Sept. 17, 2012
Very pleased with the victory on Saturday. First and foremost, I want to compliment our players on how hard they played. Their intensity, passion and emotion - that was the difference in the final analysis. I am also very proud of our assistant coaches. I couldn't be prouder of a group of guys as I was on Saturday night. It was a complete team effort. It's good to get back on the winning track and give us a little momentum going into Pac-12 play this weekend. It was a very positive way to get back on track.
There was a lot of drama at the end of the game, and it's our own fault for that. We had the game well in hand heading into the fourth, and they cut into that lead and it led to the bizarre change of events at the end. All came out ok, and it was what it was, as they say.
On personnel for Arizona State:
We expect John White to be back on the field. That will be a positive for us. Brian Blechen is coming back from a suspension and Eric Rowe is hopefully coming back as well. That will help our cause.
On creating fumbles:
We do a nice job coaching it in practice. It's disappointing that we were not as opportunistic as we could have been. We dropped an interception and were 1-of-5 recovering fumbles. As long as we keep hustling and working, it will even out in the long run. The defensive staff does a good job preaching turnovers and stripping the football, and that's what we saw on Saturday night.
On Jon Hays:
A great deal of credit goes to Hays. He is a mobile quarterback and is as tough as nails. He took some shots on Saturday night, and he picks himself up every time. His mental and physical toughness are infectious for this football team. The offensive line did play better, but he makes them better with his ability to move around. His performance in the throw game in particular was one of the big reasons we were able to win the game.
On Arizona State:
They are a good football team. They had a big win over Illinois and were right in the game against Missouri. They have a spread attack offense - 3-4 wide receiver sets, a mobile quarterback, like the spread offense we have faced so many times. Defensively they bring pressure. They have athletes all over the place, and the thing that stands out the most is their speed and athleticism across the board.
On the quarterbacks:
[Hays] threw the ball exceptionally well on Saturday. He had nearly 200 yards and no picks. He made no bad decisions. Travis Wilson is still going to have his role. We are disappointed at what we have gotten out of that package. We need to do a better job coaching that so that we can put him in a position to succeed.
On the offensive line:
Jeremiah Poutasi played every snap except the one after his helmet came off. For a true freshman to step into a game like that, he was outstanding for a kid in that situation. It was a rivalry game and his first real DI experience, we are very proud of what he did. I think we had the entire offensive line grade out at over 80 percent. We had more yards blocked up than we came away with. I thought they were improved, certainly over a week or two. I am pleased with the progress, but we have a long way to go. We are not anywhere near where we need to be.
On Brian Blechen:
He is ready. He has worked his tail off. He has taken virtually every rep for us on the scout teams. If there is a positive aspect, he has handled it the right way and done everything he could do - he was a quarterback on the scout teams, a receiver, whatever we have needed him to do he has done.