Dirk Koetter Post-Practice Quotes

Tuesday evening marked the first Sun Devil practice since they beat their archrival on Thanksgiving weekend. It also marked the first of 11 practices before the team will play in the Hawaii bowl. But some of the questions head coach Dirk Koetter fielded tonight were naturally concerning the fact that his ASU tenure is nearing an end.

Q: How was practice tonight?

A: "It was a little rusty to be honest with you, but you would expect that after nine days off. Nothing that we can't overcome."

Q: Do you approach this bowl preparation any different under the circumstances? Will there be less emphasis on developing the younger guys?

A: "We're not gonna work with the younger guys. That allows you to keep (practices) much shorter. Our main focus is to win the game and to have fun. Player development isn't high on our list right now. That's one of the big bonuses of having a bowl game – that extra player development time. These are different circumstances…we'll do everything to win the game and we're gonna have a good time doing it."

Q: What are some of the challenges you face playing a game in a place like Hawaii?

A: "The challenges are that Hawaii is a good football team and you're playing in their home stadium. Anybody who ever played Hawaii over there knows what I'm talking about. They're having a heck of a year, they're very tough at home and that place can get very loud. It's different than the regular season because we have five, six days to adjust to the time difference…for the players to get the beach out of their system. Teams that go over there on a one-day notice are always fighting that time difference, and a lot of kids that have never been to Hawaii before, so they want to do everything as fast as they can. When you go over there for approximately a week before you do have a chance to overcome that. But the main obstacle is that Hawaii is a good football team."

Q: So much has been said about their offense. What kind of defensive team are they?

A: "Their defense is a solid defense. Oregon State (who beat Hawaii last week) is one of the better teams in the conference. Hawaii's offense does get a lot of pub because of their stats. That quarterback is the real deal, they have excellent receivers…physical O-Line, physical running backs. Their defense does a good job getting the ball back to them."

Q: What did you take out of the game last week where Oregon State beat Hawaii?

A:"Without giving out too much…Hawaii is a good football team and could have easily won that game multiple times. When they get the lead, they're doubly tough. They missed a couple of field goals because it was windy and still had a chance to win it late. Obviously Oregon State gave us some ideas to go on, and Oregon State is the closest team to us that they (Hawaii) played. That's a good film for us."

Q: You talk about preparation being different…how much sooner will you start game planning?

A: "We're there – we started. We put some of (the game planning) today. We're gonna practice 11 times. Seven of them here, and we're gonna try to have all the preparation work done, so when we go over there the players can just go to practice. They don't have to spend all their time watching film, and they can spend their time watching whatever you would watch over there…"

Q: Will it be hard to keep the focus for 11 practices?

A: "That could be difficult, but we have good guys. It always looks better when it says bowl champion on your ring. They know that. Our bowl record is pretty good. You don't have to be ready to play three weeks before a game. You need to be ready 48 hours before the game up until game time. I think we'll do that."

Q: Do you think you will get some guys back for that game?

A: "Rudy Burgess looked a lot better today. I think there's a chance we'll get Chris Baloney back. He ran on the side today and looked good. Brandon Rodd will definitely be back, maybe as soon as next week."

Q: Will Terry Richardson be back?

A: "That's a good question. You never know with Terry…"

Q: Are you in the process of helping your staff finding new jobs?

A: "We spend a lot of time on the phone. Not a lot of stuff is moving right now. I'm doing everything I can to help them, with guys I know that are in a position to help them. But that's changing everyday this time of the year."

Q: Did you have a chance to talk to some NFL guys you know about Zach Miller?

A: "I have not. Zach – this is award season for him. He's making an All-American team everyday. He's only the eighth guy in ASU history to be a consensus All-American. That's huge. Zach and (tight ends coach) Tom Osborne will be at the Home Depot Awards show on Thursday night. Lots of well-deserved honors for Zach, and if this is his last (game) I hope Sun Devil fans appreciate everything that Zach Miller has brought to the table."

Q: How do you think your players are handling this situation? Are you happy with the way they're responding?

A: "This is a stressful time for the players because they have finals this week. Obviously they're excited to go to Hawaii and play in a bowl game. That's part of growing up – you have some adversities in your life. I would hope that not only the job their parents have done, but also the job that we have done with these guys the last six years will prepare them that life isn't a bowl of cherries. They're certain things that you have to get through. I try to treat these guys like men when they deserve it, which is most of the time. For the most part they're handing it good."

"You're always gonna have guys that are gonna stray off a little bit. Some guys are gonna overreact, do things that are foolish in the long run…but we're not gonna abandon these guys. Our coaching staff will handle this right – they've always have. We'll be there for them."

Q: Have you thought what the future holds for you?

A: "I have, but I'm not gonna talk about it (smile). Right now the future holds the Hawaii Bowl. When that's over, we'll worry about the rest of it."

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