Keith Gilbertson Press Conference Quotes

Nov. 17, 2003

On the week before OSU differing from this upcoming week: 'I think we got some guys back healthy that week. We were a little bit of a different team at that time, having Charles Frederick and Rich Alexis and Owen Biddle. Ben Bandel was healthy, Tui was playing, so we were a little bit of a different football team at that time.'

On the circumstances of becoming the Head Coach: 'The way that the job came about and the happenings over the summer and taking over a program on August first is unusual. All us coaches are different and usually coaches meet in January and work through winter program and spring football and have meetings, but none of that happened. It's been on a day to day and it's been different, because I'm an organized guy. The way that we've been injured and lost guys, it's been up and down. I think it was hard on the players as well as the coaches. It was hard on them as well as it was hard for us.'

On getting back on track: 'We have to play better defense and get off blocks and tackle. We better convert some third downs and sustain some drives. The obvious things play better than we did last week. Play better than we have the past six quarters. Lets go back to that six quarter thing, we had some pretty good quarters against Arizona, but the last six have been really tough. We have to play better than we've played the last six quarters, because the Cougars are a fine team, a really fine team.'

On not playing as well as expectations: 'I wasn't sure what to expect. My role changed pretty rapidly, so I didn't really know what to expect, with new coaches and new media. I didn't really know what to expect. I didn't expect to lose this many athletes. Every season we expect to lose some athletes, but I've never seen this many athletes being out. Even before this season loosing a guy like Nate Robinson, so it's been one after the other for a long time. I thought we had a chance to be a pretty good football team. I think we were looking like that and then one thing led to another, to where we're in the situation that we're in now. We're probably not feeling real good about ourselves. I think our self esteem is not where it used to be and we have to find a way to regroup.'

On what quarterback will play for WSU: 'Well Matt Keegle can play. This is the Washington - Washington State game, he's going to play. I have been very impressed with Josh Swogger, I watched that game early Sunday morning and I thought that he played really well. He hit all his targets and put the ball right on the money and did a nice job running their offense and moved the ball really well. I think that he's a really good player. I'd be shocked to see if he was starting this game.'

On pressuring the young quarterback: 'We have a fifth year quarterback and everybody in the league blitzes him, so I don't think it matters what year your quarterback is you blitz. You defend systems. I've never been accused of defending an individual, particularly the system they've been in for a long time and they feel comfortable in. I think we have to defend that system. As soon as you blitz you have to man up and to three really fine receivers.'

On Owen Biddle being able to play against WSU: 'I hope he'll be ready to play. I won't know until tomorrow probably, but I hope so.'

On last years bottle throwing at the Apple Cup: 'As we came down from the press box we got on the field and then things started. As we were going down the stadium everyone that walked by us was great. They all congratulated us and were great. I know a lot of Washington State people. Kevin coached at Idaho, I'm married to a Cougar and my parents are both Cougars. I know at lot of those folks and a lot of them are wonderful. As we got to the middle of the field is when all that stuff started happening. They closed the tunnel, so we were all stuck on the field for a while.'

On the forward pass in last years Apple Cup: 'The ruling on the field was that it was a backwards pass that was recovered by Washington. I saw it at the game, but it wasn't on the side of the field that I was watching. I didn't spend that much time watching that side of the game.'

On growing up watching the Apple Cup: 'I always thought that it was an awesome football game. I've seen so many of them growing up and they were all great games. I go back to guys like Bobby Newman and Todd Billing and George Reeves and Dave Cambell and those kinds of people. I remember all those great Huskies that played through out all those games. I go back to this thing a long way. Growing up around here and that was right out there. I'm still not as old as Dolba.'

On player's injuries: 'Kenny James is out for a couple days. Biddle will be out for a couple of days and Moore. Clay Walker will be out for a couple more days and hopefully he will be back on Wednesday and Biddle Wednesday. Cooper will be out tomorrow and John Lyon will be out tomorrow. Ben Bandel says he wants to make an effort to come back. We'll have to see by Wednesday or Thursday, but that was a pretty good shoulder injury and it's hard to come back from that sort of injury and so if he doesn't come back it wouldn't surprise me.'

On talking to the players after the game: 'I really don't see them until Monday afternoon. We have to give those guys a day off on Sunday and I'll see some guys who come in for treatment on Monday morning, but I won't see the whole group until this afternoon. We meet every Monday and we meet about specific groups, whether it's football things, academic things, community service things, there is a lot we meet about on Monday's.'

