Nov. 1, 2004
Will Maurice (Drew) continue to return punts or will Craig (Bragg) get some of those as well?
Maurice will continue to return punts. Craig will also be in the fold not that he has a full bill of health. He played half the game last week and he is ready to return as a full-time starter and he will be some reps as a punt returner.
Looking at the film, what could you tell the defense did that was different?
It was all sorts of things. We were able to get some pressure on the quarterback with our four-man rush which was nice to see. We didn't have to blitz as much and we could stay in our coverages more. Our linebackers did a nice job against their run game. We didn't have to do so many things to stop their run game with what we were doing with our base defense. The secondary played very, very well. We didn't give up many big plays. We had that one big play at the end of the game that was almost a score and our defense did a great job in finishing the game.
Have they cut down on mistakes?
They have cut down on a lot of mistakes and that's a big reason for most of that improvement. We still made some mistakes and we still know we can play a whole lot better than we have played. And that's what's encouraging, not only for us, but for our players. They see what we are trying to get accomplished and they see the results when you focus on the details.
How did the defense need Saturday's performance to help get some confidence back there?
It's more of a team perspective more than anything else. It was good to see the whole team have a full productive day in all three phases. We haven't had that type of continuity throughout the whole season. We've had some days where we've one some games, but one side or the other was playing well. This was a great team effort and a great team win. To have the defense play the way that they played. Offensively, to take control of the line of scrimmage and do some great things in our run game. And for special teams to come up with some big plays.
How did Justin London look to you?
Justin looked pretty good. He played 29 plays in the game. He will increase his role this week without any setbacks from his injury. That was one of those things that added to some of the success of our defense - to get some of the health back. Some of those younger players that have been playing are getting more familiar with what we are doing defensively and are becoming more productive. Everything is starting to come together.
To what point do you believe that the players are starting finally get what you are trying to teach them?
They have improved some degrees. There are a still many degrees to go, but they have improved quite a bit. We are excited about being in this position. Our health is pretty good for this point in the season. We are into week nine of our season and we are about at full health. We have lost a player or two with some injuries, but we are in pretty good shape from a health standpoint. Justin London is feeling good about what he is able to do. Spencer Havner, knowing that Justin is sitting next to him and playing as well as he's been playing, is also playing well. Spencer being defensive player of the week this week shows you that the confidence of the defense, with the people being back in the lineup, is helping the process in terms of the improvement and the production.
How good is (Jarrad) Page now in terms of a national perspective?
He is making strides for that type of recognition. I would reserve the right to say he is one of the better safeties in the country, but he has played better week in and week out. The thing about him is that he was one of our honorary captains going into this game and he played like a leader and he's been doing that these last few weeks. We are pleased with what he is doing. He is excited about this defense. He is excited about what it has done this last week. All of our players understand the position we are in in this conference in terms of the opportunity that we have. They are excited about the task of moving on and playing Washington State and improving and seeing what happens as the week unfolds.
For coach Karl Dorrell's complete press conference, please click on the audio link located at the top of the page.