UW-Idaho Postgame Quotes

Sept. 20, 2003

Washington head coach Keith Gilbertson

General Comments: 'Once again, it's a good win, a fairly balanced win and a good second half for defense. We were really balanced offensively in terms of numbers. The first half was difficult with all the penalties. We would have been in a lot of trouble if we had played a team that had a stronger offense. We have not had a penalty problem before this. We also got really into retaliation and our guys are smart enough to know that is going to be nothing but a penalty, so it shouldn't have happened, but it did. The first half was disappointing and the second half was better. I wasn't displeased with the numbers in the first half, but I felt like we shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times and gave things away. I don't believe we are better off with the bye; I don't think it was great for us. I am not believer in bye's that early in the season, I think they are a disruption. But that is our schedule sits and that is how we are playing. I had high hopes our defense was going to come out and have a great first half, but then they settled down and let a few things slip and let Idaho back into the game. The second half was pleasing in terms of defense. I was disappointed in our sloppy and undisciplined play in the first half, but we came back and played better in the second half. It was not an artistic success and not the kind of performance we can have when we get into Pac-10 play. We'll need to be sharper and we'll have to play a whole football game against the teams in our league.'

On Reggie Williams: 'Reggie Williams did not play in the first half today because he was being disciplined. He missed a team function that he should not have missed. We decided on Monday that he would not be in the first half of the game, so we had all week to plan for that. He is a good kid, but rules are rules and the team comes first. But he came back and did good things in the second half.'

On Rich Alexis and his game: 'Rich has improved every game and he continues to improve. So right now he is our starting tailback. If anybody has any ideas that Rich is not a physical guy and can't handle big hits, that hit should prove otherwise. That hit was certainly inspiring to the team and part of the whole team's momentum change.'

On Justin Robbins: 'Justin is a good player and a great person who has fought really hard to get back on the team. It is fun for me to see him back on the field. He started on the Rose Bowl championship team as a true freshman and his career has been rough, so it is a good feeling to see him have success again. We talked with the trainers to see how many plays he could do, so we started low and he just kept getting better and better.'

On Cody Pickett and his game: 'I have mixed feelings as to Cody's game today. I did not think it was special in any way. I have seen him play so much better and more efficient. Today was not his best game. I have the sense now that he is always striving for perfection and I think that is unrealistic. Nobody plays perfect. I'd like to see him relax a bit more and go out compete and have fun and play the way I have seen him play in the past. I want him to be loose and go with the flow. That is something I hope we'll see from him as the season progresses.'

On Joe Toledo not playing: 'Joe came to practice yesterday in pain. So we treated him all yesterday last night and this morning and after warm-up he felt he couldn't play. He is having issues with a joint in his lower back. Losing him was a shock to the system cause we had planned on having him in the game today. We had practiced with him all week and we were looking to see him have a big day. It was frustrating to lose him pre-game.'

On having number 25 on the field again: 'Curtis Williams was a terrific guy and no one is going to forget that, but I asked James if he wanted to wear the number 25 jersey and he said yes. It's a personal thing. Some guys don't want to wear it, and some guys do. But I know Curtis was looking down on the field today and was thrilled to see 25 back out there again.'

Washington Players

On long pass to Reggie: 'We ran it twice in a row. The first time it probably would have been a touchdown, but the guy grabbed him and pulled him down. We decided to come right back at it. The corner really backpedaled that time, so I put it up a little behind him and he made a great play.'

On Justin Robbins' return: 'It was his first game back and he's going to get better, period. He's going to gain confidence and he's a great player. I'm just glad to have him back out there.'

On his performance:
'We came out and tried to establish the run. We're improving every week and that's what we want. The offensive line is starting to open up some holes and I was starting to run through them. You can't tip-toe, you just have to keep running at full speed and get the most you can out of it.'

On back-to-back big plays: 'The 25-yard touchdown run was just me and my downhill block. I got great blocks up front. The second play was just a little screen play and it always seems to work out right, so I just got the ball and made something happen.'On block for Reggie Williams: 'That stuff's new to me. I never cut back and hit people, but I saw Reggie - that's my partner in crime. I saw him coming back, so I just tried to make a play for him because I knew he wanted to do something good, so I tried to help him out. We needed someone to step up and do something. I wanted to send a message.'

WIDE RECEIVER Justin Robbins
On returning from injury:
'It feels great, particularly because of the hard work it took to get back out there. It was a pay-off that felt really, really good.'

On returning sooner than expected: 'I practiced this week with the team and it felt good. On Thursday they told me they were going to try to give me a few snaps. It was a little more than I expected, but it felt good and I was ready to go. There's no pain, no nothing, I'm ready to go to practice on Monday.'

On helping bring along the freshmen receivers: 'I try to tell them the things I learned my freshman year. There's always going to be stuff that you haven't encountered before. I try to prepare them for those things and help them move along and become better players, every play.'

On the performance of the defense and how to get better:
'We were slow out there. When our guys get going, though, we are really good. We have to realize what is at stake. Maybe since we are playing a lesser opponent, guys don't always get up for the game. But I do think at one point, we are going to click and the result will be pretty cool.'

On his big plays: 'I was double-teamed most of the game. I'm happy with the way I played, but I can always do more. I have to build on my performance today. It doesn't mean getting more sacks. I have to be a disruption on every play. It means getting pressure.'

