Quotes From Dennis Erickson's Weekly Press Conference

Oct. 27, 2008

On the status of Rudy Carpenter's ankle injury:
'It still bothers him. He's not totally 100 percent. He was able to practice last week and he didn't re-injure it in the game. It will improve every week, but he's not 100 percent, as you can tell. He can play with it, and I expect it to be better this week than it was last week.'

On Oregon State running back Jacquizz Rodgers:
'Jacquizz is an incredible young runner. Obviously he's not very tall, but he's very powerful, has great feet and runs the football inside extremely well, and he also has great speed. I knew he was going to be a good runner before he emerged in the USC game. That is kind of when everybody started to know who he was. He is a guy who gets in there, can run it inside, gets lost in there, and all of a sudden, because of his leg strength, he breaks a lot of tackles. He's one of the better backs in our league. You put the combination of his brother (WR James Rodgers) in there with reverses and things like that, which they do, and it is a pretty good 1-2 punch.'

On Ryan Bass:
'I thought Ryan came in and did some really good things. He finally got a chance to come in and play for a period of time, which he really hasn't had that opportunity. Sometimes it's really hard to tell in practice, but you could really see in that game that he has strength and he can make people miss. I thought he did some good things. Obviously he is young, so he has a lot of things to learn, but he'll see more action this week. He can catch a football, and I thought he pass-protected well in a couple of opportunities that he had to pass-protect. So, you'll see a heck of a lot more of him in the next five weeks.'

On if he will begin giving the freshmen and young players more reps:
'We're going to play whoever we need to play to win games. It's not that we're going to try to get ready for next year; next year is Saturday, as far as I'm concerned. We have a lot of them playing, so they get better every week, just because of the amount of practice. It's like any football team; we have to just continue to improve. If we go out with good work ethic and do the things that we're supposed to do in practice, then we'll get better and better. Whether they're freshmen or seniors, that is what we're trying to accomplish.'

On the team's running game against Oregon:
'I thought we ran the ball OK. Again, as I preach ever week, we dig ourselves in a hole every week, every single week, every week. Then, we have some opportunities and don't take advantage of them, and I could go over that a hundred times. When we were able to be a little bit consistent in keeping the ball, I thought we ran it pretty well. In saying that, our offensive front probably played as well as they've played all year. I mean they did some pretty good things.'

On Oregon State head coach Mike Riley:
'Well, Mike Riley has done the best job of coaching I've seen in the country over the last six or seven years. They're tough, they're physical, they are what they are, they are what they believe in, they stay with it and that is why they win a lot of football games. I don't know if there is anybody in the country who does a better job at coaching, I really don't. Their players play hard all the time, and it's a hard place to play when you go up there, that's obvious, and I know that from both sides of the sideline. Mike does such a great job. I don't know if there is anybody who has done a better job.'

On going back to Corvallis:
'The first time that I went back was when they dedicated the new stadium, and I got to sit in one of those luxury boxes, which was a good deal. I kind of enjoyed that. I don't think they'll quite give me something like that this time around. To say it's just another game, you know really isn't the truth, but it is at this point. I haven't coached there in six or seven years. So, it's just a game that hopefully we can continue to improve and give ourselves a chance to win.'

On the confidence level of the team:
'Well, anytime you lose five straight football games and you're not playing very well, obviously your confidence level isn't nearly as high as it would be as when I was sitting here a year ago. Obviously, that is just the nature of it. Anytime you lose, anytime things aren't going very well, and you find a way to lose a football game, your confidence level isn't there. Again the only thing that you can do there is continue to, as I said earlier, practice, same work ethic, keep doing the same things, just keep hammering away. There is no other thing to do. Really that's the only thing you can do, just keep battling and soon some good things are going to happen, and you get that confidence boost. When you're losing, obviously your confidence level is not as high as it is when you win.'

On how he feels compared to last year at this time when they were 8-0 going into November:
'It seems like a long time ago, there's no question about it. Again, you just deal with one game at a time, and we know what we have to get done. We have a very good focus on what we need to get done and that's what we're trying to do everyday. We have five football games left and we'll take them one at a time and see where we end up. We'll come out and practice hard tomorrow, come out and prepare for Oregon State, which the coaches are doing right now like we do every week since I've been coaching. Unfortunately, I've been in this situation before in some places and we were able to get out of it, just because we kept working hard, and eventually things turn.'

On if outside expectations of this team were too high coming into the season:
'I don't really listen to what people say on the outside of the program. Once you're in a program for a period of time, you know your players pretty well and who's coming back and you can kind of compare them to years past and so forth, and you have a little bit better of an idea. Everybody looks at who's coming back. I don't know that that's necessary. I think you have to look at whom you lost. I remember when we were at Oregon State one year, we had Ken Simonton and Jonathan Smith coming back, who were Heisman Trophy candidates I guess you'd say, but we lost our whole defense and a lot of our offensive line, so we weren't as good as everybody thought. So, it just depends on how fast you grow as the season goes on. As I said, we have five games to grow and get better.'

On if he will take the redshirt off anyone else this season:
'No plan to, no. We have Keelan Johnson, who because of some injury situations, we thought about it, but we're not going to do that. Unless something drastic happens, we wouldn't do that.'

On replacing Thomas Weber at punter:
'Well, I was just trying to find a way for him to kick better; basically that's what transpired there. Trevor [Hankins] is a pretty good punter and had been punting pretty well for us, though he obviously shanked the one. He has a strong leg and that's the reason that I did it, to try to take some of the heat off Thomas, because he had been struggling a little bit kicking and that's pretty obvious. I might do that this week, but I don't know.'

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