2004 Pac-10 Football Media Day Quotes
July 28, 2004
Group Interview Sesion
Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen
'As we start a new year, it's going be exciting for us. We certainly look forward to a football season of competitive play in the Conference. ... We will go as far as our quarterbacks take us, and five have been named to the Davey O'Brien Watch list. We have a wide open race in the Pac-10 with six different teams winning the championship in the last six years. We have the best top to bottom balance of any conference in the country.
'I'm pleased the BCS has revised its selection procedures. A lot of the superfluous has been taken out and the computers have been reduced to six. I think this is a superior system to what we've had. And what happened to Oregon three years ago and USC last year would not have occurred under this new system. Instead, they were taken out of the national championship game.'
Stanford Coach Buddy Teevens
'We're aware of the preseason polls and the media poll and it will add a little inspiration to what we're doing. We have a young football team by year but by experience we're a little more appreciated. ... The offensive line has progressed. Our tight end, Alex Smith, is a guy to watch and we certainly need to get the ball to him. On the defensive side, O.J. (Oshiomogho Atogwe) is a leader and we are excited about his role on the team. It will have to be a total team effort, and I'm impressed with the team attitude and the way they work as a group.'
Stanford senior free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe
'(Last year) was a tough season. We had a lot of high points and a lot of low points. The games against the Oregon schools might have taken the heart out of the players. That might have taken a toll on the players. It's tough to play when you lose your heart.'
Arizona Coach Mike Stoops
'This is obviously a very exciting time for me and for our program. There are a lot of expectations out there. I don't know what we're picked, it's probably not close to the top, but this football team is very excited. When I think about the past seven or eight months, I'm proud of what we've accomplished. When I took this position, I knew it would be a challenge at the beginning. The players have made it very easy for me and they're very excited about having some success on the football field again. ... We feel we're a much stronger football team than we were back in December.'
Arizona junior running back Mike Bell
'Coach (Stoops) came in with a lot of expectations, and he's just making our team so much better. Just him being around our team is making us a better team. The communication is clear and straight forward as to what we have to do to be able to play. There's no miscommunication at all.'
Arizona State Coach Dirk Koetter
'We return 14 starters -- seven on both sides of the ball, plus a kicker. We have a small senior class, only 12 seniors, but 10 of those 12 will be in the starting lineup. And we have eight senior starters on defense. We've never had that luxury before and it's something we're looking forward to. ... There's no question we underachieved as a team last year, and no one feels that in their stomach more than we do. ... We will be wearing a `PT' on the v-neck of our jerseys this season, and we will retire (Pat Tillman's) number at our last home game of the year, against Washington State.'
Arizona State senior safety Riccardo Stewart On Pat Tillman:
'He means so much to everybody at ASU and has had a huge impact on our county as well as our team. He's a guy who did it all on the field and the battle field. ... We were really inconsistent last year, but that's over and we are moving on from that. We have eight returners on defense, and we have more experience. That makes a huge difference.'
UCLA Coach Karl Dorrell
'It's been a great offseason for us, and we've made so many steps as a program, both as players an coaches and support people around us. Everything is on board and more to my liking. There's a better comfort level. The attitude is the biggest thing. It starts with the coach and trickles down to our staff and players. Ever since e the winter quarter, things have been very positive. ... The team has taken the initiative to grab the bull by the horns, so to speak, and ever since then, things are going forward and in an upward motion. We've tweaked our system with three new coaches.'
UCLA junior quarterback Drew Olson
'I haven't felt as good about things in the last two years I've been here. Everyone is extremely close and that has been a huge change for us. It's important to have a lot of unity. This year we have a whole different feeling on the team and I'm really looking forward to that. September fourth can't come quick enough, really. ... The O-line made a huge jump in the offseason which is so important to us.'
'We have the best top to bottom balance of any conference in the country.'
Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen
Washington Coach Keith Gilbertson
'We'll be a different team than some of the Husky teams previously. We don't have the star power. ... What I do think we have is some great team chemistry. I think we'll be a lot closer, a tighter team than a year ago. A lot of those kinds of things go with what we've been through. We've been through a lot at Washington and have been in the cross hairs. There's a lot of newness about us. We have a new university president and a new athletic director. ... This is an awfully young team. With that youth will come some great emotion. Like you saw last year, we were capable of a great emotional effort one week, and the next week you wouldn't recognize who was out there. We need to find focus and play steadier week in and week out.'
Washington senior offensive tackle Khalif Barnes
'Once you put on a purple and gold uniform, you're not just playing for yourself. You're playing for people like Warren Moon, Sonny Sixkiller, players that brought so much to this sport. I don't want to embarrass the guys that played before me and I don't want to embarrass the coaches I play for now. The pride and tradition is amazing. You shouldn't be begged to play at a place like Washington, or anywhere in the Pac-10. You should want to come to a place like this, or play in the Pac-10. It's been a very, very good experience for me.'
