Sept. 22, 1997
Bruce Synder Press Conference
First of all, we had a real tough one Saturday night, and obviously, we are really disappointed with the outcome. We knew that BYU would be really ready to play, which they were. They were well schooled; they were well coached. They have got a really good scheme, so I give them a lot of credit, but as I say it in the same breath, we did not play Sun Devil football as we set out to. So, you add those two things together and you generally come up with a loss, which we did. The good thing about is that I think this team has an idea of how to bounce back. I think we are going to have a good week of practice. We are in really good shape. We are heading into league play. So, I think we have some really positive things to look forward to. So, as I said the Miami win was one win, the BYU loss was one loss. That's what it comes down to. The concern I have is that we did lose Jason Simmons on the second play of that game, and I am not real sure that we will have him for the Oregon State game. Hamilton Mee, who we also lost early in the game, is a day-to-day issue also. Two of better players, two of the players that make a big impact on our team defensively, are a question mark. Other than that, though, we are going to be healthy and ready to roll.
(ON WHETHER ANYTHING STOOD OUT ABOUT ASU ON FILM): We did not play like we can play. Defensively, we played pretty well versus the score, which is the main purpose of defense. But, we gave up too many big plays. I believe there were four 35-yarders or better and one run of 28. So, we weren't very consistent defensively. We never really had a sustained drive. I thought BYU played very hard. They were well schooled against us and we did not play up to the level that we should have. We might have done the best job of kicking that we have done. We kicked off well, we covered well, we punted, we placed kick and blocked another placekick of theirs. So, kicking wise, I am relatively pleased. BYU came out and they had revenge on their minds and I bet they were really motivated. We maybe thought that we could just play and make it happen, and we are not that talented. We are going to have to play better than that to win.
(ON THE PENALTIES): It seemed like it was one the big plays that we had the penalties or the fumble on the reverse. I thought that at that point our momentum was really starting and then we had the fumble of the reverse and two long passes -- one to Creig Spann, one to Lenzie Jackson, one was holding, one was a face mask back at the line of scrimmage. We had very little of that in Miami. So, we went into the week thinking that we didn't have that problem, but that we had merely a precision problem. So, it was something that we couldn't necessarily address before the game because it wasn't a problem. But, we certainly have since.
(ON THE RUNNING GAME): I think, to start with, they (BYU) were really good against us at the line of scrimmage. We just kept trying to bounce around and find the right run. We just needed one or two runs that we could repeat, but we never quite found that. We just couldn't quite get the rhythm. We had four or five drops, and one of them was a long touchdown early in the game. That may have just changed everything. When you are not quite on, you have more drops, you have more penalties, you have more assignment errors. When you are not quite on, it is hard to get a rhythm going.
(ON OTHER TEAMS RUNNING): I think everybody run will against us. Coach Riley (Oregon State) just mentioned the running game and I think that is what they will try to do against us.
(ON GETTING J.R. REDMOND THE BALL): We have, we really have. We do try to get him the ball a lot. I think with the amount of duties he has, it's a good thing that he does get the ball. But, he takes every kickoff and every punt. So, he does that. We need to throw it to him in this last game. As the game unfolded, he ran that ball 13 times and they were punt and kickoff returns. I think he needed five pass receptions. I am worried about him getting run-down and taking too many hits. He takes a lot of hits. I think we have to keep a mixture of the guys carrying the ball and the guys touching the ball. Ricky Boyer has to get the ball, and Creig Spann and Lenzie Jackson. They all have to get the ball because they are all capable of making big plays.
(ON RYAN KEALY READING WHEN TO GO TO THE BACK): I think he felt the players were opened up which is really a normal progression. Knowing when to go back is the third of a three-part progression. He has been very good about going to the back. If one is open, he is going to try to go down the field. We had one play where the back is the first option. The first time we called that, they covered him, so we went to Lenzie (Jackson). The second time, late in the game when they took the ball, that was directly to the back. We had several other plays that called for the run, but we just didn't get them dialed up.
(ON TRYING TO DETERMINE THE BEST OFFENSIVE LINE): I think we are closer to that, and I think that now we are going into league play, we need to start five guys. We need to play five unless someone gets tired or hurt, and then we need to go with another guy.
(ON WHETHER HE WANTS KEALY TO RUN MORE): I think you want your quarterback to run when it is obviously there and he can move the team with the run. I don't want him to run for five yards if we need 10. He will take a hit that he doesn't need. I think that will come naturally for him. It will happen when it happens. But, he is so accurate and he is so confident that he can fit the ball in. I think, as this thing unfolds, we are going to see a guy that's really going to be spectacular as a passer. I think we just need to let that happen. I don't want to force him to run.
(ON WHETHER THERE IS A NEW ANXIOUSNESS IN GETTING READY FOR OSU): There is in myself and there is within the staff. We did meet with the players on Sunday, but that was a pretty harsh meeting in terms of a grim review of what had just happened. I am anxious for tomorrow. I think that we are going to find that the team will come out and have a great week of practice. I think they are excited about league play. We're undefeated in league play. I think we have as good a chance as anybody. Oregon State is a tough place to go play. We have struggled there. We need to be ready. I think now we have proven that if we play lousy, we are pretty lousy. So, we are going to have to play good.
(ON TIM ALEXANDER): He is so athletic. I believe in the Stanford game he completed about 60% of his passes and gained two yards. His total yardage, rushing I mean, was two yards. That is the opposite of a year ago. I was really interested in what Mike (Riley) said about him as a person and how he is to coach. It sounds to me like everybody loves him and he is a great guy. I bet he is really a good person to have in your huddle leading it. He can throw; he has a strong arm. Playing BYU has helped us going into this Oregon State game in that they had a lot formations and a lot of motions and shifts. A lot of our energy this week will be focused on getting lined up correctly and making sure that everybody who is an eligible receiver has somebody close to him.