Quotes From Coach Dirk Koetter's September 27th Press Conference
Sept. 27, 2004
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
On Team Awards:
'We will start off with the players of the week. The scouts of the week are, offensively, Kellen Mills. Kellen is a tight end, but he is playing scout team center because we have been so beat up with our offensive lineman. Defensive scout of the week was Wes Evans. Special teams player is Alex King. He has done real well, and parlayed that into some reps on special teams in the games. He is playing on kickoff right now. Game balls were awarded to Andrew Carnahan on offense. Andrew was very solid in his play. The offensive line in general, going 40 plays without a sack and they are doing a good job in protection. Defensively, we agreed with the Pac-10, Emmanuel Franklin was our game-ball defensive player of the week. That play he made on the touchdown might be the play of the season for us. What a great example of why you never quit on a play. I think the TV replays clearly show that they made the appropriate call there. A couple years ago, Mike Karney was running for the end zone and right before he got there the ball popped out for a touchback. That is so demoralizing for the offense, to be right there and have that happen. Josh Barrett who got a game ball on special teams for the second week in a row. He is doing a great job on special teams, on punt and kickoff coverage.'
On Oregon State:
'The main point on the Oregon State game was turnovers. We were plus five [Saturday], plus ten for the season. Which is huge. It was a tremendously physical game. When I showed clips to the players, I didn't realize until I looked at the tape yesterday, how physical of a game it was on both sides. The speed and physical style of this game was, by far, the most physical and the fastest game that we have played in this year. We were a little beat up yesterday. Nothing serious except for Randy [Hill], of course. Just the usual bumps and bruises for the day after a game. We kind of limped around running yesterday, but the guys got through it. I am proud of how we're playing. The physical style, I showed 30 defensive clips, the offense couldn't get much love because we only have a certain amount of time. It showed what the defense did that some of the other guys don't get to see all the time. So we are looking forward to Oregon this week. Autzen stadium is one of the toughest places to play. In my opinion Autzen is the toughest place there is. They will be out in their Pac-10 opener and we know they will be trying. We know Mike [Bellotti] will have those guys foaming at the mouth, and our guys are anxious to go do it too. So it should be a great one.'
On possibly getting a new tailback:
'There are a lot of takers. We were in this very room. 105 players and we said we were having tailback auditions and it was like they were trying to get on `Who Wants to be a Millionaire'. There were all kinds of hands up and I was nervous because Andrew Carnahan and Jimmy Verdon had their hands up too. One of the things we have to realize is we are taking auditions for third team tailback. We have two capable tailbacks, Hakim [Hill] has been a starter in the Pac-10 before, and I know everyone doesn't know Preston Jones. Preston will be fine. We were really excited about Preston in the spring. He had to have shoulder surgery, so he didn't really get a chance to show us what he could do. The other guy is Price Wilks. We are trying to red-shirt Price, but in a jam we can always put him in there. By tomorrow night, we will have a couple other answers. We auditioned lots of players at practice yesterday. We cant be foolish here and take somebody that's in position to help our team somewhere else and convert them into a third team tailback. That wouldn't be smart to do. We have some plans to cover our bases and we will let you know by tomorrow night.'
On why Autzen Stadium is hard to play in:
'It just that the crowd is right on top of you and the fans are very knowledgeable. They know when to be loud. They know its smart to be quiet when their team has the ball and they know its good to be loud when our team has the ball. They are good at disrupting the game. Anyone who has been there knows it's a hostile place for college football, just like Sun Devil Stadium is when we get a full house. They almost always get a full house lately. It will be a fun night.'
On Loren Wade:
'There is nothing new I can say on the Loren Wade situation. I wish I could say something, but I cant. It is out of my control right now. As soon as we know more, we will tell you, but there is nothing more to say right now.'
