Dirk Koetter Press Conference Quotes

In his weekly press conference the ASU head coach reviewed the win over Washington State and preview the upcoming match-up against UCLA

Q: Can you talk about the UCLA defense?

"They play a different style. UCLA is much more of an attacking defense, and I think they were healthier than Washington State on defense. Those two ends are ranked second and third in the country in individual sacks and are combined for 22 sacks. That's very impressive by those two. They have a very quick defense and they play downfield, their safeties are very involved. A totally different style than Washington State."

Q: Can you talk why your team had had its highs and lows this season and not been consistent?

"I'm sure they're several reasons for that, injuries plays a part in that, experience plays a part in that. Were just playing with a lot of young guys on offense right now. The fact that we have had ups and downs adds and it makes difficult for the players, they have the tendency to concentrate better some weeks than others and that shows up in your preparation. We went through a faze earlier in the year not so much the last four weeks where we didn't prepare as well as you need to in the week starting with USC we have done a much better job in practice. "

"We are definitely inconsistent I don't think we have the market cornered on that, because if you look at the Pac-10 there are plenty of other teams. Look at Washington State they beat both Oregon and UCLA and then loses to us and Arizona the last two weeks. Oregon State may be the hottest team in the league goes into UCLA and doesn't look like the same team as last week. I think a lot of that has to do with 18-21 year old males in college."

Q: Are you surprised by USC?

"I don't know if I'm surprised. I think they're a good football team. USC has three difficult games remaining. I didn't expect what would happen to Cal last week, that's the biggest surprise last week. USC is sitting there with Cal, Norte Dame, and UCLA to play, there are probably 15 teams in the country that are very close and I don't watch Ohio State and Michigan enough to know how much better they are, but there are about 15 teams that are pretty darn good."

Q: Can you talk about the parity in the Pac-10 and all the teams that can qualify for bowl games?

"It's pretty even and the fact that there can be eight teams that can qualify for a bowl game that's never happened in the time I've been here. There have been years when we didn't have six teams to get to six bowls and the fact you can get eight teams and then who knows what could have had happened to Washington when their quarterback got hurt, that really changed their season. There are eight teams that are pretty competitive within the conference."

Q: What effect will UCLA's pressure defense A have on Rudy Carpenter?

"Everybody that has played UCLA - they force your quarterback to make good decisions and the get the ball out or you're going to get hit. UCLA is more of a blitzing type defense than we faced last week. There certainly going to put pressure on your quarterback."

Q: Rudy had a great game against Washington State. What has that done to him?

"I've never stopped believing that Rudy Carpenter was a good quarterback and I'm sure that there is some redemption in there. I don't look at it that way. I look at it as a continuing process as a quarterback who is only in his second year playing. We took are lot more down field shots this game because the defense they were playing let us do so, and our receivers made a lot more plays for Rudy. He would have had a bigger night if we had made plays we didn't make. I mean you take out one or two plays and Rudy played fantastic Saturday night."

Q: You're playing several underclassmen now. Is that encouraging for the future?

"No I don't think of it that way because you don't have time. We are busy getting ready for UCLA. We're playing young receivers right now and recruiting obviously is ongoing and we're going to try to better ourselves at every position through recruiting. When you say it in that context we're playing all these young guys at wide receiver does bodes well for down the road, were playing a lot of young guys."

Q: Will Rudy Burgess coming back?

"It depends on his health; the number one thing Rudy would bring to us is he is so versatile on special teams. He does so much for us on special teams. We would like to get Rudy back out there on special teams. He is very valuable covering kicks and returning kicks. The receiver versus corner - he can help us any way. In the brief amount of time he practiced last week, on Thursday he split time, a few periods on offense and defense. More than anything it is going to depend on Rudy's health what he can do on that ankle. He warmed up on Saturday and then wasn't able to go full speed and I can say that's pretty consistent with what other players in the Pac-10 are finding with this high ankle sprain. It's costing players two games sometimes even more. We'll see what three more days of rest does when we get him back to practice tomorrow. Based on what he can do we'll slide him in there. It's not much of a learning curve to get him up and running."

Q: Can you talk about preparing to face either of UCLA's quarterback?

"Supposedly Ben Olson is getting close to getting back. I understand he suited up the other night but didn't play. Cowan has done a pretty good job when he has been in there. I'm impressed with the guy. He is about 10 percent less on his completion percentage than Olson was. He adds a mobility factor that Olson didn't have. UCLA has to make that call with which quarterback they are going to go with. Cowan has done a good job while he is in there. We are going to have to be ready for either one. You are always trying to get at a quarterback to knock him down in a legal way. You never try to knock down a quarterback to get to his backup."

Q: What are the offensive comparisons between the two teams?

"I haven't really studied their offense yet but they certainly they have lost some excellent players. There is no doubt about that. Maurice Drew and Mercedes Lewis were tremendous players. I have always thought Chris Marquis was a good player. His numbers are very similar to Ryan Torain's numbers for us. I think they're almost identical in yardage. Ryan has just a slightly higher average per carry. UCLA is always going to have good skill players. Their offensive line is playing well. They did lose a lot of people so they are slowing rebuilding. When they had Drew Olson at quarterback and then they made the transition to Ben Olson who then got injured. It has been a transition for them. Last spring and even fall camp, if you listened to Karl Dorrell talk he made it look like the competition between Olson and Cowan was close for that quarterback job."

Q: Can you talk about the late touchdown against Washington State? "It was not really a decision to go for a touchdown. When we put Danny Sullivan in the game with eight minutes and 35 seconds left in the game we ran 13 plays. Twelve of those thirteen plays they all-out blitzed us. Ten of those twelve blitzes were double safety blitzes. There aren't a whole lot of plays in your play book. You are just limited in what you can do against that. And when a team uses double safety blitzes, you are either going to get next to nothing or if you break the line of scrimmage there is no one back there. And that's what happened was Preston Jones broke the line of scrimmage. If that was a thirty yard run for a touchdown, no one would be saying anything. But then he ran it down to the one yard line. I had 15 seconds to decide whether to run it straight up the middle or take a knee. There are plenty of people who think it is much more embarrassing to have someone take a knee on you than to just try to run it and see if they can stop you. Out of common courtesy I did apologize to Coach (Doba). He didn't seem to make a big deal of it. I don't know what you wanted us to do differently. We subbed with nine minutes left in the game."

Q: Can you talk about UCLA's defensive ends?

"They are very quick and they both have excellent counter moves. Their defensive coordinator puts them in positions to make plays. He brings the heat a lot. He makes it difficult with his blitz schemes to double team his ends. You have to rely on single blocks a lot of the time. I think our two tackles, Brandon Rodd and Julius Orieukwu are good pass blockers but I was just looking at those national stats and you see that they are ranked second and third and they have combined for 22 sacks, that's a huge challenge. I think we had a similar challenge last week with Washington State's ends. The difference is though Washington States went with a 3 or 4 man rush where UCLA is going to go with 5 or 6 man rushes.

Q: Can you talk about the health of safety Zach Catanese? "He had a pretty good collision in the opening kick off against Oregon State. I think I mentioned last week that his chin strap broke in half. It was hard to see on film but he got a pretty good stick on that guy. Zach is such a good player for us and he did not play well for us against Oregon State. He played so well in this game we gave him the game ball against Washington State. I think that is the mark of a good player, who can have a bad game and come back the next week and back on track. Zach has been very solid for us in his last two years. He is getting ready to play his last home game."

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