Sept. 15, 2003
General comments: "We're coming off a bye where we practiced Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, then took the weekend off, so we're coming into the week fairly fresh. We got a lot done last week, I thought the four days were good work, but like any time you come off a bye, the proof is how you play. Byes have not always been good for us, I'm anxious to see us play, I'm really anxious to see us practice this week and then see us play after a bye. For the most part we feel good about the health of our team and where we're at, we have some definite things we want to get better at, things we've talked about in here over the past couple weeks.
On facing Idaho: "I've been here for the past four years and we've faced Idaho every year. It's always strange, that was a pretty great place for me, a lot of great things happened to me there and people feel like I made a contribution there. I had a wonderful experience, made life-long friends, met my wife, and I recruited Tom, coached Tom and then Tom coached on my staff. Bud Engels was on my staff. I have a lot of great memories and there are a lot of people there who are my life-long friends who I correspond with weekly."
On relationship with Tom Caple: "We talk quite a bit, we usually get together and play at least one round of golf a year and see each other at other golf things. Tom and I have been close for a long, long time."
On Idaho: "I think their defense plays hard, their defense has played hard for a couple of years, I was impressed with how hard their defense played to keep them in that game. I thought Harrington was really accurate, I saw him put the ball on the money a lot, they had some dropped balls that really hurt them. I think that really set them back because I thought they had some chances to really be in that game. They obviously have a fine punter. Those are the things that jumped out at me about Idaho."
On why recruited Caple: "What stood out about him as a high school player was how hard he played. He was a big kid, very athletic. We were an I-AA team at the time and I thought we were really getting a steal of a player. I thought he was really a fine player and my dad was coaching him at Snohomish High School, that was the school that I went to, so that didn't hurt either. He was a pretty tough guy, competitive, liked to play, a real coachable guy."
On whether struggles of Idaho are because of moving up leagues: "When Dennis Erickson and myself coached at Idaho and John Smith when it was a I-AA job, I thought it was one of the premier I-AA jobs in the country. If you look at our win-loss records there you'd have to say that it was a pretty good place to coach. We did not play the schedule that Tom has been forced to play. We'd play one, maybe two I-A teams per year, but we did not play anything near the schedule that they try to play now. It's a way different job than when I coached there, I think it's a much more difficult job."
On what wanted to focus on most during bye week: "The first thing was our return teams, kick-off return and punt return. I don't think that we've been getting the play out of that that we should be. I think we have more quality athletes returning the ball than what our numbers have indicated. The rest of it was really spring football. Putting your foot in the ground where you're supposed to, your base, where your eyes are supposed to be. The last thing was to get the few guys who have some little nicks, get them treated and healed up. Cody didn't have to throw or do much, Reggie Williams didn't have to do a lot, Charles practiced, but we practiced him in red, so he just ran routes and didn't bump anybody."
On injury update and depth chart: "Our depth chart hasn't changed a whole lot. Ty Eriks, we gave him a look at defensive end, outside linebacker. He's fast and strong, so we're going to pencil him in at both fullback and that other spot. Milsten is probably going to go inside to play, that gives us the ability to play Donny Mateaki more at defensive end. Justin Robbins, really no news, just wait and see. I don't have a crystal ball and I can't look inside that joint, so I don't know where that's at. I don't think you'll see him this week, but Stanford may be a possibility."
On players playing both ways: "With scholarship limitations, you can't be deep at all of your positions, I'm sure Miami is, and maybe Ohio State, but not everybody. And you're also going to see guys who are spectacular athletes who have the ability to do both things."