October 04, 2011

Quotes: Dennis Erickson on Utah game

Posted: October 04, 2011

ON GARTH GERHART’S INJURY:
“He’s questionable. There’s a chance he might play. We’ll see as time goes on. Obviously, he was pretty sore yesterday when I last saw him. He’ll get treatment. There’s a possibility that he might play. If not, Kody (Koebensky) will play. Andrew Sampson will be in there as the backup center, so we’ll have to play both during the week anyway because I don’t know if Garth will be able to practice much even if he does play. Kody did a commendable job, I thought, Saturday night. Andrew has played center, he was our backup last year so it’s not like it’s a hard move for him. We have some moves that we can make up front. We can always move (Dan) Knapp inside if Aderious (Simmons) is healthy. Adam Tello can play in there. There are a lot of things that can happen for us with Jamil Douglas and people like that. But he has a chance to play. “

ON THE OREGON STATE GAME:
“We didn’t play very well in the first half. You emphasize coming out and starting fast. When we play well, we start fast. We didn’t start fast, obviously, when we played Illinois. We didn’t start fast in this game. We finally settled down in the last three quarters of the game. I’m proud of how we came back and played. I thought defensively, the key was holding them to six points after the turnovers. Offensively, we didn’t play like we needed to. I thought defensively, we’re getting better all of the time. Kicking game, the returns and coverages, were probably the best we’ve had all year. Obviously, Alex (Garoutte) missed that field goal, so he has to start becoming accountable and doing the things that he has to do for us to win games because we’ve got some games that will probably come down to that, as we all know.”

ON EXPECTATIONS FOR UTAH:
“They’re still a good football team. I don’t know if Jordan Wynn is going to play or not. The other quarterback Jon Hays is a kid that transferred from Nebraska-Omaha. He’s a pretty good player. If you watched him when he came into the football game when Jordan went down, he was very athletic. He can run the football. I’m sure if he’s the quarterback, they’ll do some different things in the running game. They have a good defense and their offensive front is really good. They have a good runner. Obviously, if you lose your quarterback, it’ll hurt you a little bit. They have really good players though. They’re really physical on defense. They’re a really good defensive football team. To me, going up there is going to be difficult, so we have to find a way to play on the road and win some football games on the road. It’s going to be like we thought all along going into the season, going in there is going to be tough.”

ON PREPARING FOR THE BACKUP QUARTERBACK:
“Some of it will be the same. I’ve competed against Coach Norm Chow a couple of times, so I mean they’ll probably try to get (Hays) out on the corner as they did with Jordan, so I don’t know that much will change a lot. They just might call something more than they would, depending on who the quarterback is.”

ON THE USE OF THE NICKEL DEFENSE:
“It kind of depends on who you play and what people do. You get them in long yardage situations, and they’re in three or four-wides, there’s no sense of having a linebacker in there. When they get in two tight ends, and that’s their personnel group, it’s kind of hard to play a defensive back at linebacker. Down and distance dictates that, but we’ll continue to play depending on the situation. I thought (Alden) Darby played well, but Darby came in and played corner in the second half. He had a good game and he’s getting better all the time. He’s a playmaker. “

ON DARBY’S CHARACTER:
“He’s a fun guy. He enjoys dancing and singing and all of that kind of stuff and he just enjoys life. He brings a lot of fresh air to the program. He’s really a good leader in his own way. I really enjoy being around him. He’s upbeat all the time. He has a lot of fire in him. He’s just that type of guy. That’s his personality. He’s a guy who plays like it’s touch football on a Saturday some place. “

ON Jamal Miles:
“He’s a weapon. I’ve been around some pretty good athletes. He’s just fast, quick, and explosive. You name it. He’s not the fastest guy in the world, but he accelerates, which you saw on the punt return. Really there were just three unblocked guys, and he avoided three of them. When you do that, you have a chance. Obviously he has great speed, and he’s probably one of the better all-around football players I’ve ever been around. He probably could play corner.“

ON Kody Koebensky:
“He played OK for his first shot in there. It’s not easy to come in. He hadn’t played. You come into a Pac-12 football game and you’re the backup center, there couldn’t be anything worse. That’s position is the hardest position to play in football. To me, it’s almost like losing a quarterback. That’s how important that position is because it starts every play. If you don’t get the ball back, obviously you can’t do anything, besides blocking assignments and those types of things. I thought he came in and did a commendable job. He’ll get better this week just because he’s played under fire. He’ll practice well. He’ll have the whole week to probably practice with the first group. I look for him to get better.”

