Oct. 18, 2004
Good afternoon. We are going into the ASU week. It's going to be another great challenge for our team. From our opinion, we had a very disappointing loss last week to a very good Cal team. Cal is a solid program that played well in every phase of the game. We played well at spurts. I think the difference in the game was the control of the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. They had more ability to do that than we did in the game and that is really the difference. They were able to capitalize on certain game situations to sustain drives. For us, we didn't have the same type of success in doing so. So there is a lot of work to be done this week against a very good Arizona State team. Their defense is very good as well. They are fourth in the conference. They are stingy against the rush. That's an area we need to improve on in our offense. Defensively, we did some good things in the game last week. We just didn't have the consistency that is needed to be effective in a game like that. There is plenty of work for us to do this week. Our kids have a great attitude and they are using last week's game as something to learn from and move forward with. We are excited to move forward and play against Arizona State. I'd like to take the next few moments to answer your questions please.
How big of a game is this in terms of where you go the rest of the season?
It is just as pivotal a game as the previous week. We are in a tough stretch of games. The teams we play at the end of the schedule are all very capable of doing great things in the conference. We have to make the improvement that is necessary for us to be successful and to win these football games. Our team is very excited about our opportunities this week. We are using last week's game as a learning experience and something we know we can get better with in a lot of different areas. To play in the conditions we did, in a packed house at Memorial Stadium, there were some great things that came from that game. Our health is pretty good, which is always key at this point in the year. Certain players are really starting to move forward and take things to another level, particularly in our throwing game. Drew (Olson) has played well the last couple of weeks. There is a lot of stuff to build on, we just need to put it all together and play with the consistency that a good team plays at this point in the season.
What are your impressions of their quarterback Andrew Walter?
(He is) one of the more talented quarterbacks in our conference. He has been that way the last two or three years. He carries a lot of burden for that offense. They rely on him. He throws the ball a lot. They have had some issues running the football. Something tells me they will try to run it against us with the issues we've had the last five or six games. We know they are going to come out and be balanced and test our defense. Our defense has gotten better. Believe it or not they did, they got better this last week. There were just some issues in the game with guys in bad situations and bad places. But we played a lot better. We lost Justin Hickman a week ago, but he'll be back in a couple of weeks. C.J. Niusulu will hopefully be back this week. Those young players are starting to make some plays we knew that they could make. It's exciting to be in the position that we are in. It's not like we are 0-6. We are in a position to still be a factor in this conference. We have one conference loss. Who knows what's going to happen. That's the attitude we are going to have going into this week.
Are you expecting Craig Bragg to be back?
Craig will be back practicing this week and playing some in the game this week. We are not listing him as a starter. He will not start the game. But he will get some playing time and we will ease him back into the fold.
What did you think of Marcus Cassel?
Cassel will start the game. He played well. They made a couple of plays against us and that is going to happen. You are going to get beat. Corners get beat on Sunday's in the NFL and in college on Saturdays. They get beat. You get back on your horse and you keep going. That is going to happen. He is still starting. He didn't lose his job. He has some things to build on and get better with going into this week.
In terms of Drew Olson's progress, has he become wiser while gaining experience?
He is doing exactly what we anticipated him doing. He started off the season well. He has picked up the knowledge of this offense. He is at a comfort level where his ability is taking over. That is what you want and expect from a quarterback in this offense. The last couple of weeks he has played very well. He moves around the pocket well and finds the open receivers. He knows where his check downs are in a lot of different situations. He is playing well enough for us to be very effective.
For Karl Dorrell's complete press conference, please click on the audio link located at the top of the page.