Quotes From ASU Football Coach Dirk Koetter's Monday Press Conference

Oct. 27, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. -- 'To start with the UCLA game, obviously that's tough when you lose a game like that, a game where we were pleased with the way our team battled and the way they competed. We played hard for four quarters, but we didn't execute well enough on offense or defense to get the win.

'There were some bright spots, as far as individual play and unit play. Our special teams unit had, what I thought, was their best game of the year. We had almost 100 yards in punt returns, downed five punts inside the 11, had the two longest kickoff returns that UCLA has given up all year, and we tackled twice on kickoff coverage inside the 20.

'It's always difficult when you lose a player of Andrew Walter's caliber with nine or 10 minutes to go in the second quarter, but I know that the experience that Sam [Keller] gained will pay off big down the road.

'As far as awards go, our scout players of the week were Rudy Burgess on offense, KeAndre Magee, a freshman defensive end and Josh Barrett on special teams. A game ball went to Tim Fa'aita on offense. Tim had his best game of his two-year career, graded very high and just played really solidly. Shane Jones probably played the best game of his two-year career at defensive end and he got the game ball for defense and on special teams Emmanuel Franklin and Jason Shivers got game balls. Those two guys were the gunners most of the time on the punt teams and they were the corners who set up Daryl Lightfoot for those punt returns, they really did a nice job. Tim Fa'aita and Shane Jones will be the additional captains for the Cal game.

'As we go forward with Cal, they are a team that plays extremely hard. They are an efficient team, meaning they don't beat themselves. They haven't had a turnover for two games in a row and their quarterback is playing very smartly. He doesn't do anything foolish and he gets the ball out there on time and he is hard to sack because he gets rid of it. Their running back is playing tremendously. He hits the hole very hard and breaks tackles. Cal's receiver [Geoff] McArthur is challenging for some season records at Cal.

'They are doing a good job right now, they have five games already that have been decided by a touchdown or less, two they've won and three they've lost. They are used to playing in close games and we are going to have to play our best for four quarters and we intend to do that this Saturday.

What is Andrew's status?
'Andrew is still day-to-day. It's not a high ankle sprain which is good because those things take forever. They have him in a boot to take the pressure off while he goes to class. He told me yesterday it felt better after the workout than it felt in the game even after he took a shot for pain. He says he is good to go and he'll be fine, so we'll have to see.'

In a situation like this with the quarterback injury, who makes the decision on whether Andrew will play?
'The team doctors in conjunction with the player. First of all, the doctor has to clear him medically. Andrew was cleared at the game, it was just a matter of, number one, could he be effective and, number two, the pain threshold. Andrew was in a lot of pain. He had no push off of his right foot, he was using all arm. Andrew is an excellent competitor, he played through some pretty serious injuries at the Holiday Bowl, and he really wanted to go. But, he didn't think that he could be as effective as he wanted to be so he wisely deferred to Sam Keller.'

How much better would Sam Keller play now after the experience he gained against UCLA?
'A lot better. He's done a really nice job in practice. When you're a freshman in college, with everything that is going on, and you're a backup, until you've actually been in there when the game is on the line, it's totally different. Sam comes in there with nine minutes to go in the second quarter and starts five out of seven. His play went down a little in the second half but a lot of that had to do with what we were doing around him as much as anything. He will be much better if it is him that we go with this week.'

When is the point where you have to decide who plays QB?
'Today. When we make the gameplan, there has to be an A plan and a B plan based on who is at quarterback. As we're going through all the tapes, we'll have to make decisions based on who the quarterback is.'

So it won't be a decision you will make after seeing Andrew play on the ankle?
'We're going to have to trust what Andrew tells us. With his experience, if Andrew doesn't practice until later in the week and we play with Sam Keller and Chad Christensen on the first couple of days of the week then so be it. I think Andrew can come in later in the week and there wouldn't be anything in the gameplan that he hasn't done before.'

Would Cal change their defensive gameplan if Sam was in at QB?
'They are pretty diverse on defense and they give you a lot of looks as it is. They may try to move people around and confuse him more.'

How many checks do you think Sam got against UCLA that he called?
'Either the second or third pass he completed to Skyler Fulton on a slant route was as sight-adjust route. They see the same thing and they adjust and it was a tremendous play for a freshman, we're very excited about that. He actually knew all the checks, but when the crowd got into it in the second half, we got three procedural penalties and he was too far into his cadence to check. In knowing what to check, he was fine. Being in the situation with the crowd and the defense coming at him, that's what he'll learn from.'

Comment on Cal's running game.
'I think they will try to run it at us because they are doing a nice job with that. They got going on a series of plays against Arizona and they stayed with it. They will try and run the ball at us. That guy is running hard and breaking a lot of tackles right now.'

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