Tyrone Willingham Press Conference Quotes

Oct. 9, 2001

On Washington State:
'I think right now they are best team that we've seen this year. They are extremely explosive on offense and their big three or big four- however you want to characterize the quarterback, the runningback and the three wide receivers- are pretty good. The defense, you look at them and you see a defense that has not given up very much of anything. They seem to be able to recover extremely well, which might be their strongest quality.'

On the team's spirit:
'I would hope that our football team's spirit and enthusiasm is quite high. Of course, we don't see things until today for the most part. I mean, this is when we get back to work. There is a lot of official work day. So, I would hope that it is extremely high because we have a real challenge in front of us -Washington State.'

On inconsistency of season:
'Well, I think it has been to a degree, but I think that the caliber of the competition in front of us is probably the toughest thing you got to look at. I think Washington State is maybe as good as any team we'll play.'

On the idea that Washington State will be ready to play a ranked team:
'They're dangerous team because they are not getting any respect. They are not ranked in the top 25. That's a team you really have to watch out for because they are coming down to play the team ranked in the top 25. They are looking for respect, but with one exception- I did rank them. In fact, I have them pretty high.'

On the bye week: 'Well again, as you know, we go into it with a set plan. Yes, we want to get healthy - that's one. Yes, we want to maintain our rhythm - is two. And three - we want to see if we can start to work toward our opponent. Hopefully, we did all those things, but you don't start to measure those things really until today. You don't know how healthy you are until the guys start to come back and really start to work. So we start to see that today. You don't know how well you maintain your rhythm until you really start to practice and the tempo increases, and the speed moves up to where we hope it would be - more of the game-like speed. So we'll see how much we retained from those practice sessions that we had last week which were focused on Washington State.'

On the wide receiver position:
'Well, I think we obviously are very pleased, yet we still have to qualify to some degree by saying, it's still early. But I think you have to be pleased with the play of Luke Powell, Teyo Johnson and Ryan Wells, as they have been probably the leading three outside that have given us the big plays. Nick Sebes stepped in and had some big plays. So, we've received some contribution from a lot of places. That's very positive that it didn't have to come just from one source, because now it seems like we have a few more weapons and that's a positive thing.'

Talking about the success of Stanford's offensive line:
'They will be challenged this week. We have to step up and play to our ability because they are going to be ready. I do pay attention to where we are in the rankings but they are a heck of a football team.'

On Stanford having only played three games, compared to Washington State's five:
'I think there are points you can argue on both sides. Someone could say that we should be fresher coming into this ballgame because we've only played three games, whereas they may be a little more banged up. If you asked me whether or not, I'd like to be 5-0 right now though, you know the answer.'

Discussing the similarities between Teyo Johnson and Washington State wide receiver Mike Bush:
'Other than the fact that they're making the transition from basketball to football, I haven't really looked at the size of the two guys to see how they matcup physically. I think that anyone who can make that transition from one sport to another has to be a great athlete anyway.'

Any worry about the team's focus this week coming off a bye:
'I think Washington State will get our full attention, they're a quality football team. If our guys don't watch the film and kind of lean back in their chairs a little bit, they're going to see a team that can run up and down the field and score. If that doesn't grab their attention, I don't know what will because this is a great football team.'

On Washington State's opportunistic defense:
'Turnovers can always spell the difference in the game and they seem to be the team that's most opportunistic. I think if you look at what they've done in the first quarter of the first half of their ballgames, they have been able to come out and separate themselves from their opponent. They have a quick strike offense and have been able to get points off turnovers. So you really can't give them anything or else you put yourself in a position to go down to the wire. But at the same time, we are fortunate enough to have a senior-dominated football team because they have been through the battles and understand what it's like to go through a Pac-10 ballgame.'

Talking about the team's red-zone (inside the 20) and special teams performance against USC:
'I think fairly. We could have done better in three or four instances and come away with points. As for our special teams, we had few areas (FG block, punt snap) of concern and those always are important to correct. We are always concerned about every aspect of what we do (offense, defense, special teams). If we get an offsides penalty, I'm concerned. With the teams we play against in this conference, someone will find a way to exploit your weakness and use it to your advantage.'

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