Keith Gilbertson Press Conference Quote

Sept. 29, 2003

HEAD COACH Keith Gilbertson QUOTES
September 29, 2003

On the talent level at UCLA: 'We know about the tailbacks, Manuel White and Tyler Ebell. We know about the level of skill at UCLA; they're talented. I'm obviously concerned about the offense.'

On the progress in route running over the years by Reggie Williams: 'He's matured a great deal since he was a freshman, but he did come in and obviously impact the football team and he's still impacting the football team. He's getting double covered, getting rolled up on and then you pick up the stats after the game and he's still getting 10 catches for 138 yards. Stanford I thought really had a good plan for him; he broke loose on one long one. Reggie is a terrific player and a great team guy, and really fun to coach. Reggie likes to play and he is very competitive.'

On the coverage by UCLA's cornerbacks, specifically Matt Ware: 'Well I think Reggie is looking forward to the match-up with Matt Ware; we have a lot of respect for him. We tried to recruit him and know that he is a great athlete. Their defensive scheme though does not appear to be one that is as much of a match-up as it is roll-up and they really re-route and disrupt you, and they are very good at it. Coach Kerr had a great defensive scheme for a long time at Colorado State. I watched their defense play in the games that we have on video and they do a really great job on defense; as good of a job on defense as we've seen this year. I'm putting them in the classification with Ohio State, which I think is a really fine, fine defense. They've got ample athletes, they've got an ample pass rush, and they play a very disruptive type of defense particularly to your wide receiver game so we have our hands full trying to move the ball throwing it on these people.'

On UCLA's loss of Rodney Leisle for the first half: 'Well I was hoping he would punch the guy twice. Rodney Leisle is a really fine football player. He really dominated us as did their whole defensive front when we were down there in Los Angeles. UCLA has a group of defensive linemen that are outstanding, not just one guy. They are all outstanding, Boschetti, the Ball brothers, Rodney and then their backup people are also excellent. I really think he is a great football player and it will impact them some, but the level of play on their defense won't fall off.'

On the matchup between Reggie Williams and Matt Ware: 'Well I don't know that Reggie has been quote 'matched up' against Matt Ware ever. Last year I don't think Matt Ware matched up on Reggie at all, I think he just came in and Phil [Snow] played his defense. Reggie had a pretty good game; we threw the ball pretty well in that game too but we also had four picks so a lot of guys caught balls that night including their guys. The first year, as I remember, Ricky Manning was the corner that there was a lot of talk about the matchup with Reggie. Reggie would look forward to any matchup, Chris Gamble, whoever it is. Reggie certainly thinks Matt Ware is a fine player, but Reggie is a very competitive guy, I don't know if that is the talk, that they are going to match Matt Ware up with Reggie or what. I haven't heard that, read that, or been told that.'

On how Phil Snow is doing at UW: 'Phil is doing fine. He is a fine coach and a good guy and we've enjoyed having him here.'

On what Reggie Williams needs to do differently when he is matched up with a player of his same size: 'Not get held. At the Cal game [last year] the guy just got away with tackling him. End of story. He did a great job, but it doesn't get called and it's one for the defense. But Reggie's a big, powerful guy and he'll do fine with any matchup people want to throw at him. Reggie had a ton of catches that day, so sometimes I wonder about how much they shut him down when he had 100 catches last year. No one shut him down. You can match up, roll up, do what you want to do but we will find ways to get the ball in his hands. Like last week, I think Stanford was going to try to bracket him most of the game with the corner and the inside safety to that side but he still caught two touchdowns in a big game. We have enough pass offense to get it to him.'

On the coach trade between Phil Snow and Steve Axman: 'There really was no cash involved in that or players. Both parties are saying that it benefited us both. Hopefully there are like two or three recruits yet to be named in the deal.'

On the performance of the defense thusfar this season: 'Obviously I am pleased with how they are playing for the whole game. We just keep playing, we play four quarters of good defense. One of the frustrating things last week with Stanford's touchdown drives, particularly one of their drives we had three penalties in the drive for a total of 35 yards. We had I believe two holds and a personal foul for 35 yards of free offense and they scored on the drive to make it 14-14. But how we've played in the third and particularly fourth quarters has been really fun to watch. Our guys seem to get stronger as the game progresses. Obviously early everyone's going to come out and have some wrinkles for you and probably have some success, but it seems like our guys just keep playing and we make our adjustments as we go through the game. As long as our tempo stays the same and we are playing as hard at the end as we are at the start I think good things will happen.'

