Sept. 27, 2004
On Corey Williams' wrist injury: "Corey Williams had his surgery yesterday morning. We got in yesterday morning and they took a look at his wrist and they just felt that they couldn't wait another day, that there was damage to the place where they had to get that wrist fixed. So he had surgery yesterday and should be released this morning. That is a three to six month repair so he is done for the season."
On Zach Tuiasosopo's leg injury: "Zach Tuiasosopo with a fracture is probably lost for most of the remainder of the season. He may be able to get back for the Washington State game. He's a tough guy but I think that's pushing it. The other people that have had that same injury, once they say you're ready to go you still limp around for several weeks so I would think it would be hard for Zach to get back. He won't have surgery, they just put a cast on it. It was a long fracture that went down towards the foot. I have not looked at the x-ray myself."
On Charles Frederick's status for Saturday: "Not good. I think Charles is very, very doubtful for this game."
On when Frederick suffered his injury: "I think sometime in the first quarter. Because I remember we tried to throw him a post in the second quarter and he couldn't get away from a guy and I said, `Is he hurt?' and he looked like it. So I would think some time in the first quarter whether it was on a kick return or on a little seam route we tried to throw early on is my best guess. He kept trying to go and it was diminishing returns so finally it was time to sit him."
On who the receivers will be: "We'll be playing with Quintin Daniels, Sonny Shackelford, Anthony Russo, Bobby Whithorne. Charles Smith will probably get a chance to be in the depth chart now. So those are the people you'll see. Obviously we're going to miss Charles and Corey because in particular I thought Corey was coming around making plays. He had five catches in the first part of the game and had the only real big play we had off of a misdirection play. So those other guys are just going to have to step up. Bobby made some nice catches and ran some nice routes. Anthony I think is going to be a good player. He had a couple drops that bothered him particularly one big play where Casey threw a pretty good ball in there and was dropped. It's going to be different without those two guys and we had built a lot around Corey and E.T. and Zach so it's going to be different."
On if Isaiah Stanback will see more playing-time: "No, I don't think so, and he's still injured. At least he was all last week and looked very hobbled and got very few reps so it doesn't change anything with him."
On if Williams or Tuiasosopo could receive medical redshirts: "Well, that would fall under the heading of `hardship.' They're tough. They're tricky. I think in Corey's case where he hasn't played that many games and he hasn't played X percentage of the season yet, there's a chance to save Corey's year where I think in Zach's case, where this is his fifth year and would require `hardship', I think that's trickier. I don't know that one as well as I know the other one. I think it's a little trickier process so I would say it's doubtful although you'd love to have him. But I think it's doubtful."
On what will change in the gameplan with the injuries: "Not much. We're going to do our system and do our thing. The other guys just have to step up. Obviously it's a concern because our passing game is really anemic right now. We're hurting. My big concern is if you just go by statistics, our passing game is about 40%, so we're not even 50%, we're not throwing or catching. And our yards per attempt is down around 5, which we've averaged over 7, 8 per attempt for a long time and now we're down in the 5's and per attempt that's not very good. So we've got to get better throwing the ball so that is a huge deficiency there. And I think if there was another deficiency I think it's how people have converted third downs on us. I think it's 48% people converting third downs on us which is a problem. Then three games in a row we've lost the net punting battle. If you add those things up I think that's significant. Yards in our passing game, getting out of drives on third downs on defense and then the kicking part of it."
On who will start at quarterback: "We're going to start Carl Bonnell. I want everybody to know I think the world of Casey Paus. He's a good player and he's a tremendous young person and he's going to play. But I think Carl's earned the chance to start and that's what we're going to do."
On how much Paus will play: "He'll play all the time, but Carl's earned the opportunity to start. I think Casey, if you look back at some of the games that he's been here, when he came in in that role really made some significant contributions and so I still think he's a good quarterback but Carl, with his combination of his feet and his arm and his quickness has earned the chance to start."
On if Bonnell will start past this week: "I don't make these decisions. We labor on these kind of thoughts and decisions. I'd like to see a guy get in there and stay in there week after week. Obviously we're struggling on offense, it's no secret. Our passing game has really suffered. Then you get against a really stellar front like Notre Dame and you don't run it efficiently, you get behind and it puts so much pressure on us that we kind of have no way to compete with them. So we're hoping Carl, with the combination of his quick release and his ability to run a little bit will give us some play."
On Paus' reaction to sitting in the second half: "The other thing I thought was really classy from Casey is that when we said we're going to give Carl a swing at the second half, he was over there helping him, watching what was going on much like what he did with Cody, making suggestions. He's a quality guy and he's going to get his turns and his chances. We're lucky to have him here."
On Bonnell's progress: "I thought he made some great strides, particularly during the two weeks off. Isaiah being injured gave him a chance to get more reps and it's worked to where he's really improved. Now, he's still a freshman so it's not going to look like Tom Brady out there. He's a freshman and he's going to put some in there where they're not supposed to go but that's the way it is."
