Quotes from Dennis Erickson's Press Conference
Sept. 10, 2007
Tempe, Ariz. - On WR Mike Jones:'Mike really has developed. Obviously missing a lot of spring football because of baseball and not being there all the time, he never was in football shape just because of that and playing baseball. Then he had a very good summer, was here and worked out with the rest of the guys and with our receivers. He really has just started to get where you'd hoped he would be. He's playing hard all the time. He's blocking really well. Of course, everything that you guys see is him catching routes. He's doing it. He's making plays, two touchdowns the other night and two big plays. He's a guy that we've got to have. He's big and tall, rangy, tough, and he's having a great year. He's made a huge difference, how he's produced and gotten better.'
On his feelings after watching Saturday's game vs. Colorado on tape:'I watched it on the replay Saturday night until about 3 in the morning, because I couldn't wait. I was so excited about seeing it. But there were some real positives in there. There were some negatives obviously, and that's what everybody has talked about, the penalties and so forth. That's taken care of. That's not an issue anymore. But there were some really good things. I thought, defensively, we played really well, ran to the football real well, tackled really good. We're getting better. I see us really improving defensively, particularly in the front four, where we're playing about eight guys and they're getting better all the time. Linebackers have been playing well. Secondary made a couple coverage mistakes that hurt us a little bit. But I thought offensively, we didn't run the football very well. It wasn't our best outing with our offensive line. They did a lot of different things, things they haven't done before, surprised us with some different things that we hadn't seen. I thought the coaches did a great job of making changes at halftime and making changes in the middle of the second quarter. We decided to go to the no-huddle to try to slow them down in the things that they were doing, to try to get them to sit in one defense, which is what happened. We were able to get in at halftime and make some adjustments to give our guys a better chance to win. And then we had to throw it because they were playing eight, nine guys up there. That's just how they were playing. We'll probably see it a lot more. When you do that, you suffer. You give up the big play, and they ended up giving the big play, and we ended up scoring 33 straight points. It wasn't good early, but I thought that, as the game went on, it's a good situation that we were in, for us to learn. Having not been down, having won pretty easily against San Jose State, to now all of a sudden be down by 14 and face a lot of adversity, and then to come back and win the game was a real plus for us. Like I said, we had those penalties, we learned from that, and if it had to happen, I'm glad it happened early.'
On his hopes for the running game against San Diego State:'We're going to try to run the ball against everybody we play. That's our philosophy. I don't care who it is. Then when they start bringing people down in there, because if you bring eight and sometimes nine people down there, there's two or three unblocked guys. You can't block them all. So when they do that, you're one-on-one outside so you've got to throw it. But our plan is to go in and try to establish the run every week, and then see what they're doing to us and then go from there.'
On how he dealt with the penalties from Saturday's game:'We talked about it, number one. We're going to have penalties. Shoot, this is football, and we're going to have some penalties. If we're aggressive defensively and we're going to run to the football, we're going to have some penalties because of our aggressiveness. The penalties I'm talking about are the dumb, stupid penalties that we had, and we had five or six of them. The two punt cover things, Omar Bolden's was close but Rudy [Burgess] knows better than to do that. The shoving and the pushing, we had a couple because of that where one of their guys pushed our guy and we pushed back, and obviously we got the penalty. The dumb penalties like that. They called one on Morris Wooten, and I still don't see it. They called where he jumped on somebody's back to block a field goal, he just jumped up and a guy went and cut him. The official saw him on top of him and they called that penalty. The penalties that we had are very solvable. Believe me, we're going to have some and we're still going to be aggressive, but the dumb penalties, some of them we had the other night, and as I told the team, `if you do it, you're not playing.' So if you want to play, that's fine, if you don't, stand next to me and earn your letter, doesn't make any difference to me.'
On whether San Diego State will try to load the box with a young secondary:'You've got to do what you've got to do according to your personnel. Now Colorado, [defensive passing game coordinator] Greg Brown has been around for a long time. He has a lot of influence on that defense. He coached in the NFL for about 13 or 14 years. They did a tremendous job. They played a three-man front and a four-man front, and they changed a lot of things up. San Diego State's style, I don't know that it's like that. I don't know if it's about being young, but I believe it's about the style of defense that you play. Like for us to do what Colorado did against us, we can't do that because we don't play that kind of defense. I'm not sure what they're going to do. They did both against Washington State.'
