Sept. 20, 2004
General Comments: "We had a terrible struggle against UCLA. They put up huge numbers rushing the ball against us and we have a lot of concerns about what happened to our defense."
On the performance of the offense: "We played better. I think the one thing that I was pleased with was that we did not turn the ball over, which you think would help the defense play better. We ran it pretty consistently, and Casey made some pretty good decisions. We were pretty consistent."
On the Notre Dame game: "I think we have a lot of concerns going into the game. If you look at their offense it improves all the time and their quarterback is consistently getting better. They have a couple of great tailbacks. We tried to recruit Rema McKnight so we know he is a good receiver. Defensively I think they are a tremendous football team. They run, they tackle, they hassle the passer, they have a great down-front four and front seven. I have a lot of respect for them. I know those coaches really well from having coached with and against some of them, and I know that it is a quality staff."
On the challenge of Notre Dame Stadium: "We certainly have a lot of respect for the traditions of the game day at Notre Dame. It might be unique from anywhere in the country. I think even a 2-0 team would go in there with a huge challenge in front of them. It has obviously been a tough place to play for generations, and we have a lot of respect for what the school is all about."
On the importance of stopping the Notre Dame running game: "If you are not stopping the run you aren't winning football games. That's just the way it is. So when people rush for the amount that UCLA rushed for you are lucky to even be in the game."
On the struggle for consistency: "We are 0-2, so I am concerned about everything we do. That goes without saying. The 21 points that Fresno State got in the fourth quarter were all turnovers; they didn't even have to work for one. We got 24 the first quarter last game but UCLA got 20. It is always going to be a concern when you think that we had the chance to have a pretty good lead against UCLA and then you look up and they are back in it after two plays."
On any injuries: "We will not know anything about Mike Mapu until this evening, everyone else looks like they are up and running. Zach Tuiasosopo will be fine for practice."
On the defense: "Greyson Gunheim and Jordan White-Frisbee are going to get their chances on defense. I think Jordan is working his way into playing more and more. I think CJ Wallace is going to get some looks at linebacker; he has been working his way back in there. I think he is a high velocity player. So yeah, I think there are some guys that are going to get some looks and there is gong to be some competition. I don't care what class they are in."
On the linebackers: "I am pretty pleased with our linebackers. It would have been really hard for anyone to play linebacker here last weekend. Our defensive front really has to improve. Now you take Mike Mapu who is maybe playing the best out of all the line out, and we really have to find three other guys that can do what we ask them to do."
On the defensive lineman: "I think on a couple of occasions we ran around blocks and ran around schemes when we were supposed to go and take a blocking scheme on. We did not do what we were supposed to do and they got up on our linebackers. There is also the case where they just grabbed us and threw us on the ground or cut us. If you remember the game, we had a lot of guys just on the ground. I was not pleased with either of those."
On defensive tackle Manase Hopoi: "We might have to move Manase Hopoi around because of the Mike Mapu situation. There is a possibility that might happened."
On the secondary: "There were a couple of plays where I think they did not play very well, and I don't think we did a great job on what we would call crack replacement. A receiver would come in to block a safety and the corner did not come into the right spot and I think we made some mistakes there. We just didn't tackle very well back there. I thought we tackled well the first week and just did not tackle as well last week obviously. In all fairness though, the ball shouldn't be 10-12 yards deep as often as it had been. I think our safeties have to tackle better and our corners have to do a better job on crack replacement and our defensive line has to play the gap that they are supposed to stay in. When you play at home you have to stay in the gap. You can't run around a block, you have to stay in the gap and rely on the linebackers."
On the clock management issues: "Let me just say that I have asked the league to look at it. It would have been nice to have a few seconds at the end. I know how the Washington State Cougars felt in that Rose Bowl game when they would have liked to have a few seconds at the end of that game. But at the same time, I think we had significant chances early in the game to do better in the game so I wish it would not have come to that. So I am not laying anything off on anybody. I would like them to look at it, but I believe we had significant chances early on in the game."
On quarterback Casey Paus' performance: "He did fine. We had three drops, a couple of places where we would have liked to see him taken them to another side of a route, but I think he was doing fine. I thought we caught the ball better at the end of the second half. I can think of four shots where I thought they were pretty good balls. And then you take the holding call at the end of the game which I do have some concern over because I do not believe it was a hold on the inside breaking route that Charles Frederick was running that should have given us a first down late in the quarter."
On the safeties: "Jimmy Newell was banged up a little bit at the end of the game but I think he will be fine. Obviously we think we would like to get Chris Hemphill in the game, as he gets a little bit older and more mature we would like to give him more snaps. CJ Wallace played tremendously on special teams and had a lot of big hits. He was very impressive and really wants to play, and he is a talented guy so I think he is working his way into being on the field more."
