in there from where it was. So, it's going to be a heck of a battle, but the bowl situation really has nothing to do with that.'