ON BROCK OSWEILER’S MISTAKES:
“The reality of it is the two interceptions were good plays by the defensive back. The first one, the out route, we didn’t get any separation on the route. The guy closed on it. He made a great play. The same thing on the slant route that they intercepted. The third one in the third quarter was a bad read. The safety sat in there, and he shouldn’t have thrown it where he threw it. The other turnover, he tried to run with the football, and he didn’t secure it and it got knocked out. Those were the four turnovers. That Oregon State corner made two really great plays.“

ON CAMERON MARSHALL’S LONG TOUCHDOWN RUN:
“There had to have been five or six (missed tackles). I didn’t count, but it was a pretty incredible run when you look at it. You don’t see those very often. I’m sure, like I would be, Oregon State is talking about not tackling very well, which probably they didn’t. But I thought it was a pretty good run. “

ON UTAH’S DEFENSE:
“They’re very physical. They’ll play three-down and they’ll play four-down. They’ll mix it up quite a bit. They’ll probably play a little bit more three-down than we’ve seen. They’re very physical and very big up front in their front seven. They’re big. They’re probably the biggest front we’ve played. They played the run pretty well. They played good on defense. We’re going to have to play better on offense than we did last week. They’ll blitz and they’ll bring them from different places. When you play a three-man front, you can bring them from different spots. Then they can play four-down and sit some people up, and they can create some confusion for you. They’re sound. They do a great job of coaching. They believe in what they’re doing. It’s just going to be tough up there. We’ve known that since the schedule came out.”

ON ALTERNATIVE KICKERS:
“We don’t have a lot of alternatives. Alex (Garoutte) is kicking the ball well in practice. He kicked off extremely well. If you look at the positives, that’s probably the best he’s ever kicked off. He kicked from that hash during the week exactly the same way. For me, it’s not a matter of ability whatsoever. It’s focus and just getting the confidence. To me, the worst thing you can do is start moving kickers around. I’ve seen all of our guys kick that are out there. Alex is our kicker, and he’ll get better. To me that’s the best way to handle it. I’m not going to put pressure on him that if he misses one, he’ll be pulled. I just don’t do that, unless there’s a whole bunch of them for a long time. Like I said, he’s a good kicker. The snaps have been good, the holds have been good, so we’ll just fight though it like we have to. A lot of teams have those types of issues. It just depends on how you want to deal with it. They’re college kickers—they’re not NFL kickers. “

ON Josh Hubner:
“Josh has done a great job of punting and knocking the ball down inside of the 20. He’s getting rid of it. We’ve covered kicks a lot better because he puts it up and gives it a lot more hang time. He’s done a good job. We’ve struggled a little bit in our kickoff return in the last couple of weeks. People have been spending a lot of time on that because we’ve been pretty successful. We’ve had some guys step up because we have not been very good on kickoff cover up until this week. That’s something that you have to emphasize. You have good players going down there, now just how important is it to go down and cover? We put James Morrison in their on kickoff coverage and he did a heck of a job. A lot of those guys stepped up and played pretty well.  We just have to keep where we’re at in our kicking game. We’re playing pretty well on special teams right now.”

ON JAMAAR JARETT’S PERFORMANCE:
“Jamaar played extremely well in that football game. He’s getting better all the time. The great thing about Jamaar is he’s a senior and he’s just starting to step up. He’s starting to get better. The thing about Jamaar that has really impressed me this year is how he practices and how he’s trying to improve to get better. Coach Brown is teaching him some different things, and he’s picking up on it. He’s doing well. “

ON WILL SUTTON’S INJURY:
“Will had a very slight concussion. I don’t know if he’ll have contact tomorrow, but he’ll be ready to go. “