Rick Neuheisel Press Conference Quotes

Sept. 25, 2002

General Remarks:
'We are excited about the opportunity to play our third straight here at home. We are excited about improving as a football team; we are excited to nip the little things that have plagued us early in the season in the bud and continuing to enjoy the college football season. Its fun to be in mid-stride now and we look forward to a game against Idaho. Our team is well aware that Idaho is coming in here off a victory after scoring 48 points against San Diego State team that has given sets to a couple of Pac-10 opponents. We have a healthy respect for our opponent. Like I said we are anxious to come back and play another game at Husky stadium. We are looking forward to a week of improvement and we are eager to press on.'

On Pass Defense:
'I thought we played better in pass defense this week. Wyoming had some difficulty getting the ball down the field. A lot of the things that happened were late in the game when the out come had been sealed. Certainly, like most facets of our game, we can improve, but I did see improvement between San Jose and Wyoming in pass defense and I'm anxious to hopefully see some more as we get ready for Idaho. Obviously Idaho put up a number of points against San Diego State, so it will be a great challenge.'

On Cody Pickett:
'Cody's numbers are outstanding and certainly are going to lead to a lot of talk about his talent and certainly the talent the around him and so forth. I prefer to think of it in the context of our offense. I think he is improving as the manger of our offense, in terms of taking what's there. Rich Alexis had seven catches in the game and only one was a screen, so six times Cody checked out and found Alexis in the flat or right in front of him. Those are great indications that he is not predetermining, that he is taking what the defense gives him and if he'll do that, then we've got a chance to do in the throwing game. It will also help our running game in that defenses are not going to be able to load the box. They are going to have to realize that they can't just play man to man outside. They are going to have to go out and take some chances covering guys and hopefully that will mean that our running game will continue to come along for the ride with the throwing game. As you look for balance you have to make defenses be balanced in terms of what they are trying to defend, and hopefully we are moving in that direction.

'The ability now to take what the defense gives you, rather then predetermine what exactly you are going to do or predetermine based on a pre-snap look. Defenses get scholarships too; they have ways of disguising things and so forth so we're not just necessarily going off of what we thought would happen, we are actually reacting to what is happening and obviously we are benefiting because of it.'

On Receivers:
'Its special. We've got a nice group of receivers this year, into the action. It was neat to see the ball spread around the way that it was. That makes everyone eager to come back to work the next week. It might not be that way every weekend, but if we can distribute the ball in the way that we have been, certainly everyone is excited about it. Rich Alexis is third in the Pac-10 for rushing. We are not far away from being what we want to be.'

On getting injured players back in the lineup:
'I wish I had more information for you, but its kind of a day to day thing. Braxton and Cleman are going to try again this week and we'll see. Elliott Zajac is going to start progressing towards getting back into the game. I'm not sure he will be ready for the weekend, that will be a wait and see thing. But it's nice to have guys coming back. Hopefully Jimmy Newell will be in that category of a player that is almost returned. Justin Robbins is also in that category, but maybe a week behind the other three.'

On fumbles:
'We need to reevaluate ball security. I'm not sure that you can say that is option. The truth of the matter is that on Rich's first fumble, he had already tucked it away. That's just a ball security issue. Cody Pickett had tucked the ball away, in was a ball security issue, it wasn't a mismanagement of an exchange or anything like that. Rich's final fumble he just took his off of it because he thought he was going to score a touchdown, because it was blocked pretty well. The bottom line is execution always is big and it doesn't matter if you running blast or you are running stretch or power or counter or option. They all require a certain level of proficiency and execution. We have got to get better and I am anxious to do so.''We are going to work on ball security all week long, but I don't want to make it something that becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. I want to fix what's broken, but make sure that we maintain an enjoyment for the game. We need to relax and enjoy playing. We have a lot of good things going for us here.'

On James Sims:
'James had been playing free safety for us al through fall camp and all last spring. With Jimmy's injury we decided that we were going to give Evan a chance to play free, who we thought might be a little bit a head of James at the time. Evan did some good things, but we felt like we were probably borrowing from Peter to pay Paul and so rather then try to take away from the direction Evan was going in as a strong safety and a great one to punt with Carothers, we decided to let James have a shot. He played really well. If James continues to improve as he's improved, we are going to have a fine free safety there. Remembering also that we have Jimmy Newell on the horizon of returning.'

