BOULDER – The University of Colorado held its weekly press conference Tuesday at the Dal Ward Athletic Center, as head coach Gary Barnett addressed the media about the loss to Washington State and this week's matchup with Florida State (1:30 p.m. MDT, ABC). The following contains quotes from the afternoon press session.
ON THE LOSS TO WASHINGTON STATE—"After reviewing last week's film, we did have a couple of guys play really well on defense. Gabe Nyenhuis played probably the best game since he's been here and Medford Moorer played a terrific football game as well. John Torp did an unbelievable job punting the ball, one with a guy right in his face. He's just got a knack of being able to do that. Offensively, Bobby Purify played really well, Marwan Hage played really well and Derek McCoy and D.J. Hackett, especially McCoy, had outstanding games."
"There were some positives that came out of that game. Obviously it all came down to a number of big plays that we gave up; they put themselves in the position to make and we didn't make them. Now we have to bounce back and we obviously have some injury issues that we have to work around. Many college teams at this point in time are faced with this particular situation and we just happen to have it before we go to Tallahassee for our first road trip. There is no good time to have it, but this is especially not a good time to have it."
ON THIS WEEK'S MATCHUP WITH FLORIDA STATE –"Erik Greenberg will get his first start at quarterback and he's excited about that, and we're excited for Erik. We thought he really came in and played pretty well considering that was the first game he has really been in. He will learn from the two interceptions and he has to learn to play a little bit faster and do a couple things better, but that's what you learn in your first game. Brian Calhoun will take over the starting position at the running back spot and we will spell him with two or three other guys, which we will wait and see exactly what the rotation will be by the end of the week. Karl Allis will be back for this game, and Brian Iwuh may be available for some play, although it is questionable whether or not he can play the whole game or even start."
"This year's schedule is just another in a line of the tradition of attending the University of Colorado, playing for the Buffaloes, coaching at the University of Colorado and being a fan. You are going to see top quality people, you're going to go to top quality places and you're going to get to experience the highest level of college football. We wrap our arms around that, that's who we are, that's what our tradition is and our kids come here to play those kinds of games and go those kinds of places. This will be the first time that we play Florida State and it's a big opportunity for us, it's a huge challenge; we're playing up against a really good football team, a legitimate contender for the national championship. Watching film, I haven't seen a better team, I haven't seen better athletes and I haven't seen better coaching. They've been doing the same thing for years and years, and they are really good at it. They're approach is real basic, the kids are disciplined, they're well coached, they're great athletes and they win a lot of football games. They had a big game last week in a game that may have defined their season and may have defined their quarterback a little bit. It looks like (Chris) Rix has really matured and he's a fierce competitor. They are without a couple backs, but the guy that they have in there is a full- grown man and he'll be a load to tackle. The strength of their offense has been their receiver corps. As we look at their receivers – and most people want to consider Texas' receivers as the best in the country, and they certainly are great – this group is good " just as good as the group of receivers at Texas. They have a knack for making big plays and they get it down to them. They are going to throw the ball almost more than they are going to run it and we know that is coming " we have to prepare for that, obviously. Defensively, they run like nobody we've seen. They're physical and they rush the passer very well. It's a tremendous challenge for us considering that we've had trouble running the football. Last week, five turnovers really did us in. We just can't turn the ball over and have a chance to win this game and everybody knows that. Our challenge is figuring out a way to move the ball and get some first downs. Defensively, we have to stop the big play. Everybody is excited about making this trip and everybody is excited about this game. It's going to be in one of those atmospheres – there is four or five, six places around the country where if you're a college football fan you've got to go watch a game – this is one of those places."
ON WHO STANDS OUT ON THE SEMINOLE DEFENSE—"(Michael) Boulware, (Darnell) Dockett and the secondary is really impressive. Stanford Samuels, who we recruited five years ago in Chicago, has been a good player for them for four years. They're safeties cover like corners and they are great run support guys. Of course, there is also the pass rusher who was named the ACC Player of the Week " he's a great player."
ON HAVING ANOTHER WALK-ON QB STARTING THIS GAME—"I don't' spend time thinking about whether I'm comfortable or not, we just try and get him ready. If I were Erik Greenberg, I would be so damn excited. So you got to be excited for Erik Greenberg and that's what we are. That's a dream come true. Some athletes are always nervous; no matter who they are or what game they are playing. So I don't know whether Erik will be nervous or not. I would certainly understand if he is; I would be, but I get nervous before I try a three-foot putt, and for good reason. I get nervous before every game no matter who it is, so if I were Erik I would be, but that doesn't mean Erik will be."
"I don't think there is a lot of difference between Erik and Joel Klatt. All three of our quarterbacks are about the same, so I don't think there is anything that we would change because of Erik. We may change some things because of Florida State, but we wouldn't change anything because of Erik. We will travel three quarterbacks, with Colt Brennan as the third quarterback. He's a year older, he's been running our scout team a lot and we played him with the three's most of the time in fall camp. A guy that would be most ready to go in and make some plays, he would be the guy."
ON THE KICKING COMPETITION—"Unless we have a real issue this week, we are probably going to kick Kevin Eberhart " kicking off and kicking field goals/extra points."
ON FLORIDA STATE'S TEAM SPEED—"They really are fast and they play with great suddenness. They're just a terrific football team and they are also very disciplined. And I know the guys that have gone in to watch Florida State practice in the past have been really impressed by their discipline and by how hard they practice. It shows up on film, maybe the white shoes make them look faster, but their feet look like little sowing machines running around."
ON PEPARING GREENBERG TO PLAY—"Hopefully you've believed in him all along. I don't think you make a big deal about it. The bigger deal that you make about it, the more it seems like this is a drastic move or change. We've sort of instilled in our players, and I think it's shown up in the last two years, that when 'X' goes down 'Y' steps in. That's just your job to be prepared to step in and that no one position is more important than any other position. So whoever is backing up is coming in and off we go. We try to treat all of our players equally so that when something like this does happen, it is not a catastrophe. It's just the next guy getting his chance and everybody is ready to go because that's how they got their job and that's what is going to happen if something happens to them. I think it's a mentality that we've tried to instill in our program and our kids. Hopefully they buy into it and believe in it. The last two years they have been productive thinking that way."
ON THE PROGRESS OF THE OFFENSIVE LINE—"We had bigger holes, we target ourselves a little bit better, but we're still not anywhere close to what we've been the last two years in our run game. Not that we're going to get there, but we certainly have a standard that we try to live up to each year and we're trying to get to that. Fortunately we've been pretty healthy there and I think we will continue to get better. It's such slow progress against the opponents that we're playing and we've got to understand that and that's why I vow to be patient in this whole process."
ON GETTING BETTER BY PLAYING A TOUGH NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE—"I don't think that is the only way to get better. That is one way to get better, but it totally comes down to the philosophy of your program and what your fans will buy into. Each school does it the way it's best for them. You can get better doing it the Kansas State way or you can get better doing it our way."
ON IMPORTANCE OF NOT OVERLOADING NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE—"The problem is that it depends on your team. You can't predict five years down the road, when you're setting your schedule, what that team is going to look like. The 2001 team could've played just about anybody " we were going to end up in that championship game. This year's particular team, maybe it won't happen that way because of our non-conference schedule. There is no way of predicting that stuff. Some years with the team you have, you don't care who you play because you're good enough and you don't need those games to get that much better, you just need game experience. Some years when you are rebuilding and playing with a lot of young guys, schedules like that kill you. So, you don't have the luxury of being able to look down the road and say, ‘this is the kind of schedule that we need for this year's team.' In basketball you can do that because they schedule year-to-year, but you can't do that in football."