On how Bonnell handled mental challenges: "I think he did fine. The only thing I would take issue with is the one he threw up the field where the inside receiver got bumped real hard and he thought the guy was going to come around behind and he kind of lobbed it in there. I don't think that's a lob throw and it got picked. That was really the only thing I would take issue with. I think he did everything else very well. He threw the ball on time on the posts and the quicks. He did a nice job getting out of trouble and scrambling. He did a good job running the option and making some plays with his feet."
On Bonnell's leadership: "He's very quiet. He's not a loud, boisterous guy. He's a humble young guy and real honest. He's a terrific young guy and our people will rally around him. He has the foot quickness and speed to make some plays that will help our offense. Right now we're struggling to the tune of 40 some percent passing and you can't live like that, we can't exist like that. Stanford has a really outstanding defense. They're very talented. You'll see like we saw last week, three years of recruiting and coaching how it's paid off for Tyrone Willingham, you could say the same for Buddy Teevens team. They hung in there for three years. I don't think they had the success they wanted but they hung in there and kept working and recruiting and now you're seeing the fruits of their labors. They have some depth. They have excellent defensive speed. Their secondary is very fast and big strong people on the line of scrimmage and experience everywhere. But they've hung in there for three years. They didn't have three great years, they had three tough years and fought through it and now they're going. They're solid."
On moving other players to fullback: "We talked about a couple moves but at the time, no. With James Sims and Durrell Moss and then a walk-on by the name of Mark Palaita, I'm not going to bring in anybody out of redshirt like Johnie Kirton. Ty Eriks we talked about but we're not that deep at defensive line that you could be moving guys off for that reason so we'll play with who we have there."
On any additional injuries: "Some guys probably won't practice as early in the week. We'll hold off Manase Hopoi today, Derrick Johnson, probably hold Jimmy Newell today. Manase's leg has been bothering him. Same with Jimmy Newell, he has a contusion in the back of his leg that the swelling goes up and down. We have a concern about Trenton Tuiasosopo. His knee has not responded to treatment and seems to get worse and worse. It's a possibility that we may have to hold him for the rest of the year. He's going to get an M.R.I. today. Derrick had a hyper-extended knee in the first quarter but came back and finished the game."
On the play of the freshmen: "Erick Lobos was pretty impressive. He played pretty well. He's a unique guy, that kind of setting won't matter to him. Notre Dame or Carson High School, who cares? Let's just play. Jordan White-Frisbee had some good plays. Probably not as significant of plays as what you saw a week ago but he played well and he's a big man in there. He played more plays than we anticipated. He played in 50 or 60 plays so that experience was good for him. They obviously have a very good offensive line so that was good for him. I thought Greyson Gunheim probably had his toughest game going against a really good player. Of the three of them he probably had the hardest time."
On if Donny Mateaki's hamstring still bothers him: "No, Donny just hasn't developed like we thought he would. The hamstring slowed him down and he got behind and he just hasn't played like we wanted him to play. It's a matter of what he's been able to do more than the injury. We still have hope that he'll respond and come alive and really make some significant contributions but he has not yet."
On struggling on pass defense vs. Notre Dame: "I didn't think we played very well at corner. In a couple of our man coverages we took our eyes off and tried to watch the ball and next thing you know we couldn't catch back up. We were way out of position back there. So we did some undisciplined things back there. Our corners didn't play as well as we hoped or as well as they're capable of playing. At halftime I think Notre Dame had 166 yards passing which alarmed me because I was concerned about rushing yards."
On the defensive line rotation: "We're going to stay with Hopoi, Milsten, White-Frisbee and Ala. But Erick Lobos and Gunheim and Ty Eriks and Wilson Afoa will keep getting opportunities. We're going to try to get Donny Mateaki more involved and more chances."
On how he keeps players from hanging their heads: "The guys have to understand that this happens to just about everybody. You're not going to have smooth sailing all the time, you're going to have some downs and our guys understand that. You've got to play out of it. The other thing is we like coaching them and have a lot of fun with them and I think if you can go out there and be positive and they know you care about them and you like coaching them, if you just stay at it, it will change. We're not going to make seniors out of freshmen in a couple weeks. A month from now all these guys will have four more games under their belt and we'll be significantly improved. We are what we are though. When you play that many first-year guys you're prone to have this. This should not be a surprise to anyone in that this is kind of what everybody said about us, we were going to struggle early. We felt like there were some opportunities that we haven't taken full advantage of but I'm not discouraged. And a month from now I think we'll be a lot better football team. And they've got to know that."
On if he has anything special planned for returning to the site of Curtis Williams' injury for the first time: "I don't. We won't have that many people here that were here with him. I think there's only five or six people that were here when he was and knew him. We have not been back since then so that will be a little different. I've though about it. Probably not. And probably Curtis wouldn't want us to dwell on it knowing Curtis. So I'd say the people that knew him will have a moment to themselves this week. We have a lot of new guys that only know of him, 25 is painted on the field. It will be different for those of us that were here then."
On if he tells Williams' story to the young players: "I don't want to overdo it because it's about this team and our guys and playing the game. Those of us that were here with C-dub, we miss him a lot and we think about him every day. His name's still on the depth chart every day. So it's not like we don't miss him and think about him but that's because we were here with him. But a lot of these guys have not met him or did not know him. But everybody's aware of what happened."