On the return of Justin Robbins: 'I think he will give us a spark. He played like a savage out there today. He gives us what we have been missing on offense. We were all happy to see him back out there.'

On the defensive play:
'We came out with a big play and then we kind of played flat for a while. We came out in the second half and made a statement with our play. We have to come out faster, though, and do what the coaches coach us to do. If we do that, I think we can sustain our play over four quarters. I think we did improve. Anytime you get a win, that's good. We are going to continue to improve each and every game.'

FREE SAFETY Jimmy Newell
On the play of the defense:
'We played OK. We didn't play great, but it feels like that after a win. I don't think we played as well as the statistics would indicate.'

On his interception: 'For that play, I was in the post and basically it's my duty to help if there is a post route, but I'm mostly free to the quarterback's eyes. I saw him step up and my teammates told me my eyes got real big. He decided to force it and fortunately I made him pay.'

On how the defense can improve: 'I think we gave up way too many rushing yards. We over-pursued way too many times and they made us pay. When we over-pursued, a lane opened up for them that they could run through.'

Idaho head coach Tom Cable

General comments: 'I thought we played like the three weeks prior - extremely hard, with everything we've got. We had a shot there after the turnover. Mike makes a great throw to Jimmy Lebeita for a touchdown and kind of put us back into it and made it a ballgame. We turn right around and give up a couple big plays and Brian throws for an interception and turnover and they score again. That was a 21-point swing right there. It's disappointing because we had a shot. I talked to them (team) afterwards. That's the difference between winning and losing. There is going to be a moment in every game where it's going to go one way or another. You have to be ready for it and take advantage of it. We didn't do that. To Washington's credit, they absolutely held the ball on us. It was almost a 10-minute difference in time of possession and they really wore us down there in the second half.'

On the offense: 'Offensively, our biggest issue right now is the production of throwing the football. It just isn't happening. We made a change in there with Brian, again nothing happened. We've just got to continue to emphasize it, continue to keep teaching it, keep evaluating it and making sure we're doing things right, that we're teaching things right. That has been us. That's who we are and certainly we are struggling with that now.'

On specifics of struggles in the passing game: 'I certainly think we've been getting better at it. The problem is it doesn't seem to be carrying over into the football game. Obviously we made a big emphasis on being able to handle the football. You seem to feel better each day we walk off the practice field that we are making some strides. The one thing you've got to remember is on gameday you don't get too many shots so every one you fail at hurts your team. It's something you have to keep grinding, keep pushing for until you get it right and obviously, making sure the kids know you believe in what we are doing and believe in them and sooner or later it's going to happen.'

On replacing Michael Harrington with Brian Lindgren: 'It was for production. It's not all on Mike, obviously. Certainly you look up there and you're not throwing for many yards and you're not creating the ability to stay at second-and-five or convert on third down and it's a shame because that's the stuff we've been doing. We felt at the time that it was a good time to let Brian go in there and take it and run with it for a little while and calm Mike down. After he (Mike) threw that touchdown he was wired, which is good but you've also got to have a short memory and say let's go to work and see if we can do this again. It's maturity and we'll get him through that.'

Idaho Players

On third-quarter turnaround for Washington: 'It was exactly the situation that we wanted to be in. It was 17-14 and we played hard all the way up until they started scoring on us late in the second half. That was the situation that we needed to be in and we got ourselves there.'

On Reggie Williams: 'In the second half he made some big plays and was the key to their scoring drive.'

On Washington's first half offensive play:
'They came out and they did exactly what we thought that they were going to do. We hit in the right places and we pounded them. We had their backs against the ropes. They got a couple big plays on us and that was the game.'

On Idaho's Defense: 'We played like we've been playing all year. We showed signs of greatness and forced some turnovers that really got us pumped up, but we just have to be able to finish them. We definitely played hard.'

On Idaho's passing game:
'Washington has a good defense, and when they bring pressure you have to beat them on a deep ball. For whatever reason we just didn't connect and make the big play.'

On Idaho's running game: 'The running backs and the line did a great job; its always nice to have a running game. I felt like it really came together today. Washington tries to bring a lot of pressure and we tried to make adjustments. We tried to make adjustments and our linemen did a good job. We had to change some plays on the line of scrimmage to adjust.'

On Idaho's first half running game:
'I felt like the offensive line, tight ends, and receivers did a nice job opening up some big holes. They're doing a nice job, it's nothing that I did special.'

On Idaho's second half running game: 'I have to run harder and try to make something happen. They adjusted in the second half and we didn't take advantage of some opportunities that were handed to us. It takes you out of your game plan when you get down points and you have to stop running the ball. We should have came out and ran better in the third quarter. We got those two turnovers and we have to take advantage of that.'

On quarterback rotation: 'Both of those guys are well liked and they're both good guys. I live with both of them. I think that everyone feels comfortable with either of them in. The reason that Brian was put in there was because Michael was kind of wired, he was taking a punishment. Every time he gets hit he gets the crap knocked out of him. Either one of those guys can do a fantastic job.'

On third quarter production: 'We got the fumble and than we scored on the next play. We got an interception and we have to take advantage of that, but we didn't and that hurt. The defense relies on us to go score points in situations like that. If the offense can't get it done on a big turnover than that's bad for the team as a whole.'

On finishing strong: 'I think that every week we think that we can compete with whomever we play. In a situation like that we're playing heads up and when it's close we just have to finish the game. We never are in awe that we're heads up with a big team, it's just another team to go play.'

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