Apple Cup Postgame Quotes
Nov. 22, 2003
Washington Head Coach Keith Gilbertson
General Comments: 'First of all I want to say congratulations to our seniors. What a great way for those kids to go out and what a marvelous effort we had tonight from our senior class. Next I want to say thank you to our fans. That is about as alive as I have ever seen Husky Stadium maybe since the Miami game and maybe before that one, when USC was here. It was loud and crazy and it was fun to be a Husky and fun to be in there. Our seniors and our fans were great. The game was kind of the way we have had it all year. It's up, it's down, it's a free-for-all, and it's a rodeo ride. I guess we are like the stock market - up one minute and down the next. But I will say this; I was real proud of our kids and our coaches. For what happened last week, a lot of people couldn't have got up off the deck. That would have been the knockout shot and it would have been over. We had a really great meeting in here on Monday where we challenged everyone to believe. These are the same guys that have been to four straight bowl games and they are the same guys that have beaten Washington State five straight times. These are the same guys that we recruited to come to Washington. We told them that we believe in you and we know you've got another great game in you. That was the tone of the week. I don't know if anybody gave us much of a chance. Washington State really does have one heck of a football team. They have a lot of good football players. That defense is really good, really fast and it is difficult to consistently move the ball against them. For us to just hang in there like we did was a difficult thing to do playing against a team like that. The other thing that I am very thrilled about is that Cody Pickett threw the last touchdown pass; that his last throw as a Husky was a touchdown pass to beat the Cougars. I don't know if this game saves the season, but it sure is a marvelous moment. But when we get out of here and the hoopla and the celebration is over, we are going to look back on some things that we really gave away. Like the second half at UCLA, the Nevada game here, the Arizona game, all the things that we just gave away. But at the same time, If you coach at Washington, your first job is to beat Washington State. Yeah, we'll look back tomorrow and Monday and say, 'What if this,' and 'What if that,' but the fact of the matter is that next 24 hours I get to be the happiest guy on the planet.'
On Cody Pickett: 'He's come under an awful lot of criticism and he's not an old man. So he kind of can't roll with it sometimes. But he just hangs in there. I hope everybody appreciates how tough and how competitive, how resilient and what a great person that kid is. If you think back over the last few years, he has provided us with a lot of spectacular moments, he really has. I know he was nervous going out there today. He wasn't quite sure what kind of reception he was going to get being introduced and all he did was leave everyone standing and cheering in the aisle. So I am real happy for him. That is just the way I wanted him to go out. You can say whatever you want to about the guy, but I want to point out that tonight, he was there when it was fourth down and three or four and he stood there in the pocket when guys were grabbing at him and he hit Charles Frederick and made a great play. That is Cody Pickett. He is going to just stand in there and compete and fight and fight and scratch and kick for that last inch. He may not be pretty all the time, but he is going to try to win every time. It doesn't matter if he didn't have a great day. What matters is that you hit the big plays when you need to and that's Cody Pickett.'
On UW defense: 'Our defense played all out today, lights out. They turned the ball over and sacked the quarterback, our defense played unbelievably well tonight. I think that WSU really has a talented offense and football team, but our guys did a great job just hanging in there and making great plays. When they would have drives that looked like they were going to make touchdowns, our guys would hold them field goals and those were really big plays, The difference between this game and the last one is that they played hard and the effort was there. It was special.'
On the game's importance: 'I have been around here since the 70's and I think in every generation there has always been the misconception that this game has meant more to the Washington State people then the Washington people, but that just isn't true. Our kids had a pretty tight jaw on Monday and Tuesday and I felt that they were going to do something real special here tonight.'
On a bowl game: 'As for a bowl game, I really don't know. If we do, it would be marvelous to get to coach these guys some more, cause I really love coaching these kids. If we don't, hey, we had our chance. We gave two or three games away that we shouldn't have. But that is the way it goes.'
On Williams' TD: 'Two weeks ago, we ran the same play, the pump fake to Reggie Williams (called bubble pump play), against Arizona. Corey dropped it and that would have changed the outcome of that game for us. But it sure did work this time.'
On what he told the team at the half: 'At halftime, I just went in there and told them, hey we are in this game. Charles made that nice catch just before the half and hey, we are still alive.'
