Washington vs. Arizona Postgame Quotes

Oct. 12, 2002

Washington Head Coach Rick Neuheisel

General Comments: 'In the grand scheme of things it's just one game and we've still got a lot of things to do better before we're going to be a team that can get back into the Pac-10 race. But, for the brief time, I am enjoying the heck out of that win. It was a great effort by everybody involved, despite the fact that we need to really, really improve before we get into the back end of the Pac-10 schedule. I'm very pleased with the resiliency of the football team. If you'll think back, there have been lots of wins like this over the last three and four years. Guys hung in there and kept fighting and scratching. I was elated, not so much the beauty of it all, but the effort; it was terrific. I'm looking forward to getting a week better in anticipation for a very, very good USC team. I thought Arizona did a great job of throwing the ball; Bobby Wade, Andrae Thurman and Jason Johnson are a terrific threesome. When we started to get some pressure in the quarterback's face it became kind of difficult, but we have to get better in the back end if we're going to survive this conference. I thought there were some chances to make plays. Hopefully those are the kind of things we can get going our way as we go further down the schedule.'

On who is the best receiver in the Pac-10: 'It's silly to argue about that. Bobby Wade, I'm sure coach Mackovic would vote for him. I'm sure Mike Price would have a few candidates. I'm not looking to make any trades. I like the guys I've got.'

On the range of emotion before Reggie Williams' fourth-quarter touchdown: 'We were fighting for our lives. I had mentioned that all week long. That is what you do in the Pac-10. What it is about is getting fundamentally better. We turned the ball over again in our own red zone. You can't do that. Those are the kind of things that have hampered us. Hopefully we'll get better at our field goal blocking. We can't have that happen in clutch situations. We don't get an extra point because we have a player that gets over-excited and makes the celebration as an individual. Those are the kind of things we continue to keep our thumbs down on. To date, we've been one of the least penalized teams in the conference, so I'm excited about trying to get back to that.'

On on Reggie Williams' fourth quarter touchdown: 'We had been seeing that there was a lot of room over there. I think Cody was probably anticipating that there was going to be pressure and so he gave him the ball. When guys take bad angles and somebody gets out, then obviously it becomes a huge play and that is exactly what took place.'

On Washington's secondary today: 'Nate (Robinson), on that third down play, was just big time, absolutely wonderful. It's nice to see him have that kind of success at this point in his career. Sam Cunningham made some plays. Derrick (Johnson) and Roc (Alexander), for their career, probably seem as if they are old veterans. The fact of the matter is that they haven't really played very healthy. We've got to keep trying to get them better and healthy and keep giving them some help. I thought our run defense was outstanding. We did some things poorly in terms of containing the quarterback, and let the quarterback have some time to buy outside of the pocket and all of the sudden they found ways to get the ball down the field. Jason Johnson is a very good player. He will put up big numbers in other games in this league, there is no question.'

On how the running game can improve: 'Keep working. I don't know any other answers. It isn't like we can go and get new players. This is who we are. We are going to keep working and I thought there was some improvement. We don't have any big runs right now. We will keep looking at how we will improve, how we can become a more balanced offense. If you think about it, we didn't punt very often today. We had one punt. So we were churning out some yards and the good news is that Cody threw 35 times. That is much more in line with us and that doesn't put pressure on like 59 does. The yards that you run for are important, but it is also plays where you are kind of denting the defense if not breaking it wide open. Hopefully it takes a little off the pass-rush and pressure off the quarterback.'

On the importance of this fourth quarter comeback: 'It is huge. This has been the history of this program at least since I have arrived. We found ways to win in the fourth quarter and unfortunate ways to lose against Michigan and Texas. So it's great to get back on the other side.'

Washington Players

On rebounding from last week: 'It feels great to get the win. We come here to be a part of the great tradition of Washington and it feels good to be back on track. We've got a lot of work ahead of us. It is a great momentum booster. We are a confident team, but after losing that first Pac-10 game it kills your confidence right away.'

