Dirk Koetter's Weekly Press Conference Quotes

Sept. 24, 2001

Quoting Arizona State Head Football Coach
Dirk Koetter
September 24, 2001

Opening Statement
'I'd like to thank everybody for coming today, I really appreciate it. As far as getting in to the Stanford wrap-up, we can offer no excuses. We got out-coached, and we got out-played in all phases. When we get into the question and answer part of this, you guys are going to ask me 10,000 questions, and if you ask me a question, you know I will try and answer it as honestly as I can. But I'm saying upfront, we got our butts kicked, that's the way it goes. We've got to get better from here and move on. If you ask me questions, don't say I'm making excuses, I'm telling the truth.'

'You can't make the mistakes that we made in the Pac-10 and think you are going to win games, it doesn't matter who it's against. We had three critical penalties that really hurt us, offensively we didn't do a good job of finishing drives. After looking at the tape, there were four drives in the first half that if we had done a better job of finishing, we would have had a legitimate chance to score touchdowns in the first half. Defensively, I was up here the last couple weeks saying that our goal was to have a 3 to 1 ratio of negative plays to big plays against us. Versus San Diego State we had a 7 to 1 ration in our favor, against Stanford that ratio was 1 to 1. We are not going to win games with that ratio. We gave up nine plays for a total of 280 yards. Four of those were back-to-back plays where they had two big plays in a row. We can't win games with that kind of a ratio.'

'Special teams wise, we were pathetic to say the least. Nobody feels worse about that than I do. We are playing our best players on special teams, which includes some young players. We had 18 true and redshirt freshmen make that trip, and all played on special teams... Most of these guys were playing the second games of their college careers. We are not as far away on special teams as it may appear. We're close, we are bad right now, but we are closer than we appear, and it will get better.'

'We got our butts kicked on Saturday, but those guys played hard. We didn't always play smart. We played hard and we didn't quit, and I appreciate the attitude of our players. If we can maintain that, we'll be fine.'

'Jeff Krohn, for the three quarters he was in there, I thought he played well enough for us to win. We can win with the type of effort that Jeff showed. Right at the end, he tried to do too much and it caught up with him, but for the most part Jeff played well.'

'(San Jose State) is one of the most experienced teams in the country. I think they have the most or the second most seniors returning in the nation. They, like us, have a new coaching staff and they do things totally different than San Jose State has done in the past...This week as we watch the tape from their USC and Colorado game, they totally changed their schemes on both sides of the Ball. Their team is going through some of the same growing pains that we are.'

'They have a tremendous running back in Deonce Whitaker. The guy is special, he's one of the best in the country. Maybe the best we'll play, if not he's in the top two. An excellent, excellent back. What more motivation do we need then to start off by telling our guys that San Jose State has beat Stanford the last three years in a row. I don't think it's going to take much more than that to get our guys motivated.'

'These last two days, these are the days that you wish you were a basketball coach. When you get your butt kicked in basketball, you only have to wait two days before you play again. We have to wait seven to try and get this feeling out of our stomach. It'll be a long week for me personally, but just like anything else in life, you can't hide from it. You have to take your licks, learn, and move on. We told the team they shouldn't be ashamed to show their faces in public. This is part of the process, we will improve and we will get better.'

'We had very few effort errors. We had some assignment errors, and we had some judgment errors. But we had very few effort errors and that's a positive sign.'

Special Teams concerns
'First off, let me say that there are probably not five better special teams coaches in the country than Tom Osborne. Check out his record at Oregon. We need to get off that bandwagon. All of our coaches participate in special teams, including me, we all need to coach it better. Maybe we are trying to do too many things, and if that's the case we need to simplify and do it better. We have to make sure that the players understand exactly what their assignments are, and we have to do a better job of executing it. This week we did kick the ball a lot better.'

Third Down Conversions
'We went from being over 50% against San Diego State to one out of 14 which is pathetic. Stanford has a very complex nickel package, and our game plan was to not get into third and long. Our game plan was to throw the ball on run downs, and run the ball on throw downs. When we got in third and long, they played a (tough defensive scheme). We tried the quarterback draw twice. One time the offensive lineman fell down in the hole and Jeff couldn't get through, and the second time Jeff picked up the first down and we had a holding call. We tried to trap them on third and long, and didn't have success. We have to stay out of third and long. One of 14 is not going to get it done. We have to improve on it and we have to execute better in those situations.'

Game Plan
'We don't go into to any game trying to get into a track meet and win 52 to 51. We say we're going to go in to every game and do whatever it takes, whether it is 6-3 or 52-51. We have to play our style, and we have to try to execute our game plan. The bottom line is if the team is going to stack 8 men in the box to stop the run, you're not going to be able to run the ball.'

Running Game
'You can't tie run yardage to wins and losses. It doesn't work that way. Now, you do have to run the ball and we couldn't do that. We had a third and two, and a fourth and one, and we couldn't get the first down. That's poor running.'

San Jose State Offense
'Both of the coaches who they played said that stopping (Deonce) Whitaker is the key to having success against their offense. I'm sure when you have one of the best running backs in the country, that will be our philosophy too.'

Questions about officiating
'Let me say that I would never want to be an official on any level. That is a tough job. It happens fast, and they have to make a call right on the spot. I thought that was one of the best officiated game I've seen. The (Mike) Karney fumble in the endzone was a very unusual play, but it was the correct call...Every game we go through and chart all the questionable calls from an officiating standpoint and we turn them in to the conference office. I have to say in a normal week, there's usually 7 to 10 plays that we send. The only play that we thought was questionable in this game was the (Suggs) interception...As I said, the officiating did not get us beat in that game.'

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