Nov. 11, 2001
What are your recollections of the UA-ASU game from your years as an Arizona assistant?:
I always remembered it as a fiercely competitive and intense game both on the field and in the stands. I think it's a game that both sides really gear up for and I know the fans do. I think it was one of those games where everyone plays fast. Judging from our players' general conversations, I think our players will carry a lot of that with them.
Do rivalry mean more to you as a coach? Do you get a sense of how much it means to the fans?:
Oh, yes. Coaches know that very well and they feel it and they get ready for it.
What's the thought process behind closing the practices for the ASU game?:
It helps tell the players that this game is very different. It means a little bit extra.
Does John Rattay's performance give you reason to review the quarterback position?:
John did a nice job last night. That was his best performance because he was a 50 percent passer, threw a nice touchdown pass and didn't get into any real trouble. It's hard to get the No. 2 guy practice during the season unless you have a number of games that are one sided and he gets to go in and play. It's certainly encouraging for this game because I'm sure that the quarterbacks on both teams will be under a lot of heat with blitzes and everything.
Were the penalties a big concern?:
When you play in a big game like that last night, and we had to play that one like it was a championship because it's do-or-die, and you come up and have penalties, it just kills you. And the turnovers...those are two things that get you. If you are going to be a great team, the teams that win invariably protect the football and don't have a lot of fouls.
Comment on the turnover factor:
I've never had a team have so many turnovers returned for touchdowns. Never. I don't know who has. To me that's the most puzzling part of it. So many things have happened...If we have to focus and emphasize more of what we have to do to protect the ball, we'll do that. If it means playing a different style of football, we will. We have one game here and that will be a significant point of emphasis for the game, but it has to become a point of emphasis for our future.
Do you want to make an effort to get Clarence Farmer the ball more often?:
We didn't have much of a good set-up early in the game and Clarence had a turnover. That was a chance for us to really get right back in there. It was a little bit of trying to get other players some playing time. We put Tremaine Cox in there in the third and fourth quarters to play the one-back sets because he had practiced that quite a bit. Then he fumbled too, so we went back to Clarence.