Quotes From Dirk Koetter's Weekly Press Conference
Nov. 1, 2004
'It was a rough one at Califronia. Obviously not the game we had in mind. We played reasonably hard defensively and there were some players who played well individually. Ishmael Thrower had a real productive game for us. Jamar Williams, on special teams, did some nice things. I think he had three unassisted tackles. But overall we were our own worst enemy. On defense, even though they played well, we had too many missed tackles. Cal gained a quarter of their yards on missed tackles. The two things we are best at are the two things that got us beat. That's turning the ball over, which we did five times and gave Cal 21 points. The other thing is we have been great at scoring in the red zone and we were 0 for 3. As ugly as the game started we still got our opportunities in the second half when we got the ball down in the red zone three times. We either turned the ball over or missed a field goal. That's very disappointing on the offensive side. We had 11 possessions in the game not counting the one right before the half. On eight of those possessions we either turned the ball over or had a fifteen-yard penalty on the possession, which makes it rough. That limits your opportunity to score. Offensively we need to play a lot better.'
On his impressions of Stanford:
'Stanford is a team that plays hard, they are unique. Defensively they are the only 3-4 team we play this year. When I first started coaching it seemed like everyone was an odd defense and that's how you learned. Nowadays it seems like everyone is a 4-3 defense. So it's unique because you need to make some changes in your blocking scheme since it's a 3-4. They are a very dangerous team on offense. Much like us, they were very inconsistent last week. But over the course of the year their wide receivers have made plays, their tight end is outstanding and their quarterback, Edwards, has made plays running and throwing. We know first hand that they have two great running backs that have been a little inconsistent the past few games. All you have to do is look at the USC tape to see how dangerous they are.'
On putting pressure on the quarterback:
'Pressure is a two way street. The good news is you can get to him and get him rattled, but when you bring pressure it makes you susceptible to the big play. For the most part that's what our defense at Cal did not do. We played a lot of base defense and tried to keep Cal contained. We did a decent job of that and let Arrington bounce outside a couple times. I thought where that was most effective was the passing game. If you would have went into that game and said we would hold Rodgers to 50 percent completion rate when he averages 75, you would think it would have been a closer game than it was.'
On Cal's first touchdown:
'One of the DB's eyes was in the backfield, not looking at the route. It was just an assignment bust.'
On the decision to receive the kickoff:
'We usually make that decision based on if we think we'll get a chance to return the ball. If the kicker usually puts the ball out of the end zone, we will defer. At game time there was little wind, but going into the game Cal's kicker had been struggling so we thought we had a chance to return the ball. We have been a decent return team this year so we thought we could get some field position. Coming off the way we played in the fourth quarter against UCLA, I didn't want to put our defense out there against Cal. Out of those 11 possessions we had, our best starting spot was the 32. In eight out of the 11 possessions we started inside the 20 yard line.'
On instant replay:
'I'm not a big fan of instant replay the way the Big Ten is doing it. They just got a guy who arbitrarily decides in the press box which plays are reviewed. I would favor a system like the NFL uses where the coaches on the field have some say in it. The guys from TBS came up to me at half time and told me about the start of the game. It's unfortunate because on the field the plays are hard to see. You don't expect calls to be missed. Now I have total respect for what officials do because they have a tough job. I'm not a fan of the system in college but I don't think the NFL system is bad.'
On the tailback situation:
'I would imagine that Hakim will be the starter if he continues to practice like he did last week and how he played with Preston backing him up.'
On special teams:
'You have to play aggressive. You cannot be afraid. We have to do a better job on the front line. On both of the returns, the man on the front line who didn't make his block, his man made the tackle. The rest of the guys were blocking well. When you watch it on the tape from the view of the returner, the guys were right there every time. That's what makes the game of football so great. You have to have all ten guys doing their job, not 8 out of 10 plus the returner.'
'We tackled a lot better in the Oregon and UCLA games than we did against USC. We did miss several tackles the other night that accounted for 98 yards, but most of the tackles we missed were due to us not doing a good job of playing the crack back block. When their receivers would come out and crack our safeties, our cornerbacks didn't do a good job of not letting their receivers get a free shot at our safeties. Arrington bounces outside a lot and we knew that. A lot of those missed tackles were a result of our corners not coming off those blocks and putting leverage on the football. We are a football team that tackles a lot. When it comes to this point in the season its difficult to practice tackling because most of your guys are hurt and you are thin at a lot of positions. To ask your front line on defense to practice tackling for 30 minutes on Monday and Tuesday doesn't make much sense from their standpoint. We also need a ball carrier as well. I don't think we have regressed since the Oregon game, we just didn't come off the crack back blocks very well last week.'
On the team's morale:
'When I talked to the players yesterday I told them that after they looked at the tape they should be a little bit disappointed. When they look at the tape they are going to see we did a lot of things to beat ourselves. Cal is a terrific football team and deserves to be where they're at, but we did a lot of things to beat ourselves. We didn't put our best foot forward in that game. Our team should not feel good about that. With that said, we are 6-2. There are those that say we've got the toughest schedule in the country. We have beaten two other teams that are in the top-25 right now. And the two Oregon schools and UCLA are no slouches. There are going to be a lot of teams beating a lot of teams in these last three weeks. We do have a chance to have an outstanding season. Not many people would have picked us to be 6-2 at this point of the season other than our own players and coaches. It's way too dangerous to look ahead any further than one week. We have to treat this (next game) like it's the biggest game of the year because it is.'
On Andrew Walter's game on Saturday:
'Andrew was inconsistent. He made some terrific throws. Our field position made it so we had to be somewhat conservative with our play calling until it got to the point where we didn't have any choice. There were times when Andrew was not as accurate and did not make as good of decisions as we've seen in the past.'
On Jesse Ainsworth:
'Anybody who knows anything about kickers knows that with kickers it's exactly like your golf swing. Jesse is thinking about it way too much. Jesse can go out there and make 25 in a row in practice. His mechanics are fine, he's got a strong leg and his timing is good. He's just over-thinking it too much. Now he's just rattled in his confidence. The last two weeks in practice he's been kicking pressure field goals and he's doing fine. He's just got to get back out there and get one in a game and I'm sure he'll be back to normal.'