Tyrone Willingham Press Conference Quotes

Oct. 2, 2001

Discussing the timeline for this week and how the team might be affected by the bye:
'It really won't change much. There are certain things that you want to get accomplished and the first one in my mind would be getting our team as healthy as possible during this stretch where we don't play a game. Hopefully we will maintain some kind of a team rhythm and at some point, maybe do some preparation for our next opponent.'

On the team's success in stopping the run:
'First of all, I think our scheme is sound. I think that our coaches are doing an excellent job and our players are executing well. We're not getting gap releases and different things that usually cause problems, and when everything is working you can usually play effective defense.'

On whether it's better to have the bye week early or late in the year:
'Basically, I just look at it as taking things that come your way. We've had byes at different times in the past. Our process right now is that this (the bye week) is what we have in front of us, we'll try and make it a positive thing and right now we'll try and get healthy and maintain our rhythm as we continue to look forward to our next few games.'

Any key players who could benefit from the bye week more than others:
'I would say Greg Schindler would be at the top of that list, but we've got several guys that fit in that category. It's important to get your offensive and defensive line healthy and a player like Marcus Hoover- congratulations to him for being named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week- could use the rest, also. The secondary is beat up a little bit, but it's nice to get your whole team healthy during this stretch.'

On the erratic schedule so far (non-conference game, cancelled vs. San Jose State, first home and road games) and overall season:
'I think what we've done is look at it like we've opened the season three times. It hurts from one standpoint that you don't get to develop that game-to-game improvement, but hopefully it will leave us a lot of area to improve and become a good football team.'

Talking about the success of the offensive line in the 4th quarter of the game vs. USC:
'Probably one of the two critical elements that allowed us to win that game was the ability to control the football. The big run by Randy Fasani and also the play of Kerry Carter were critical to our team getting positive yardage. So you look at a combination of those three things that really allowed us to be successful and that's the way it's been this season. The offensive line has been key for us so far this season in some earlier games, as well as the quarterback position and running backs gaining extra yardage.'

On the ability to establish the run and keep the defense fresh when on the field:
'Any coach will always tell you that the best defense is a good offense. An offense that can control the clock, hold on to the ball and score at the same time is key to winning football games. And you play better defense when you're not on the field. I was talking about this to some of our players the other day. I forget the way I phrased it, but it was along the lines of 'what is one of the most difficult things to do in football?'. And they thought for a minute and didn't have an answer. I told them that the most difficult thing to do is score without the football. To score points, you usually have to have the ball in your possession. That means if the opposing team doesn't have the ball, it's hard for them to score and therefore our defense and offense both get that much better.'

On quarterback Randy Fasani's performance last weekend against USC:
'If you look at his career, I think he's showed an edge or toughness, an ability to persevere when things aren't exactly going his way. He's showed that his entire career at Stanford, so I don't think last week's game is a surprise to anyone in our program about how well he played. '

Describing the difference between a grind-out win against USC compared to earlier high-scoring victories against Boston College and Arizona State:
'I think it is a nice quality to have if you can win games in a variety of formats. You never know exactly what a game is going to be like and can't always tell by looking at it from the outside. The truth is, you don't really know until the contest starts to unfold. I think it's great that we were able to grind it out against USC or score some points like we did against Arizona State and that's a great quality to have. What we try to focus on as coaches and instill in our team, is to win the game.'

On the way the Pac-10 is shaping up:
'We knew starting the year that this was going to be a very good year in terms of competition within the Pac-10.That doesn't mean that there would be two or three teams going undefeated or with one loss, but I think the next couple of weeks will begin to tell which teams are going to be contenders. With the way it's designed, someone has to lose. It's going to become clearer as the season goes on which teams will be able to get through their schedule and compete with others.

Talking about the wealth of experience on this year's roster:
'I think the goal and the focus has been the same since day one. Whether or not your players are young or experienced, the idea is to win. Does it make a difference if you have experience, yes. In most cases, an experienced player is much better than an inexperienced player. The experienced player can adapt and act as a leader, whereas the younger player hasn't been in the same circumstances most of the time.'

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