Postgame Quotes from UCLA at No. 21 Arizona State
Oct. 23, 2004
Arizona State Head Coach Dirk Koetter
On the game:
'It was emotionally draining. There are a lot of tired guys that gave everything they had down there in the locker room. I'm just so proud of our team hanging in there when we were down 11 points with seven minutes to go. There weren't many believers left when it got to that point and I'm so proud of our guys who believed. We just didn't have a lot go right today. We had many chances to get out front and we didn't do it. Just to finish the way we did and never stop competing, that's the mark of a good football team. I'm real proud of our guys. What a great team win for the Sun Devils.'
On the turning points of the game:
'There were so many turning points emotionally in that game. There were so many times the momentum kept swinging back and forth. We got off to such a great start and to play like we did in the second half and fall behind you just have to give the players all the credit.'
On Andrew Walter's play:
'Andrew's (Walter) play was much like our whole offense. It was inconsistent. Andrew made the clutch plays at the end of the game and that's what we'll always remember about this game. That's just the kind of day it was and I give those guys credit for just keep believing and hanging in there.'
On Derek Hagan's last touchdown:
'On Derek's (Hagan) last touchdown it was a great call by Mark Helfrich. That was a play we hadn't even practiced this week. He drew it up in the dirt and Andrew hit him in stride. It was a beautiful throw. The clutch players made plays when they had to. Our defense was on fire, then it was like we couldn't stop them at all.'
On punting the ball instead of going for it on fourth down with the lead:
'The crowd wants to go for it on fourth down every time. But we were ahead and our punter, Chris MacDonald, has been pinning teams inside the 20. That's one of his specialties that he's done this year and with the way the defense has played this year percentages tell you that you're better off punting.'
ASU QB Andrew Walter
On the game start to finish:
'It was the ugliest game followed by the prettiest game. I always use the analogy of the 1981 NFC Championship game where Montana threw those interceptions. Nobody remembers that, they just remember Montana throwing `The Catch' for a touchdown. All that matters in getting the win.'
On game with less than seven minutes left:
'I looked up and saw fans started to clear out with 7 minutes left. That actually fired me up. Maybe they should do that every week. But it motivated me and it was finally our time.'
On rebounding from the loss at USC:
'It was a team effort. Manny (Emmanuel Franklin) had two great interceptions for turnovers along with Dale Robinson and Justin Burks. Drew was talking to the offensive line so they knew what to do. We all kept our head in it and the game really showed our character.'
On the play of the running backs:
'Rudy Burgess and Preston Jones ran great today. But the offensive line also made some huge holes. I remember handing the ball off, turning around and seeing the holes they were creating. The young backs ran hard and stepped up when we needed them.'
On past comebacks:
'Being in this position before really helped our team. At North Carolina last year we needed 60 yards in under a minute. Drew was there with Derek Hagan and Grayling Love. It helps that we had done it before at Oregon. It was fun to finally do it at home in front of the fans.'
On the play of the offense:
'We made a lot of mistakes. We need to tighten up our play on offense. I'm never worried about the play of the defense. They always make the plays when we need them.'
On final score of the game:
'Was it a blow out, no? Was it a win, yes? A tough win will be better for our team in the long run then a blow out. It was tough to throw three interceptions and give up two touchdowns before half. But it takes character to come back and it shows a lot about our team.'
ASU LB Jamar Williams
'We were eager to get back out there on defense. We knew through the whole game that we weren't doing our job. We were giving up a lot of points. We were pretty disappointed in that. We were ready to go out there and win the game. We felt like if we could go out there we could stop them quick and that's what we did and everyone was hyped.'
On his sack of the quarterback:
'That big play, where they called the holding penalty, was a huge play. We stopped their whole momentum, and it gave us the momentum to win.'
On giving up yards and team concerns:
'I'd be concerned if we didn't know what the problem was, but we know what the problem is. We have a lot of guys banged up. A lot of guys that haven't played so much [this year] and the best three linebackers have to work on tackling. And that's one thing that we'll get to do next week. But overall I think we did a good job.'
ASU RB Rudy Burgess
On the nature of the win:
'We played our butts off today. We had to fight adversity again after last week being down by so much.'
On the play of the offense in the second half:
'In the second half we were down a little bit. Guys were banging their head a little bit; we just didn't want a repeat of last week. We took last week and kind of built on it and came out firing.'
On feeling comfortable in the running back position:
'Yeah, I'm feeling a lot more comfortable. I got a couple of touches running down hill this week and I'm starting to get a hold of the game. I think things will be good.'
On the resiliency being down by two touchdowns in the second half:
'I think we did that because we have a lot of leadership. With the seniors, this is their last year and we always want to play the game for the seniors. We were able to fight adversity. Nobody likes losing, so we're going to try our hardest not to lose.'
On offense and defense stepping up:
'As a unit, we come together to do that. They [defense] got our backs we [offense] got their backs. We try to get good field position on special teams for the offense and defense make the stop on the other side of the ball.
On his role being used at many positions:
'We've been practicing it ever since Randy [Hill] went out. We just started putting everything together. Coach [Koetter] moved me at receiver a little bit, had me running the ball a little bit. Everything was all right.'
On strength in the running game:
'Right now, we're strong. We're struggling a little bit, but we're still building. We're moving guys around to see who can play. Right now, I think we're fine and once we get back in the mix, we'll be all right.'
On opportunity to take more snaps at running back:
'It felt real good. I was excited. I like to run the ball down hill and I got my chance today and just took advantage of it.