Oregon State Coach Mike Riley
'It's a tough time for us. It's hard to be excited about anything, but we will be looking forward to our season and we will always remember that young man (Justin Williams). ... This season I feel we still have a lot of questions to answer. We lost a lot of production from last year in Steven Jackson, 2,000 yards worth of offensive production. It's a great opportunity for young people in our program to step up, which is great about college football. Many are waiting gin the wings to take over.'
Oregon State senior quarterback Derek Anderson
On attending the Manning Passing Academy: 'It wa s a lot of fun. I had 13 quarterbacks in my group. I met a lot of good guys in college football that I don't always see all the time and don't' know, and I made some new friends. ... I was a coach at the camp. We threw the ball one day with Cris Carter and some wideouts from the SEC schools. There wasn't a lot of football talk, but a little here and there.'
California Coach Jeff Tedford
'We've ben fortunate to have some great young men who are dedicated as students of the game and work very, very hard. Aaron (Rodgers) did great job coming in and being able to comprehend what we do offensively, right away, and get it done, as well as Reggie (Robertson), as a support to Aaron. ... Mainly we've tried to establish an environment where the kids could feel good about themselves and gain some self-esteem. I was leaving a program that went 11-2 and was coming off a Fiesta Bowl victory. It was evident to see the difference in the body language between a team that was 11-2 versus a team that was 1-10. Leadership was key, but we needed to do it in a way that was continually positive on a day to day basis.'
California senior wide receiver Geoff McArthur
'(All-America candidate) Donnie McCleskey is a great athlete as well as a great leader. Watching his leadership surface, as well as his work habits, have been great for the team. ... We're very grateful that we have everyone watching us and giving us respect in the preseason. At same time, we are focused on our every day goals. We don't pay attention to the hype. We just go out and work very hard. It's definitely a lot different.'
Oregon Coach Mike Bellotti
'We're looking to improve the consistency of our performance this year more than anything else. We have a good nucleus on offense coming back, with nine. We have to replace seven starters on defense, so we are reloading as opposed to rebuilding there. We have good chemistry, from what I understand. Certainly playing a team like Oklahoma on your schedule -- although they are not the first team we face, we play Indiana at home first -- we'll be tested against some of the best on national TV. ... When your conference produces a national champion or a Heisman Trophy winner, it elevates the respect level of your conference around the nation. ... We're all in this together.'
Oregon senior offensive lineman Adam Snyder
On the Sept. 18 Oklahoma game: 'It's huge for our program, and it's huge for our conference. It's going to be a tough game. They have a lot of tough players coming back. We're not looking past Indiana at all, but its something we're looking forward to as a team. We're looking forward to gaining some respect from other conferences around the nation.'
Washington State Coach Bill Doba
'We have great strength and I thought our team was very motivated. We lost nine defensive players and seven on offense. There are a lot of new young faces out there. We almost put their names on tape to keep track of who they all were. Guys like Hamza Abdullah, who is also a captain, have had a lot of good quality time. They didn't just play when it was 39-0, but played when it mattered. ... We have got to find a corner and a defensive tackle. Offensively, we've got to find a left guard.'
Washington State senior safety Hamza Abdullah
'We lost nine defensive starters, but the guys that will be coming in to play for them are not guys that haven't played before. I believe if you ask them they can locate Pullman on a map, so I think we'll be OK.'
USC Coach Pete Carroll
'We're looking forward to camp opening up, coming off last season with all the expectations. This presents a fantastic challenge for our coaches and our players and for highlight players such as Matt (Leinart) to come back and answer it with a strong season. I'm really looking forward to camp starting and bringing in a recruiting class and seeing how they can bring new energy into our football team. ... Matt surprised us last year a little, that he could come on so fast and so strong. But he, like our program, has to come back now and do it again.'
On Mike Williams: 'The NCAA has gone through many levels in terms of Mike's NCAA eligibility status, in terms of his amateur status. He should get an answer sometime around August 10 or after that, when we are in camp. He has been through many ups and downs, and it's been challenging. He's worked very hard to stay in compliance with the NCAA and has worked hard toward reinstatement. We feel strongly he has done everything he can do to be reinstated. But the process continues and we'll just keep working with it and supporting Mike and see what happens from there.'
USC junior quarterback Matt Leinart
On the Virginia Tech game: 'It's like Auburn was last year. It's going to prepare us for the whole season, to play on national TV, to go back east and to play against a very good team in Virginia Tech. It will test us early and we are all excited, the whole team coming back. We're looking forward to it as the first game just to see where we're at.' .