On The Pitch With Derek Crismier
Oct. 5, 2005
Redshirt sophomore Derek Crismier has become a fixture in the Husky backline this season, starting all but one game and contributing to a stingy UW defense that has held opponents to just three goals after the first half in eight matches. Crismier sat down with GoHuskies.com reporter C.J. Bowles after training this week to discuss the season's progress, his new role as a centerback and being reunited with former high school teammate Bobbak Talebi. The Huskies take on UCLA and San Diego State at home this weekend.
GoHuskies.com: How has the season been going so far?
Derek Crismier: "We started out pretty well, but we hit a little bump in the road last week at Oregon State. That happens though. We've struggled down there recently, the last couple years down there we haven't won. Dean (Wurzburger) said it was the best we've played down there in awhile though. You still want to come away from there with a good result, so that was tough, but you have to let it slide. Then this weekend we have UCLA here, which is a huge game for us. We're at home against one of the best teams in the country. There's a lot to look forward to."
GH: You guys lost to Oregon State in Corvallis in the opening week of Pac-10 play. Was it a hard loss to take?
DC: "I've been down there two years now and it's been the same deal both times. In seasons past we've really fallen apart. I couldn't tell you what it is. They're a very emotional and aggressive team. They're not that technical like UCLA, but when you walk in there, they bring a very hard man attitude, which I guess throws some of us off. We've all dealt with those situations at some point though."
GH: You filled in for Ty Harden when he was injured earlier this season, was that an easy position for you to pick up?
DC: "I played centerback for my club team, so I guess it was a pretty easy choice for Dean to slide me in there. I don't really have a certain spot on this team. I'm kind of a utility player. I don't like that title being attached to my name, but I was able to step right in there and perform well."
GH: Do you think that position is a good fit for your strengths?
DC: "I don't really regard myself as a centerback even though I like to see the whole game in front of me, I don't like people coming at me from behind. But I'm not tall enough and I'm not as physical as guys like Ty Harden and Matt Fischer. It's tough for me, but I'll play wherever they want me to. I played left back all spring league and I felt like I did solid, but I don't really care, as long as I play."
GH: Now with Harden back, has he helped to take some of the pressure off you as the last line of defense?
DC: "With Ty back there, he anchors it. He's as solid of a college player as I've seen. It's definitely good to have him back there."
GH: When both Harden and you are in the game, how does the defensive formation look?
DC: "If we play a sweeper formation that I'd sweep, but usually we play a flat back form. That means that me and Ty are right next to each other as two full backs and then two more defenders play just a little bit in front of us on the wings."
GH: You've only had the chance to take two shots this season. Is that part of the reason that you'd like a chance to play farther up on the field?
DC: "That's one reason, but another is that I really like to have the ball at my feet. A lot of defenders don't really like that, but I really like to get the play going and be a part of the offense as much as I can. Hopefully I can get some more shots this season."
GH: After missing a year due to injury and not playing consistently last season, has it been nice to become a fixture in the team's starting lineup this season?
DC: "It's huge for me right now. To be honest, it was tough for me, especially during my ACL injury (2003 season). And then with C.J. Klaas around, it was hard for me to find playing time. I would perform really well in practice until I'd get into a real game, but this season I feel like I've played fairly solid. It's good to get consecutive games under my belt. Being out a whole year was hard. It happens to a lot of players, but it was tough."
GH: This season, you have been reunited with Bobbak Talebi who you played with at Lake Washington High School and transferred from Portland to UW last season. How has it been to be back on the same team?
DC: "It's great to be back with Bobbak. I've known him since I was 11 or 12, played with him ever since and we've always been pretty close friends. I knew he wasn't really settled at Portland, so I helped to convince him to transfer here. I knew he'd be a good fit here and all the guys here get along really well together. It's great to have him here."
GH: Had you played with any of your other Husky teammates before college?
DC: "I'd played with about half of this team outside of UW on a club team. We know how each other plays and it helps a lot. We're getting to a point where we all understand each other well. We're not quite midway through the season, so it's good to see that and it's fun to work off each other like that. Having the understanding of how each other plays really helps."
GH: Lastly, so far this year, the team has outscored its opponents in the second half of games 9-3. What do you attribute that late success to?
DC: "We all realize that it's a 90-minute game. So it's not just a 45-minute half where we give it everything we've got, it's the whole 90-minutes. We have an attitude where we have to keep on going for 90 minutes."