On different offensive sets:
'It screws up the defense a whole lot, because if they see a quarterback in the backfield and wide receiver in the backfield, you never know what they can be looking for.'
On creativity because of lack of depth in the running game:
'Yeah, we're just going to get creative and come up with game plans and schemes and move the ball for everybody. We'll be all right once the season rolls along.'
ASU TB Preston Jones
On his play today:
'It went as well as it could have. I got yards and went up field. I was hitting the holes well; I handled all of my assignments. It is all I can ask for.'
On his mindset heading into the game as the starter:
'I have the same mindset going into any game, no matter if the team is USC or UCLA or anyone.'
ASU CB Emmanuel Franklin
On how he has recorded so many interceptions:
'I don't know. I usually drop them in practice. I guess I am just a gamer.
On his two interceptions today:
'Well the first one was thrown right to me; maybe he [Drew Olson] didn't see me. The second one, I couldn't even believe that I was even in position to catch the ball. I reached up there and tipped it and it fell into my arms.'
On the mindset of the team being down with seven minutes left:
With seven minutes left in the game there were a lot of guys saying, 'It's not over yet!' You could tell by the way we played that everyone believed. We preach fighting against adversity.
ASU WR Terry Richardson
'The last touchdown I scored I ran a corner route and set my angle high so I could scored the touchdown.'
On the passing game today:
Coach Koetter brought his board over and told us what was going to work. We did our homework and it ended up working for us. We just took our time and relaxed and it worked.'
ASU LB Dale Robinson
On mood of defense in the fourth quarter:
'We were feeling good about ourselves. Even though we gave up a lot of points in the fourth quarter, I think it was 11. But, it was a big step for us to comeback and get some stops toward the end.'
On his interception:
'I wasn't even supposed to be on that side of the field. On the play I was supposed to be on the other side, but I saw Olsen roll out and try to make the throw to Mercedes Lewis. I followed him and just tried to make a play on the ball.'
On rallying defense for late fourth quarter stops:
'Everyone on the sideline was yelling and were pumped up. Jimmy Verdon, Jamar Williams and the coaches were all fired up. They kept saying, `Lets go. We have to step up. We aren't going to let them take away our chance to go to the Rose Bowl. Answer the scratch.'
On creating turnovers
'Going into the week the coaches told us to make big plays. We didn't cause turnovers in the last two games and that wasn't going to get the job done. We knew we had to get better. We can't keep giving up so many points.'
ASU C Drew Hodgdon
On senior leadership:
'We needed the senior leaders in this game. We have been in these situations before and can help the young guys. Inexperience can hurt a team and it caught up with us today. But we made it through and got the win.'
On offensive play:
'It's an advantage to have more experience on either side of the ball. We picked up the run game by creating some holes for the backs. We made some mistakes on assignments that led to some sacks. It wasn't mental and it wasn't UCLA. We just missed some reads and next week we'll need to fix that. The young guys really ran great and took care of business. The runs set up play action and we took advantage.'
UCLA Head Coach Karl Dorrell
'I'm disappointed we lost the game. We had a chance to win it. We had an opportunity late in the game to do something in a great environment, here in this stadium with a great crowd, and we just couldn't hang on. I'm just disappointed, that's all I can say. We did not play well enough to win. We had too many mistakes and turnovers and still had a chance. Its unfortunate, but we'll learn from it. This one hurt's but we'll bounce back next week.'
On Arizona State's last touchdown:
'We got beat. We didn't cover whom we needed to cover and that was it. We didn't execute the defense we were trying to be in.'
On QB Drew Olson:
'ASU wasn't doing anything (special on defense to force interceptions). We just didn't execute. We didn't play as well as we could have and we forced some issues. They proved to be costly mistakes in the game.'
On losing an 11-point lead:
'We tried to hang on, but you still have to move the ball on offense and you still have to take time off the clock. We didn't operate our offense and we had a penalty that hurt us. That was the difference in the game. We were in great position to win and we didn't hang on. It came down to them making more plays than we did in the end. There were issues on both sides of the ball.'
On FL Tab Perry:
'He had a couple good plays that got us back in the game in the first half. Two weeks in a row he has been able to do some good things. He's off to a pretty good trend right now.'
UCLA TB Manuel White
On the play of the offense:
'We had some plays that we executed well, but on offense you have to finish. We moved the ball, but we didn't finish. We have to take care of the ball and work on little things. We just didn't finish, and that is what happens.'
On playing Stanford next week:
'Next week we will approach just like we do every game. As far as this game, we will put it behind us, learn from it and move on. Get up and get ready for next week.'
UCLA FL Tab Perry
On the game:
'We are a little sad about today. Emotions were high and we just wish we had come out with a win. The offense wanted to come out again and give it another shot. That's football, you know. They made a lot of good plays. That's just how it goes.'
On playing Stanford next week:
'We are just taking it game by game. We need to finish out the year and win every game. It's not really in our hands, we just have to win.'
UCLA QB Drew Olson
On today's game:
'We would have won that game if we don't throw four interceptions. Those are all on me; I will be critical of myself. It is a real terrible feeling.'
On throwing interceptions:
'Those are just four bad decisions and bad throws. I thought we played real good. The defense played good. The offense moved the ball really well and put up 42 points. Like I said, if I don't throw those four interceptions, especially in the red-zone, it's a different game.'
On the UCLA offense:
'I felt comfortable all day, besides those four interceptions, I felt good. Those are costly plays, and we can't let that happen.'