On the touchdown pass to Reggie: 'I saw one guy singled up on Reggie and we saw that the slant was there. Reggie took it to the house. His acceleration is great. That was something we teased him about last year because he was caught a couple of times as a true freshman. This year he has had a couple of opportunities to take it all the way and he has.'

On his receivers: 'When I get the ball in their hands, they are capable of taking it all the way and that is a great feeling for a quarterback. I don't have to throw that ball deep all the time, I can just get it into their hands and they will do the rest.'

On the 80-yard touchdown catch: 'Cody audibled to a slant route that had been open all game. I caught the ball and slipped two guys and then all I had to do was outrun one more. When the defense finally got a stop [before that series] I told everybody, 'Don't worry, we are going to make plays.' Big-time players make big-time plays and I had to make one.'

On having three touchdowns: 'It feels really cool. I have to give a lot of credit to the offensive line, they did a really good job of protecting Cody, and I just reaped the benefits of it.'

On playing physical: 'I think we were really physical with them. We ran the ball a lot and our o-line did great today. They really showed they can we can run the ball.'

On the way the team played:
'Overall, I think we played really well as a team. It also had a lot to do with our preparation. Our backs were to the wall as soon as Cal ended and I think we really stepped up to the challenge. I think we really matured today as a group. We lost a little bit of our confidence losing to Michigan in the fourth quarter at the very, very end. We lost a little bit of that fourth-quarter Husky magic, but now I think we have gotten it back with the win today and I think it is going to help us a lot in the long run.'

On the line coming together as a unit: 'I think my leg has come a long way and I think as a group we are playing really well. Nick Newton went down today but (Robin) Meadow came in and he stepped up and played really well. I think as a unit we are coming together and really starting to take pride in our work.'

On game:
'It was a great win today, hopefully we can make big plays in the first half instead of the second half. 'Thank you.' that's all I can say to Reggie Williams right now. If it wasn't for that play right there, I don't know where we'd be right now. It was a great win.'

On performance: 'It could be better. The running game's going to get better every week. We helped the team out a little bit, but it doesn't matter if we get a win, then I'm happy about it. Everybody's talking so much about this running game and I get kind of fed up with it, but we're going to go out there and do what we can do to help the team out.'

On stopping the run: 'Their primary personnel was one back. We knew that with out linebacker corps and our defensive line pressure, if they were going to try to beat us with the running game, it was going to be a long day for them.'

On defense's performance:
'We played allright; they have a lot of weapons. We played well against the run. Against the pass we didn't play so bad, we just didn't make easy plays. We're missing tackles, they're running an extra 40 yards. We did all sorts of little things that are very easily fixable.'

Arizona Head Coach John Mackovic

General Comments: 'That was a hard-played game. We had a lot of good plays. We had a lot of gritty guys playing hard out there. We've had to shift our line-ups quite a bit. Our offensive lines have had a lot of injuries. We had to play with some other people today. I thought Jason Johnson threw the ball extremely well, made a lot of plays. Our receivers competed, which we thought they would. Defensively, we gave them the big play at the end and other than that, I think out defense played very well. They ran the football quite a bit, we contained them. Sure they got yards, but you're going to get some yards when you throw that many times and then we give them that play at the end of the game. We decided not to go for it on the fourth down there at the 35. We were trying to just sky punt, maybe get it down inside the 10 or something. It looks like Jarvie Worcester has broken his arm. I think he'll be out for the rest of the year. Keoki Fraser hurt his ankle. We'll just have to wait and see on him.'

On the Reggie Williams touchdown with two minutes remaining: 'We rolled up the coverage. He came inside on a slant and he beat the safety. Jarvie might have made that play.'

On four 15-yard penalties: 'It was a highly emotional game. These guys played highly charged. I think our emotions got away from us a couple of times and it hurt us.

On offensive strategy: 'They've had some problems in their secondary injury-wise. We used our four-receiver set instead of our five-receiver set to try and get them one on one. Jason threw a lot of balls right on time; those guys made a lot of good throws in the creases, between the safeties and the corners. They were rolling their corners up quite a so we threw a lot of balls between the corners. We had a really good set-up on our next to last play on the fourth down where we gave it up at the end. We had a real good play one-on-one but he had to throw the ball before he had a chance to get set and it was underthrown a little bit.

