Coach Neuheisel Press Conference Quotes

Nov. 19, 2001

General Remarks:'We are excited about our Apple Cup victory over Washington State. They had a wonderful season. Coming into the game against us they were 9 -1 and leading the conference in a number of categories. It was an outstanding coaching job done by Mike Price and his coaching staff, and a great effort by all of the players. To win that kind of a game, and to finish 6-2 in the conference and assure ourselves at least no worse than second place, that makes everybody feel good. We can't feel good for too long because we have a huge challenge ahead of us playing the University of Miami this weekend. Miami is ranked number one in the country right now and it is obvious that that is where they belong. They are very talented on both sides of the ball. I don't see any weaknesses on either side of the ball. They are a very well-coached and polished football team. Our hope is that we'll go in there and build off last week's performance in terms of our effort level. We will try to stay in the ballgame and if we can we have had a great deal of experience in close games. Hopefully we can parlay that experience into manufacturing a chance to win. We are not going down to Miami just get our season over with. If you come to the University of Washington you come here to play in marquee matchups and certainly Washington and Miami are two marquee programs in the United States, deserve a big stage, and will get one this weekend. We look forward to it and are excited about the challenge.'

On how Neuheisel is going to spend Thanksgiving:'Every Thanksgiving is special in that you get a chance to have a day to say thank you for all the things you have, and especially since the events surrounding September 11th. Those events are going to cause everyone in our country to hopefully spend a little time giving thanks for all that we have in this great country we live in. I am in the football business and it is just an amazing deal to be able to do what I love to do and earn a living doing it. To be in some small way a part of giving people in the U.S. something to cheer for is a wonderful thing. We are playing this game at this time because of the events of September 11, and so everyone will stop to reflect on it and realize how lucky we are. Hopefully players, coaches and fans will realize that this doesn't happen in other parts of the world. This is unique to our way of life and it ought to be cherished.'

On the Husky fans' plane crash of September 12:'We have a real following of Husky boosters that travel with us almost every game. We are one of the few schools in our conference that rarely turns back tickets when we go one the road. We always see the familiar faces in the hotels when we arrive and it's a program with a lot of passion associated with it. In these circumstances there was cruise that was set up for Husky boosters and well over a 1,000 people on the ship were Husky fans. On that fateful day there was a group that went sightseeing aboard an aircraft and unfortunately the plane went down. We lost 16 Husky faithful in that accident and they were there because the Huskies were going to be in Miami. We wear a black patch on our jerseys to remind all of us that they are with us and that they are remembered.'

On the UW's Pope John Paul II High School players:'They're wonderful young people and I'm not sure that they've had the kind of season that they had anticipated for themselves. Perhaps that is the case for our football team as well. We always have high expectations here at Washington and the fact that we are not controlling our own destiny with respect to a conference championship is a little disappointing. The bottom line is that we have weathered through adversity and all three of these kids have done that as well. That is part of the learning experience. College is not just a Disneyland ride, there are some potholes along the way and all of them have done a nice job dealing with that. One of the potholes especially for a young man as far away as they all come, is homesickness. All three of those guys have been dealing with adversity in a mature way. I am really excited and hopeful they will have a great weekend this weekend visiting friends and family back home but also they will continue along great paths here at Washington.'

On Charles Frederick:'Charles, being the youngest of the three had to deal with homesickness in a big way and got through it in good style. He would like to be playing more as wide receiver but he is learning and handles our returning duties and handles them well. He made a big play in a hands team situation this past weekend but the future is very bright for Charles and as long as he remains patient. He's going to have a wonderful career. Unfortunately for him he is compared to our other freshman, Reggie Williams who has had a great start to his career, but it is not the starting line it's the finish line. Charles will be fantastic if he will remain patient.'

On Rich Alexis:'Rich Alexis, must like Reggie this year, burst onto the scene last year. He became an instant hero here in Seattle, illustrated by the fact that they are selling number 24 jerseys in our bookstore. He hasn't had that kind of season that would garner him that kind of attention this year. Rich hasn't had a lot of experience. A year ago our offense was more tailored to the run, our offense was very option oriented. Rich took to it like a fish takes to water. This year we are little different and he's had to learn more about not only running the ball but pass protection and hasn't had the same sort of productivity. The expectation level got to high to soon for Rich and hopefully he will use this year as motivation to have a great off season and to be excited about being our first-string tailback a year from now.'

On John Anderson:'John Anderson has had a great career since he's been here. He would probably be a little disappointed in his consistency this year, in that he has missed some kicks that he would say are ordinarily makeable. Remembering always that it is a three-man job, it's just not the kicker but the snapper and the holder. We haven't been as consistent there as we may have been in years past. John is dealing with that and has had a little bit of an injury problem.'

On marquee match ups at tight end:'There is no question that Jerramy Stevens and Jeremy Shockey are both very talented players. Our other tight end, Kevin Ware is coming into his own. There is going to be a lot of good looking tight ends on the field.'

On last year's game against Miami:'It was a long time ago. A lot of things have happened. Miami doesn't need any other incentive besides playing for a national championship opportunity. Obviously they didn't have the revenge factor for the Syracuse game, and it looked like they were ready to play. We knew we were playing a top-flight team a year ago and we were fortunate to get a quick start on them and then we held on for dear life. We are going to try to hang on to this game. We feel that we are a national caliber team ourselves and we're going to see if we can get it to the fourth quarter. We have been pretty successful in the fourth quarter.'

On Reggie Williams and the passing game:'Our passing game has come of age here in the last month of the season. At the outset we were very cautious because we had so many inexperienced players. Our quarterback and Reggie Williams were playing for the first time. We lost our tight end early in the season against Idaho. It was one of those things we had to grow into and I am proud of the way we developed. I do not want us to become one dimensional. You cannot go into a game against a team like Miami and think you can throw the ball every time and survive. For one thing they have a very talented secondary. We haven't played a secondary as talented as Miami. The other point is you leave your defense out there too long and you can't afford to do that with all of the weapons Miami possesses on the offensive side. We are going to try to go in there and be balanced.'

On playing on the road:'That is a big issue playing on the road. We have not played with a sense of urgency on the road this year, and I'm not sure if it's attributed to our youth or myself not doing a good job. We are going to talk about coming out of the blocks and playing with some passion this weekend. We will have to just to hang in there.'

On being a big underdog:'What would Lou Holtz say to something like that? He would have something really sharp to say. I do not pay attention to stuff like that. I know that once we get there it won't say 21 to nothing. The point is we get to decide what happens on the field so we're going to do everything we can to make sure we get that chance. We have been on the field with Miami and most of them are back from last year. It isn't as though they are guys we aren't familiar with. We'll play with everything we've got.'

On Reggie Williams:'I'm not sure that Reggie hasn't been a marked man all year long, It is not as though teams haven't realized who Reggie Williams is. It would surprise me if Miami would change. They believe that they are the best in the country and I believe that they are going to do what they do and see if anyone can stand up and go toe to toe with them.'

On the rescheduling of the Miami game:'We know more about who we are, certainly over the course of the season, but we have also taken on some water due to injuries.'

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