Oct. 13, 1997
Bruce Snyder Press Conference
Obviously, we are really pleased with our team's performance and I mean that in all areas. The breakout of the offense is the highlight of the game, and we are very proud and pleased that it happened. We needed that as a team. The defense continues to play really well, and the kicking game is really solid. That was our best game to date in terms of being well-balanced and all three units playing well.
The injury that I am most concerned with is J.R. Redmond. J.R. could not run yesterday, is limited today and we will just have to see what happens tomorrow. It's a hip injury. He landed on his leg with it straight, so it jammed his heel in the ground which shoved his hip up, and he went down. He played after that, but sparingly, and then we finally took him out. But, other than that, we are healthy. We are in good shape that way.
I am very pleased that Ryan Kealy was selected as the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week. His play was outstanding. He would be the first to tell you that his receivers did a great job of catching the ball, particularly Lenzie Jackson. We selected Lenzie Jackson as our player of the game. He had an outstanding game. Pat Tillman on defense had 13 tackles. He did a great job. The two players that did not have stats, but played outstanding are Courtney Jackson and Jason Simmons. There are not very many stats to show that, but they both had an impact on the game. Marcus Williams was our kicking player of the game. We felt like our field position was a big part of the game, which is kicking and punting and the returns.
All in all, it was a great win. It was only one win. It does not necessarily put us any closer to being the champion, because we are still in a single-game elimination in terms of the championships. We know we are going to have back this one up with another game.
(ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KEALY AND THE OFFENSE IN THE USC GAME AND OTHER GAMES): It was a big difference. I can draw this kind of a parallel. If you misplace something, it's not always the first place you look that you find it. You don't always find it right away. I think the fact that our offensive line has settled in is a big component of what happened to us Saturday. The fact that it was the second straight week where those five guys played had an impact. The running backs had the best week of practice. It was outstanding. The wide receivers were just a piece of it, but it helped. Kealy moving more helped. It all kind of started to fall together. Lenzie Jackson's catching along the sideline was like Jerry Rice. It's as good as it gets. So, you add it all together and you start to find what it is that you can and cannot do. I credit the coaches. I really credit the players for maintaining a positive attitude while going through tough times. That is hard to do. To remain positive, remain loyal, and keep working until you find what makes the offense work, is hard to do. We have to keep working at it, so we don't lose it. A lot things came together in the USC game.
(ON THE MENTAL STATES AND ATTITUDES OF THE PLAYERS): In college football, the emotional difference in a game may not be very big, if you can measure it. But, it has a big impact on the outcome. Your mental state, and the collective mental state of your team, is so important in how you execute and how you play. So, just the fact that we won and they lost is important. Our backs were up against the wall last week. The wall hasn't moved, we are still up against it. We have to have the feeling of impending doom if we don't do go out there and play well. I want that kind of a feeling, which we should have. After the Miami game, I am not sure that we handled that with a lot of maturity. We worked at it, we talked about it, and we tried to coach that way, but I don't think we did. I think we are more mature now. I think this win against SC doesn't crown us. We were putting on the crown coming back on the plane from Miami. I think we understand now that it is practice habits, off the field habits and taking care of business and hard work. My belief right now, is that we are going to be fine for this game in terms of that. They may beat us, but if they beat us, it's because they are better than we are. I believe we are going to be mentally ready.
(ON OTHER TEAMS BLITZING KEALY MORE): Those guys on the other team are trying to beat us. They study everything. Coaches stay up late studying every little thing. Our defensive coaches study every little detail about the opposing teams' quarterbacks. I am sure the other teams are looking at Ryan (Kealy) that way. They are going to have to deal with him more based on the difference between the way he played at Washington and against SC. They are going to have to deal with how they blitz him, from what down and distance and where. I think they are going to start coming from different spots now to try to disrupt him.
(ON THE PLAYERS GROWING AND MATURING): The fun part about college football is that the players change, grow and mature both on and off the field. Ryan (Kealy) certainly is. Can he play like that every week? I hope so, but probably not. What you want is two steps forward, and only one back. Courtney Jackson had matured. Marlon Farlow is a better back than he was a year ago. I get a big kick out of watching those kinds of things happen. It is certainly happening to Ryan (Kealy) right now.
(ON WHAT NEEDED TO BE CHANGED IN THE OFFENSE BEFORE THE SC GAME): We knew that 13 points was not going to get the job done. We knew that we had to manufacture more plays. We need more plays over 20 yards and plays over 30 yards. We should be in double digits in those types of plays to be a really high-powered offense. That started the week. We felt good about the offensive line at Washington. I know we took a lot of hits, but we did a lot of good things in the offensive line. That gave us some belief that we will improve there. The other was the fact that SC was the best in the conference versus the rush. We had to ask ourselves if we should run right into the strength of the opponent. That just doesn't make a lot of sense. We challenged the wide receivers. We told them that they had to get open and they had to make catches. We told Ryan (Kealy) really early in the week that we were placing that game on his shoulders. We told him that we planned on throwing early and that we planned to throw a lot. He had broader shoulders when he walked out of the office. It was a combination of things. We just couldn't continue doing what we were doing. However, the amount of work that we put into running the football will win us games as we go. I think that all the work that we have done in the running game will really pay off as we go into the next six games.
(ON STANFORD): I think Stanford is as balanced and as physical a football team as we have faced this year. Their offensive line is a bunch of tough guys. Every one of their eligible receivers can catch the ball. I think they have an awfully good offense. They are capable of doing a lot of different things. I like what I see. I think they have a good defense, particularly their front. They are a legitimate football team.