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December 27, 2005

Rudy Carpenter

Derek Hagan

Dirk Koetter

Jamar Williams


COACH DIRK KOETTER: Obviously we're very excited about the way it turned out. A little iffy there in the first half, but these two guys right here rallied the troops there in the second half and really, really proud of the way our guys competed and hung in there.
It's a battle, we had a bunch of guys go down tonight. Dale Robinson was reduced to just a shadow of himself. He's had a real bad thigh bruise that he has not been able to overcome. We lost Stephen Berg, our starting guard real early in the aim with a separated shoulder. You could see Carnahan limping around on that foot that's been broken that whole second half of the year and he's been playing on it. We lost Mo London to a concussion. We lost Caldwell, I'm not sure exactly what it was, but he was out the whole second half to. Have these guys hang in there and keep going.
I thought Jamar did a great job of getting the defense. Rutgers had us off-balance the first half with their shifts and motions and we were screwed up about half the time and we didn't tackle very well. I thought Jamar did a great job of taking charge; Derek, in a leadership role; and the skinny guy to my left, once again, tonight he played awesome.

Q. Rudy, I notice your left arm is not in your left sleeve, you played like a boxer who played 15 rounds but would not go down. What kind of a beating did you take and how did you feel about the game you played?
RUDY CARPENTER: I got eight hit a lot. Defense is all part of the position and sometimes you just have to do it. I didn't want to talk away with a loss in this game. My shoulder, it's all right. It's going to better in time.
COACH DIRK KOETTER: He actually hurt his shoulder in the first quarter. He's modest. This is one tough dude right here. He hurt his shoulder in the first quarter and threw for about a zillion yards.

Q. Coach mentioned you took charge there in the second half, can you elaborate more on that? You held them to nine points in 27 minutes, what was the biggest difference in the first and second half defensively?
JAMAR WILLIAMS: They were kind of shifting a lot and doing things we had not seen on film, kind of fake shifting. I just had to calm down myself and just relax out there, and just let everything -- once they really wound up in their formations, then just make the call. Get everybody lined up and once we do that, play our football the way we can.

Q. What does this mean, what this win means as a springboard for next season, especially for you Derek and Jamar, who are leaving this legacy for the program?
JAMAR WILLIAMS: For me and Derek, we've had ever had back-to-back Bowl victories and ASU has not had it in 20-something years. It's great to go out with a victory. It was a great fan turnout, and to leave your home city like this is a great feeling.
DEREK HAGAN: I just want to say when we came out tonight, we played pretty well. It's just great, going out with a victory. Obviously me and Jamar, Jamar and I, we've been out here for the past four seasons and it's been great. Coming back next year, I think those guys will be ready, especially now time to see Rich, it's his turn to step up. Looking forward to that.
COACH DIRK KOETTER: I should add to my statement, what a cool venue for a Bowl game. A lot has been said by you media types for us staying home for a Bowl game, but this location right here is pretty cool. I know these guys agree. That is a neat deal out there. The way the fans are, it's loud as heck out there, the field, the atmosphere. This was a real fun game.
And also I want to say on behalf of all of us up here, our hats off to Rutgers. They played a hell of a ballgame. They are well-coached. They played hard. That was a fun game to be a part of.

Q. Rudy, after the game you were saying something about how you felt like a basketball player with a hot hand, and you told your coach, would you tell us what you told him?
RUDY CARPENTER: In our last practice that we had before, real practice before the game I thought we had a real good practice offensively. Before the game I just felt good and I was getting on the bus. And getting off the bus, I told Coach Fidler, I said if it was a basketball game, I would score 50 tonight. I felt good and kind of lucky that it worked out that way I guess.

Q. Could you elaborate a little bit about Derek Hagan and the career he's had and what it's meant to have him as part of ASU football?
COACH DIRK KOETTER: It's been awesome. It's been well-documented, Derek was not the most highly-recruited guy in the world. He's one of those diamond in the roughs. You can never in recruiting measure what is insides a guy's heart, and it took a flu bug to knock him out of his first practice in four years this last week.
If you could have heard Derek on the sideline in that first half when we were getting our butts kicked: There is a guy that's broken all these records and his future is relatively secure, and there he is going up and downs sidelines talking to the lowest walk-on to every other player to me, saying, you know, telling them, "Hang in there, keep playing hard." I'll always appreciate that about Derek. He wants the ball in his hands but he's humble enough to know, they wrote the coverage to him a lot tonight, so our C receiver Matt Miller and Terry Richardson and Jamar on the other side were getting single coverage, and Derek was getting double. I wish we had four more years of Derek or four more guys like Derek, one or the other.

Q. Talk about the end of first half drive, the importance of that heading into half-time?
COACH DIRK KOETTER: Yeah, maybe if we wouldn't have got that, we would have been booed twice as loud as they were booing us. That was ugly, that was an ugly first half.
You know, Rudy Carpenter, what a stud that guy is. First question, we're walking down the hallway on the way back and Rudy says to me as we're walking down, "So, we're going no huddle all second half, right?" Because we went right down in that no huddle and make it look easy. "Let's go into no-huddle the whole second half."
"Rudy, we have all this motion stuff we've got to do." Yeah, we work on no-huddle offense all the time and that was definitely a big part of the game to get it back under two scores. Let's face it, we were lucky, lucky, lucky we got one score at half-time because they embarrassed us that first half. But that's why there's two halves.

Q. As a follow-up about that, does this remind you -- where half-time adjustments won the game?
COACH DIRK KOETTER: I appreciate you saying that, but half-time adjustments are overrated. We made zero adjustments. We made none. We told our players, we're getting our ass kicked, plain and simple. Show up, show up, we've got to tackle somebody. We've got to get organized on defense. Those shifts had us all off-balance, let's get in a defense and let's try tackling somebody.
Then, you know, offensively, we just -- that front, we knew they could bring it and they did. We said, look, our game plan is fine, they can't stop us in a bunch; the bunch formation, they didn't stop us all night. We knew we could run it, we knew we could throw it, but we were beating ourselves. We either had a penalty and we had an unfortunate fumble on third one, I think we only had one turnover, but when you get in a game when it's back and forth, and you lose serve first, it gets away from you in a hurry. I have that effect on a lot of people. (Laughter).

Q. Can you just talk about your senior class, especially sending them out with a win and two straight Bowl championships?
COACH DIRK KOETTER: I told those guys just now, down the hall there, those 19 seniors, I really feel like we're close to being a BCS team. We're close. We're not there, but I think we're close.
The people that followed us over here, we're a few plays away of instead of having Insight Bowl champs to be playing next week. And I'm very appreciative of all the things the Insight people do for us and do for college football, but that's not our goal, that's not our goal.
We weren't close a few years ago. We were not even in the ballpark of where we needed to be. We are in the ballpark, and that's due in large part to those 19 seniors. And I think if those guys haven't learned anything else in football, as in life, is you get knocked down, you've got to keep getting up. I'll real, real proud of those guys academically and on the field, and just as I know many people in the room, are probably ASU alumnus, if you're an alumnus of ASU and you have those 19 guys that are going to join your ranks, and a sharp dressed ASU alumnus I might add, School of Fashion design (laughter) but we're all going to be proud of those 19 guys. I think those guys are all going to make good decisions in their life.
But come Martin Luther King Day, about 75 of those guys down there will report to the theatre at 6:00 p.m. the day before second semester starts and we'll start this thing all over again.

End of FastScripts...

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