Inside ASU Football With Coach Koetter

Sept. 20, 2002

  • Archived Columns From Coach Koetter
  • We set a new record for questions this week. Keep them coming and I will try to get to them all. First off this week, I want to talk about the 'Sell Out Stanford' program. There are $5 tickets available in the upper deck and I want to emphasize how big of a role a large, loud crowd would play in the Pac-10 opener. Our players would appreciate the support and respond with another great effort. (Hopefully we can put it together for a full four quarters!!) I know that some people don't favor the 12:30 PM start time, but we can use the heat to our advantage and the exposure on ABC is huge in recruiting. We practiced Thursday, September 18, at 2:30 PM with the temperature at 95�. It wasn't bad at all. Hey, we live in Arizona! Just like the rain vs. UCF, let's make the best of this and get our first Pac-10 win.

    The questions:

    Future schedules (through 2005) include North Carolina, Iowa, Boston College, and Northwestern. We are always on the lookout for quality 'home and home' opponents, but with our away schedule filled through 2009, it becomes more difficult. We are working on it. With the Pac-10 being as tough as it is right now, that's eight quality opponents right off the bat. We also have Notre Dame and Illinois on future schedules.

    QB and game plan questions:
    Yes, we do hold some plays back for Pac-10 games, but in general, we believe in attacking defensive schemes and, at times, individual defenders. The way we dress up our offensive schemes with shifts, motions, etc., will vary from week to week as we try to put together the best total package for that particular defense.

    As far as QB arm strength is concerned, arm strength by itself is overrated. Knowing where to go with the ball, timing, footwork, mechanics, competitiveness, toughness, confidence, mobility, and knowledge of the system are all important factors for successful quarterbacks. The best quarterbacks have all of these qualities. The coach's job with any QB is to continually develop the total quarterback, but during the season it is important to play to your strengths and protect your weaknesses. The reason I like the QB to come to the sideline between plays is to eliminate the middleman. Whether it is signalers, or players running in plays, there is potential for sabotage and/or miscommunication. Why do you think the NFL uses the helmet microphone? I like to think of the way we do it as the 'poor man's' helmet mike. (Andrew hates it!) In addition, it gives me a chance to say a few quick things to the quarterback when necessary.

    In the area of recruiting, yes, we are constantly looking for big wide receivers and big corners. Derek Hagan and Mike Davis are a step in the right direction. However, we believe speed and character are the most important characteristics of them all. Everyone in the country is looking for big and fast guys, but it's hard to pass up guys like Shaun McDonald, Daryl Lightfoot, or RJ Oliver. These guys are players! Our new facilities have already and will continue to enhance our recruiting efforts. Our goal as a staff is for 90% retention of our scholarship players. It is next to impossible to retain every player, and it hurts to see a kid like Lance Rhodes or Jake Bingham leave ASU for personal reasons. But the show must go on, and sometimes the situation is just not a good fit. I'd say it's a pretty accurate portrayal of any other phase of life.

    With our depth at tailback, we have received a few e-mails about Randy Hill changing positions. When I jokingly told Randy about this, he said that he 'didn't hear a word I said.' In other words, Randy doesn't want to move and has shown excellent potential in practice. I think Randy could help our team right now, but at this time, he will be redshirted. We are also very high on our other freshman tailback, Loren Wade. Both Randy and Loren looked good when our young guys scrimmaged on September 19. We will need all of these guys! I saw USC play 5 different tailbacks in the first half vs. Colorado last week.

    I don't believe in talking about injuries because I don't want to give our opponents any information that might help them prepare for us. The NFL has very strict rules about this, but college football does not. When I coached in the Big 8 Conference, Bill Snyder brought a similar philosophy to Kansas State. They were much more tight-lipped about injuries than we are. It has always stuck with me how tough it was to prepare for Kansas State late in the season. Please note, we do allow media to attend practice, and our beat writers do a pretty accurate job of covering our injuries. I don't think this policy should have an adverse effect on any of our players or fans. If I didn't think it was in our (ASU's) best interest, I wouldn't do it this way.

    Lastly, I want to mention my coaching staff. I rank loyalty very high on my list of personal values. This group of coaches have been very loyal to me and I know how hard they work, how committed they are to our mission at ASU, and what fine teachers and role models they are. Our QB Coach, Mark Helfrich, and I are entering our sixth season together. Coaches Guy, Nordquist, Jackson, and Fidler have been with us for five years. Coaches Grimes and Monachino are former players of mine at UTEP and Missouri, respectively, and we are in our third year together. Coaches Osborne (four years total, two at Oregon) and Kenn (three years, one at Boise State) have ties to me from other schools and we were very, very fortunate to get them to rejoin us at ASU as special teams and strength coaches, respectively. Two guys that are carry-overs from Coach Snyder's staff, Ron English and George Wynn, have been awesome additions to our staff. I also want to mention former Sun Devil players Ed Zubey (Offensive Graduate Assistant) and Jean Boyd (Academic Coach) and former Boise State players, Jeff Copp (Defensive Graduate Assistant), Cheyenne Pietri (Assistant Strength Coach) and Mark Uyeyama (Strength and Conditioning Graduate Assistant) as integral parts of our staff. I hope fans can tell how passionate I am about this group, and all of the other people that make up the football family. The average person has no idea how many people come in direct contact with our players everyday (trainers, doctors, coaches, strength staff, equipment staff, academic staff, publicity staff, secretarial support, administration, fundraisers, interns, Sun Devil Recruiters, etc.) I am sure I am leaving someone out, but it's past my bedtime and I will make it up to them in another article! I can't wait to see you all next Saturday vs. Stanford at 12:30 PM.


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