Players acknowledged in the loss were on offense Sam Keller. "I thought Sam played much better than he played against Temple in week one," Koetter remarked. "His stats were impressive. He broke the ASU record by Paul Justin. He had 56 attempts in a game without an interception. The previous record was 51." Not only was Dale Robinson the defensive player of the game, but he was also named Pac-10 Player of the week. "Dale will be our extra captain for the Northwestern game," Koetter said. No players on special teams was recognized.
The Sun Devil skipper was obviously disappointed in the outcome of the game. "It was a game we had control of," Koetter remarked. "People want to talk about big plays in this game. There were a lot of big plays in the game. We had 189 big plays in this game. In my opinion, the biggest play of the game is when we fumbled the ball at the nine-yard line. That could possibly have put the game away right there."
"Everyone was talking about the two blocked kicks and those are huge," Koetter continued. "That was a 17-point turn around, but what people are forgetting about, as bad as those plays were, we still came back and got the lead two more times in the game. We had a break down on the special teams plays, but that is no different than a break down on any other play. I couldn't have been more proud of our team and they way they competed." Koetter was proud of his team's spirit, and believed that this spirit will help them respond this week and later in the season.
This week's game marks a rematch from last year's meeting, where the Sun Devils defeated the Wildcats 30-21. "The fact that we saw (Wildcats' QB) Basanez, and how good he is, will help our players on defense prepare because they know what to expect," Koetter explained. "How we played him defensively this and last year will not be the same because we have a different defensive coordinator. They lost a lot of guys on defense as well. I think there are only three guys from last year who are playing much right now. Northwestern is coming in with a 2-0 record and we are coming off of a big loss. I don't think we are going to have to say too much more to our guys to get them ready."
The Sun Devils' offense played well in its first two games, and provided to be the explosive unit many believed it could be in the 2005 season. "We should have a good offense with the kind of players we have," said Koetter. "We have excellent receivers, tight ends, and a good offensive line. There was never any doubt in my mind about Sam. In the LSU game, if we had to play it over again, we were a little too conservative in the first half. We had to go through a feeling out process. We studied film and they did 40% of what we thought they would, but 60% different. Once we got rolling in the second half the only way they were going to stop us is if we stopped ourselves. I think our offense is doing okay, but if we could have done a little better, then we would be 2-0."
When asked about the two special teams plays, the blocked field goal and the blocked punt, and if they were correctable mistakes, Koetter replied: "As you can see on the film, if you turn a 6'5, 290 lb man loose and let him break through right where the ball is being kicked, you're not going to make it. We had trouble all night with field goal protection and our guys blocking how they should. LSU had more than one block scheme."
" It's like plugging holes in the dike," Koetter continued. "You fix one problem and another one springs up. An individual player whiffed the block and the guy came clean and blocked it. It's a total screw up on our part. We have one of the best field goal kickers in the country and you don't expect to have a leak in that situation."
"On the fake punt, we actually had 6 guys out of 11 do the wrong thing. It is a play we have been practicing since the first week of Camp Tontozona. Chris MacDonald didn't do anything wrong. It's not his fault; he didn't have a chance. But we didn't block it right. Those plays cost us points, but you can't blame the game on a few plays."
Coach Koetter's Press Conference Notes and Quotes
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