Quotes from Head Football Coach Dennis Erickson's Weekly Press Conference

Nov. 16, 2009

Arizona State Head Coach Dennis Erickson

On who will play Quarterback against UCLA:
'I'm not sure yet. I'm not sure how healthy either Danny [Sullivan] or Brock [Osweiler are]. We gave them yesterday off because we didn't get home until six in the morning. According to the trainer they both should be okay. We'll just wait and see. Obviously with some of the things that Samson [Szakacsy] did in that game, he gives you some different things athletically than the other two give you. We've got to see how his elbow is because when he throws for a long period of time it bothers him, so I won't know probably until tomorrow for sure.'

On Sophomore Quarterback Samson Szakacsy:
'His arm is not as strong as it was last spring, but it's getting there. I think we have a pretty good chance of getting him back to full strength by spring football. The thing about him is that he's very accurate. He made some good throws in that game. We'll just wait and see; I haven't decided what we're going to do yet.'

On if the game plan changes when Szakacsy plays Quarterback:
'Not really. We will do some things within our game plan to take advantage of his mobility but it's not like we're going to change things, really. A lot of the things that we do on our offense, [such as] when you go to call for a quarterback to keep it a little bit more [or] on some of the read stuff we do, but we won't change anything.'

On Szakacsy against Oregon:
'He just made some plays with his legs, I don't know if they could have made it if they knew he was playing or not. That's how he is; he scrambles out of there. He has good vision and he has a good feel for what goes on; he's always had that. If he's a quarterback in a game, I don't know that UCLA would do prepare any different for him than they would anyone else.'

On the mindset of the team:
'Again, it's like any team that has lost four in a row, it hasn't been a very fun road for us. We've got a chance to get to six and six, get to bowl eligible and that's what we're shooting for right now. Obviously UCLA is the first one and then next week takes care of itself. Right now we want to get a win. When you lose four in a row it's not easy sailing for football teams and coaches and fans and everything. Losing a couple of close ones, having an opportunity up at Oregon; we just didn't start very well on the road. [Oregon] came out like they've been all year, then we got it to 31-21, where we came back and we had a chance and they took it right down. I expect our team to come out like they have all year and get ready to play starting tomorrow. We've got good senior leadership with Mike Nixon and Shaun [DeWitty] and Dexter Davis; it's a really good group. Unfortunately for them we're where we are at. They've played really well and it's been a really good senior group and then we have some young guys who just enjoy playing the game. Our attitude is good and we haven't had a bad day in practice; we practice really well. Now we have a chance to go down there and beat UCLA and get to five and six and come back and see what happens. There's a lot to play for and I want to see our seniors go out the correct way.'

On problems defensively at Stanford and Oregon:
'They are so different offensively. Stanford, like they have with everybody since we've played them, we came home and thought `how could this possibly happen?'. They are very physical, they run the football at you--pound it. Oregon on the other hand is based on speed and what they do with the option game, so it's different.  Against Oregon we gave up some big plays, but both [of them] come down to tackling; that would be the most similar thing. Whether you're tackling [Stanford Running Back Toby] Gerheart or you're one on one in the open field against [Oregon Quarterback Jeremiah] Masoli, it's still about tackling. Regardless of what people do on offense, you still tackle and we missed some tackles in the first half of that game that were costly as far as long plays were concerned. [There were also] angles that we practiced and early in the game sometimes, against that kind of stuff, it catches up with you a little bit. Once we got into the second quarter though, I thought we played a lot better, but it's still about tackling. That's probably the most similar thing between the two offenses--you've still got to come a tackle.'

On coping with injuries:
'We've go to move someone to back up at Middle Linebacker since [Gerald] Munns is gone. [Travis] Goethel played in there in the spring, so we'll move him in there as a back up in that situation. The Tight End situation, with Danny Knapp out, could create some problems, and then Jovon Williams has been hurt a little bit too, he didn't play in the second half, so it kind of limits what you do in your two, three Tight End things that you do. We don't know until we see [the players]. [Matt] Hustad is out, he's having an MRI today, it looks like his kneecap dislocated, so he's out for the rest of the year. We've dealt with that one; [Tom] Njunge will just move to right tackle and everything else will be pretty much the same. I expect Josh Jordan, who hasn't been healthy, to come back and help our depth at corner. He was on the trip but he couldn't have played because of an ankle, so LeQuan Lewis was our third corner. Actually our two corners played really well in that game. Deveron [Carr] is getting better and better all the time.'

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