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July 26, 2011

Dennis Erickson

Brock Osweiler


COACH ERICKSON: It's great to be here. Happy to be anyplace at this time. Looking forward to the season. As you know, we've got a lot of football players coming back. Guys that have started for two or three years. So it's an exciting time for us, obviously. It's a tough league, so many good football teams and good quarterbacks in this league, it's unbelievable the amount of quarterbacks that are good in this league.
I think probably our strength, as I look at them right now, our defensive football team, number one, we've got a lot of depth there. I'm sure I'll get questions about the players. But we're two-deep at about every position on defense.
We had Omar Bolden who went down in the spring who was probably our best defensive back with an ACL. We're going to miss him. We're going to have to replace him with some of the things we had to do defensively.
But offensively the most excited I've been because we have about 7 or 8 offensive linemen that have played. And we've never had that since I've been at Arizona State.
Five of our starters are back, and all of our back-ups. So when you start offensively, you start with an offensive front. I can remember last year or two years ago you had one guy hurt in the offensive line, and you can't replace him. It changes everything that you do. I feel like we have some skilled players coming back to play the last year.
Cameron Marshall at running back to me is an outstanding player. And then Brock had a great spring. And I'll brag on him real quickly. He's very talented in a allot of areas. I do know that he's the tallest quarterback in the league, so you've got that going for you.
But the thing that's really jumped out is his leadership ability, and how he's taken things over in spring football. How he's taken things over in the summertime offensively. That position, as we all know, you can have talent, you can do a lot of things, but the intangibles as far as leadership is the key to that position.
The best ones I've had in my coaching career have not always been the most physically gifted, but they've been the best leaders, and that's what we have with Brock.
So without any further adieu, I'll introduce Brock Osweiler. He's the one answering all the questions for you. Questions?

Q. How do you think the officials have administered the excessive celebration rule the past couple of years, and what do you think of the change in the rule where they take touchdowns away?
COACH ERICKSON: Well, if they want to stop the excessive celebration, this is the rule that will do it, I guarantee you that. It's something that you've got to talk to your players about. Because now it's going to cost you a touchdown. It very easily could cost you a game.
I was looking at our USC game the other day when USC blocked that PAT and ran it all the way back for a touchdown . Well, he leaped from the 5-yard line into the end zone. They gave him an excessive penalty for that. This year's rule they wouldn't have gotten the two points.
So the rule really can have a tremendous effect on what's going on. Your players have got to know.
I just want to make sure it's clear to our players what they can and can't do. To me that's a gray area. How are they going to call that? To me you just tell them don't do anything. Just get in the end zone, hand the ball off, back to the official, and go to the bench. I mean, that's basically what we're going to talk about.
It takes some of the emotion out of the game of football. Football has to be fun. You've got to have some emotion in it.
With this rule, they've pretty much taken it all out on. I'm not against it, but I just want to see how they call it, I think, is the biggest thing that we're all going to deal with. How are they going to make the call.

Q. Deantre Lewis didn't play in the spring. What is his status going forward?
COACH ERICKSON: Questionable right now. We won't know for a couple of weeks. He's getting a lot better. I just don't know. It's really up in the air right now whether he'll play at all or whether he'll red shirt. He might not play for three or four games. It's just kind of how it's healing, and will he be able to practice next Monday or Tuesday? Probably not. But we'll see where he's at as time goes on.
Obviously, he's a huge part of our offense and we'll miss him, but we have a young man by the name of Kyle Middlebrooks who filled his spot last year and Cameron Marshall.
So I'm worried that he doesn't come back too soon. Here's a young man that gets shot, so he's going through an emotional thing the damage to the hamstring by the bullet was worse than thought originally. I just want it to be right for him. Whether he plays this year or not really isn't the most important thing to me. It's how he is doing mentally and physically, and I know Brock feels the same way.

Q. Getting to the quarterback last year was a problem at times. Are you in better position to do that this year?
COACH ERICKSON: Yeah, without a question. We've got William Sutton back who didn't play last year. He's an inside player for us who didn't play a lot as a true freshman a. He was probably our best pass rusher. Outside Junior Oluwakayode is a guy that can really rush the passer, Jamaar Jarrett. We've got a junior college player in Davon Coleman who has that ability.
Then we'll have to do some different things. Everybody's zone pressure now. We've got to do some different things. I don't know how much Junior can play all the time. It depends on your corners and how they can match up. We've got to find ways to bring five or six guys and get pressure on the quarterback. But we'll be a better pass rushing team than we were a year ago.

Q. The media pool has you picked to finish second in the south. How do you feel about potentially playing in the championship game and finishing second and not winning the south?
COACH ERICKSON: I don't care (laughing). Lot of things in life you take anyway you can get it, you know. But the playoff is really fun. To me that's -- the whole league and the Pac-12. But to me the idea of having a playoff like that, to me, as you go through the season you may lose a game or two. Hopefully you don't.
But to win a division, you can do that. You can have a bad game, come back, and get into that championship game, which is what it's all about, to go to the Rose Bowl. But to answer your question, like I said, I don't care. I'll take it anyway we can get it.
I don't know how you feel about it, Brock?
BROCK OSWEILER: I feel exactly the same way. If you get in the game and you win it, you're going to the Rose Bowl. So whatever it takes to get there.
COACH ERICKSON: And you've got to understand, he's from Montana, so...

Q. Coach, as deep as you are on defense and having as many offensive guys returning, where are the weaknesses this season?
COACH ERICKSON: Well, we don't have a lot of depth at corner. Our secondary, we've got to have some guys step up. Defensive front, like any of us in college football, you never have a lot of depth in the defensive front.
So that's a concern. Our receiver corps, we've got to stay healthy. I think any of us, you've got to be concerned about what happens if you get people hurt. And I know year two and three that I was there, we had one guy go down, and we had some real issues that was a dropoff, and that still happens.
But we're in a little better shape than we have been. That's just a matter of being there four years and being able to develop recruiting.

Q. Last year, this is for coach, as Brock took over the quarterback position, I was impressed with how they ran plan to run him with cold plays?
COACH ERICKSON: I'll say one thing, great quarterbacks have to be able to get in the pocket, and they don't have to be great runners, but they've got to be able to move around to get themselves a second chance.
Brock, just on his own, when there is a pass-rusher, he can see that. He did that against the University of Arizona and made some big plays last year.
As far as planned rushing, you know, when it's fourth and a foot, I'm going to go with the 6'8" guy, man. He can just reach over and we'll get that first down. But as far as running options and things like that, we won't do much of that.

Q. You've faced some criticisms for not going to a Bowl game, and recently from a former player. How does that factor into your approach this season?
COACH ERICKSON: It doesn't really affect me at all to be honest with you. I have high expectations of our football team this year. We all do. And that's all I can worry about. I can't worry about what you think or somebody else thinks or what a former player said or anything like that.
My concern, and our whole football team is on winning football games. Yeah, we want to go to a Bowl game. Yeah, we want to win the Pac-12 championships, and everybody that's been sitting up here wants to do.
I'm excited about our team. I think our team has a good chance to win a lot of football games.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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