On an 'ugly' win: 'Gosh, every win is good. There is no such thing as a bad win, it's like pizza. I have been in some great games here at Washington since I have been here. Every decade I have been here I have seen some marvelous, marvelous games. And this is just real special, in that despite what happened to us in the last two weeks, we just hung in there and kept on grinding. To me that's what makes it special for our kids.'
QUARTERBACK Cody Pickett
On victory: 'This is a great feeling for us. Our senior class, we've been through a lot this year. We feel like as a team we've underachieved this year, but this is a great way to go out. We put all that stuff behind us and came out and played great. Our defense did a great job and fortunately we were able to get the win.'
On turnovers: 'Guys get in big-time games and try their best to make plays and sometimes you force the issue. In my case I tried to lay one up to Reggie and on the other one I scrambled around for awhile then tried to put another one up to him. We were just fortunate enough to be around at the end.'
On touchdown passes: 'The first one was just a flat route by my fullback with the receiver running a post over the back. They got on Zach for the flat route, he got behind them, I laId it up to him and he made a great catch. The last one we ran a little bubble with Reggie, they jumped on him, so I was able to hit Corey in the hole and he made a great catch and did a great job getting into the end zone.'
WIDE RECEIVER Corey Williams
On what victory means to the team: 'This win means more than any other win against any other team. Our record didn't really matter because Apple Cup is the biggest game and we really want to win. Everybody's really happy right now.'
On touchdown: 'It was a fake bubble screen to Reggie and they're always keying on him. When the defensive back bit and bumped into Reggie I ran around him and Cody threw a perfect ball in between two defenders and I caught it.'
On post-touchdown celebration: 'I don't know what was happening. Khalif tackled me and got on top of me, then everyone started getting on top of me. I couldn't breathe, I was on the bottom of the pile. I was actually kind of scared; I didn't think I was going to make it out. Everyone was going crazy and that's what I want to do, make everybody go crazy.'
WIDE RECEIVER Reggie Williams
On game: 'I expected us to win, but I didn't know it was going to come down to the wire like that. We knew it was going to be a close game, though. Cody had a couple of great passes and a great catch by Corey and I couldn't explain it.'
On turnovers: 'It was just one of those types of games. No one could hold onto the ball, I'm just glad we came out on top.'
On Corey Williams' touchdown: 'Corey's my guy, he's a funny type. For him to get a good play like that is going to give him a lot of confidence.'
INSIDE LINEBACKER Marquis Cooper
On his interception: 'It was third and long and you know they were going to pass. There was pressure on the quarterback and I followed his eyes. When I made the pick, I knew I was going to take it back. All I thought about was scoring once I had the ball.'
Comparing last year's game to this year's: 'It was very similar to last year. It's the same feelings afterward, all over again. We seniors never lost to them and we never will. This game is always the best for us. Tonight, it was huge for us, just like last year's victory.'
DEFENSIVE TACKLE Terry Johnson
On forcing the interception: 'On that play I was coming off the end. The rest of the game I was in the middle. I had to beat two guys and I got by the first guy, then tried to push the second guy back into the quarterback's way. We got the quarterback and he didn't know how to handle it.'
This year's game compared to last year's game: 'It was almost identical. We came in with the same goals and aspirations. Like last year, tonight we kept making plays. In a tight game, you have to continue to try and make plays. That's what we did at the end.'
On keeping the streaks alive: 'I'm very proud to be a part of Husky tradition. We fought hard to keep the streaks alive. I will always remember how we kept fighting despite what has happened. When I come back here I will be proud to remember how we kept Husky tradition alive on this night.'
STRONG SAFETY Evan Benjamin
On his two interceptions: 'On the first the quarterback was scrambling and he only had one option. I was guarding that option and he threw the ball and I made the play. On the second interception, Derrick Johnson predicted what play they would run and it turned out to be that exact play. Because of Derrick's call I played that play perfectly.'
General Comments: 'This is one of the best games I've ever played in. We got a lot of quarterback pressure. We were focused and we played tough the entire game. We were running around and making plays. The whole defense fed off of each other today. The play of the linebackers and the line made my job as well as Jimmy Newell's job a lot easier.
On getting a win for the seniors: 'We were playing for the seniors today. They have been through a lot, and they have put so much into this program. Owen Biddle is a great example. I was playing for him and the entire senior class. I am real happy to get this victory for our seniors.'
Washington State Head Coach Bill Doba
General Comments: 'We had numerous opportunities inside the 30 and didn't score. We got a fumble or a turnover or a sack. Against this team, or against any team in the Pac-10 for that matter, you can't do that.'
