Quotes from Coach Dennis Erickson's Weekly Press Conference
Sept. 17, 2007
On whether there is any nostalgia facing Oregon State:
'When I went back last year when I was at Idaho, to go back there and play the first time back, it was probably nostalgic. Now it's just, I've been gone, this will be my fifth year. Mike [Riley] has been there for five. I enjoyed my time there, it was a lot of fun, accomplished some things, but it's really no different than any other game anymore.'
On ASU and Oregon State having similar schemes:
'You look at us, offensively and defensively, we're very similar. Offensively, really similar, in that we're in one-back and two-tights, and we pretty much do a lot of the same things, and then defensively, we play a lot of bump, a lot of Cover 8, a lot of the same things, very similar. So we got prepared for each other during spring ball.'
On righting some wrongs from last week:
'I thought we didn't tackle very well defensively, probably didn't play at the level that we needed to. Offensively, I thought we were better in the running game than we were the week before. But then again, we're playing, in my opinion, one of the best defenses that we'll see all year. They're pretty much senior-oriented. The game at Cincinnati, in my opinion, was a fluke. If you watch the tape, it looks like the score could have been the other way. They're a great defensive football team. They're physical, they're fast, they've got great corners that can cover, so we're going to have pick it up offensively to move the football with any consistency. Defensively, with [Yvenson] Bernard and his ability, now having [Sammie] Stroughter back, and the whole offensive front is back. A lot of those guys were there when I was there, so they're a good football team. We've got to correct some things. In order for us to win, we're going to have to play way better than we did against San Diego State.'
On the strengths of Oregon State's defense:
'Their team speed. If you look at them overall defensively, I don't know that there is a weak link. I say that with all honesty. They've got eight guys that they rotate in and out in the front four, so they're fresh all the time. There's eight people that they rotate that have played a lot. Their linebackers are extremely fast, guys that run around. Then, their corners have been there for quite awhile, they play bump and run and they take a lot of things away from you. To me, it's probably as solid a defense as we'll see all year.'
On the health of the team:
'We've got some guys hurt, like anybody would after three football games. We may get some guys back, we may not. I really won't know until we get in to it on Tuesday. Ryan [Torain] didn't play last week. Brent Miller didn't play last week. Whether they'll play this week or not, I don't know that for sure. So we have some question marks, but as I've said a lot of times, you've got to have guys step up and play when somebody gets hurt. That's a real key for us right now. We did, as Keegan [Herring] stepped up at running back when Ryan was hurt, and Brady Conrad and Tyrice Thompson stepped up at tight end. Those are things that happen all the time, and that's why you have depth, that's why you have 85 guys on scholarship.'
On Keegan Herring:
'He is shifty; he's tough; he's competitive, courageous. Him and Ryan are kind of the opposite. Ryan's big and hits it up in there, and Keegan is so shifty. He comes out of places that amaze me sometimes. It looks like he's caught for a two-yard loss or a three-yard gain, and then all of a sudden he breaks out of the pack and there he goes. He has a chance to be really good. He catches the football really well. He's getting better at pass blocking and so forth. When you have that 1-2 punch, and then Dimitri Nance, it's a pretty good group. Keegan is just different than most guys that you see. It's good to have guys that are different when they come in. It gives the defense something different to look at.'
'We had no intention of holding anything back. Whatever it takes us to win, that's the bottom line. We're not a big blitz team. That's not what we are. We're a football team that's going to sit there and try to make people earn things. The biggest thing is that we want to make sure that we know what we're doing, and if we know what we're doing, then we play fast. We'll blitz and we'll bring six or seven occasionally, but we're not a team that's going to blitz every down. We're a team that's going to play more base defense than we would blitz.'
On Oregon State WR Sammie Stroughter:
'Having him in the lineup makes a huge difference for them. In those first two football games, he wasn't there. Or I guess he played a little bit against Cincinnati, but against Utah he didn't play. He's a proven player. He's been a big-play guy for them, not just catching the football in the passing game but also as a returner. So having him back makes them a way better football team in all aspects. He's a game-breaker. He can make a lot of things happen. He's done it. He did it the other night against Idaho State, and he's done it in the Pac-10 for a couple of years. So he makes a big difference offensively for them.'
On his feel for his team after three games:
'We've gotten better as a football team, from the first game through the third game. We're executing much better on both sides of the football. We're finding what our strengths and weaknesses are and then trying to take advantage of that. Offensively we're getting better because we're starting to learn the scheme a little bit better and finding out what our strengths are there. We've made a lot of improvement. Where we are in the Pac-10... I've said this before, I don't know. It's hard to sit down, because you haven't watched everybody play. We've played three non-league games, and so has Oregon State, and you don't know from week to week. I do know that this game Saturday is going to be by far the toughest game we've had. They're an experienced football team that's got a lot of guys coming back from the same team that beat us pretty handily in Corvallis last year. But it's a good challenge. I like our team. The work ethic has been great. They've done everything that we've asked. They play hard, and you can't ask for much more than that.'
On the progress with penalties:
'We're going to have penalties. The ones that can be easily prevented are the ones that you don't want to have, the hits that are really late or the celebration penalties or things like that. We had them obviously in that second football game. But you're going to have penalties, and I do not want to hand-tie our football team as far as playing hard and playing aggressive. I do not want to do that. So we'll have a penalty or two, that's just how it is. But I feel like we've got the dumb penalties under control. They know what they can and can't do. Sometimes there are going to be close calls out there and I'm not going to hold to them to everything, but we've got to be able to play aggressively.'
On the emotions of beginning Pac-10 play this week:
'I believe any time you open up the league in the Pac-10, you could see that yesterday when we met. Now it's the Pac-10 conference, which we've got nine football games, and it's unbelievable. This conference, as you look through it, I have no idea, other than when you watch USC plays Nebraska, they seem to be a little step ahead of everybody, but other than that, anybody can beat anybody. This is our first game. We're 3-0, we had good non-conference games. Now is when it counts. We've got nine football games that count in that league, and it's tough, every single one of them. Our guys know, they know what they are facing this week. When you see that, you get that adrenaline running and you prepare and focus a little bit more probably than you normally would.'
On Oregon State QB Sean Canfield and whether he expects a quarterback rotation:
'I think you'll see Canfield all the time now. I've watched all three games of them on offense, and watched the Idaho State game, and they've pretty much made a commitment. I certainly believe that was their intent when they started the season that Canfield was going to be their guy. Against Idaho State he executed extremely well and threw it really well and was much more comfortable, it looked like to me, than in the first two games. I'm sure that he's the guy that they're going to go with, in my opinion, but than can change too.'
On rotating players on the defensive line:
'We've played a lot of guys. We've played eight and nine at times, and we feel we can do that. There's not a lot of difference between a lot of them. Obviously, you like to get them rest, and they play better when they are rotated through there because they're fresh and run around. They've all had their moments both ways, but we're able to play four and five defensive tackles and four and five defensive ends. That's just how we are. That's the kind of defense we have. We don't have a lot of guys that just jump out at you as a first-round pick in the NFL. So we have to play together as a defensive football team. We rotate linebackers in there also, rotate safeties in there also. We try to get a lot of guys in there and keep them fresh and play as a team, so we can fly around.'