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Tyrone Willingham Monday Press Conference Quotes
Release: 10/31/2005
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Oct. 31, 2005

On strategy for beating Oregon State:
"I think the formula really hasn't changed for us, only the opponent has changed. The first thing we have to do is take care of ourselves and eliminate some of our mistakes, that would be number one. We have got to be productive running the football, and balance in our passing attack and have it be more productive than it was a week ago. From a defensive standpoint, obviously Oregon State is throwing the ball well, and their running back I have a great deal of respect for, he kind of reminds me of Maurice Drew. We have got to find a way to stop the running game, and really do a much better job of defending against the pass, and we need our special teams to be a positive for us."

On quarterback situation:
"Yes I am, but I think we are going to look very closely at our situation, to make sure we have things in the right order."

"I just think we have to make sure that we have got that situation where it needs to be. I was not pleased with our performance in that ball game. I felt, that out of all the ball games, that was probably not our best one."

"No, there is a chance I am going to look at it during the week and make a decision."

"I know who our starter is right now, but I am going to look at our situation. I think that is a very fair and honest statement, right now Isaiah Stanback is our starter. I think we need to look at it, because I don't think that that was Isaiah's best ball game, and I think he will say that also."

On play of Stanback:
"None of it, things that we expect, the managing of the system, that passing, all of that, it was just not his best ball game."

"I thought his play was okay, but he has been in very difficult situations. He has come in during what you might label mop-up duty and that is not really a fair evaluation. But, in the opportunities he has had at practice he has done a good job."

"We may consider a lot of things, being somewhat ambiguous is the right approach. We need to look at it and see before we make any decision. Because it would be incorrect of me to make a decision on all of that right now."

"I think I have been more pleased with the overall performance."

On whether there was a moment when the team let down:
"No, I don't think there was a moment. I think there was some times when we had an opportunity to kind of grab and take control of the ball game right there in the fourth quarter. I think our team did an excellent job of handling adversity and putting themselves in the right position. First of all, we had been down all day and had been fighting back. Then we had the fumble, that gave them the opportunity to kind of expand things. Our defense held them to a punt, then we had a chance to kind of get back in it. So, I think that we did a good job of fighting adversity and putting ourselves in position, but we didn't close the door. I don't know what is your moment when you saw things slip away, but we just didn't finish it"

On running back situation:
"We'll see, I don't know what Rankin's status is right now but I am very pleased with what we got from James Sims, and I thought he added something to our attack. It was not just excellent blocking up front, he broke some tackles, and ran very hard, and gave us a physical presence in the backfield; and that was wonderful."

On offensive line:
"I thought our offensive line did a wonderful job. We knew this was one of the areas that we had to be good in this week, if we were going to have a chance to have success. I think they stepped it up. We needed to be physical against their defensive front, and I think our offensive line gave us that."

On success of defensive line against ASU:
"I think it was a little bit of both. I think that there is no question that they are a different offensive team playing with some of the injuries that they have had to play with. But also, I thought our coaches did a wonderful job of being creative in our packages and putting some people into different places. Of course, we also got wonderful pass rushes from Greyson Gunheim, also from Chris Stevenson, and Joe Lobendahn gave us some additional pressure on the quarterback."

On Chris Stevens:
"It was just our coaches looking at young men in our system that are working extremely hard and trying to find the right places for them to help this football team. And Chris, hopefully he will have a spectacular career here, because he is a bright young man that plays very hard and whatever his coaches ask him to do, he is willing to do."

"He is an inside linebacker, but there are so many places that you can use a young man that brings that type of speed and that type of attitude and that kind of drive to him. I don't think it is permanent, hopefully we can get some bigger guys to do the same thing, but for right now, it is nice to be able to plug Chris in and have him go at it with the energy that he went at it."

On Defense:
"I don't think we are satisfied with our defense, we have done some things really well. On occasions I think we have played the run fairly well, we have played some pretty good teams that have run the football. I think our Achilles heel, has been our pass defense. There is a lot of reasons for that, none of them acceptable. We have to improve in that area."

