Quotes from Coach Erickson's weekly press conference
"I have great respect for Jerome [Souers] and what he's [at NAU]. He's been there a long time. They're a very well coached football team. It is going to be different than playing Portland State. They know us better. It is a huge game for them. You watched how they played U of A last year. They gave them everything they wanted. We expect the same thing. It is going to be a challenge for us. The biggest thing we have to do is worry about improving. There were a lot of mistakes we made in that game against Portland State. We have to work on ourselves and try to correct ourselves. That's the biggest thing we're focusing on every week."
On Steven Threet:
"I thought Steven did some really good things in the football game. I thought he had great presence about him out there. It looks like he's been there before, which he has. I guess there is no substitution for having played. As we move on in our schedule, he'll continue to improve. I thought he made a lot of good throws, decisions. He threw one interception I'm sure he'd like to have back. But that's how it goes sometimes. I just like his command, what he's doing. Seeing things at the line of scrimmage and understanding the things we're trying to teach and what Noel [Mazzone] has taught him. He got rid of the ball real quick, which is huge in our offense. Probably more than anything, he had great command of the game."
On reviewing the Portland State game:
"We have a lot of improvement to still do. There were some good things, probably effort number one. I thought our effort in all areas, both offensively and defensively, was at the level we want it to be. There weren't any loafs out there at all. There were a couple plays, for example, the run of Deantre Lewis on the pass with the touchdown, there were about five guys down the field blocking for him. That's kind of how the game went. How they played on both sides of the football. Guys getting to the football on defense. That was the biggest thing we saw. But guys made a lot of mistakes. Lot of mistakes technique wise. A lot of assignment mistakes on both sides of the football. Those are things we have to improve obviously. Penalties have to be addressed. We've talked about it and we'll continue to talk about it. We've had hustle penalties like that, where you're hustling to get to the ball and you hit someone late. But the dumb penalties, hitting someone when you shouldn't be, it's selfish. It doesn't have anything to do with helping us win. That is something that we have to continue to focus on. But the effort was there, and as long as we continue to do that, we'll get better. As you know it was a very difficult schedule for us and we have to be way better than we were against Portland State to compete."
On seeing the new offense in action for the first time:
"It was good to see it in action against an opponent. You don't learn until that starts happening and then you start growing as an offensive football team. As we know in that offense, people are going to do things that take away the simple things that we got the other night. We are going to be forced to go to other phases of our offense., which we're prepared to do. What we do is fairly simple, but we do it out of so many formations and different motions that we can change that appears to be our game plan every week, when we haven't changed very much. That's what great about it. We're doing the same things, but in different way."
On the running game:
"It's on the basis of how many people are they going to use to stop the run. How many people are they going to use to stop the passing game? How are they going to deal with your motions, deal with different things? You try to take advantage of what the defense is doing and use it to your advantage. If they're keeping so many guys in the box and it gives us an opportunity to run it, we're going to run it. There are so many option things before the ball is even snapped, as far as we're going to do. There is a lot on the quarterback in this offense, no doubt about it. He can see by what happens, whether he should run it or if he feels like he can throw it. It is something he has to see and it is not easy. That's the difficult part. You have to be very good at seeing things and understand what's going on at that positions."
On offensive expectations: "We feel like we're where we want to be right now. A lot of our offense isn't in yet. There are things that we can do and we'll change every week. There are things that we'll add. We like to add something each week for something new for the opponent to see. [Noel Mazzone] likes where we are at. He feels like me, we have a lot of improvement to make. The biggest thing that jumps out, the effort that we've had outside with our receivers blocking. That's the total difference from a year ago."
On quarterback scrambling:
"What we do, we're going to have to run it some. We don't want to make a living doing it. That's not what it is built for. There are going to be times where they are going to have to force our quarterback to run. But when they do that, it's going to be something where we get seven or eight yards every time. It's not a situation where they have to keep it and someone is in their face right away. That's not how our offense is built. I think Steven [Threet] had 24 yards, that's six yards a carry. If you do that on first down, that's pretty darn good. He didn't have to break tackles."
On scouting NAU:
"They have an awesome transfer quarterback from Mississippi. I just watched them on offense this morning. They're very talented. The quarterback is really impressive. He gets rid of the football. They do some of the things we do. They have a receiver who made a lot of plays in that game. They know what they're doing. They take advantage of their personnel group. Their front plays hard. They catch the football. They're a good time. They probably feel like they're going to win the Big Sky Conference championship. Which to me is a pretty good football league. Defensively they fly around. They have some good guys in the secondary. Their front and their linebackers run pretty well. They gave us everything they wanted three years ago and they gave Arizona everything they wanted last year too. That's a real big game for those kids up there. To come down here, and a lot of guys are from this area. They are going to come and give us everything they got. We have to be ready to play because if we're not, you saw what happened in Mississippi last week."