October 11, 2011

Quotes: Dennis Erickson on first road victory and facing Oregon

Posted: October 11, 2011

ON WINNING ON THE ROAD:
“It was a good win. One thing about us is we’ve been pretty opportunistic about things that have happened in the game. We didn’t really play as well as we can. We get those turnovers like we did, then we scored points. Getting turnovers is one thing. That’s great. But then getting points is the real key. Obviously, that was the turning point in the football game. As you look at it, we played good, at times. We have to look at it and obviously improve a heck of a lot for the opponent we have coming up this week. “

ON GAMEPLANNING FOR OREGON:
“We have to learn how to go at warp speed. They are what they are. They do it week-in and week-out, year-in and year-out since Chip (Kelly) has been there. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a team as fast offensively. It’s unbelievable watching. You stop and stop and stop them and then, all of a sudden, they go 70 yards. It’s fun watching them because we try to do some of the same things they do on offense. Defensively, they’re very athletic - just like they were a year ago. You can think you’re doing okay, and then all of a sudden they put 28 points up so fast it’ll make your head spin. I don’t know if you can emulate it. We try to emulate it on offense, and at times we do. One thing is: I think our defense has seen something like that. I wouldn’t say it’s exactly like that, but it’ll help us a little bit. Playing there is obviously a difficult place to play.”

ON PLAYING THEM LAST SEASON:
“We played them good a year ago. We had opportunities, but that was a year ago and that was here at home. I think you can look at it with some of the things that we do, and some of the things that we didn’t do in that football game. You study that game of course, but it’s a whole new ballgame. It’s different. I thought we tackled very well against them last year. We have to tackle better than we have been tackling. They have (LaMichael) James, or (Kenjan) Barner, De’Anthony Thomas. With those guys, if you miss them, they go.”

ON PREPARATION FOR LAMICHAEL JAMES PLAYING OR NOT:
“He’s a great player. He might be one of the best players in the country. There is no question about that. But in saying that, they have got so much depth. You take Barner, you take De’Anthony Thomas - who we tried to recruit - and they’re something special. They’re solid in all areas. They’re not going to try to change anything. They do what they do and they’ve got depth to do it, so you don’t treat it any different whether he plays or whether he doesn’t. “

ON OVERCOMING INJURIES TO STAY SUCCESSFUL:
“(There is) a lot of leadership within. The football teams that I have been around that have leadership within - whether they’re seniors or juniors or sophomores - but they have that leadership to persevere at the end of football games. We have that. We knew going in that we have a lot of seniors that have been through some things here. They just keep competing all the time. To me, it’s leadership.”

ON HIS OWN MESSAGE TO TEAM:
“I think you have to be constant in your message. My message has been very constant since I’ve been here. You have to do what you have to do. Improve, get better all the time. You need to continue to recruit speed. Those things take a little bit of time. We have stayed and persevered through some tough times. We never got off what we believe in. Again, every week is a new week. You never know what’s going to happen. We’ve had six weeks. We’ve had fun five. One was not so much fun. We’ve got a lot of games left. “

ON BROCK OSWEILER’S DEVELOPMENT:
“He’s matured. He’s become a huge leader on this football team as we all know. He’s playing much more mature than he did two years ago when he started that game (in Oregon). You have to think: he was an 18-year-old kid out of Kalispell, Montana going into Autzen Stadium for his first start. That’s pretty hard. Now, he’s been here for a while and going into the same stadium, which is just as hard; but he’s played games and made throws and understands what we’re doing offensively. It’s totally different for him.”

ON TEAM’S CONFIDENCE:
“You don’t win games without being confident. There’s a fine line between being confident and overconfident. We’re a confident football team. They believe in each other. I don’t know if you even call it confidence, they have a strong belief in each other and a strong belief that their teammate is going to do the job he’s supposed to do and give the effort he’s supposed to. In the first six football games we’ve done that extremely well. We’ve overcome some injuries, which I’m proud of because young guys have stepped up when they needed to. To me, it’s a whole team thing. The feeling of a football team is finally there. That’s the most important thing.”

ON OFFENSIVE LINE PLAY AGAINST UTAH:
“We played OK. Garth (Gerhart) played, and that helped. He’s probably 70 percent. He wasn’t full speed. (Tyler) Sulka played like it was his first game, but he did some good things. You can see that down the road he’s going to be an outstanding football player and the kind of young guy that we want that can step in and compete like we want. He made some mental mistakes that hurt him a little bit, but other than that, he did okay. They were a very physical front. Their down guys were pretty big. We played OK. We were able to give Brock some time to throw when we needed to. We’ve got to run the football better and more consistently than we have. I’m not sure what we’re going to do up front this week. We’ve talked about it. I think Aderious (Simmons) is pretty close to being 100 percent, which would make a difference at right tackle for us. The other thing was that Dan (Knapp) really hadn’t played left tackle since the UC Davis game. He moved over to the left side and that was a little bit different for him. We played well enough to win the football game, but it wasn’t our best effort of the year.”

ON LACK OF A RUNNING GAME:
“Their scheme really kind of took a lot of the run away. It wasn’t as much who we blocked or how we ran. They had a lot of guys in the box and they played man coverage. That’s going to happen to us. What we’ve got to be able to do in that situation is exactly what we did on Saturday. We threw the football. They manned up against us and we made a lot of big plays in the passing game. Brock did a nice job of executing that. I thought Coach Mazzone and the staff did a good job of seeing what was going on. I thought there were times when they said, ‘Hey, we aren’t going to run it.’ I thought that forces you to do some different things in the passing game and throw it up the field, which we haven’t done a lot of. That’s what they said they were going to do. They weren’t going to let us throw it to Jamal (Miles) or somebody out there, and they forced us to do things up the field, and we did it, and our receivers got open. If they force us to do things like that and we can’t do it, then we have some problems.”

ON OSAHON IRABOR’S INJURY:
“He should be fine. He has a bruised back, but he was busy with the trainers yesterday. They feel like he should be able to practice tomorrow.”

ON OREGON’S DEFENSE:
“Nick Aliotti has been there for a long time and I’ve known him for years. They do a lot of the same things every year and they do them extremely well. They zone blitz you. They’re playing a lot more three-man front this year than they have. A lot of people are going to that to create some confusion, particularly against spread teams to try to screw the blocking schemes up. They’re very athletic. They can run; that’s what they’ve been recruiting on. They play well. One thing they can do is they can gamble because they score pretty fast. They’re very sound. They don’t make a lot of mistakes. They force the offense to do some things right. “

ON TEAM’S INJURIES:
“Junior (Onyeali) is getting better and better all the time. I don’t know what his status will be this week, but for sure he’ll be ready after the bye. Osahon, like I said, will play. Rashad Ross got dinged on the opening kickoff of the game, so he didn’t play at all. He’s a guy in man coverage that has tremendous speed and can really help us in a lot of ways. He got hit pretty good. “

ON THE ATMOSPHERE OF PLAYING A BIG GAME:
“It’s great. That’s what you play for. That’s what these guys are here for to play in a game like this. (ESPN) Gameday: all we’ve been doing is watching it, and we’ll still watch it, but at least we’ll be involved in it a little bit. That’ll be kind of fun, to see what head Lee (Corso) puts on his head, that kind of stuff. It’s exciting. It’s exciting for all of us. It’s a big game against a big program and a great football team. Like I said before, it’s what we’re here for, so we’ll see what happens. It’s great for the university, great for our football program. “