On the performance of free safety Dashon Goldson: "I don't think Dashon had a real good day. I think his day kind of started poorly with a terrible block in the back and he got up and retaliated for the foul on the thing and just started wrong. I think that Dashon will rebound from that and I still think that he is a better player than how he played. He missed a couple of tackles and I just don't think it was a good day for him. I think he is a very capable player."
On the quarterback position: "I think I would like to stay with one quarterback in the game because I think Casey has been very consistent. I didn't see the bad ball or the missed advantage like in the last game. He seemed to manage the ball, time and huddle well and I thought there were a lot of really good things he had in the game."
On the trip to Notre Dame: "I think it is unique to get to go to Notre Dame, I really do. It is one of the greatest places in all of college football and I think you are lucky to get to play at the place and get the experience. You still have to play the game and you are still playing against a good team and I think once all of that settles down it is our team against their team between the stripes."
On the Notre Dame defense: "I have coached against their defensive coordinator Kent Baer and I know that they tackle and defend what you do pretty well. They are not going to screw it up, they are going to go out there and play good strong solid defense. I think he has a really good group of defensive lineman who have great speed of the edge."
On Notre Dame's red zone defense: "Nobody is getting in there. Nobody is going to score because they are knocking the hell out of you in there."
On the importance of a big road win: "It has been awhile since we have had a big road win. We have had some tough road trips and been to some landmark places like Miami and Notre Dame. It would be nice to win one of those games."
On quarterback Isaiah Stanback: "I think Isaiah is a quarterback. I just think he has missed two weeks of work and he is just going to be behind from that standpoint."
On the quarterback breakdown: "Casey Paus will be getting 75-80 percent of the work, and 80-90 percent with the first offense."
On the speed of Notre Dame: "I think if you look at their defense now they have done some good recruiting over the past few years and they are a lot quicker. They run things down. I think if you look at their first three games they have sped up considerably defensively and then you look at their tailbacks and wide receivers and there is not a slow position on the field."
On the comparison of Notre Dame speed to the Pac-10: "Everyone can burn rubber out West, so can these guys. They are very fast at skill positions and defensively. They have good team speed."
On wide receiver Corey Williams: "He is a talented guy and he has nice size. If you look at our passing game over the last two games we have been under 50 percent completions both games. A lot of it is directed of Charles Frederick because we have not found the balance that we want, and if we can get our timing going and get Charles some balls we will be able to get Corey going. I think it would really help. I think Anthony Russo took some steps up last weekend because he is very fast and athletic in the middle of the field but we still lack some balance in that. If we can get going on the outside and get some inside passing game going the balance in the receiving corps will improve. We need to complete a higher percentage. We are not completing a high enough percentage per throws and our average per attempt is way down from what we have had in the last five years."
On defensive end Jordan White-Frisbee: "I think he is a bright and very athletic guy. When I saw him play high school basketball I was really impressed with his quickness for a three-hundred thirty pound guy. He is very powerful but very young. There were a few times last week where he made some big plays, but they were good plays in the wrong gap. It is a result of being in the business so good play. Good plays, but wrong gap. He has a big upside and it is quite a jump to come from high school football to training camp to Fresno State and UCLA. It is quite a leap for these guys, and you hope it's not too much too fast but I think they are quality players and great kids and I think they have big upsides and good futures ahead of them."
On tailback Kenny James: "He catches the ball fine, and we have some routes to him and we have to get the backs more involved in the things that we are doing because our passing numbers in term of yardage per attempt are way down from where we want to have."
On getting the backs more involved: "I think that we have had backs in protection because there have been a lot of blitzes. We are not throwing the same amount of diverse passing things that we did here the last two or three years and we are not a big screen team anymore. They are probably not getting as many chances in terms of the design of the pass offense and we are also keeping them in protections more because as we saw that UCLA really tried to blitz us a lot."
On the success of UCLA tailback Maurice Drew: "Two of those runs were against pressures and we didn't crack replace and we didn't get the ball fit right. One of them I thought Drew made an unbelievable run and it was a tremendous effort and I don't want to take anything away from that youngster. I don't think we played worth a darn defensively but I think he is a real special kid. The next time he popped one on a pitch play we were blitzing on the other sideline and we didn't get enough people around him."
On the UCLA defense: "I said after the game I was just very surprised by what they did to us on defense. I think they are a terrific offense and their offensive front is tough and getting better but we were stunned at just the pure volume of numbers that UCLA got. There is no doubt that they are a lot bigger than our defensive kids, they are huge people and they are good."
On Notre Dame's backs: "I would think they are a lot like what you saw Saturday afternoon. I think Darius Walker is terrific. He came in against Michigan and just looked like the next great one and really gave their offense a lot of energy."