Q: Where does this win rank on the satisfaction scale?
"Probably number one."
Q: Rudy (Carpenter) said that some of the coaches this week said that no one is talking about you with U of A's three-game win streak and that you can be like the Tiger lying in the weeds waiting to pounce. Seeing what you saw the first quarter – how satisfying was that?
"We thought it was important to come out blazing. We talked about having an attack mentally, playing to win, not being afraid to lose, not being intimidated by their win streak. We know we can play. It has been an up and down season for us – there's reasons for that. But I'm very proud with how the guys played, competed, played physical…we played this physical last week against UCLA. We lost the turnover battle, didn't finish drives in the red zone. Today we win the turnover battle and we finished in the red zone. The Pac-10 is so close; a few plays decide each game. We played hard against UCLA, and you would think we're the worst team in America. We just didn't make any plays (against UCLA) and today we made plays."
Q: What do you attribute your success in the first quarter, going up 21-0? For the most part, it was your normal offense with no trick plays?
"We played aggressive, we called things down the field and we seem to play better when we do that. They guys made the plays. That third down when Rudy hit Mike Jones on that post route – we didn't make that play last week and now we make it this week and you build momentum off of that."
Q: Can you talk about your decision to go on 4th and 8 (which resulted in the TD pass to Jamaal Lewis)?
"We put our little offensive punt play out there, and they saw Rudy out there and called a time out. That was one of those deals where you're too far for a field goal kicking into the wind, and too close to punt, so you might as well go for it. Great play by Rudy Carpenter – that was a route we just put in this week. We actually copied it from Washington State, so give the Washington State coaches credit. We didn't throw it to Jamaal one time all week in practice, and Rudy hits it for a 4th and 8 touchdown."
Q: Can you talk about the offensive line and the running game today?
"Let me just say about the offensive line: in essence we're down four starters. Brandon Rodd tore his MCL in the first quarter of the UCLA game and played the whole game with it. What a stud. He tried to do it again today and in warm-ups couldn't go. Here comes Richard Tuitu'u getting his first college start against U of A. Then Paul Fanaika goes down in the first quarter and Shawn Lauvao comes in…I'm just very proud of those guys."
Q: Can you comment about Arizona's run game. It has helped them in these three straight wins…
"33 yards rushing…(versus) 215 yards rushing. Not much to say about it. They didn't have a running game and we did. Ryan Torain 139 yards, goes over a 1,000…our defense – tremendous game plan by Bill Miller. Great job by our front seven to shut down the run. Chris Henry is a good back. Not today though…
"Then Ryan Torain…to go over a 1,000 (yards in a season) was the MVP of his junior college ball game last year. That's back-to-back MVP's for him, a 1,000-yard rusher that says a lot about the tight ends and the O-line. Keegan (Herring) ran well when he had his chances. Dimitri Nance run well as well."
Q: Can you talk about making three bowl games in a row?
"As I said earlier on the field, everyone thinks it's a walk in the park to maintain a college football program in the Pac-10. There are ten good football programs in the Pac-10. They're all trying to get to bowl games. Everyone thinks this is just so easy to do, it isn't. One or two little things go wrong here or there…take a gut like Rudy Burgess. That guy has been fantastic the last two years. Probably a bowl MVP the last two bowl games. Rudy is leading us in receiving after three, four games and between concussions and a high ankle sprain; we've basically been without Rudy all year. We've been without Terry all year. We've been without Carnahan and Berg…it's hard to get to this level and maintain it. Teams 2 through 9 in the Pac-10 are separated by a razor's edge. Everybody wants to win and win big. I want to win and win big, but it's not as easy as it looks and not very many teams go to three straight bowl games."
Q: Did Terry (Richardson) have a setback of the knee this week?
"Yes, he did have that and is still sick. Terry has just had a rough year all around."
Q: You said to another reporter earlier, "what a way to go out…"?
"Someone just asked me about speculation about my job. I don't make the decision on that. I have got the utmost respect for Lisa Love…the utmost respect for (ASU) President Crow. They are the decision makers on that and they have to do what they think is best for Arizona State. It has been my privilege to be the head coach at Arizona State for the last six seasons, and if this is the end for me this is a great way to go out."
Q: If there's a decision made one way or anther, would you like to coach the bowl game?
"I'll worry about that when the time comes. I fully expect…if you start something you finish it."
Post-Game Comments From Dirk Koetter
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