Outgoing Arizona State football coach Dennis Erickson, who was allowed to coach the Sun Devils in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas despite being fired last month, looked like he wasn’t going to show up at the postgame news conference after eighth-ranked Boise State crushed his team 56-24 at Sam Boyd Stadium on Thursday.
He eventually appeared, and it was a good thing. Erickson at times was poignant and funny, providing several memorable moments that were lacking from the rehearsed and cliched answers delivered by just about everyone associated with the Boise State program.
“When you put so much of your life into something as I have for over 40 years, it’s difficult. It’s very emotional,” the 64-year-old Erickson said. “I talked to pretty much all of the players. Football is the greatest game in the world. I am glad I got to spend a lot of time in it.”
Erickson said he hopes to continue coaching, or work in the sport in some capacity, but isn’t sure if he will get an opportunity.
“I don’t know anything else,” he said. “I’m not going to go teach math.”
A few minutes later, Erickson was asked what he would miss most if he is done as a football coach. Without missing a beat, he cracked up the room with his answer.
“The press conferences,” he deadpanned.
■ MORE ERICKSON — One of the game’s biggest plays came on a 100-yard interception return by Boise State on a play Erickson knew was doomed before the snap, but his attempts to call timeout were missed by the officials who were down at the 1-yard line.
Erickson shouted and signaled, even sending a player to sprint down the sideline to call the timeout, but to no avail.
“He was so far down the sideline,” Erickson said of the line judge. “Twenty years ago, I might have got there. But tonight, I didn’t.”
■ DID YA EVER NOTICE? — Taking cheap shots at the Mountain West Conference television deal has become so commonplace, it is basically the college sports equivalent of hack comedians doing airplane food or airport security jokes.
Boise State coach Chris Petersen became the latest to point out how small the bag of peanuts was on the plane during his postgame news conference Thursday.
The coach of the program that is bolting the league in 2013 for the Big East has been in the conference for only one year of suffering through low-definition broadcasts, goofy announcers and sparse coverage area of The Mtn., and already he is making snide comments.
When asked if Petersen’s Broncos were making a statement with their blowout victory over Arizona State, the coach said it was more a matter of being excited to be back on a TV network that people watch.
“I think we had a chance to be back on ESPN and have a lot of people see these seniors on this team, so we were all about that,” he said.
Petersen could’ve continued his standup routine by asking why the Transportation Security Administration makes you remove your belt before boarding a plane, as if it could be used as a weapon.
COMPILED BY ADAM HILL
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL