September 1, 2006

Post-game quotes: Dirk Koetter

Arizona State coach Dirk Koetter addressed the media following his team's season-opener win against Northern Arizona. An unorthodox defensive scheme led to an unusual feel to the game. Koetter talked about that and more in his post-game thoughts:

"We wanted to get a win and we got a win. So, you know you can't have it exactly how you want it. We had a great chance to get off to a super start, we throw an interception in the red zone on the first drive and then we get four chances inside the five yard line and can't punch it in on the second drive so got no one to blame but ourselves offensively on that."

"And then I thought our defense did a pretty good job other than they gave up two big plays. On one of them we had a [defensive backs] fall down and the quarterback was scrambling around and threw it up for grabs and our DB just fell down. That can't happen, but it did. And then on the second one they caught us on one of the oldest tricks in the book. We were trying to sub a nickel package and they snapped the ball quick, caught us in-between and that was smart by them. You take those two plays out and then really the one long third down pass in the second half and really our defense did OK other than that."

"They had nine sacks tonight which is a lot. We're off to a great start from that low amount we had last year. We hit Murrietta hard all night. I think you gotta give Jason Murrietta credit for the way he scrambled out of trouble. We had him sacked a couple more times. Really the story in this game was they only turned it over once, we turned it over twice including one time going into the end zone. Offensively we just never could get into a rhythm. I give NAU some of the credit for that. They run a confusing scheme and they changed it even more than what we had prepared for but you know that's football and I give them credit and we just never really could get in a rhythm on offense but not we know what we have to work on and we'll be back and ready to get after it next week."

On the pay of Derron Ware:

"Derron has had a tremendous camp. I saw Derron and his mother outside in the hall before pre-game today and I told his mom that Derron shouldn't be nervous because when you have a camp where you play well every day you should expect to play well in the games. And I thought Derron just picked up right where he has been in practice and I think you guys can see that Derron has the speed off the corner, he's a converted safety, he's a big guy but he's got a burst to him. Derron can hit you, he's got coverage skills and he's got rushing skills; he's our best edge rusher and that showed up tonight, as was the return of Kyle Caldwell. Kyle was in the backfield all night too."

On the play of the four running backs, each of whom had a touchdown run:

"They all did some good things but I didn't think with the run game we had any consistency at all, whether it be the point of attack with the blocking. We didn't hit the hole as consistently hard as I've seen us do it in practice. We did it at times, I think Shaun Dewitty had two or three good runs in a row in the second half and I think fans got a glimpse of why Dimitri Nance was a 3,000 yard rusher (in high school). That guy's just - that' show he is every day. Keegan had a spectacular run on that one (touchdown) but that was kind of a broken play. You gotta give Keegan all the credit in the world for individual effort but that's now how the play was designed but great individual effort by Keegan and we got some good reverse field blocks on that and then Dewitty and Torain both made nice plays on the screens and looked good on those at times. But we've been pretty successful on offense here in the last five years here and that wasn't us tonight and that falls on me and we'll get it fixed."

On getting things going a little better offensively in the second half:

"Well we ran very simple plays and because they were doing a good job of confusing us with their multiple blitz looks … They did the same type of defense that we prepared for but they did a lot better job of describing coverages - give NAU credit for that - their safeties did a real nice job and they mixed their coveraged very well. So they had me, and then in turn Rudy off-guard a little bit in the passing game and we just didn't have the consistency we needed in the run game so we kind of wore 'em down in the fourth. We probably should have gone to two tight ends and try to cover 'em up and let the backs run sooner than we did in the fourth quarter but the way the score was we felt like we had to change the tempo. We went no huddle in the second quarter and most of the third quarter and when we went no huddle it was one step forward two steps."

On his desire to get backup quarterback Danny Sullivan into the game:

"When Dimitri ran that ball down to about the 30 yard-line and NAU had the player down I almost put Danny in there but I just felt that it was important that we finish the drive off. But I did want to get Danny in and we'll get him in next week."

When asked how he thought Rudy Carpenter played:

"Not very good and I didn't help him very much so when you quote me on that, quote both sides, don't just say, 'Koetter said Carpenter didn't play very good.' I didn't help him much either. Rudy can pay a lot better than that and I can coach him a lot better than that."

Regarding the unique NAU defensive schemes:

NAU fooled us a lot tonight with their disguise. They fooled us more than we've been fooled in a very long time…So my hat's off to their defensive coaches. We don't get fooled like that often and I'll take that on me."

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