Sept. 5, 2011
Head Coach Gary Pinkel
"We are going to get Kip Edwards back, which is going to be really good. Gahn McGaffie is still out for a few more weeks. Jacquies Smith has a dislocated elbow and he's out for at least this game and maybe more. Jerrell Jackson is still out with a hamstring [injury]. Will Ebner is unfortunately out. He has a high ankle sprain, and it has to heal. Travis Ruth is still out with an Achilles injury and Eric Waters is still out with a hamstring."
"Today is Tuesday for us. We've planned on this [schedule] for some time. We did the same thing when we played Nevada in 2009. We had everything in place so they could get it done. It was nice they didn't have class today, so they could get a little rest and get ready to go.
We're excited about the opportunity to go to Tempe, Ariz. and playing a really good Arizona State team. Dennis Erickson is a friend of mine, he was at Wyoming when I was coaching at Washington, and I have great respect for him. Their defense is playing exceptional. They have some great players and they run well. Offensively, their quarterback is playing outstanding. He's a big, tall guy who moves well, has a good arm, good delivery and has a lot of people around him that run fast. It will be a challenge, but we're excited about it."
On early road challenges...
"I think it's all the same. Our league is a harsh environment. We really don't talk about other players -- more important is how you play. The stadiums we go and play at are like Sun Devil Stadium. I look at it as an opportunity to play in some great venues, and this is certainly one. If you want to be good, you have to win games on the road. We all know that, so that's the challenge we have."
On the rapport between a new center and quarterback...
"I thought [Jayson] Palmgren did a pretty good job. He's never done it in the arena; he didn't do it in spring football. Fortunately he got enough work with it. Did we have a few problems? Yeah. Is it difficult for a quarterback with real low snaps? Yeah. But we anticipated that a little bit. It's not going to be perfect, but it will be better this week. James [Franklin] handled it well, and hopefully we'll continue to improve."
On the decision making of quarterback James Franklin...
"I think every quarterback has his own instincts. You don't want a guy running out of the pocket if he doesn't have to, but a lot of times you get out of the pocket and make plays. I think that's something you kind of coach, work with and train them a little bit. A lot of people use the term `extend the play', can you sit back there with your feet and extend it, but I also don't mind if our quarterbacks take off. They can cause a lot of damage and create big plays that way. Most of the plays John Elway made at Stanford, he was running around to make the plays. Probably 70 percent of his big plays he was outside of the pocket making throws.
James did a lot of good things and he must continually strive to get more consistent and do more things right. That's what all quarterbacks do. And the more experience he has, the better he'll play."
On efforts to get T.J. Moe the ball...
"We try to do that. We've always done that with our receivers, whether it was him, Jeremy Maclin or Michael Egnew. Players kind of earn that. If you have people with ability, you want them to have the football. It's not like at running back where you can just hand it to them all the time. You have to be a little more creative. Sometimes they double-cover him when you want to go to him, and James has to go elsewhere. But we always try and do that. We need to continue to do that and we need to get more big plays. We're working very hard to do that also."
On the scheduling process...
"Mike Alden, Mark Alnutt and myself work together on that. I call it intelligent scheduling. We try and be smart about what we do and how we do it. I think our scheduling is very consistent with most schools in the Big XII and most schools in the Top 25.
[Arizona State] is very good. I have great respect for them, and I think they are in the top half of the Pac-12. But it also comes down to availability. You search for a game that fits you. We also wanted another BCS game. I thought this was good, and I thought it'd be a game that would be nationally televised, which is good. So we're very glad we are playing them this weekend."
On safety Matt White...
"Matt's really doing well. He tweaked his ankle a little bit, and struggled a little bit the first half [of last year], then settled down. He's a really good athlete. He came to us with a 43-inch vertical jump, very bright guy, undersized when he came out. He was 172 pounds [when he got here] and was up to 193 pounds the other day. You need a guy that can make calls back in the secondary with [Kenji Jackson]. He has a very good career ahead of him."
On the running back rotation...
"They all [Kendial Lawrence, Henry Josey, De'Vion Moore] do good things. How we are going to do it right now is if one plays better than the others, he is going to start. If one pulls away, he'll play more. That's kind of where we are at right now. Kendial, last week, kind of dinged his shoulder a little bit. He didn't practice quite as much during the week last week. I think they are all doing some good things. It works well to let them compete, play hard and see where it goes."
"To me, penalties are about focus and discipline. I'm not saying a young player wouldn't go out there and do something stupid because he was excited, I think that can happen, but I think it's about being very focused and very disciplined. Last year our penalties were high. Even though we won ten games, they were high last year. But we are normally in the top three of the league. So those are things we are going to work on. We have to do a better job coaching them, too. In big games, those little things make a difference. In real close games, having 50 more yards in penalties could make the difference in the game."
On the defense and special teams play against Miami (Ohio)...
"I think they did a lot of good things. They gave the offense the ball four times inside the 50-yard line.
I thought our kicking game was very good. Our punting game, we had it four times inside the 20, two or three times inside the 10, so field position was big. Our punt return got the ball across the 50 twice. That's just remarkable field position.
We won the turnover battle by one. In the last 41 games, when we've been plus one in turnovers, we've won 39 of the last 41 games. Not that I'm keeping count. But that's the impact turnovers have on winning football games."
On Marcus Lucas' play...
"At the receiver position, there are so many little things. The fundamental techniques at every position are so unique. That's the greatest thing about football. As you grow and you mature, you get better at all the little attention-to- detail things that make you a better player. You become a better blocker, you become better at running routes, reading coverages, adjusting on the run, your releases when it is very physical. I think it's a combination of all those things, and he is getting better. He's improving. He made a great catch in the back of the end zone, got blasted and came up with the ball, which is great for a young player. He has to keep continuing to push himself, and keep working on the fundamentals and techniques to get better."
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