Oct. 27, 1997
Bruce Snyder Press Conference
It's great to hear that ticket sales are going as they are. It appears that there is going to be a full house. I appreciate that. I hope that all of our fans wear gold and be very loud.
I think this particular game might be one of the best games with the matchups that are going to be out there on the field. I think this is going to be one of the best games of the year in the Pac-10, and maybe in the country. This is a very big, important game for us. They are 7-0 and 10th in the nation, and we are 20th in the nation. It will be a lot of fun.
We used our bye week for a couple of things. The first was to use what little knowledge we had of Washington State to insert as much game plan as we could. We got that done early last week. We also used the bye week it to heal up and to become fresh. Also, we were right in the middle of midterms, so I hope that the guys used some of the extra time to study. I think we had a good week. Based on last night's practice, we will have a good week this week. We had a great practice last night. We went the full 2 1/2 hours with full pads. We had some contact, and we were really wired in. We were also very energetic, so I feel really good about that. We didn't have to play Washington State last night, but it was a good practice. We are not going to practice today, and then we get back on a regular schedule tomorrow.
I think we are going to be healthy. If I have a concern, it would be J.R. Redmond. J.R. could not practice last night, so that is two weeks out from his injury. We were all hopeful that he would be further along, and that he would be ready to go after two weeks. That was not the case. We are still keeping our fingers crossed that he will come around in the next three or four days. J.R. is going to be a day-to-day situation. Other than that, we are healthy. Our attitude is great. We have good practice habits right now from this team. They feel good about what they have done in the last two outings against USC and Stanford. We are taking this like it's halftime and we are coming out for the third quarter.
(ON THE REST OF THE SEASON): Our season is half over. I think with the two victories against USC and Stanford the sense was that the season is going to end great. But, really, we are only at halftime. I think we used the bye week wisely. We got some recruiting done. Plus, we have three home games coming up. That is not a bad deal, either. Arizona gets a bye week and we get a bye week before we play each other, so that's a wash, even though we get them up here. Although, I think we have had more luck down there. With each opponent in this league, we have to take a deep look at ourselves, and have good preparation.
(ON THE WASHINGTON STATE-ARIZONA GAME): They didn't change much in that game. Some of the alignments did, though. What I think is often overlooked is that Washington State is a senior, toughened, experienced type of team with a really good leader. Those kids have played a lot of football. You could see that in the game against Arizona. That was not Washington State's best game. Arizona played extremely hard against them and made some plays. Yet, you figure that the Washington State kids were thinking that they just had to keep playing, and they would figure it out and end up with a win. That is a very difficult thing to beat, that momentum. A winning team takes on a different amount of energy. I can only relate that to last year's team. There were some times when we did not play very well last year. But, the kids just figured they would find a way to win it, and they did. It is so hard to derail a team that has that going for them. It takes more than just being better than them because their energy level will be very high. That's the thing that you could see in that game.
(ON RYAN LEAF): He is very good. He is really talented. He has a lot of energy. He bounces around like an average sized man, and yet he is 6-5, 245. He is very strong, and very comfortable in the system. He beats the blitz by getting the ball out fast. He is a good runner and he can handle the ball. He is a terrific football player.
(ON J.R. REDMOND): We put him in pads yesterday, and we took him out to practice. He was not able to do anything more than half-speed. We were all hopeful that it would be more than that, but it was not.
(ON THIS WEEKEND'S GAME BEING A SHOOTOUT): Maybe our team has developed to the point to where we can survive a shootout, but I don't think that's what we want. They can score in big bunches very fast. I was watching the Illinois game, and they were tied at halftime. At the end of the third quarter, they just scored one touchdown after another. They can really go. I don't want to get into that kind of game. Right now, we have not been able to score like that in bunches.
(ON ASU'S SECONDARY): I think they have been playing great football. I think that is one of the key matchups of this whole deal. That's worth a ticket. That's like the ArenaBowl. It is really a good secondary against the fab five and a quarterback who's been playing for a lot of years. So, I think that is going to be a great matchup. What I like about it is that our kids are anxious to play. I think that shows good confidence. I know that their kids will be really anxious too. They spread the field so much that everything is a one-on-one. It doesn't come down to zone defense. There is too much space both laterally and vertically. It is going to be one guy going up for the ball, and another guy right with him. Every time it is going to make me very nervous.
(ON THE CROWD FACTOR): We are really thrilled about having a full house. We are going to need it. That's part of college football, and any football. Part of the game is when you go one the road and you have the other crowd to deal with. That ought to be here. That ought to be our trademark in the league. It may be tough for them to hear the count.
(ON THE PARALLELS BETWEEN LAST YEAR'S ARIZONA STATE TEAM AND THIS YEAR'S WASHINGTON STATE TEAM): I think they are a little bit like us last year. They have an awfully tough defense. Their crew of secondary and linebackers is faster than Washington's. Their front is bigger. We are not going to be able to push these guys around. Two of them are 300 pounds, one is 275, and another is 285. I think the praise for the linebackers and d-line has been lost because of Leaf. Whenever you have a star of that magnitude, the line sometimes gets overlooked. That happened with last year's team too. They are 7-0 for a good reason. They are a good football team. Also, there is a parallel with the winning streak. You keep winning, and you start gaining momentum. That is what is happening to them, and that is what happened to us. The quarterback situation is a parallel, with really good defense. We also had good runners, which they have too. I think there are a lot of parallels.