On the team's effort: 'I think it's fair to question the team's effort. We're doing the same thing and I think that they're doing the same thing. I understand where the buck stops too. This isn't my first rodeo either, but I think our staff coached harder than the effort we saw. In some areas we are week and in some areas we have guys who have been playing a long time and all of them have not been playing as hard or fast and aggressive as I want them to play, but I understand where the buck stops. This is no blaming game, this isn't one of those things where I confess 'you screwed up', but the fact of the matter is I get to call it how I see it too.'

On Washington's lack of healthy players: 'I don't know if I've ever seen anything like this. Maybe one year with the Seahawks, when we were playing the punt snapper against Chester McGlockton, that was fun.'

On team's record and a possible losing record: 'We've talked about a lot of the things that have gone on here in the past and we talk about those things a lot. We've talked about what's gone on here as an association in the past and we are all really proud of it. We have great respect for the amount of great efforts that have been put forth that make Husky football special. It certainly hits home with me and it has since I came here to be a graduate assistant a long time ago and that is not lost. One thing that was apparent to me was that guys that wore the helmet and guys who coached here were great coaches and great assistants I feel that I have a responsibility to them and I still do. Does everybody feel like that? I don't know I can only speak for me. I hope our team would feel the same sense of that. We talked about it a lot, but I don't know all the times how kids are going to react to that.'

On being embarrassed against Cal: 'We did use the word embarrassed, because I don't know another word that is as appropriate as that. It was an embarrassing performance. That was upsetting and the guys that are going to look at the video, are you playing your hardest, are you playing as hard as you think you can. What's your self-esteem as a player and a competitor and do you have any pride.'

On team's leadership: 'The leadership has to start with me and then my staff. We will take the brunt of that and I'll take the brunt of that.'

On season's roller-coaster momentum: 'I can't put my finger on it totally. There are some areas that are not what they were, because there are different people in different positions. Offensively with a Tusi, a Joe Toledo and Ben Bandel and an unhealthy Kenny James and now we are probably a little different than we were. Playing Stanley Daniels who is inexperienced and John Lyon has gone from the very depth to the starter and some of those things. Defensively we are pretty much like we were, except for Roc and Chris Massey have been gone for a long time. Other people have been playing a lot and I think the Owen Biddle is a factor at safety, because he really gave us a lift in there. I'm really at a little bit of a lose after a game like Saturday. Cal's a heck of a team and if you watched them play USC, I knew they had it in them. I knew we had to play our best and when we don't those things happen.'

On the importance of the Apple Cup: 'The Washington State - Washington game is a battle all the time and I've said publicly all the time that kids are lucky to get to play in a game that is this highly contested. A lot of kids go through their collegiate career and never get to play in this kind of environment with this kind of excitement and intensity, kids are lucky to play in it, for both teams.'

On getting back the 'Washington Swagger': 'When I was here before we won all the time and we won big. We were eleven and one in two thousand and since it's been kind of a roller coaster at times. There's been a coaching change, this investigation, that investigation and all those things will be difficult to deal with. Oklahoma had a lot of swagger for a long time and then they got beaten and then they regained it, so you can regain your swagger. One thing we need to have is a guy who wants to play hard and have some depth. That comes with winning and being confident, not just blind arrogance. Miami has swagger, but they also have lots of players and have won lots of games and win by a lot of points.'

On taking over the head-coaching job in August: 'A lot of people described it as my dream job, but I didn't say it was a dream job. I've always had a high regard for this place, this job and this university. I love this community, but any job you get under the circumstances that I got this job would not be your dream job. It is an unbelievable experience, but it's not about me, it's about the players. I get excited and I get emotional, and I get up and down and then on Monday's I get to spend this time with all you folks. There are times I get real upset, but that's the way I am.'

On playing for the 'W' on the side of the helmet: 'All the tradition, all the great players and they were tough courageous players who walked out that tunnel and played between those stripes in this stadium. If you look at the tradition and the toughness of many of those teams the thing that gets lost here is that not every team went eleven or twelve and zero. A lot of them had to fight back through seasons that weren't going that well and fought back from a devastating lose whatever that was, but they always fought back and they always hit hard and were courageous. They were tough and I think that's the testimony to the tradition. I did not play here, I coached here for a long time, but I wasn't good enough to play here, so you have to ask players of the past. They were tough and courageous and they fought and hit people. They were disciplined and worked hard. They always found ways to win and found ways to come back.'

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