On the strength of the defense in the fourth quarter: 'I don't know if we're wearing them down; I think our guys are in good shape. I think our strength and conditioning people have done a marvelous job of getting our people into shape. We can play 70 to 80 snaps. It was really warm on Saturday, and our guys are okay with it. On the other side, I think the fact that the offense does not go three-and-out and three-and-out and three-and-out; the fact that we have been able to hold the ball for some time also helps our defense. You can sit down and make your adjustments and not just have to throw them back in after three incompletions. We have some guys that are playing real hard, just playing real hard.'

On the Pac-10 Conference after Saturday's games: 'One loss on the road certainly does not take anyone out of contention, as we proved in 2000 when we lost our first conference road game to Oregon, then came back and were the conference champions. One loss or one week of conference play doesn't take you out. I just think it shows how much parity there is in our league, and how much parity there probably is all over the country. The 85 scholarship thing has worked its magic and there is a lot of parity in college football.'

On the defensive staff during the game: 'I think our staff does a great job, I think those guys are really good coaches. They are very experienced. You take that group as a whole and they are a very experienced group of coaches. Phil Snow has been a coordinator in this league and seen everyone's offense. He's been at four schools and has been coaching against all of us for about 20 years. Our guys do a great job of seeing what has to be changed and making the adjustments, then our player's buy in and, so far so good. Now we are going to play some very fine offenses and very fine athletes like the guys this week, so they are going to constantly be tested.'

On the challenge that a blitz creates for receivers: 'We're not really all that concerned about blitz because I think we have a lot of ways to beat the blitz when we put people out. We were not always keeping guys in last game, so we will take our chances. If you want to dog us, blitz us, we will get the ball out to the right guy. We have a place to go in our system when we see pressure coming, we think we have an answer for that.'

On particular UCLA defensive players Gilbertson is watching for: 'I think their front seven is as good as Ohio State's front seven right now when I watch their kids play. I mean we've played against these guys, they are all very experienced. The Ball brothers have been playing since 2000. Rodney Leisle and Boschetti we've played a lot of football against. Matt Ware seems like he's been there for 100 years. We've played a lot of football against a lot of these kids. We know them, not only from maybe trying to recruit them but from coaching against them for years and years. That front seven is a really fine bunch of athletes. Havner had a marvelous day out here against us last year and we've always thought Brandon Chillar was one of the top linebackers in our league. It is a quality, quality defense. Chillar is playing inside now, where last year he was their strong outside linebacker. He makes about ten more plays a game now, a lot more tackles per game. They have a great defensive scheme, Larry Kerr is one of the top defensive people in the country. He has shut people down at Colorado State for years and years. It's no secret that he's a really fine defensive coach. When you put he and that staff with that quality bunch of athletes, he's tough to move against. I know the score may look like Oklahoma went wild on them, but that did not happen. They got 21 points off of punt returns, and I believe they got another touchdown off an interception, so 28 of those points were just given to them.'

On Gilbertson's experience with working with Karl Dorrell: 'Karl is a terrific guy. We got to be great friends; our families and our wives got to be good friends. It will be strange coaching against him and Steve Axman. It will be real different looking over at the sidelines and seeing both of those guys that are good buddies. Axman and I spent four great years together. At least I think they were great. I'm not sure what Axman will say. Karl and I were great pals and we've kept in contact and I'm happy for him and he is a deserving coach. He is quiet, and kind of says what he means. But he is a terrific guy and I had a wonderful time working with him.

On the balance between the rushing and passing game: 'I don't think we're a finished product with our passing game; there are just some things that I am frustrated with a little bit that I think we can get better at and still not have to just throw 50 or 60 times a game. But I like the balance, and if we stay like that I think it is better for our team overall. I think it probably benefits the field position aspect of the game and really helps our defense.

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