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Coach Erickson discusses upcoming game against California


October 19, 2010

Head coach Dennis Erickson

Opening Statement:

“They’re like all of us in this league. You don’t know what is going to happen from one week to the next. We’re all kind of like that except Oregon with the way they have been playing. They’re talented. No question about it. You saw that against UCLA. When you look at them offensively, [California running back Shane] Vereen is an extremely good back. [Kevin] Riley has been playing for a long time. They have got a lot of talent. Their offensive front has a lot of starters for a long time. They have a lot of experience coming back. Marvin Jones is one of the better receivers in our league. Their front is really good. They got behind early and USC came out. Cal hadn’t played in a while and they fell behind on the road. We’ve been there. It’s hard to dig back. Obviously the week before that, at home, like a lot of teams, they played a heck of a lot better. We’re both in the same situation record wise. It is going to be an interesting game. Defensively, they bring a 3-4 screen. [Defensive coordinator Clancy] Pendergast had been with the Cardinals for a long time. He’s an extremely good coach. They have a lot of talent. Cameron Jordan is from here is one of the better defensive lineman in our league. Their linebacker core led by [Mike] Mohamed, and their secondary led by [Darian] Hagan. I mean they’ve got a whole lot of talent. It is a difficult place to play. It seems like we’re travel a lot as of late. They’re a good football team. What you saw on last Saturday against USC you won’t see this Saturday against us. The bye week was good. We were able to get healed up and rested up a little bit. It has been good. We practiced yesterday for about an hour and had a good session. We just have to work on ourselves and get better and better. Hopefully we’ll continue the momentum we had after playing Washington.”

On California’s defense:

“They’re very well coached. You don’t coach in the NFL as long as [Pendergast] has with out being good on defense. They led the country in defense until the last football game. They’re very physical against the run. Anytime you go down to Tucson and hold the University of Arizona to 10 points, where they score at the end. That’s a pretty good defensive football team. They had a tough week last week but that is just the nature of our league right now.”

On California running back Shane Vereen:

“When you talk about [Oregon’s LeMichael] James and [Oregon State’s Jacquizz] Rodgers, you got to talk about [Vereen] in the same breath. He’s special and he played well the other night. He’s a guy that you have to attempt to slow down a little bit. He is the mainstay of their offense. They run a play-action pass off of him. Riley has been around a long time. You watched him against us last year. You hit him and hit him and at the end of the game he took it 80 odd yards to beat us. Vereen and the running game is the key to what they do. Everything is based off that.”

On Brock Osweiler:

“He hasn’t practiced for two weeks. He’s got a back issue that is being checked out by the doctor. He is not able to throw right now. Hopefully he will be able to practice this week, but we don’t know that yet. If not, Sam Szakacsky will be the backup. He got all the work last week and yesterday.”

On Garth Gerhart:

“Anytime you have an offensive front with a center that is stable is good for your football team. Garth was raised in a coaching family, with his dad being the head high school football coach. He understands the game really well. Unfortunately, we have had to move him around due to injuries. Now, as a junior he understands what is going on and really is the key to our offensive front. He makes all the calls and snaps it very well in the shotgun. The danger of being in the shotgun all the time, is worrying about where the ball is being snapped. He is the most valuable player on our offensive front and maybe our entire offensive football team.”

On the defense:

“It’s been an emphasis for us to limit big plays and be efficient back there. We’ve been able to do that the last couple games. Against Washington we were able to stand in there and not have them throw the ball deep and get a cheap score on us. They made some plays but that’s going to happen in the football game. It wasn’t because of a mental mistake, they just made some plays. Our safeties were in position and we covered gaps well in the running game. This will be the key for us the rest of the season. We have to rally to the football and not give up a cheap one real quick. California is very good at that. They are good at running the football and thus will lull you to sleep with the play-action pass. We have to be very careful with them as far as that goes.”

On Colin Parker:

“He doesn’t make very many mistakes. He’s very solid. He is where he is supposed to be and he reminds me of Mike Nixon. He is very smart. He can run and tackle well. He is a sound football player who doesn’t make mistakes.”

On Omar Bolden:

“He is getting better and is gaining more confidence. He had a key interception against Washington and is getting better all the time. It’s not like he is a veteran that has played a lot. He is a veteran that has been around a lot. He really hasn’t played a lot, so he is improving. He has a lot of skills. He just has to get better technique wise with what he is seeing with his eyes. He is a real key for us back there.”

On Deveron Carr’s health:

“That is a week-by-week thing. Right now, I would be surprised if he came back and played. We’re going to continue to rehab it and see if he might be able to come back. The problem is, the shoulder started coming out on him at the end of camp and during our first game so his confidence level, in terms of staying in there, was lower. He didn’t play with fear, but it was always in his mind that it was going to come out. That is hard to play with. As we go through the next three or four weeks he may end up having surgery. We have to look at it for another week or two. If we don’t feel like he can come back and help us then we will go ahead with the surgery. It will be a different surgery this time. It won’t be a scope. They will tighten the shoulder down and permanently it should be good. Regardless, he will miss spring football. The sooner the better and if that’s what he wants to do.”

On the play of Osahon Irabor:

“He played pretty well. He is a very aggressive player. He played very good against the run. We thought, last year, that he would of played for us if not for the wrist injury. He makes mistakes that young players make, but he makes them very aggressively. He has a feel for the ball and he will get better and better all the time.”

On the bye week:

“We just wanted to get better as a team. We spent a lot of time against ourselves during the bye week. That’s the only way you can improve and we got our younger players some time. It was a matter of improving on what we are doing. The last day was spent on California, but it was more about improving ourselves.”