Tyrone Willingham Press Conference Quotes

Oct. 23, 2001

Stanford, Calif. -

On the quarterback situation:
'Randy did suffer a knee injury and right now we anticipate that it will probably be sometime between four to six weeks. Ryan Eklund will be Chris Lewis' backup.'

On the Pac-10 Conference being so strong this year:
'In the seven years that I have been in this league, I can't remember the conference being this strong. We knew coming in that the conference would be tough from top to bottom. I still think you could see some shake-ups as we go into these last four or five weeks in conference play.'

On the win over Oregon:
'The win was very satisfying Saturday night, unfortunately Saturday night did not last long. Then comes Sunday and you have to get ready for your next opponent. It was a good win and the kind of win you like to have, especially for your seniors. They have worked so hard in this program and are very dedicated.'

On changing the game plan since Chris Lewis is starting:
'We always change for every quarterback. It would be no different if Ryan Eklund has to play. There are things some do well and other things that need to be eliminated for certain individuals. From Chris, we are seeing continued growth and maturity as a quarterback and he continues to get better and better with the more snaps he gets. We are looking forward to his continued improvement. I can't say Chris is the athlete that Randy is, because Randy is an exceptional athlete. I do think you will see a lot of similarities in Chris as he continues to grow and gets a better feel for how he fits into system. I think you will see him do a lot of athletic things because he is a fine athlete.'

On the UCLA defense:
'Excellent. They are very physical and the up-front guys are very good and strong. They have outstanding three maybe four linebackers that vary in terms of physical stature. Their secondary is skilled with great cover guys.'

On Robert Thomas being the best defensive play you've faced thus far:
'I am not sure, we have faced some very good guys and sometimes it is hard to measure their abilities. It is no question he is a super, super player.'

On Matt Leonard practicing this week:
'It will be day-by-day, we will just see. He is improving, but I am not sure just yet if he will be ready for the weekend.'

On the hype of the game and if it will be treated differently:
'It is easy for me to keep this game the same, but honestly it will feel a little different come the weekend. With the media and hype it is all a little bit bigger, but you have to be careful because you can get outside your self. As a coach you need to make sure that is contained and make sure your team is focused on the things they should be focused on. It will have a different feel to it, but no question you want the same type of preparation and structure so that your young men feel confident in your system for the upcoming weekend.'

On DeShaun Foster:
'He is a special back and somewhere in my career I said that when he was a freshman four years ago. He is one of those guys that play the game like he is playing it by himself. That is a special quality and I have watched so many people just miss him by an inch. After awhile you are saying this is not a coincidence, but that this guy has special skills that other guys just don't have.'

On stopping the run:
'We are going to need every ounce of confidence, muscle and everything else we have against this team. It is not just DeShaun Foster, great running backs can make other players good. He has a quality offensive line ahead of him that is big and physical and takes great pride in his production. It is going to take everything we have to challenge what these guys bring.'

On special teams:
'I think all aspects of your football team are mixed bags of blessings that are sometimes both good and bad. We have been fortunate that we have been doing some good things, but we have also had those occasional lapses that can get us into trouble. I think Saturday's game was a good example of that.'

On Teyo Johnson:
'He is continuing to improve from week to week. Not only for Teyo, but for all the players, the more time you spend on the field the more knowledge and confidence you build, especially if you can combine that with some good experiences. Teyo made some fantastic plays on Saturday.'

On playing big games back-to-back:
'Every game is critical and gives you a chance for something else. If we need six or seven wins to get to the type of bowl game we want, then that game is critical. Losing any one of those effects that goal.'

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