Quotes From ASU Quarterback Andrew Walter's Press Conference

Oct. 6, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Following is a transcript from today's press conference with ASU quarterback Andrew Walter:

Can you draw positives from Saturday's game?
'Yeah, but moral victories are not something we want to draw on. Coming out of last game we're feeling pretty good. Our offense was solid through three quarters, the run and pass games were there, so we can take that from last game.'

Is the biggest difference in the passing game the trust you have in your receivers?
'Yes, I thought this was the first time we were all on the same page. We converted on second and first down in the first half but we failed to do it in the second half, that was the biggest key. In the second half we failed to sustain drives. In the first half I was able to just let the ball go and see if those guys could make a play on it and for the most part I think they did a pretty good job of it.'

Talk about Derek Hagan's big game
'He had a really great game, backside he was there on a lot of plays. The read would be on one side of the field and I came back to the backside and he was there. Like I said after the game 'Mr. Reliable' made a lot of people miss, and he got some extra yardage by dragging people. He caught the ball great, he is the tallest receiver we have, and when he can make a guy miss, he is going to make a good play.'

How has having a consistent running game been for the past couple of games?
'The running game helped us out. We threw the ball 35-40 times per game last year, and this year we are not even close to that. With our running game strong, it opens up the playbook so that teams don't know what you're going to do every time.'

What are the areas that the team still needs to address?
'We stalled around the 20 and the 15 yard-lines, and we need to know that a drive doesn't finish until you're in the endzone.'

Was there a play in the USC game that let you know that you were on the same page with the receivers and that you could let the ball go?
'The play on our sideline where Derek Hagan caught the ball with the corner right on his back, and made him miss was big. He picked up an extra 20 yards by shaking the corner. We were really clicking on Thursday in practice and I think that just carried over in the game. Thursday's practice was the most crisp practice we have had all year.'

Reflect on the Oregon game last year and what the game meant for your season?
'Last year against Oregon, to play at their stadium, and be down by 21 and come back to win was exciting. This year, we're not as much of a big-play offense. I think we have the capability, but so far we haven't done it. Regardless of how many we were down last year, guys were getting big plays, and it was just a great time to play. We are such a different team this year. Last year we were like a 'get on the field for three plays, score, and go sit down again' type of an offense.'

Is it frustrating to have all these expectations on you and not having lived up to them yet?
'Personally, I have the capability to throw the ball as far as ever. We are who we are, and I feel great about who we are. To not have lived up to the expectations of the fans is a little frustrating. Shaun McDonald was a key part of that team, but obviously he is gone. We have the tools to go deep, but so far we have not done it. We are really close.'

How much of a difference does it make that Oregon has given up the most touchdowns in the conference?
'They are coming off a losing streak, so they are going to come out hard and try to get a win to get that taste out of their mouth. Obviously they are going to be attacking us on defense.'

Jamaal Lewis was getting involved more last Saturday at tight end, how much of a difference can that make?
'He is a big target. He has some size and speed, and its good to have a guy like that to go over the middle. He has more size than the rest of our receivers, and he can bang with those defensive backs. It will just make us more versatile to involve him in the game more. He was used more as a receiver in the game rather than a tight end.'

How do you combat the 'here we go again' mentality that can creep in when the team starts to give up points?
'Last year, we had the one-play spark, where one play will change the momentum of the game. That's what you have to understand about the Pac-10. In the Pac-10 you can hit one big play and change the direction the game is going. In the Big-10, for four quarters they pound it out, and then at the end of the game, whoever has the best running and defense wins the game. When we drive down the field and get a field goal, or a touchdown, that's the momentum shift we need. We can't just throw the ball deep to Shaun McDonald and score on one play. A series of plays that gets the ball rolling down the field is what is getting our momentum going.'

Has the coaching staff seen that the team lacks the capability to produce the big play?
'We haven't shown the big play capability in the game so far, but I still think we have it. There were two kinds of plays last week that would have gone for touchdowns if, one, my eyes would have read it the right way and, two, the receivers would have read it differently. I think we have it. Matt Miller, Daryl Lightfoot are fast, so we definitely have it. A couple of those plays in the game could have been 80-yard touchdowns.'

Talk a little bit about the Oregon defense and what they bring?
'I don't know a whole lot of the Oregon defense but from what I've seen on TV. We will watch the game tapes later today and through the week. They like to blitz, and that puts pressure on the pass, and takes away the run game. They have a lot of returning starters, and that means they are going to be experienced, but I think I will be able to get a better look on that when we see the game tapes.'

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