On Andrew Walter returning and maturing as quarterback:
'Andrew came back for all the right reasons. He wanted to make himself a better player, and probably more so than that he wanted to leave this team better than it was at the end of last year. You can already see that he has done that. Andrew is one of the key leaders on this team. He and Riccardo [Stewart] were unanimous team captains in the voting for captains this year. From a number standpoint, we have seen Andrew have a lot better numbers than he did against Oregon State. But it was no secret that the key to their gameplan was to knock him down and force turnovers. That was the same gameplan we had against [Derek] Anderson. Andrew didn't get sacked in 40-some passes. He didn't turn the ball over. He quadrupled his all-time longest run of the year to set up our first touchdown. You can roughly call the block on that reverse the block that got the reverse in on the touchdown. It was somewhat categorized as a block on there. I think Coach [Frank] Kush has been working with him on that. I think that is the way he used to teach it. Andrew wants to be known as a quarterback who wins games. He is setting all kinds of records. He did what he had to do. Most games in Andrews career, we have needed him to win the game for us. That is not necessarily the case right now, but the time will come again. We were pretty conservative in the second half. By that time I think we had a three score lead. Against a team like Oregon State, I think we played the percentages the way we should have.'
On any Oregon State, Arizona State, Oregon similarities:
'I haven't had the chance to watch as much Oregon tape for me to say. On both sides of the ball, I think we are more similar to Oregon State right now than we are to Oregon. That might have been true a couple years ago. I don't think that is quite as true from the film I've seen. From a schematic standpoint we're probably closer to Oregon State than we are to Oregon right now.'
On Preston Jones attributes:
'About Preston's attributes: he's short. Preston is 5'7. If Preston walked in right now without his shirt on, you'd go wild. That guy is packed up. I'd kill to have an upper body like that guy. If you look at the film of the games he's been in there, he does kind of hide back behind the line and he's hard to see. He is very quick and he's a good runner. He ran for a ton of yards back in East Lansing, Michigan. He has a bother playing on scholarship at Colorado. Preston will do fine once he gets in there. Probably the biggest challenge will be for Andrew to bend his knees to hand off that low.'
On overcoming adversity and where it came from:
'That goes clear into last spring with our leadership group. We got our leadership group to come up with the new definition of what Sun Devil football is in their eyes and what they wanted Sun Devil football to stand for. They came up with ways to describe that because we've been down that road. The three characteristics were preparation, sacrifice and fight adversity. We said there's no fighting adversity in spring football and there's not fighting too much adversity in fall camp. It starts when things happen during the season, particularly with injuries. We have five key players that are out right now. Including Matt Fawley who would be in our starting lineup right now. Of course R.J. Oliver, Brandon Rodd, Randy Hill and now Loren Wade. We have five really good football players that are out, that's fighting adversity. Northwestern coming back on us in the second half on road, that's fighting adversity. Oregon State, getting off to a fast start. We told the team that Oregon State is a fast starting team We're going to have plenty of chances to fight adversity. The fact that players recognize that and embrace that, I think that's a real positive deal. '
On challenges for Oregon game:
'With the Ducks, number one is playing at Autzen Stadium. Number two is that Oregon is one of the most successful programs in the PAC-10 over Mike Belotti's tenure. I have a ton of respect for their coaching staff. I've worked with those guys and I know how hard they prepare. I know how Mike handles the team and I know they're going to be prepared. They have some excellent players. They are high on their quarterback, they have one really good receiver and their tailback is playing really good right now. I think in all the preseason stuff everyone was raving about their O-line which I haven't had a chance to look at yet, but in the preseason they were picked as the best O-line in the conference. With their D-line, they've had a couple guys injured, but they're very talented. They have one of the best kickers in the league. We have our hands full and I'm sure we'll be the underdog in this game. Oregon doesn't lose too many games on that field.'
On the impact of Jordan Hill:
'One of the unsung heroes of our fast start is Jordan Hill. He is going to be one of our game captains this week. Jordan made the switch in spring ball from linebacker at 255 pounds to defensive tackle at 275. We were counting on him to be the third guy in the rotation behind Jimmy (Verdon) and Gabe (Reiniger). Gabe had some bad luck in having both his calves operated on in the summer and hurt his knee up in Camp Tontozona. Jordan is one of those guys that has a great motor. He's still learning how to play defensive tackle but if you focus on Jordan Hill, that guy never stops. There's plays where he gets knocked down, stepped on, trampled over and then runs them down from behind and makes the tackle. That guy just has that linebacker mentality. He always seems to be around the ball. Those two fumbles bounced right to him and Jordan is making his own momentum right now and most of it is due to just playing hard.'