Quotes From Dennis Erickson's Weekly Press Conference

Sept. 28, 2009

On how the team will practice their passing game this week:

'We'll approach it in the] same way we always have: throw it, catch it and practice it. There is nothing else you can do. We dropped some [against Georgia], but we made some good catches too. We’re not throwing like we want to, but up until then we’ve been throwing it pretty good. We just have to become accountable, run our routes, catch the ball, throw it, protect it. It’s not just one particular thing. It’s like I told our players, we’ve got to practice the passing game well during the week to execute it on Saturday. We’ve just got to continue to do it.”

On the health of ASU’s offensive line:

“I don’t have any final news. Matt Hustad will not play this week, I know that for sure. Zach Schlink won’t play for sure. I don’t know who we’re going to have [in practice] tomorrow to be honest with you. I think Gearhart has a chance to play this week, John Hargis’ shoulder went out twice in [the Georgia] game and then he came back in and played. [Thomas] Altieri is questionable too: he had an MCL sprain. [The offensive line] is an area where everyone seems to have injuries because everyone is in that little area and guys are falling down. Andrew Sampson is going to have to play both guard and center. Hopefully Garth [Gerhart] will be ready to go, [Tom] Njunge will be fine, Patrick Jamison is going to back him up. We’re going to have to start getting some more young guys involved in our lineup, that’s just the nature of how it is.”

On if ASU can build on their performance against Georgia:

“I thought we ran the ball pretty well. We did some pretty good things, particularly in the first half when we had everybody in there and then we started moving guys in and out that hadn’t worked together. We went at it fairly well in the second half. Because of what was happening weather wise you had to find a way to run it, that’s just how it was. I thought our tight end Danny Knapp did a good job of blocking which really helps [in] getting healthier. I thought we protected pretty well for the most part. We’ve just got to continue to improve in that area and we’ve gotta continue to improve in a lot of areas. We’ve gotta throw it and catch it; that’s what the game is all about.“

On their overall performance against Georgia:

“We lost and that’s the bottom line as far as I’m concerned and it’s the bottom line as far as our team is concerned. We had a chance to win that football game. We weren’t going down there with the idea to do anything other than win that football game and we didn’t do it at the end when we had an opportunity to do it. I thought our guys played extremely hard; they have pretty much all year. Defensively as you know we played good, we made some mistakes on defense too, it wasn’t totally mistake free on defense, but that’s a hard place to play and we went in there and I thought we played good. We have to play better because we have a nine game run here that’s not going to be very easy. As far as I’m concerned that game is behind us, we learned something from it, but it makes no difference now, we’ve got to play Oregon State and start the Pac-10 season. That’s what it’s all about.”

On winning the turnover battle against Georgia, but ultimately losing the game:

“Normally when you win that battle by two, you win [the game] or put yourself in a position to win and we did. I go back to making plays and we just didn’t do it. Is it frustrating? Yeah, it’s frustrating for our team and players, but it’s over and done with and we just gotta go on and learn from that. Talking about what happened last Saturday doesn’t do me any good right now.”

On if there is a change in the team’s mindset now that they are facing Pac-10 play:

“Our players know what it’s all about. Our goal every year is to compete for the Pac-10 Championships, that’s what we’re here for; that’s what it’s all about for us. Obviously we’d love to win a game like we had Saturday, but our goal every year is win a Pac-10 Championship, to compete for it and somehow it’s a start. It’s a new season as far as we’re concerned and we’re playing an awfully good football team [this Saturday]. Every week, as you can see now in this Pac-10, as you look at the games that have been played, watch out, because who knows what’s going to happen. You better be prepared.”

On the unpredictability in the Pac-10:

“You see what has happened so far: Washington beats SC. Stanford beats Washington. Stanford is a good football team, by the way. Cal gets beat by Oregon up there. Arizona goes up to Corvallis and wins—Holy Toledo! It’s interesting. It’s all you can do, is just focus on who you play in the league; it doesn’t make a difference who it is. You want to get their best and you had better give your best or else you’re not going to win. I don’t know that anyone is so safe in our league that they’re going to win the championship right now.”

On if outside criticism will wear down Quarterback Danny Sullivan:

“I don’t think that will bother him because he knows that I don’t worry about it. You can’t play that position and worry about what people say. If you do you’ve got a problem. Just like a coach you can’t worry about what people say, you just have to coach and do what you think is best for the football team and the opportunity to win games. We’re all in it to win, so everybody is going to do what it takes. He’s only played three football games so we’ll see what happens. I think he’s played pretty darn good and obviously his stats weren’t as good Saturday, but he didn’t some awfully good things in that game too. He made some throws at the end of the game that were pretty darn good. When you sit and evaluate everything that he does, everyday, like I do, it’s a little different that somebody from the outside watching a game.”

On Oregon State:

“They do as good, if not the best job of coaching in the country. When I talk about that I’m talking about how they prepare for games and who they have in their program. They have guys in their program that fit in to what they want to do. They play their rear-ends off, they believe in what they’re doing. You watch them every year and whether they lose two games or win five in a row, they are very steady in their program. They could win the next eight games in a row, who knows—they’ve done it before. They’re talented, they’ve got the Rodgers brothers and they’re as good as anybody in our league at their position. Their front is getting a lot better and they’re getting healthier. [Oregon State’s] game against Arizona was a game of back and forth; same thing with Cincinnati since I’ve watched it. I don’t see them any different than they’ve been in the last couple of years. Nothing would surprise me. They do a great job with their running game. Jacquizz [Rodgers], he’s special—you better tackle him. James [Rodgers], he’s involved in it as much, reverses and all that. Both of their quarterbacks—[Sean] Canfield has been around a long time and he’s an awfully good player. We have our hands full and our players know that.”

On Oregon State’s Defense:

“[Mark] Banker, he does a great job coaching there. They recruit players to do what they do: they pressure you up the football field with their ends, they’ve got good down guys, their linebackers run around and make a lot of plays. They blitz and play the 30 defense, do some different things. They don’t do a lot of things, but what they do they do very, very well.”

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