Sept. 24, 2001
Okay, real quick, the Ohio State game, we won and that's the most important thing. There is no question, as I told you last week, they are a physical football team and it was a physical football game. We had to overcome a lot of setbacks, as you well know. Our special teams made some mistakes. We had a couple field goals that we missed. We had a punt blocked. So we didn't perform as well as we needed to perform. Thank goodness they missed a couple of field goals and an extra point and had a real short punt as well. So the special teams on both sides weren't really good.
Our defense I thought was outstanding. It was as good a performance as I can recall since I've been her. We talk about "sudden change", when there is a turnover. We had some turnovers. Our guys took the field with a great attitude. It was something that we practiced and they did it. There was no complaining. There was nothing but a great attitude. When you take the field after a turnover in "sudden change" and the other team doesn't score, you are doing something right. So I was really proud of our football team, specifically our defense. Zero points on turnovers, except obviously for the blocked punt, but that wasn't our defense.
Offensively, it's hard to play when you fumble the ball seven times. It's amazing we had more time of possession. It's amazing we won the football game and if we didn't play as good a defense as we did, we wouldn't have won that football game. So we have to hold on to the football. We gave away a lot of possessions and a lot of snaps.
As far as the upcoming game against Oregon State, once again it's a road game. It's their first home game. It's a Pac-10 opener for both teams. I believe it's a sellout crowd. It's on ABC, so it's going to be an exciting college football game. Their offense is very explosive. They have some excellent players as you well know. It's probably the most balanced offensive team we have faced to date. They can throw the ball, they can run the ball. Defensively, they have some outstanding football players returning there as well. They have a lot of team speed on defense. They are defending Pac-10 champs. They beat Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. They were picked No. 1 by Sports Illustrated. They have a good football team. They will basically have had three weeks to get ready for us so they will probably be pretty rested. They will know what we are doing and will have a good plan. My big concerns this week I believe are distractions. Number one, we are starting school tomorrow. You have a lot of players scrambling for classes, worrying about their books and doing things that normal students have to do. There is nothing wrong with that, but obviously it's a distraction because it's something they have to worry about.
We are on the road. It's going to be a hostile crowd. We are on Astroturf, which we haven't played on this year yet. We are 3-0 and everybody starts to say that it's like last year when we went up to the Northwest. It's not like last year. It's not the same football team as last year. Each and every year is different and I know that's one of the questions you all want to ask and I'll answer it again when you ask it. But it's a different team. It's a different year. If you look at last year when we got beat up and banged up after those first three games, I think it was 16-10 late in the game against Oregon. We had a touchdown that should've been a touchdown that was called out of bounds. We had a ball dropped for a touchdown. We fumbled the ball late in the game on our ten. They ended up scoring. So it looked worse that it was. We are not the same team, which is what I'm trying to tell you. Now that doesn't mean we will win or lose, I'm just telling you were are not the same team we were last year when we were 3-0 and went to the Northwest to play Oregon. There are some similarities, but it's not the same.
Our injury update, you know about Chris Kluwe our backup punter. He is getting an MRI. He hurt his knee when he was coming off his couch, sitting down on the floor. Sean Phillips had surgery and he is doing fine, but again he is not going to play this week. He has this week off and the by week and hopefully he will be ready to go down the road. Mike Safer sprained his knee and that is kind of a day-to-day thing. I don't believe he will practice in the next two to three days so he is not going to get a lot of reps in practice. That means that Steven Vieira will probably start. Then we just have to wait and see how Mike handles it. (Ed) Stansbuy, again that's a day-to-day type thing. He is ready to run around a little bit. How much pressure he puts on it we have to wait and see.
We are going to make Bryce Bolander the captain for this game. It's nice because he is from Oregon, but he also recovered a fumble and also tackled a guy when the guy picked up a fumble and was running for a touchdown. So he did a nice job. Our offensive player of the game was Cory Paus. Our defensive player of the game was Marques Anderson. Our special team's player of the game was Jason Stephens. Are there any questions?
For coach Toledo's complete question-and-answer session from Monday's press conference, please click on the audio version of this conference located at the top of this page.