On feelings after loss:
"I think I have always said that losing just eats up, just takes a piece of you. I think I have said this before, I am consistent. It is like having a mule kick you in your gut, when you lose. There is nothing good about that, so it is tough. The good news is, I am still very much excited about what can happen, and the young men we have in the program."

On what he think the teams record could be:
"Probably about five or six ball games. I think with the teams we have played and the games we have played we probably could have won if we had done everything right."

On Mike Hass:
"He catches the football, all the time. He is a heck of a competitor, he fights for every inch. He makes the easy catches, he makes the touch catches. He runs good routes."

On defensive scheme possibilities:
"We will be, without giving specifics, we will be as creative as possible, to help our guys in the backend. And as creative as possible to help our guys up front. That is not saying a whole lot, and I apologize for that. But that is the only approach you can take, we have got to find ways, knowing what our weaknesses are, to help those weaknesses. It may mean we do more coverage things, it may mean we rush two drop nine, it may mean we rush nine."

On Injuries:
"No, I think we might have had somebody catch the flu after the ball game. James Sims came back and played in the ball game, and Joe went down but he came back in also. So, I think we are pretty healthy."

"I think we had a list of guys from the other week, Darrion Jones, Louis, Ty Ericks, some of those guys could come back this week."

On end of game interceptions:
"I don't think that, I just think we made bad decisions at that time. If you look at one of the interceptions, I was as much to blame as anybody else. Just run the ball, run the clock out, don't put your guy in that situation."

On spot on fourth quarter 3rd and 1 play:
"My belief is that it shouldn't come down to a spot, okay. We should not be worried about the officials on that play."

On whether the run should have been up the gut:
"The option is very simple, to get the first down. That is the only option we teach, left side or right side, get the first down."

On going for it on fourth down:
"You always think about going for it. But with the time on the clock and where we were, and how the ball game was going at that time, I thought there was still enough time to punt it to them. I didn't want to take the risk, because one thing you don't want to do is give them a short field, because if you look at field positions for the day, they had had a fairly short field most of the day. I think they were about the 37 or the 40, was their average field position. So, you don't want to give it to them in that type of situation."

"I think we have gone for it in other situations. I think it was just a matter of being smart and making the right decision. We could say no it wasn't the right decision, or we could still say yes it was the right decision."

"What would I say now? I would probably, knowing what I know now, I would probably change. Because it didn't win the football game for us."

On special teams:
"We just need to be as creative as we can to get the best people, and the right people into place, and try to get some consistency, and do things right. Because we have done them right, just not consistently."

On Arizona State:
"What they have, their scheme is always good, but you have got to be able to match personnel and they have had a lot of success with good tight ends, over the last couple of years they have had good receivers. I think Hagan is a darn good receiver, they have a compliment to him on the other side. You just can't take away one guy, and when you have that type of balance and confidence in your system, good things happen."

On Manase Hopoi:
"I think for some reason he has been struggling a little bit. I don't know why, he hasn't had the sack season he had a year ago. Hopefully, we can do some things to free him up and create some opportunities for him."

On Craig Chambers:
"There is no reason. I don't think I have anything to elaborate with, he has had some big catches for us in a couple of ball games, so there have been some plays, but probably not enough."

On season:
"I think we have been pretty close on some occasions. I think Saturday was another one of those games, if we get the right things to happen at the right time. We are doing a lot of things well, I think that was a good football team, and they kind of had a streak there where they weren't playing the way they wanted to play, but they are still a good football team. And yet, we were right there at the eight, nine-minute mark in the fourth quarter, and if we can get this drive completed we have got ourselves a ball game. We have just got to stay with it. There is no magic dust, there is not magic formula that we can just spread around and all of a sudden things are going to happen. We have just got to keep working at it, that is the only way we are going to get there. It is a great message, and a terrible message because you don't want to hear it. But that is the only way."

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