Quotes From Dennis Erickson's Weekly Press Conference
Sept. 15, 2008
On the team's response to the game against UNLV:
'We met and looked at the tape of the game and they were pretty quiet yesterday, pretty subdued. I guess that's what happens when you get beat like that, but we also talked about the fact that we have nine football games left. We didn't get specific on Georgia by any means, but we talked more in general about the rest of our season. Although we didn't play well - that's an understatement - there are a lot of things left to play for. Basically that was the conversation we had. Then we looked at the tape and tried to correct a lot of the mistakes we made in that game, and there were a number of them. I expect them to bounce back tomorrow, when they get back on the practice field and we present the scouting report for Georgia. We better be ready to go, because they are an awfully talented group.'
'[Knowshon] Moreno is a great runner, we've seen that, and [Matthew] Stafford is a great passer. They are probably as good as anyone in the country at their positions. In the three games that we have watched this year, and we've watched a bunch of their games last year, they make a lot of plays. Moreno is always very strong and very quick, very difficult to tackle and can take it to the house. I think probably, more than anything, he just breaks tackles. You have to have guys who are all surrounding him, or else he is going to break it. He made a run for a touchdown against South Carolina where they had him for about a three-yard loss and he ended up getting in the end zone. Stafford, to me, probably, well I'm not sure where they have him ranked in the National Football League, but he has a huge arm, probably as strong of an arm as I've seen in a long time. He makes some throws off his back foot that are spectacular. He has that kind of arm. Then, they have other people too. Their receivers really have great speed, so they create problems for teams and their offensive front is pretty much all back from a year ago. They were all pretty young a year ago. They are a talented group. You can't win as many games as they do and not be talented. They have all kinds of skill and that is what you see down there in the South. You look at the other side of football, and it is pretty much the same way. They run eight defensive linemen in there, and you can't tell one from the next. They all run real well, and they have great speed on defense. Probably the biggest thing that jumps out on both sides of their football is their team speed and how they get to the football on defense. They've been playing great on defense. Nobody moved the football at all, except South Carolina moved it a little bit. They're ranked third in the country, so that is obviously a good football team. They have a lot of talent.'
On what lies ahead for the team:
'Well, there is a whole season ahead of all of us. We have nine football games left and we have only played one conference game. We have eight conference games left, so there are a lot of things out there for everybody to play for in our league. That's how you have to approach it. I don't know what happened to the other teams, I do know what happened to us. We didn't play well and they played well. I'm not taking any credit away from Las Vegas, because they came in here and had an opportunity and took advantage of it. So, there's not anything you can say, except what the score was. For us, it's rebounding now and that is what we have to do. Rebound and get ready for the rest of the season. We just happen to be playing an awfully good team coming in here on Saturday.'
On Georgia being an opportunity for them:
'It is an opportunity for us, of course. It's a game at home against one of the best teams in the country and probably the best conference around. It's an opportunity anytime you get a chance to play a top five team at home. It's an opportunity for our program and it's on national TV. So, it is a huge opportunity for this football team and this program. There's no question about it.'
On the team's red zone struggles:
'We have been in with three tight ends and a fullback and done a lot of things. Against Stanford we struggled the first two times we were down there, but then after that we were pretty good. Against UNLV we struggled on the first time down, and we lost one of our tight ends, [Andrew] Pettes, so that took us out of some of the stuff we were going to do. You have to be able to run the ball down there; you just have to be able to. So, if there is any one concern down there, it's being able to run the football and doing it different ways; trying to do it on two tights, or three tights, or four tights. Or, do it and spread guys out too. We're not a option football team, so we're not going to run the quarterback down there like a lot of people do, but it will be considered.'
On their defensive strategy against Georgia with Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno:
'Yeah, and the thing that is overlooked is their wideouts. They have some guys who can flat fly out there. Stafford obviously can throw a football, so you add all those things together, you're going to have to mix it up and take your chances. You have to try to stop the run. You can't let them run it down your throat, which they have been able to do against a lot of people. So, you have to be able to stop the run, and then you have to take your chances after that. Our goal is to try and go in there and try to stop the run, or slow it down I should say, and then go from there.'
On South Carolina's success blitzing Georgia:
'They did some of it, not as much as you think, but they did do some of it. People are doing a lot to bring their corners off the edge and playing zone behind it. We have that in our package. They have some awfully good blitzers, their linebackers. Some guys are good blitzers and some aren't. South Carolina has some really good ones.'
On Gerald Munns:
'He's going to be sore. We'll see how he is tomorrow. I would be surprised if he didn't play. Morris Wooden is back this week, which brings a little more physical presence to us defensively against the run, because he is bigger. So, he will play some and I think that will help us.
On how the team will bounce back from the UNLV game:
'They're the same group that was in here a week ago. When we met Sunday, it was the same group in there the Sunday before. I still think we are a good football team. We have a lot of things to correct and I said that before the season even started. They are very young in a lot of areas, so we have to continue to improve and get better. We need to improve in the offensive front and in some other places too. They are resilient and have great leadership and have worked very hard. I think their biggest thing is that, listening to them, they have spent a lot of time this summer preparing for the season, so they are not going to throw it out the window. I see a lot of resiliency and I expect them to come back and play well.'
On UNLV's second-half drive that lasted more than nine minutes:
'They were knocking us off the ball and we weren't tackling very well. They converted some critical third downs and we just couldn't get off the field. They made some plays. They just kept making plays in all aspects of it. I looked at how they ran the ball against us in that game. I'm trying to get this game behind me, but I guess that's not going to happen. They just ran the football against us and that's the biggest thing that affected us Saturday night.'
On Keegan Herring:
'The trainer felt yesterday that he has a chance. We will see how he is in practice. He is a lot better than he was last week and he feels better than he did even before that, the week he played. That thing probably wasn't completely healed when he played against Stanford. We probably got him out there too soon, so we want to make sure it's right. I think he has a chance to be [100% the rest of the year] and having last week off really helped him. We'll just have to see.'
On how not having Herring affects the team:
'The thing that Keegan brings to our running game is that he can break the big one, hit the home run. We just didn't do that the other night. He brings that to us. It makes a huge difference when he is in there. I think that Ryan [Bass] can bring that to us. We just have to start playing him a little more.'
On Georgia's defense:
'When you watch them play, I think South Carolina had 230 total yards against them, so they are one of the better defenses in the country. They blitz teams some, but they are so good in their front seven that they don't have to gamble a whole lot. They're pretty good, and South Carolina's defense is pretty good too, if you watched that game.'
On the team's feelings about the loss on Saturday:
'I think they were very angry with themselves. I was very angry with myself and how I performed. The bottom line falls on me and I think they felt the same way about themselves as I felt about myself, which was pretty angry, probably as angry as some of our fans are with me.'
On preparing for the crowd this Saturday:
'I know they're bringing a lot, but when we practice the airplanes go over every five minutes, so we are used to the noise. You can't even hear yourself think out there.'
On Shaun DeWitty:
'Shaun did some good things. He is a very good pass protector and he's a big guy who can run inside and that is what he did for us. It's good to have him back.'