On Eddie Jackson:
'I think Eddie is a mature young man. Obviously there were some issues with dropping the ball, but he wasn't alone in that, there were some other dropped passes in the ball game as well. The expectations are very high on this program and each of the kids, as well as the coaches put high expectations on themselves. And we don't want it to be any differently, but sometimes you can feel yourself pressing, when things aren't going as well as you probably would like. To be in the locker room at halftime 17 to 7 ahead and to be so frustrated, you have to take inventory; wait, what's wrong with this picture. We aren't that far away from having a really good half of football, lets fix it and go out and play really well in the second half. We all need to relax a little bit, but while doing that not overlook the ability to fix the little things and get ready to play a complete ball game.

'Anything about catching the football is using your eyes. We talk about hands, really, hands are secondary. It's your eyes and when your eyes don't see the ball on the way in, you are giving yourself an opportunity to drop the ball. I both cases, I think he just took his eyes off it a little to early.'

On Idaho:
'I have a great deal of respect for Tom Cable, he and I worked together at Colorado. I know he is a very, very skilled offensive strategist. I they will have all kinds of schemes that we probably haven't seen coming into the game. I remember two years ago, the opening play of the game they did something brand new and ran 82 yards for a touchdown to start the ball game. It will be a good test for our defense, a real good test in a final game prior to Pac-10 play. So I am anxious to see how our defense responds. I know that hey are coming off of a victory. There is nothing like a victory to bring confidence back to a program. They are ridding high right now. San Diego State is a big time Division one program and they knocked them down, so they are going to be excited to come into Husky stadium.'

On Preparation for PAc-10 play:
'We've had lots of commentary on scheduling; we just take them as they come. Especially in defense today, you have some qualities that you can be different. You can't just say this is how we are going to play because the offenses have so many different formations, so many different schemes, so many different ways of playing. It is what makes college playing so much more interesting in my mind then NFL football, because in the NFL everybody is kind of the same. There is certainly a myriad of formations, but everybody plays the same way. You don't have options; you don't have a lot of the counter football that exists in college football, number one because of hashes and number two because of personnel. So, you have to be flexible and be able to adjust to and get plans put together that kids are really gonna have to work hard to study so that you can play sound football.'

On Zach Tuiasosopo:
'We have high hopes for Zach at full back. He started the game really well. We have to make sure that he keeps his pad level low as he continues to develop as a full back, but he's just what the doctor ordered in that position. We are also very excited about Ty Eriks. Fullback is a well manned position.'

On Marquis Cooper, player of the week:
'That's neat, great young guy. He has worked hard in this program. He is a gifted athlete and he is very instinctive. He is fun to watch. When we recruit we look for more Marquis Coopers, I promise you that. He has not been a surprise; he is what we expected because we had high hopes. We were really baffled in his recruitment; why there wasn't more attention at the time, especially from the instate schools. What were we missing; why was this guy not THE guy in the state? Sometimes that happens, we don't know exactly why, but we are very fortunate that he feel in love with the University of Washington. He is a good size man, but he didn't play linebacker in high school, maybe that was it. They just didn't know that he'd make the transition because he was a safety and tight end. He has been a very productive player since he has arrived. I remember him blocking the punt as a freshman against Arizona State and that helped us beat Arizona State.

'He can go a match up against anybody the opponent's team and you don't feel like you're in a mismatch.'

On Derek Johnson:
'Derek is getting closer. I'm not sure that he is all the way there yet, but you can see the confidence growing and it's a neat thing for us. Guys taking a year off, you are also seeing that in Jafar Williams. A year away from the game where you couldn't play and now we are fortunate with the way that schedules are falling and we are getting the home games where guys can get their feet under them before conference play begins.'

On Defensive Tackle:
'Right now we've got three guys that were kind of rotating in those two spots. Tui Alailefaleula will probably go back in there also, so we'll have those four guys. Josh Miller is a very steady player that is capable of making some big plays; he's got great vision. I'm not sure this last game was his best game, but I know we like the way he comes to work everyday, with a real desire to improve.'

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