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September 25, 2006Arizona State coach Dirk Koetter addressed the media at his regularly scheduled weekly press conference on Monday. Here is a transcript of his comments, via the school's official athletic website.
On offensive tackle Andrew Carnahan's injury:
"It looks nasty on film. Andrew Carnahan got bent over backwards on field goal protection. He was trying to plant his inside leg and just got hit from the outside and got bent back over. I don't think it's the worst-case scenario, but we have to wait for the MRI."
On the impact of losing last year's wide receivers:
"The three players we lost last year, Derek Hagan, Moey Mutz, and Matt Miller, were three guys with like 150 games experience between them. Three guys who knew exactly what they were doing. They didn't make very many mistakes. Quarterbacks knew where they would be based on the route that was being called. I think we are just going through some growing pains right now. We are just inconsistent at wide receiver. We are playing a lot of guys. We have had some situations come up where we haven't gotten into a regular rotation. The most consistent guy this fall has been [junior] Rudy Burgess, but Rudy has missed two weeks of practice. I expect Rudy could be back this week. Right now our most consistent guy has been [sophomore] Nate Kimbrough. He has really raised the level of his game. The one thing that has hurt our passing game is that we aren't consistent with our wide receivers. That would help me out making better decisions."
On ASU's running game:
"When you get beat its hard to look at the positive at times. I don't think overall we played as hard as we did, start to finish, against Colorado. I thought our run blocking was very solid. I'll single out two guys. I thought [sophomore] Paul Fanaika, who made his first career start at right guard, was outstanding, as was [junior] Zach Miller. We used Zach primarily as a fullback this game, as a lead blocker. He would make [former ASU fullback and current New Orleans Saint] Mike Karney proud with the way he played as a lead blocker. Also [junior] Robert Gustavis, as a right guard, had a very difficult assignment up against [California defensive tackle] Brandon Mebane, who is one of the better defensive tackles in the league. He really competed well. He had one penalty called against him, but for the most part he held his own. I think that will be a huge confidence booster for him. On the defensive side of the ball, I thought actually we played the run game okay. I thought our defensive line played California's offensive line well. Our linebackers did a really good job against the run game. We still need to support a little bit better with our secondary. It's spotty. They've missed a couple tackles. Really defensively, we played okay. We can't give up that many plays in a hurry. They hit us on some big plays but that was primarily one guy."
On the status of defensive end Loren Howard
"Loren had a reoccurrence at last Wednesday's practice. I didn't really know how bad it was, but it's bad enough now that Loren is out indefinitely. There is no real timetable."
On quarterback Rudy Carpenter getting his confidence back:
"Rudy just has to get back to good fundamentals. Rudy came in and visited with me after films yesterday. I was asking Rudy what was going on. Rudy can name off for me what was going on. We just need to get back to good fundamentals. Rudy is carrying the ball too low. When he scrambles he is dropping the ball out of his left hand. He is throwing off his back foot. He has been there before, he'll get it back. It's not like he's never had fundamentals. He has picked up a couple of bad habits trying to make big plays. We just have to get back to solid mechanics. We'll get that straight this week."
On Carpenter's mental and physical condition:
"Rudy is getting hit too much because he is trying to run sometimes when he should just throw the ball away. Rudy was a little beat up yesterday. He was sore. He got his left hand stepped on. That was probably his biggest injury. That was the play where I was telling Rudy he should just throw that ball away. When he tries to scramble across the field he is going to get himself killed. Mentally he is where you would expect any great competitor, who plays like that, is going to be. He is going to be down. Rudy is really hard on himself. He is his own worst critic. That's what I love about him. He'll bounce back. He has to get that taken care of in Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday's practice."
On the possibility of Loren Howard receiving a sixth year of eligibility:
"He will be eligible to apply, if he does not play this year, for a sixth year. That's a slippery slope. The way that rule reads, you can't apply until after your fifth year is completed, which will be this year. You have to be about to prove that you have missed two full years for medical reasons. I'm not familiar enough with Loren's time at Northwestern enough to know if that's the case. He certainly has an impressive resume of surgeries. Our doctors and trainers write letters and I'm sure Northwestern doctors and trainers will write letters. It is a person on a committee for the NCAA who decides these things. I think they have become more lenient in the last three years. In my first 20 years of my career I never saw a guy get one. We had two guys get it in one year (safety Emmanuel Franklin and cornerback R.J. Oliver prior to the 2005 season). We talked with Loren about that possibility, but I think we are rolling the dice if you are counting on that. Like I told Loren, he has no options because he is not healthy. If a player is healthy, he has options. We can't be mad at Loren Howard for not being healthy. He is trying to get healthy. It's not his fault that he is injured. He can't base his self worth as a man by playing in football games. It is easy to go through a period of disillusion when they are hurt, but that is natural. We have such high expectations for Loren, and he has such high expectations for himself. Unfortunately he is not healthy. Unfortunately it's the same quad tendon injury that hurt right when we got back from Camp Tontozona. He was looking great in practice at the time. We don't know what Loren brings to the table because he's never played in a game as a Sun Devil. Our defensive line is playing great right now. We are still rotating nine guys in there right now. Those guys are doing a good job. We are playing nine guys and they are all doing a good job. I think that is a strength of our football team."
On Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon:
"When Dennis came out of high school in the bay area, there were a lot of schools in the Pac-10 vying for his services. I don't think Coach Belotti thought he was going to switch to this type of offense. In fact I believe in Dennis' redshirt year I think they were still playing an offense similar to our offense. I think Dennis Dixon is in the ideal offense for the type of player he is. He truly is a dual threat run and pass guy. The film I watched on him showed that he had a really good handle on the offense. I think some quarterbacks luck out. They go to a school and switch offenses, and I think he is in a perfect fit for him."
On injured offensive lineman Zach Krula:
"I didn't see Zach last week. I know he is doing some rehab work in the weight room. He slipped in with the team. He has started to run in a straight line. I saw him with the team a few weeks ago on the treadmill. I don't think he is to the point where he can do cutting yet. Our next reevaluation period for that will be next week, the bye week, to see where he stands. I'm not real sure about that. Until he is cleared to practice, there is no decision to be made. He has to get that ankle back to where he can physically play at 100 percent. My gut is that he is doubtful."
On wide receiver Mike Jones' confidence:
"Mike is a confident athlete and has a lot of confidence in himself. Mike had a very impressive spring, but the ankle slowed him down in fall camp. Mike has lost a little bit of the consistency that helped him climb the depth chart like he did. He is still making some nice plays on special teams. He blocked a punt at Colorado and had some nice blocks on returns last week. He has made some catches. Mike has just been a little erratic at practices, just as far as catching the football. I think he has had some drops. He is going through what a lot of our receivers are going through right now. He is fighting for playing time. Practice becomes important. He just has to elevate his game in practice. If our quarterbacks, Rudy [Carpenter], and our receivers would elevate their game in practice on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, they would find that they would execute better on Saturdays. We would certainly strive to get there. But we aren't there yet. We are off on timing in practice."
On working to improve after a loss:
"You have to get right back at it, right back in the fray. When you lose a game it hurts. The competitive side of you wants to get back out there and get after it again. In life you have to pick yourself up and go compete again. You have to wait a week for that. Sunday and Mondays are the hardest. Start practicing again and start getting your game plan together. The build up will begin all over again for Oregon. The loss to California hurts a lot in the short term, but there is a lot of ball left to be played."
This report is courtesy of the Arizona State official athletic site, www.thesundevils.com