Rick Neuheisel Press Conference Quotes

Oct. 22, 2001

General Remarks: 'We have a big game this weekend against Arizona State, who is coming off a big win against Oregon State, who was kind of riding high given their run against Arizona in the previous week. The game was much in doubt going in the fourth quarter. The score was 24-20 and Arizona St. responded by shutting them down defensively and erupting offensively for 21 points. So you know they are feeling very good about themselves with their first Pac-10 win in front of a home crowd. Obviously it is very exciting. We have a lot of things to work on but we are excited about the game. We are in the battle, we find ourselves 3-1 in the conference. Of the five teams that are still in the race, and not to discount some of the others, the five teams that are in the top half of the conference right now still haven't played each other. We have a chance with a great effort to improve our position heading into the month of November, which is always the goal of the program, to be in the race going into the month of November. That is not going to be easy knowing that Arizona State has one of the best, if not the best, offensive lines in the conference. Given that we have given up a lot of rushing yards in the last two weeks that doesn't exactly sit well. So we have to do a great job in stopping the run this week, improve upon our efforts of the last two weeks, and hopefully help our defense by establishing the running game. The good news is Cody Pickett came out of the game healthy, sore needless to say, but healthy. I think he will be ready to improve upon his performance last week. Now that doesn't necessarily translate to more numbers, obviously his numbers were high. He gained a great deal of experience from the contest, given the number of times he dropped back to throw. I think he will improve a week from now. We are going to need him to be successful in both throwing and running to stop this particular defensive attack. I am anxious for the contest. We need to play better on the road than we have played. It is a big challenge for all of us in the program. It is going to be a great affair. I am looking forward to it, our coaching staff is looking forward to it, and I know our players are going to be excited to play under the lights at Sun Devil Stadium.

On Interceptions thrown by Pickett: 'The first two were just poor decisions. The second two were tipped. Unfortunately that happens.'

On Pickett's throwing arm: 'I don't think the arm was any different in the fourth quarter than in the first or second quarter. I think he was off a little bit in some of the throws. He had chances for some big plays and I don't think it was because of getting hit. He hasn't had a great deal of experience either. This is his first year, he missed most of the USC game and missed the entire UCLA game. He only played three games prior to this one. So he isn't exactly what you would call a seasoned veteran. I think the confidence that you gain from games like this past one will help him immeasurably if he goes forward in his career.'

On Pickett's decision to run the ball into the endzone: 'If I would have been the quarterback, the ball would have gone to Reddick, but I wasn't the quarterback. It's difficult to put yourself inside of the helmet of the quarterback because you and I may see a guy wide open and he should have let the ball go. You never know exactly where his eyes were or what he saw that kept him from throwing the ball. On film there is a body coming from inside out that might have had a chance to make a play on the ball. You trust the instincts of your quarterback.'

On Todd Elstrom: 'I think he is getting healthier each week, he started the season with that hamstring problem but I think that is behind him now.' Todd Elstrom has been a very consistent performer over the years. He is another one of those guys, kind of like Marques, that you wish could have redshirted as a freshman because of what you got out of him.' A Pat Conniff, a Marques Tuiasosopo, those guys that played as true freshmen and didn't get a whole bunch of significant playing time but still participated. You would love to see them have one more year at the end of their playing career. Since I have arrived here he has been a big part of our offense and will continue to be so.'

On Taylor Barton: 'I think Taylor will be full-go. He is having one more set of tests just make sure everything checks as it should. Those tests should be completed by this afternoon. I talked to him on the sideline during the game and I thought his expectation was that he would be ready to go. As I said they are going to run one more precautionary test. I think he will be 100 percent.'

On Kai Ellis and Tyler Krambrink playing this weekend: 'How much they will play will remain to be seen but both I think will be available.'

On Young Players: 'I think we did a nice job in a lot of areas, sometimes getting schemed a little bit. Sometimes we are getting a little overwhelmed physically, mismatches in certain areas. If you look at our offensive and defensive lines we are playing with a lot of young, young players that are learning on the run, so to speak. You have four first time starters on the offensive front and this last week of the six guys on the defensive front, four are first year players. Add Zach Tuiasosopo to that and that is our fifth one. So we are trying to get better and we are trying to show up and gain valuable experience. Hopefully we can put that experience to use this week and play much better. That is our hope and also our expectation.'

On ASU quarterback Jeff Krohn: 'I think he is very athletic and he is obviously a leader for the team. When he is in the game it's obvious they want to play for him. He makes lots of plays.'

On last year's game: 'This is a completely different staff, both offensively and defensively. Personnel wise, obviously with John Pettas here he can help us with evaluation of their (ASU) personnel, and see where we might have to lend some help because of a mismatch or take advantage.'

On ASU Offense: 'They like to spread you out, it is very much an Oregon philosophy. Dirk Koetter is was the coordinator at Oregon prior to moving to Boise. They like to throw the ball, they believe in throwing the ball and they also are pretty adept at running it when you start to cover them down field. Delvon Flowers is another dimension to their already potent attack. They go down the field quickly, no question. They have some big time players outside. Shaun McDonald is a definite speed threat. Donnie O'Neal is obviously a gifted player. They've got a lot of weapons. Now their non-conference schedule is not real taxing and so they were able to gain some confidence. In conference play they certainly have been able to still play very well on the offensive side of the ball.'

On ASU defense: 'There are lots of way to play defense, there are lots of ways to play offense. It's basically putting your players in the best position to be successful. It looks to me that they have done that. They have a lot of inexperience in the secondary, so they are not spending a lot of time trying to get four guys ready. They are playing with three in the back end and trying to get a lot of pressure on the quarterback. They come off the edges with a lot of consistency and try to make sure those guys don't have to cover for that long. They have good players out there, they're just inexperienced much like our offensive front or defensive front.'

On Patrick Reddick : 'Pat Reddick has always been a guy we believed could play. Going back to the Rose Bowl he caught three passes, it isn't as if he's guy that just emerged as guy we though could participate. Unfortunately in our depth he is listed as an 'x' receiver and so Wilbur and Reggie are getting the lion's share of the reps. Pat would kind of wait for his turn and when he would go in he would play well. All the while we thought Justin Robbins would be coming back so we didn't make the move very early. Well, because Justin's injury has been so slow to recover we decided that now Pat would be the guy we would go to. So he had to learn a new position and in learning a new position he finally become acclimated and so now he is getting more reps.'

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