Go Utes!
Go Utes!
Quotes from Dennis Erickson's Press Conference




Feb. 20, 2013

Opening statement:
It's a pleasure to be here and have an opportunity to work with Kyle and the coaching staff, who I've gotten to spend some time with over the last three days. And the players, that's what it's always about to me. That's what I miss the most in the year that I didn't coach. It's fun to be here. The new facility is going to be unbelievable. This place has a tremendous chance to win this league, be involved in this league. It's about facilities, it's about getting used to the competition, the league itself. We played here my last year at Arizona State, and the place was packed. The students were unbelievable. You can always tell good football programs by how the students are and how excited they are about the game. It was fun to play in that atmosphere and be able to come out of it alive. That's special too. And then the town of Salt Lake has grown so much over the years. A town that's ready for the Pac-12. I'm excited to have the opportunity to be here.

On adapting to a new job:
[Kyle's] the boss. He's the head coach. I'm here to try to help him be successful, whatever it takes to be successful. I'm brought in to help the group offensively. By the way, people are upset over the last couple of years, but I think we forget how good Utah was 4-5 years ago. We're trying to get back to those roots a little bit as far as what we're doing offensively. But that's what it's all about, being able to blend in and do what it takes to be successful here. What's different is I'm just coaching the offense. I don't have to deal with the other issues that go along with being a head coach, which I've had to do for 40 years. Believe me, I don't miss it that much, at this point anyway.

On the offensive personnel:
Travis [Wilson] obviously has some experience coming back at quarterback. The thing that we are doing right now as a staff is looking at the offensive personnel. They know the personnel, I don't know the personnel, to be honest with you. I haven't had enough time to look at a lot of tapes, so we are sitting down as an offensive staff and talking about personnel and getting information all the time. We'll continue to get that information. As far as what we want to do offensively, we've got some receivers who are very skilled, some real big receivers, reminds me of some that I've had over the years. Like I said, a quarterback who is tough and young and is going to get better all the time. I look at the offensive front and there are some awfully big guys there who can move around. That all takes some time. That's what we're looking at. We're trying to get back into running the shotgun most of the time, running some read-option stuff, spreading them out, doing those types of things that were done here before. We all believe in the same thing. It's just a matter of all being on the same page and all knowing what we want to get done and all of us have the same goal to do it and just get better on offense.

 

 

On satisfaction of career and reviving vs. maintaining programs:
It's been about both. As I look through my career, which is starting to look a little bit like an obituary now, the times that I was an assistant for some great coaches like Jim Sweeney, and Jack Elway, competing against Lavell Edwards, who's a good friend of mine, and the people that you meet in this business is incredible. I look back to when I was at Idaho, and Wyoming for a short time, and Washington State and Oregon State where we were able to come in and turn programs around. There was a lot of reward in that. Taking a program over that hadn't been very good and then all of a sudden you're competing - I look at the time at Oregon State where they hadn't had a winning season in 30-some years, and we were able to come in and having winning seasons. I had one team that came very close to competing for the national championship. That was very, very rewarding. And then you look at the years at Miami - I don't know if there is ever an experience being around a program and players as storied as that program is and was. People talk about Miami and some of the bad things, they don't know the good things that happened. They don't know the players that played there and how hard they worked, and how important football was to them, and the culture that they came from. All those things that people don't realize. It was Miami against everyone else, and I'm sure that we created a few of those problems ourselves. But that experience, I learned so much from those players, and competing, and how important football was to them to get out of how they lived and get to another way of life. But it was always about the program. It was never about an individual. There have been great players. I talked to Warren Sapp the other day, he was a great one, and I keep in contact with Ray Lewis all the time. Probably the most famous one that I had was The Rock, I'm not sure because of a football player but he's a heck of a movie star. But it was so important to those guys, and the pride that they had in each other, and the program itself, was what was so important. People could say what they want, but they always hung together, they always played together, it was all about them, not one guy. I learned so much from that particular experience that I'll never forget. Of all the places I've been, they keep in contact with me probably more than anywhere I've ever been because they care about each other. You look at the winning programs in the country, and that's how those teams were. They were together. The program was together, and they've won together. And I see that here. Just being around the players for not very long, that those guys care about each other. That they're important to each other.

On what attracted him to the job:
I've always had great respect for Kyle. I go back looking at this program over the years when I coached at Wyoming and we competed against them. Ron McBride is a good friend. I saw a program that was making a change. A change to this league. To me, it was a real challenge to make that move, to help them make that move, knowing that we can. That's the biggest reason. I'm a west coast guy, I wanted to stay out on the west coast. A lot of my recruiting contacts are in California, although there are some in Florida. I just thought this would be a great opportunity to get back and try to help a program get to the next level, so that's basically why I'm here.

On calling plays:
I did it three years ago at Arizona State. My last year and a half I didn't, but I was always involved. I found out one thing over the years, that if you have good players, plays are very easy to call. When you have your quarterback that's hurt all the time, it's pretty hard to call plays. It's all relative to who calls plays, whether I'll call plays or Brian will call plays, we don't know that. We're just going to work together as a group and see what works out the best.

On this maybe being his last job:
What's the lifespan of a guy? I can't give you a time. I don't know my timetable, period. I know I'm happy coaching here. I don't miss being a head football coach at all. I could see myself being here the rest of my career - could be three years, could be four years, could be two years. Probably not 10 years. I just take it a day at a time and see what I can do to help make this program successful.

On the up-tempo game trending in the Pac-12:
That's what we've been talking about. We want to do it. As you look at the top 10 offenses in college football, all of them run 75-80 plays. You can't run 75-80 plays and huddle. There is a reason they get all those yards, it's because they're not huddling. There is a lot to be said for that. And in saying that, doing that is a little harder than people think. There are a lot of communication things; you have to know what you want to do. We've met the last couple of days, and it's been fun because we all want to do the same thing, and that's going to be one of them. We're going to no-huddle. I think eventually that's what we'll do. I think that we'll also be able to have the pace to not huddle, but be able to slow it down. Not huddling is one thing. The pace of the game is the other. There are different ways to do it. In the NFL, there is a lot of non-huddle but they don't do it all the time because that's how the game is played. But that's what we're planning on doing.

On advice for a young coach:
Pay attention, ask questions. Brian is a superstar in our business. I've spent 3-4 days with him, and he is. You're not a player like that, and do the things he does as a competitor and not be able to transfer that to a coach. We'll spend a lot of time together. Hopefully he'll learn from me, because I know I'll learn from him. It's a two-way street. You've always got something to learn.

On the first day on the job:
It's been a real tough two weeks for me. Two weeks ago today, I had a hip replacement. That's a devastating surgery, it really is. I had it last Wednesday, and have been through all the physical therapy and stuff, and be able to walk in here, which I was proud of. I told my wife I was not going to Utah with a cane. I was not sending that message to those players. If I have to crawl, I'm crawling in here. But it's been an interesting two weeks for me. I interviewed right before the hip replacement and I've been in Phoenix for about seven or eight days trying to heal this thing, then I got on a plane yesterday and here I am. I like the colors. I think it looks pretty good on me. I'm an Under Armour fan, and it's great putting that on.

Utah.edu Pac-12 Utah Utah Sports Properties