Quotes from Coach Dirk Koetter's Monday Press Conference

Sept. 23, 2002

TEMPE, Ariz. - Introductory Statement

'I just want to mention that we have moved practices up this week. With the 12:30 p.m. kickoff on Saturday we decided to go ahead and make the change this week and we'll practice from approximately 4:00-6:00 p.m. instead of 6:30-8:30 p.m. Originally last week when we thought about making the move, the long-term weather forecast was for it to be under 100 degrees, now they've revised that up to where the temperatures will be over 100 degrees the next couple of days. We think we'll be better off going in the afternoon and shortening up practice a bit to help deal with the weather situation Saturday although they're saying right now that the high Saturday is going to be 97 degrees.

'It is a 12:30 kickoff on Saturday and there are five dollar tickets for the upper deck so we'd love to have a huge crowd for that.

'The bye week was really good for us from a health standpoint and coming back to practice last night, we were much healthier as a team and I thought we had fresh legs. The players are off today and then we get three good days of work in like we would in a normal week.

'There are several changes on the depth chart that I'm going to talk about. Andrew Walter is at quarterback, backed up by Chad [Christensen]. At tailback Cornell Canidate has moved to the top and he'll be backed up by Mike [Williams] and Hakim [Hill]. Daryl Lightfoot will start at wide receiver opposite Shaun McDonald, he's practiced great all week and will be back in the starting lineup.

'On the defensive side, Ricardo Carlos has been having back problems which may need surgery, the decision for whether or not he needs surgery should be made today. We used the bye week and moved Phil Howard over from defensive tackle to the offensive line, and he will continue to practice there, which will elevate Danny Masaniai into the backup defensive tackle spot behind Brian Montesanto.

'We will find out later what kind of availability Al Williams is going to have for this weekend, but I think we will have both Al [Williams] and Joey Smith available at secondary, which has allowed us to work Brett Hudson as a corner, where either Brett or Josh Golden will be the corner on that side.

'We start Pac-10 play where we're trying to get off to a faster start, not only because it's conference play, but also because in the last two games we have dug ourselves a hole. Fortunately we have been able to come from behind and win, but we hope that this week we won't have to come from as far back or come from behind at all.

'We worked hard on our tackling during the bye week, and I believe we did make some strides, and we are way ahead of where we'd normally would be on our Stanford gameplan. The players are excited and we're ready to go, we just need to get out to a quick start.'

What do you expect this weekend from Stanford's quarterbacks?

'We only have two films to speculate from under the Coach Teevens regime here, in which they played Boston College and San Jose State. Against Boston College they didn't even have [Chris] Lewis with them, although we got to see him last year at times, but Kyle Matter did a good job in that Boston College game . In the San Jose game, that game was close until the third quarter, where they mostly ran the ball. We really have no idea what to expect at quarterback, we just have to go out and play defense the way we're going to play, we aren't going to play different either way. I will say this abut Lewis though, Lewis did a great job, he lead them to vicrtory against Oregon last year, and there are no other quarterbacks in the Pac-10 that have done that.'

re there any wide receivers that you think pose a threat?

'I think Teyo Johnson is a fantastic player. I think he is the single toughest receiver to prepare for in the Pac-10, he's fast, he's physical, he's got great hands. What makes it different is that Stanford is very balanced. They have an excellent running game, and [Luke]Powell is another great receiver on the other side. They also move Teyo Johnson around a lot, so we can't just double cover him, and take him out of the game because they move him, and that would always make us a gap short on coverage.'

Where will Brett Hudson play, and what do you think his impact will be this weekend?

'That will depend on how Brett plays. I'm really excited about Brett as a player, not only as a defensive back, a corner or a safety, but also on special teams. Brett's going to help our football team, he's a good player, he's big, fast, and physical. Originally at the start of the season, he was hurt, which put Joey Smith down at safety. When he got back for San Diego State, it was just in time. We have several injuries at corner, and other places, so I think he may be a swing guy. He may just play both, based on who's healthy that week, until he establishes himself at what he's better at. Brett's going to have a huge role no matter what it is, and he may have to play both.'

What will be your defensive strategy for this weekend?

'Going back to the Central Florida game, we're in a nickel defense all the time, 5 DB's out there. We have a dime package we started using against Central Florida and we brought Adrian Thomas in and played him on the inside. For the San Diego State game, Brett Hudson became that dime back, and Adrian Thomas eventually ended up playing at corner, when Josh Golden went down. Right now we don't have anyone to put in the dime back position until we get guys healthy and we see what's going on with Joey [Smith] and Al [Williams].'

What is the team's confidence right now?

'From my standpoint, one of our pre-season goals was to be able to win a game in the second half, now we've done that two weeks in a row. We've found that if you believe you can do it, regardless of why you're able to do it, that has carry-over effect and that 'confidence' word starts to slip in there. I think our players have confidence that they can come back , they have confidence that our defense is playing well, but also our offense makes plays when they need to make them. I think our team believes in each other, I really like this team. I like the way they handle themselves, I think that's why this week is so important to us, is because now we have to carry that over to Pac-10 play, because these teams are good, all of them.'

How is Cornell Candidate as a player from a coach's standpoint?

'Cornell is a pretty meticulous guy, he's not very outspoken, he's not out there running his mouth off all the time, and he pays attention. He tries to do things the way that Tom Nordquist coaches him to do it. Cornell tries to adjust from the way he was coached in high school to the way we coach him now. He's picked up pass blocking , not only from an effort standpoint but from a technique standpoint . He also has a different style of running from that of Mike or Hakim, which, we never try to change someone's running style. For the different running plays, which some call to attack more Cornell is a patient runner, which allows him to do a good job of getting the ball moving.'

How evenly do you think you match up with Stanford in red zone play?

'I think if you look at the numbers, I think both teams are pretty good in the red zone. Actually I think every team in the Pac-10 is doing well in the red zone . Our goal is to score touchdowns , and not have to kick field goals, and we've done that for the most part. Though our offensive play isn't great at the moment, when we get in the red zone, we have done particularly well.'

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