On feeling upset after a victory:'Did it seem like I was upset after that game? I was. I was extremely upset. Extremely upset with how we played on offense, but more upset about the penalties. Our kids went through a lot of adversity in that game, fought like heck, and won the game, so I'm proud of them. It wasn't even about that. It was more about things that can get you beat that you can control. To me, if you do something that's avoidable to cause you to not win, that's not very smart, and that's what I was upset more about than anything, because the week before, it wasn't like that. But to be honest, I'm glad it came up because now we all understand.'
On the injury status of TE Brent Miller and RB Ryan Torain:'Brent's got an MCL sprain. It's one of those grades that the trainers give you. They have 1, 2, or 3, and I don't understand any of the three. I just said `does he have a chance to play?' The thing that Brent did, he hurt that thing, and just to tell you about Brent, he's dropped some balls and things like that, but Brent had that thing and he played about seven plays afterwards. It kind of tells you the kind of guy he is. Myself, he has a very good chance to come back and play. It's a Grade 1, so figure it out.
'Ryan hurt his ankle in the first quarter and didn't play a lot in the first half, and then came back and played. It's sore and stiff. So, with both of them really, it's a day-by-day thing, as far as we'll see when they practice. If not, Andrew Pettes will play a lot more at tight end, and then of course, Dimitri [Nance] and Keegan [Herring] will play, and then there's a possibility that we might have Jarrell Woods back too.'
On WR Kyle Williams' touchdown catch in the second quarter Saturday night:'It was an unbelievable catch. When he came down with that, I almost fell over. I'm not sure where Rudy [Carpenter] was throwing it, to be very honest with you. But he saw the 'backer turn his back when you look at on tape, and Kyle's in the back of the end zone and he threw it by the linebacker. It was a great catch. I could sit here and talk about it forever, but he just went and made a big play when we needed big plays. One thing that did show up Saturday was that we had guys step up and make big plays - big catches, big throws, big plays on defense. We made some big plays, which turned that game around, and that was one of them.'
On QB Rudy Carpenter's scrambling in Saturday's game:'There were a couple times that he got flushed out because of the rush, and there were a couple times that he just left, he felt some pressure where there wasn't pressure, so it was a combination. I prefer that he stay in the pocket, but then again, great quarterbacks make plays when they get out of the pocket and have a sense to get out of the pocket and look downfield. There are some guys who get out of the pocket and they just run, they don't look downfield. What Rudy does is he gets out of the pocket and has vision downfield and you see a lot of big plays made like that. He gives himself a second chance. Quarterbacks, whether it's a guy that can run real fast or a guy that just has a great feeling, the great quarterbacks give themselves a second chance when there's a rush, and he was able to do that the other night.'
On LB Robert James:'He's an outstanding football player. He's got a great nose for the football and he can run. He runs fast, and when he gets there, he hits them pretty good. I just like him, he's the kind of linebacker that really mixes well with the other ones. You've got him playing that weak side, and he's a good blitzer. So far, in two games, he's played very well.'
On S Troy Nolan's interception return for a touchdown Saturday night:'Huge. It's 14-7, we've got some momentum going, and now boom, we get the interception and now the momentum is all on our side, and then, of course, we take it down in the two minutes. That game changed in, what, five minutes or something like that. It went from `OK, let's go run the ball and see if we can get this thing going, maybe get a couple first downs' to all of a sudden, it changed the momentum of the game. Obviously Troy's interception, and Robert [James] knocked that, hit it, and it was just a good play. If you're going to win a lot of games over a year, you've got to have guys that are playmakers and that will make big plays.'
On recruiting in the San Diego area:'We're recruiting down there pretty heavily, because it's so close. We've had some players from there, and actually, [defensive line coach] Grady Stretz is recruiting down there. We're doing pretty well down there right now from what I see. It's a good area for us to recruit. It's not very far for family, it's an easy drive, and the weather is good, like it is here. It's an area, like all of California, it's going to be fruitful for us in the long term.'
On San Diego State head coach Chuck Long:'I've met Chuck before. I met him when he coached at the University of Iowa when he went there and coached. Actually I think he was coaching for Hayden Fry at the time. Then, of course, I watched him play. He was a great competitor. He was a warrior. You don't become a runner-up for the Heisman Trophy without being pretty darn good. You can see that competitive spirit in his team and how they are playing. He'll get that thing going. That's a pretty good area down there. Chuck's a good coach and was a good player.'
On San Diego State playing cornerback by committee:'Their corners are playing pretty well. All we've got is the Washington State game, so it's kind of hard to tell, but they've got guys that have played before. They've got some very good athletes back in the secondary from what I saw last night and this morning on tape. They probably have three or four that can play, so that's probably why they're moving them and playing different guys.'