The first year head coach is very much looking forward to the matchup on Friday. "The only way you can really appreciate a big game like this is to be part of it. And you would probably appreciate it more years down the road." Koetter said that there have been several speakers at recent practices. Among them were former players like Bert Walerstead, and the seniors of the team. Legendary coach Frank Kush will speak at tomorrow's practice "The seniors want to win this game so their legacy will be that they beat U of A three times in a row." When asked about his biggest rivalry game during his Boise State days he said: "It was the University if Idaho game. That was the biggest game in the state of Idaho. Oregon and Oregon State is another rivalry I've been involved in, but at that time Oregon State was losing almost every year, so the Oregon-Washington game has become a bigger game than that. But you know what, we don't care about all those other rivalries. The Arizona one is the only one on our mind. I'm sure this rivalry game will be the best one I have been involved in."
The ASU Football coach discussed his team's schedule the last few days. He said that the team was off Friday and Saturday, which the coaching staff took the opportunity to go on some recruiting trips. The team had a full practice yesterday. Today they are off again, and then they will practice all week until the game on Friday. When asked about the advantages or disadvantages of the bye week, he replied: "From a quarterback standpoint it was a blessing, because Jeff was banged up and we gave Andrew more reps. We actually were able to develop two game plans, one that for Jeff and one for Andrew. It's hard when you develop a game plan around your quarterback, and then he doesn't finish the game. Not many teams have the depth at quarterback to do well under those circumstances. I don't know if the layoff was a blessing for all players. A player like Shaun McDonald certainly doesn't need a bye week the way he has been playing."
When asked in specific about the quarterback situation, Koetter said that a MRI revealed that Krohn has tendiniatis in his rotator cuff. "I told him that so do I, and I'm out there in practice (smile). I think he will be at full strength on Friday. I know Krohn can run our offense, and his numbers show that when he's healthy he's one of the best in his position in the confrence." On Krohn's backup Andrew Walter he said: "It's hard for me to say how much he has improved just from the last few practices, because it's game time conditions that really tell the true story. I can tell you that he has improved since the beginning of the year. I thought that up until yesterday that Andrew would start, but then Jeff came, practiced, and looked good. Whoever gives us the best chance of beating Arizona will play."
As far as this game's impact on in-state recruiting, Koetter replied: "I think it's important. You always have kids who switch alliances because of the outcome of the rivalry game. Ironically, a lot of the Arizona players that we are recruiting won't be at the game because of their high school playoff games. We will have a lot of other recruits at the game. We just finished building our weight room and you really should take a look at it. I think it will give us a huge advantage in recruiting."
(On Shaun McDonald) "He has had a great year. Since spring practice we saw that he could be a strong playmaker for us. One thing I wasn't sure of is if he could catch well when his feet leave the ground, but he proved me wrong on that one. He has played his way in being one of the best wide receivers in the Pac-10."
(On what makes a good rivalry) "Anytime both schools alumnus live in the same metro area, it's a very heated rivalry. You sometimes work with folks who went to your rival school, and whoever loses the game has to hear 364 days of the year how his team is bad. Rivalry games don't have to be close. The worse team may just want to keep it close, but the better team thinks that it should win in a blow out. The 60,000 in attendance will see a great Football game on Friday."
(On his approach to the U of A game) "The approach of the coaching staff usually depends on what the implications of the game are. Is this game for the Pac-10 championship, bragging rights or both? In our game, whoever will win will feel better this year going into recruiting. We did do things different in practice like bring speakers to motivate the players. But motivational tactics can only work so much. It's your practices leading up to the game that will determine if you're prepared or not. When the game starts it's down to Football and who makes plays. Emotions can get in the way of your play, and can make a player lose his focus. Especially after a cheap shot or bad call. So there's only so much you can say in the locker room. Practices will determine outcome."
(On the University of Arizona) "They have very skilled players. I voted for (running back) Clarence Farmer for All Pac-10 first team. We have to shut him down. They're not afraid to put the ball up in the air. Bobby Wade is one of the best wide receivers in the confrence. On defense, their scheme is very different than anyone else. (linebacker) Lance Briggs is All-Confrence and they do a lot to free him up from sideline to sideline to make plays. Their cornerback Lovett and safety Nash are very good as well. But we feel that we have the players to match up with them."
(On how the season has transpired so far) "We're all judged by win and losses. So, it's disappointing to us that we couldn't deliver to our alumni and fans. I know we have progressed this year, but from the outside it doesn't look that way. If I say that we progressed after a loss it sounds like an excuse and loses it's meaning. But I do like the direction we're going into."
Koetter's Press Confrence Notes
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