On Washington's defense: 'No more than what we expected. They will play off for a couple downs and then on for a down or two and then play off. It wasn't unlike what we had seen of them.

On what UA can take from the loss: 'I know we came in here last year and played very closely and lost the game but we've continued to grow from that. This is a tough pill to swallow without any doubt. We still have six games to go in the conference so we have the opportunity to still get results. We're 3-3 and with six more games to play, a lot can happen. It's up to us now to decide what it's going to be.

On Pac-10 parity: 'There's parity everywhere. They're all close games, close teams. I don't think anyone outside of the team really knows what we are going through injury-wise and adjustment-wise. It's been hard. These guys gave an unbelievable amount of themselves based upon all of that.'

On lacking depth: 'We're down in numbers, scholarship-wise, there are a lot of people injured. That's not an excuse. We expected to win the game, regardless. We take no consolation in the fact that we didn't have everybody. We felt we were good enough today to win the game and played that way.

On Jason Johnson's performance: 'Jason's played very well all year. He's had good games week in and week out. There are very few games where he hasn't. I hear that Lance is playing on an ankle that most people wouldn't even get on the field with and he played hard and did that things that we asked him to do all day. He's hardly been able to practice on stuff like that.'

On the difficulty of the loss:
'As a team, the way you have to take it is that we didn't lose this game. I felt we just ran out of time. It was an unbelievable atmosphere, especially for me to come home and play in Washington where I grew up, and to be in it all the way to the end. Obviously it's hard to swallow because we feel like we're so close to crossing over and winning all these games. It's just another step in the right direction. We're going to fight back all that much harder next week, and hopefully get it going from there. We still have six regular season games and we're looking to every one of them as a good oportunity.'

On the team's composure after a quick score, and then going dormant: 'I still thought the game went by so fast because of the long drives by both teams. I think we only had the ball four times in the first half; that's not typical. I think our team tried to stay confident the whole game that we could do some good things, we had to just keep fighting. I know especially our wide recievers, Bobby Wade and Andrae, Thurman played their guts out today and were stand-out players.'

On the Husky secondary stepping up and making plays at the end of the game: 'We have a lot of confidence in our five-wide receiver set, and they brought a lot of pressure and a lot of twist stunts that made me throw in one step. It takes a little more for us to move the ball downfield. They made some good plays and I give them all the credit for making the big plays at the end.'

On the Arizona o-line coming through: 'They did an unbelievable job. We lost our starting center early in the fourth quarter to an injury so we were playing with a different guy who hadn't practiced at center all week. Reggie Sampay stepped in and played center the whole last drive and did an unbelievable job. I just love our team, - we have such good people, and we're so close. That's why it hurts so bad, but that's why I'm still looking forward to what's ahead for this team.'

On losing the game:
'This is three times in a row? Three times in a row, same stadium. Same quarter.'

On the penalties: 'It hurt. Some of those were third-and-long situations, third and much longer than 10. To have that happen gives them an automatic first down, keeps the defense on the field, and takes away from the good field position for our offense.'

On the personal fouls, and jawing on the field: 'It was a very emotional game, we were at each other. We were hitting each other, and after each play we were in each other's faces. You always have to play smart when you're on the field, and to make a mistake like that, especially at a crucial time like that, you've got to think.'

On turning the corner to hold down the win: 'My mind set is, 'We're close, we're close,' but close is not enough. That's what we've got to work on. We've got to work, and finsh what we work. We finished what we started last week and we needed to finish the job we that we needed to finish this week.'

On the final Reggie Williams touchdown pass: 'It was one of the routes that they [UW] had been running all game. We probably could of put ourselves in a better position defensively. No matter what defense you run, you have to run it to the best of your ability, and they burned us where it hurt. Some guys weren't in the best position. He caught a nice slant route and took it to the house.'

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