BOULDER – University of Colorado head football coach Gary Barnett held his weekly media luncheon Tuesday at the Dal Ward Athletic Center, as Barnett and junior quarterback Joel Klatt addressed the media during the afternoon press conference. The following are excerpts from the gathering, as well as several notes from the day’s practice session.
ON THE CSU WIN: “I think the big point I want to make right away is to credit our fans and our students creating that atmosphere that was here Saturday night. In the end, I have got to believe that it could have been the difference in the game. As nosy as it was, and the way the students took to the field and expressed their appreciation was probably as significant as winning that game to us, our team, and maybe our entire program. So, it was a great atmosphere and it was really the best I’ve seen it here at Folsom.
“Going back and looking at everything (on defense), we were really only out of position on one play, and that was a post route. Other than that we were close, but we didn’t make some plays. I felt their receivers did a great job catching the ball and making plays, and I thought in the second half they really mixed things up well on us and protected themselves, which gave them some chances for throws down the field. (Justin) Holland was particularly effective; he was a big-time player Saturday night, I thought.
“On our side, I thought we really controlled the game the first half, other than the one last drive, and that probably was a momentum changer. We took our offense off the field for almost one hour after that. Our offense just sat for almost an hour before they ever went back on the field, and that has to take a little bit out of you. And, by that time, CSU had made a couple adjustments or found some rhythm on both sides of the ball and we really didn’t in the second half.”
ON WASHINGTON STATE: “This is a pressure defense; they pressured a lot last year. This isn’t a young defense. Most of these guys, other than the front, are all older guys that have played a lot. But they just haven’t started. The front is new, I think there is one guy with a start in there. They are new and they are pretty young, and their backups are young, but everyone else is a veteran even though they don’t have veteran starts. Of course, Will Derting is the heart and soul of their defense. He and the two corners and their safeties are what this team is about. They are very aggressive; they are aggressive in their coverage. They do a lot of bump-and-run; they have a lot of confidence in their corners. We know we are going to get a lot of press coverage on our receivers. But, they are an aggressive, attacking defense that causes you problems. Even though Derting is playing with one arm, he is still a very effective football player and a leader. You can tell that when he’s in there they just play at a higher level.
“Offensively, I think that they are just finding themselves. They didn’t get much going in their running game (against New Mexico). They are classic Washington State, with three wide receivers and sometimes no back. They are one of those offenses that just throw it all over the place. They have a big quarterback, 6-5, 250, who would be playing tackle for us. We know we are going to see that, and we know they are working on their run game. But, we also know that after watching CSU put 400 yards on us in the air, that that’s probably where they are going to get their confidence in watching this film.
“It’ll be a good test for us to leave town and go up there to Seattle and play in that stadium. We’ll get the chance to play a team that beat us pretty handily last year. They played well, but we made a lot of miscues, as well as getting beat. And that made it into a blowout for Washington State. But, that really doesn’t carry over into this year. You’d think it might, but it doesn’t. Right now it’s just about us getting better, getting better in protection and in coverages. I think this team is really committed to do that. I feel good about their attitude going into this game. These are probably two pretty equal teams. I think they were probably a little more effective on defense than we were a week ago, so you have to give the edge to the team playing better defense.”
ON K MASON CROSBY’S 55-YARDER: “I’m glad I (changed my mind to let Crosby kick) it, obviously. And I’m glad for Mason. We have got a lot of confidence in Mason. If it had been longer I think I still would have done it just because he had the wind and I’ve seen what he can do in practice.”
ON IMPROVING CU’S SECONDARY: “Part of it is making plays and being a little more disciplined. Most of it is that they are playing (Craig) Bray’s system and been in it for four weeks of practice. Now, their first time under real fire, what he says to them makes more sense. ‘Oh, that’s why you want me to do this so I don’t give up that play.’ That’s going to take hold with them. They are a bright group; they are young and they are energetic, and they are enthusiastic. They are young and they want to do well and they want to improve. Sometimes it takes something like this to really get their attention. This group will continue to get batter each week.”
ON CU’S O-LINE: “A lot of it is what Joel (Klatt) says – they are more experienced. Sam Wilder is now a legitimate offensive lineman. Brian Daniels isn’t a freshman anymore. Clint O’Neal isn’t a sophomore and he’s a much better player now. Terrance Barreau couldn’t play last year; his knees were bad and he had other issues. So, he is a 24-year-old player now. Mark Fenton has just grown up enormously in so many different ways. So, we are just a better team. We are a year older and more mature. I think it is just more time than anything else, and experience, that has been the difference.
“I think they have a lot of confidence in the balance of our attack. Linemen love to run the football. When you have a back like Bobby (Purify), who not only does he run north and south but he breaks tackles, that is what gets linemen going. I think Bobby’s style, and Lawrence’s (Vickers) style and even (Daniel) Jolly’s style contribute to their confidence in the run game.”
QB Joel Klatt
ON WSU’S DEFENSE: “I remember they were very fast defense, they were aggressive and they do a lot of different types of pressures than what we’re used to in the Big 12. We’re going to have to work hard to get our timing down so that we can throw the ball on Saturday. They lost nine guys that were starters. In the secondary, they have a lot of experience. They’ve got some good players back there. That’s one of the strengths of their team. They’re going to play very aggressive in the secondary and put a lot of pressure on the quarterback.”
ON LB WILL DERTING: “I have so much respect for him. He’s one of those players that you sit there and watch the film and you notice him right way. Obviously, he’s fighting through an injury that 99.9-percent or more of college athletes would have gotten the surgery and said, ‘I’ll come back next season.’ But Will is fighting through it and playing with a big cast on his hand. He’s a tremendous player, All-Pac 10 last year, great motor, plays hard all of the time. He has the respect of his team being the captain. I remember him from last year and I’m excited to play against him again.”
ON THE CSU GAME: “I thought that we played offensively and defensively pretty well in the first quarter. And then in the second quarter really we had a good game plan and we were really executing it very well. I give credit to CSU, though. They kind of turned the momentum and got our offense off the field. I think we were off of the field for close to an hour between the end of the second quarter and first drive of the third). They did a good job of staying with it. When things looked down, (our defense) continued to make big plays; I was proud of our guys and how we continued to hang in there all the way through to that last stand. The first game, all we want to do is get out of there with a “W” and it doesn’t really matter how it looks.”
ON EFFECTIVE RUNNING GAME: “Last year it was third-and-short and we were having to throw the ball. We were behind the chains a lot last year. And this year our effectiveness on first down was very apparent. We were second-and-five or second-and-four the entire first half. As a quarterback that really makes your job easier. And that just gets me more into that mode of managing a good offense.”
ON THE CROWD: “Oh that was terrific. Our students really showed up. The atmosphere was really electric. It was one of the best atmospheres I’ve ever seen at Folsom Field. That was amazing, I will always remember that night. Them coming out on the field for us — and showing us their support, shaking our hands and patting our backs — it was tremendous.”
Practice Notes: Crosby, who was held out of Monday’s practice with a fever and sore throat, returned to action during the day. Barnett also said that he expects cornerback Terrence Wheatley, who has been hampered by nagging groin and hamstring pulls, to play more this weekend against WSU. Barnett said the sophomore has battled with getting back into football shape. He played in 18 snaps on defense against Colorado State, notching two tackles, including one for loss; he also returned two kicks for 38 yards.