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Coach Erickson and Steven Threet discuss game against USC

November 03, 2010

Arizona State head coach Dennis Erickson

Opening statement:

“I don’t see a lot of difference form when I watched them on tape a year ago. Matt Barkley is one of the better quarterbacks in the country. He is playing a lot better then a year ago because of experience. Their offensive front is back from a year ago. They have two receivers, one Robert Woods who is true freshman. He was one of the better high school players to come out last year. They score a lot of points. Defensively, they are missing some guys from a year ago but the front four is basically the same as it’s been except for Everson Griffin. They moved Devon Kennard to middle linebacker and he is making a good adjustment. Their secondary is led by [Shareece] Wright at cornerback, who is a heck of a player. I don’t see much difference. They lost a couple of close ones against Stanford and Oregon late. When they played California they put it on them pretty good. They’re one of the better teams in our league and it’s a challenge for us. We are looking forward to playing them and it’s been at least ten years since we’ve beat them. More importantly we have to concentrate and try and get our fifth win. Our goal is to go to a bowl game and we don’t have much room for error. We have to prepare ourselves and become more consistent. We are playing on the road and we should be used to that by now. It’s fun for our players to go back. We have a lot of players on our team from the area and they like to play well in front of their family and friends.”

On defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin:

“I see his schemes on defense. There really isn’t a lot of difference between the NFL and college football. You see a little more 30-front in the NFL and a lot more match-ups. You might have a linebacker play on first down against the run and then substitute to play five or six defensive backs. Most college teams don’t do that. They’ll play nickel. He’s doing a lot of the same things he did when I competed against him in the NFL. Obviously, the Tampa 2 is something he originated. He’s been around and he is a great coach.”

On USC head coach Lane Kiffin:

“Yes, I know him. I like him a lot. In the time I spent with him, he is a good guy. He has a tough situation with the probation stuff coming down. That place recruits itself. It always has and always will. They got players and they didn’t lose a lot of them. The probation aspect will probably show in a couple of years, not necessarily now because they have the whole team coming back.”

On the importance of doing well in California in terms of recruiting:

“It helps. Regardless of where you are at, if you are on TV you need to play well. Players look that. I see LA as a recruiting piece for us. We’d like to go there and show them improvement, that you’re getting this thing turned around and things are going in the right direction. It would be nice to go down there and play well. It’s a business trip as far as we’re concerned. We have to go down there and focus on the game. In my experience, if you go down there and have all those people around the hotel, you lose your focus. We’re going to try to avoid that.”

On playing at night:

“I’ve always enjoyed playing football the old fashion way, when you get out at 12:30, 1 o’clock in the afternoon. Unfortunately or fortunately, because of TV, you play when they want you to play. It is not like we’re not used to playing at 7:30 p.m. That’s where we play the majority of our games.”

On sophomore quarterback Brock Osweiler:

“I thought Brock did some pretty good things watching the tape. He threw the ball really well. He ran when he had to. I thought he got it out really quick. He did some really good things. It was good for him to get a chance to play. That’s the only way you get better. He was back to where he was executing real well. He had a good week of practice when he had the opportunity. It reflected in how he played, when he got a chance to play.”

On offensive plans against USC:

“You always have plans against any coverage they might give you. You have to look at what they do against third and long and different type of down situations. I try to have an answer for it. If they get their front four off, they’re good pass rushers. They blitz some but they don’t blitz a lot.”

On the mentality of the team:

“Anytime you come out after a win, there is a lot of excitement and confidence. We feel like it’s the last third of our season and there are a lot of opportunities out there. There are just a lot of great football teams. We’re just worried about USC now, but they’re all challenges to say the least. Our players are excited about playing. We feel like we can compete with any of the teams we have left [in our schedule]. We just have to go out and do it.”

Junior quarterback Steven Threet

On if he is able to outrun Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week Junior Onyeali:
“If he was chasing me, I’d definitely be able to kick it into an extra gear.”

General thoughts on Saturday:
“It feels good to have a good week of preparation turn into a good week of execution. Everything kind of came full circle.”

On the first-team offense facing the first-team defense in practice:
“I think it helped set the practice tempo. Guys were flying around focused and were ready to go.”

On changes against Washington State:
“I don’t know if it’s any one specific thing. We took what the defense gave us and spread the ball around to different skill guys. I don’t specifically think about getting it to certain guys. It’s whatever the defense presents and trying to take advantage of that.”

On the time the team spends thinking about bowl berths:
“Not a whole lot. We know what we have to get done if we want to get to a bowl game. That’s a goal of ours, but when it comes down to it, we are focused on trying to prepare for the game this weekend.“

Initial thoughts on the USC defense:
“Fast and athletic. I’m starting to watch the film right now and trying to get a feel for what they like to do. They’re very talented, obviously. It’s just going to come down to us and the way we play.”

What specific in-game keys are there for the offense?:
“I think the times that we have been successful we have done a good job in the running game and getting the ball out to the outside, on the perimeter. We’ve stretched the defense out and made them defend the whole field.”

On ASU’s offensive production in the red zone:
“We continue to improve. It always has to be something we focus on. It’s a very important aspect of the game, so we are always looking to improve on it and I think we have gotten better at punching the ball in when we are down there. We’ve been doing a good job of taking care of the ball when we’ve had scoring opportunities.”

What did the WSU win do for the team?:
“It was obviously good to bounce back after a disappointing outing against Cal. That started on Tuesday at practice and we prepared well. It’s helpful, but at the same time, just like we had to move on from the Cal game, we have to move on from this one and focus on the next Saturday.”

On ASU’s losing streak against USC:
“It hasn’t been brought up but I’m sure it will be tomorrow in our team meeting. We’ve got a lot of guys from Southern California and it’s an important game. We are four and four and it gives us an opportunity to continue to improve and keep moving forward with the season.”