Erickson, Carpenter Tuesday Quotes

ASU Head Coach Dennis Erickson and quarterback Rudy Carpenter talked to the media following the first day of spring practice.

Dennis Erickson

On his observations of the first spring practice

"There was a lot of enthusiasm. We've already done a lot of things offensively and defensively, so you can see that we're not learning from day one. We executed better compared to a year ago. We made some changes offensively and defensively that I thought looked good. You can't really tell until you're in pads, but I thought the enthusiasm was good. We practiced well all year last year, and we continued that today."

"The attitude is good. Ever since I stepped on this campus, the attitude has been good. These guys want to be successful, and last year, they tasted some success. They want to continue it."

Erickson added that there were no injuries other than what has already been reported. Defensive end Luis Vasquez had a test and left mid- practice.

On his impressions of QB Samson Szakacsy who underwent elbow surgery a few months ago

"Samson looked good. I was impressed. He has a ways to go as far as strengthening that, but he looked a lot better than last year, obviously."

On his impressions of the three mid-year JC transfers

"I'll have to look at tape to evaluate the JC guys."

On the availability of WR Mike Jones in spring practice

"Jones' time is with baseball right now. When he's not in baseball practice, he can come out here in sweats and run routes and do other things. We won't scrimmage him, but he can come out and work on his timing. He can still be involved."

On what he's trying to accomplish in spring practice

"The biggest thing with us is getting better. We had a decent year last year, but we have to be better. If we want to compete for a championship, we have to be better. We learned that when we played USC. We have to keep improving."

Rudy Carpenter

On his expectations for this season coming off a 10-3 campaign

"We got so close to the top last year with ten wins, but I think some guys still have a bad taste in their mouth from the three (games) we did lose. But everyone is walking around with more confidence, more swagger and I think guys believe in the coaching staff and believe in what we're doing and that we can get it done. I feel good about our schedule this year and with who we have coming back we have a chance."

On how important is spring practice in terms of development

"I think it's big in fact that it's such a long time before the season and it helps us just running around here and doing football stuff. It does also help the development. Guys that didn't have a chance to play with 1's, the 2's a whole lot and get real live reps, especially in scrimmage time. For guys like myself, it helps us to work on the things we need to work on – mechanics and certain things like that. So it's good for everybody."

On the play of RB Shaun DeWitty

"I'm excited to see what Jarrell Woods and Shaun DeWitty can do. I'm sure some of you guys remember two springs ago, Shaun DeWitty was so productive in the spring game. He can really play and has been unfortunately hurt. It will be interesting to see what he can do for us this year. I think he will have a big season along with Jarrell."

On how it has been working with a new center

"It's different. Everything is different. Mike Pollak was such a huge part of our team, a leader for us for two years, and a huge presence in the huddle. Thomas (Altieri) is gonna do a good job and Garth (Gerhart) is gonna do a good job."

On whether it seems that there's more competition for positions compared to last year and maybe because of that players are more focused

"There's always competition in every position. I don't know if people are worried about it, but I think guys out here are just trying to play football, have fun and learn the offense and their responsibilities. I think that all around our practices are more competitive. I think it's fun for a lot of guys."

On his opinion of the four and five-WR sets the team will run and how beneficial it will be for him

"It's awesome because we have so many good receivers…the more guys we can get on the field the more they can be productive. All those guys can really play and it gives us a chance to really throw the ball, get it out of my hands and throw it to the playmakers and also stretch the field. It's gonna be a lot of fun. We haven't had four wide receivers (sets) since I've been here."

"Last year when we were in our offense, it was tough. One, because we had to deal with a lot of stuff we were getting from the defense pressure wise. Two, it was the first year in the system, so we couldn't get a whole lot in. So now we're getting a whole lot more stuff in, we're cutting back on some of the protections but we're getting some more passing routes in, more formations in. It's only gonna help us out and we have playmakers that can catch it and run."

On the catching abilities of TE Dane Guthrie

"I think we've been talking about Dane for three years and everyone has been waiting for Dane to do something. This is Dane's first real opportunity that he will get to be a huge part of our team and right now he's going with the 1's. Everybody can see that he can run, he can catch, he can block and he can be a huge playmaker for us."

On what specific techniques he's been working on to improve

"I'm really working on my release right now – it's a lot higher and the ball is coming out a lot faster. I've been a lot more accurate so far. I have been getting nothing but positive comments so far. It's gonna take a lot of time, a lot of work. I know I can throw completions. I know I can throw touchdowns. I've done a lot of everything. But this spring I'm really working on trying to check the ball down, and throwing the ball away just so we can get back and line up again and get positive plays or avoid negative plays. It's a conscious effort and I don't people really understand how much you have to practice throwing the ball away and checking it down."

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