Rick Neuheisel Press Conference Quotes

Nov. 12, 2001

Coach Rick Neuheisel QuotesNovember 12, 2001

General Remarks: 'We are looking forward to the Apple Cup game as is always the case this time of year. It promises to be an electric atmosphere given that Washington State is having such a wonderful season. They have not only been good they have been very, very opportunistic and are a team that just finds ways to win. They have also come out and just jumped on teams. One of the keys for us is to be able to start the game well, much differently than we did in Corvallis. Unfortunately we have not played well on the road at the start of games with the exception being at Arizona State. Fortunately we are playing at Husky Stadium and hopefully that will be a little bit of an asset for us given our home crowd and so forth. In regards to the loss at Oregon State we are disappointed we didn't play nearly as well as we could have but we do give credit to Oregon State. They played extremely well and we need to now pick ourselves up and get going and play with everything we have got this weekend. Otherwise, it will be another long afternoon and I am excited about our kids doing just that. I think everybody that has been a part of this program has delt with some adversity and we have always risen to the occasion after the fact and I am anxious to see us do just that. It will take that kind of effort to be successful against as I said before a very, very fine Washington State team. So I am looking forward to it and I am anxious to get to work.'

On Apple Cup: 'If we let down we are not competitive. I am worried about a lot of things but a let down is not one of them. Our emotion will be ready for the contest. The Apple Cup is plenty of motivation. Even more important than the Apple Cup is our self esteem and getting back up and playing and being eager for that opportunity. We were playing well, we were improving as a football team prior to Oregon State and we took a step backwards. It is time to get back up on the horse and go. We are in the point of the season where it is critical that we do that so we feel good about our season and what we have accomplished.'

On Jason Gesser: 'Jason Gesser is a playmaker and he finds ways to move the chains and finds ways to get the ball down the field. He is hard to tackle and is a guy who is going to keep plays alive. He will make you hold your breath all afternoon. Jason is the main reason why they have had the season they are having. '

On WSU secondary: 'They are playing very well, are very opportunistic and have a lot of interceptions. Lamont Thompson had four in one game. They are definitely capable of providing run support. Billy Newman is one of the surer tacklers in our league. With Trufant back in the line up, certainly they have a great cover corner. Jason David is the other corner who I think plays really well. They have a very, very solid secondary.'

On WSU defense: 'They have a bunch of guys who are playing very well and they all know their positions and are comfortable in them. They've had some injuries but have been able to have guys go in there and rise to the occasion when called upon. They jumped into a little bit of a new scheme against UCLA that looked like it took the Bruins a little bit by surprise. They have stayed in that scheme to some extent and I don't know how much they'll use the five down defensive lineman against us but we certainly have to be prepared for it. Basically it is a defense that everyone knows what they're doing and they are doing it well.'

On WSU's record: 'It shows what the writers know. Mike Price and his staff are as good a group of coaches there are in the league. They had a bunch of kids who have played a lot of football and have a lot of experience coming back. They've been fortunate to keep some of their key players healthy. They have show resiliency to have guys come up and play big roles when they have lost Minnich for a game or two or Trufant for a little while. I have been impressed with the entire deal. They gained a lot of confidence throughout the season. I read where Mike was quoted as saying they have played a better team each and every week, somebody that was just a little bit better. Their confidence has grown and it's at an all time high right now.'

On Oregon State's defense: 'They didn't do anything out of the ordinary in fact they had less of a game plan then what we had prepared for. Obviously their planned worked. There is no other way to say it, they beat us. We have got to get better and play better.'

On Cody Pickett's day at OSU: 'There are all kinds of theories on that. You might be able to say that his arm is getting tired or that he never quite got settled. There may be a lot of reasons. I prefer his explanation -- he just didn't play well but is anxious to play this weekend. We've won a lot of games with him at quarterback and hopefully we will win a lot more. He has been remarkable since coming back and playing with the injury and at this point the injury isn't any worse than it was when we played against Arizona. It is still sore and maybe gets some reaggravation every time he lands on it, but the point of the matter is it is not something that is getting degenerative. This is a pain tolerance issue.'

On Dave Minnich: 'He is a very accomplished tailback and he is what they need him to be. They are a one-back set. He's a slasher and he's the guy that can get you first downs. He may not be as explosive as Onterrio Smith or DeShaun Foster but certainly he is the guy that does the things that they need him to do. He is obviously a very important cog in their team leadership.'

On Huskies rebounding from loss: 'The players are competitive, competitive guys who when they get knocked down they get back up. That is what has to happen, we have to get back up and play. That's the only way to get the taste out of your mouth. There are a lot of teams in the country that would love to be 7-2. We just don't like the way we are 7-2.'

On Mike Price's coaching style: 'There are lot of things that I admire about Mike. He has a great sense of humor. He's one of the few coaches in the business who can keep things in perspective. Certainly that doesn't mean he's not competitive and doesn't fight like heck to win. He has been through some lean times and that doesn't change who he is, and I admire that. He also is not a front-runner. When things are going well he doesn't break his arm to pat himself on the back. He's a heck of a coach and great person.'

On dealing with the OSU loss: 'When you are beat you have two choices. One is to rationalize it and say that well this that and the other thing, they just played great. The second is to go ahead and blame yourself and figure out what you can do better. Now of the two, it may not be a right or wrong answer, but the second way certainly brings about some change. It brings about some reaction that is going to make you be a little bit more thorough the next week. Same as when I played quarterback. If I threw an interception I could certainly say the receiver ran a wrong route or I never saw that guy. If I do that I am never going to learn for the mistake because I am not going to admit that it was a mistake. Hence it is going to happen again. You have to make the corrections and everybody in our program has to do that. That is part of the deal, you accept blame instead of deflecting it. I admire our kids for continuing to fight to the very end of the game and we came back and scored again. Even though it may have seemed like a consolation touchdown but there was character and guys who were unwilling to give up the ship. It is much the same reason why we have been successful even coming back and winning games that have seem to have gotten away from us.'

On Apple Cup: 'We have one game to play and that is the Apple Cup. If we are successful than we will be excited about our season. We need to fight, scratch, claw and do everything we can to be successful.'

On mental game: 'Sometimes we lack experience but we are who we are. We have to play better and we make no excuses. It is worthless to talk about it, let's just play, and we get a chance to play this weekend against a very, very good team. They are the No. 10 team in the country, and the No. 9 team in the AP. We've got a top-10 team in Husky Stadium for the second time in a row, so we ought to take advantage of it.'

On resiliency of WSU: 'They obviously had a great off-season. They've developed confidence over the season. They got off to a good start and just kept going. They jumped early on a lot of teams and were able to play with great confidence. As the season has gone on and the competition has gotten stiffer they still believe that they are capable and have shown that they are. They have done a great job.'

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