Monday, August 27, 2007

Press Conference Confidential: Week 1

Each week, I'll be attending the weekly Dennis Erickson press conference and bringing you the most important notes, quotes and observations. Erickson meets the press every Monday at noon, so expect these blogs around this time every Monday night.

Dennis Erickson
Erickson appeared calm and confident at his first weekly press conference. He had a ton of kind words to say about his coaching counterpart from San Jose State, Dick Tomey. One of his more humorous comments of the day came when a reporter asked him about his relationship and previous match-ups with the former Hawai'i and Arizona head coach:

"I'll never forget the first time we played him, we played them over in Hawaii when I was at Wyoming. We came over there and they had a heck of a team, and we jumped on them early and we were ahead of them. He called timeout and brought the whole team to the sidelines. I'll never forget that. I said `uh-oh, watch out.' They started doing those dances. That stood out, and then we had good battles when I was at Oregon State. We've had a lot of fun. I've had fun four times and he had fun five times, I guess is what the match-up is."

One of the things that I appreciate about Erickson is his appreciation and excitement for the game, even after winning two national championships. He admitted that he still gets nervous before every game and that if he didn't, he wouldn't be in the business anymore. That to me is the sign of a coach who has his head on straight and who's ready for a season where he needs to build the trust of administration, players and especially the fans.

During today's press conference, Erickson confirmed that Kyle Williams will be returning most punts and that Justin Tryon, the team's leading returning kick returner, will carry the load on that detail to start the season. He referred to Williams and Tryon as "dangerous," something that we saw a bit of near the end of last season and that Sun Devil fans should be excited about.

Erickson did make one comment about being uncertain and nervous about every position, but fans should not take that out of context. I believe the uncertainty comes simply from never having seen his team play in full-speed game situations. In past years, at least Dirk Koetter had some semblance of an idea of what to expect on opening night. Erickson has only observed game tape and practice. By around 11 PM on Saturday night, the uncertainty will be gone.

Erickson's quote of the week: "I just stay the heck away from him. It's like screwing with a guy's golf swing. You don't even want to deal with that one, just stay away. It's worked before, and hopefully it's going to work now." -On Thomas Weber, ASU's freshman kicker

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