On surviving previous games like tonight's: 'Yes we have (survived other games like this), but not against these guys. They came ready and played well.'
On missed opportunities: 'We had opportunity after opportunity to put points on the board but we got turnovers and dropped interceptions and it was not our day and things fell their way. I give credit to them- they played well. They played their hearts out, I thought and they got after us on defense. We'd make a big run and then we'd drop the ball, we'd drop the pass, throw a bad pass for an interception.'
On seven WSU turnovers: 'That last one was just out of desperation - he was just trying to make a play but yes, six is way too many.'
On how to break the recent Apple Cup trend: 'This is just my first year. They come to our place next year and we'll see. They've got good talent, they got excited, they played well. I don't have an answer - if I did, I'd tell you.'
On ending the season at a bowl game: 'It will give the kids a chance at that 10th win they've been wanting. The other thing it does is it let's work with the younger kids on their games.'
On what WSU will do between now and the bowl game: 'Well, they don't have school next week so they will come back to school on Monday the first - we'll be on the road recruiting. We'll give them some time off, then start working them next Wednesday or Thursday.'
Washington State Players
DEFENSIVE BACK ERIK COLEMAN
On team's performance: 'I think we all fought hard today, we gave it our best effort. When some guys were down they stepped up and they did a good job. I always felt that we had chances to stop them. Credit to them, they came to play today. Their running game was quick and their passing game was really good.'
On Washington's last drive: 'They did a good job in their two minute drill. They were hitting the underneath passes and making first downs. They eventually ended up in the red zone and they made a big play when it counted. We were playing an underneath coverage and I was supposed to go over the top; unfortunately I wasn't able to get there. I couldn't make the play. It was a nice throw and a nice catch.'
On Washington State's defense being out on the field a lot: 'That's part of our job, that's part of the challenge that we take as a defense. We love being out there. We couldn't get a stop but we loving being out on the field. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get a stop at the end when it counted.'
On losing to the Huskies his entire career: 'I think it's definitely going to hurt; this is our big game of the year. It's the Apple Cup and it's our rivalry. It's going to hurt not having won one before and my class not having won an Apple Cup. We've done a lot of great things at this university. We've won Pac-10 championships and we've won a lot of games. I think all of our seniors have had a successful career. We just haven't finished and we have to start finishing. They made big plays today and just like last year they made them when it counted. They are a good team and a very good program and they have a lot of good athletes. Unfortunately we didn't put it together today.'
On going to a bowl game: 'We are going to another great bowl. When I first got here a bowl was kind of a far shot, now we are competing for BCS bowls and Pac-10 titles. This program is on the rise. We're getting good young guys in and we have good coaches.'
KICKER DREW DUNNING
On breaking the Cougars' scoring record: 'I could care less about the record right now. I knew it was in front of me but like I said I would have taken being Pac-10 champions over the record any day of the week. The records come but wins don't always don't always come. It's just one of those things where I know that I would have rather kicked all extra points today than four field goals. I really wanted to get a shot at that, but unfortunately we weren't able to get it through. My hat's off to the Washington defense stepping up when they needed to.'
OFFENSIVE LINEMAN MIKE SHELFORD
On the momentum shift in the game: 'They were throwing pretty much everything in the book at us, lots of blitzes. We had trouble a couple of times picking them up and they got some pressure on the quarterback. We had trouble doing what we needed to do.'
On Josh Swogger: 'I think Swogger had great poise throughout the game and I just think that when he is getting hit right as he is throwing the ball, the ball's not going to go where he wants it to. I think a lot of it was just him getting hit and I think that he had great poise throughout the game.'
On team's lack of production on offense in red zone: 'We had some offsides penalties that hurt us a couple of times and pushed us back further. Being first and fifteen is a little more difficult than being first and ten and trying to run the ball. We just had trouble picking up on their blitzes.'
On Washington State's six turnovers: 'You can't expect to win a game when you have six turnovers, that's the bottom line. When we did win it was because our defense played awesome. We played good today but we just didn't come out ahead today when we had six turnovers. It makes it difficult. It's not a good feeling, I wanted to come in here and go out on top beating the Huskies here in Seattle but it didn't happen. We're still number two in the Pac-10 and we're going to the Holiday Bowl, so we had a good season.'