Aug. 30, 2004
Well game week is finally here. Camp is over and it was exciting to watch a little bit of a game on Saturday (USC vs. Virginia Tech) that kicked off the college season. I know our guys are chomping at the bit to get going. We had an excellent camp even though we had a few minor injuries here and there, and a couple of those guys will be back today practicing. We are really excited about this opportunity this week. Oklahoma State is going to be an excellent football team coming in here with a lot of experience. They are coming off a year in which they went to the Cotton Bowl. They have great expectations for themselves and we have great expectations for ourselves too. Our team, with the attitude and the effort that they put into this offseason, from summer and then going through training camp has been tremendous. I couldn't ask for this team to be in any better shape than they are right now. So we have our first practice today that is a true game-week practice. We had meetings a little bit earlier today, every one of them being accounted for and here and excited. We're excited about great practice this afternoon. With all that being said I'd like to open up the floor for questions.
What are your expectations?
To be higher than the Pac-10 thought (we would be) in our Pac-10 media day. And those expectations are to be successful. We feel as a team that we're in great shape for doing some great things for ourselves this year. Our team has worked hard to get into this position and they are excited about this challenge and the opportunity that they have this week.
Is there a win total that you have as far as a goal?
If you have the attitude and the effort, those things will take care of themselves if you keep striving to do things in the right way. We're practicing to be the very best we can be. And if we're able to do the things that we practiced, then those things will be reflected in wins and losses. That's the goal. Our goal is to play as well as we can play, as fast as we can play and to be exited about this opportunity, which our team definitely is.
What is the status of Tab Perry?
Tab has turned in all of the information that he needed to turn in, in terms of the appeals and the process of going through the NCAA. UCLA has done its part as well in his case and everything right now is in the NCAA's hands for them to make a determination. We are very optimistic that things are going to workout just fine. We are just waiting to hear back from the NCAA.
Are you planning on having him in the game plan?
He's part of the game plan. We feel strongly that he has presented a strong case to be reinstated and we are holding to that until we hear otherwise. We have to have plan B available as well, which is having the other guys playing in the same positions and having them ready to play as well.
What is the injury status of Justin London and Eyoseph Efsaeff?
Both of them are still nursing their injuries. Justin has a high-ankle sprain and is out for the game. He hasn't practiced in two or three weeks. He has just gotten out of the boot. He will start the rehab running and conditioning phase this week and the likelihood will be that he will not be available this week. Eyoseph has a groin injury that has limited him some for the last couple of weeks. He has not been able to complete a full practice in the last couple of weeks. It's all going to depend on how much he practices this week. (Robert) Cleary will be the weak guard, with (Robert) Chai rotating in there at weak guard.
How do you feel about where things are heading into the first game this year as opposed to a year ago?
Much better. We are a lot further ahead in all respects. Offensively, the second year of being in this system and with the addition of the coaches - they have done an tremendous job of building the offense to a very productive and satisfying level right now. Defensively, we have some young players in our defensive line who are playing for the first time this year. But I'm excited to watch them play. They are going to do some good things this year and you are going to see a number of them playing. It will be your job to keep up with them because there will be numbers rotating in and out of there. But those guys are going to play hard and do some good things in our defensive line. This team is excited and they are excited about this challenge. Not a lot of people believe in them and that's okay. That's something we'll build on and continue to build on and we'll make our name as we move along through the season.
How confident are you in Drew Olson?
He has done a tremendous job. You'll see a marked difference in his play, a marked difference from a year ago. He has really put the time into learning this offense and he's at the level where he is a great leader in this offense. He has a command and presence in that huddle. We're excited to watch him play, we really are.
Complete 31-minute press conference can be accessed by clicking on the audio link at the top of the page.