Pac-10 Media Day Quotes

Arizona State Football head coach Dirk Koetter and senior wide receiver Derek Hagan discuss the upcoming season at the conference's Media Day in Los Angeles. This article is courtesy of KCAL-TV in Los Angeles.

Head Coach Dirk Koetter

Q: With Andrew Walter gone, how confident are you in Sam Keller?

A: The biggest question with Sam is he only has one career start. The Pac-10 is lead by Senior quarterbacks. But Sam is very mature and he showed that in his Sun Bowl start, He learned from a great guy in Andrew and now he is ready for the big stage.

Q: People may look at the running game for ASU as a possible weakness.. how do you see it?

A: The better you run the football, the better team you are. The good news is we got nine guys that will line up when practice starts on Friday. The bad news are the question marks. Rudy at 170 lbs at tailback got banged up last year, now he's 185 and dynamite with the ball. The question is can he hold up? Randy Hill and Cornell Canidate are coming off injuries as well and we got some young guys who are dying to help.

Q: How much can you count on the backs coming off major injuries?

A: Not sure, It was a major surgery for Cornell…both Cornell and Randy are feeling much better, they are very mature and that's something the younger guys don't have. And that's the X factor, for Cornell because if his body holds up, he was the team's leading rusher his freshman year, he can really help us.

Q: On the other side of the ball, Bill Miller ball comes to ASU. What should fans in Tempe expect from the D?

A: He will put his own touch to the defense, but we are still running the same 4-3 defense that we ran last year. His background is impressive, most recently at Florida, Miami and under Nick Saban at LSU, he is going to show us some different styles.

Q: How healthy is the secondary?

A: I just looked it up, R.J. Oliver and Josh Golden have 53 career starts, and both took no snaps this Spring. But they are healthy and if they can get back our secondary will be deeper than it's ever been.

Q: ASU fans will get to see how good this team is pretty early with the tough schedule this year…

A: People can debate strength of schedule all day long, we play the games that are given to us, I have no control over our schedule. We start with Temple, a team we don't know much about because they are so far away. Then we go to LSU and then Northwestern a team we know all about because we played them last year. Then a game at OSU and home to USC and Oregon, so everyone has it tough. The Pac-10 is such a close conference that their is no easy schedule.

Q: The media has ASU slotted 3rd in the Pac-10. What's your opinion on that?

A: I don't care, they picked us 9th last year, and 2nd two years ago, so they have us all over the map. We've been inconsistent and just do what we can control.

Q: Are you surprised to see USC going for 3 straight national titles?

A: No, you got to give Pete credit, he got it done recruiting, and all his recruits have got it done on the field. Going back to UO (University of Oregon), we all knew that SC would get back on a roll, I think they were picked to win the Pac-10 15 straight years, and it helps when they are in the recruiting hotbed of Los Angeles.

Wide Receiver Derek Hagan

Q: How much will this team miss Andrew Walter?

A: I personally will miss him, we had such a great connection, he knew how to make the big plays, and he had confidence in me. It felt like he always knew exactly where I was going to be. But Sam is going to pick right up where Drew left.

Q: ASU was picked 3rd by the media.. How do you feel about that?

A: I'm not surprised, it's just the media, the outcome can be different.

Q: Last time ASU was picked this high, the team had a tough season, how do you avoid that?

A: You just have to give the game everything you have, just give it your all and face the competition head on.

Q: What are your impressions of the schedule this season?

A: The USC and LSU games are obviously huge. SC embarrassed us last year, we've got to prove to them we are for real, and they are coming to our house.

Q: Being a SoCal native, does that make you want SC more?

A: Growing up I never liked SC and UCLA, I have a hatred for them, we're going to be ready for SC.

Q: Being a guy that has always been under the radar, how gratifying is it to finally get some accolades?

A: It's great to be honored, but winning football games is all that matters...

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