Keith Gilberton Press Conference (10/25)

Oct. 25, 2004

On the confidence level of the team right now: 'I think after a struggle we need a more confident defense than offense, offense we are struggling for some leadership, some cohesion and consistent plays in spots. We probably lost more people starter wise offensively, than defensively. I think for the most part it's good, I can't speak to the confidence of our offense particularly after last Saturday's performance. But I thought our defense played very well.'

On how much of a boost they can get playing Oregon: 'I don't know, if you are taking about our offense I look at their defense and they are third best in the league. They have really improved a lot in the year defensively. Chris Solomona, Robby Venenzuela, those people have really picked up the tempo for their front. Will we be excited to play them, yeah. Do we have a lot of respect for them, you bet. It's always an interesting game.'

On who's going to start at quarterback: 'No, I haven't seen them yet today. We've got to sit down with the three guys once they get here, we don't see them until Monday night, and we practice Monday night. I'm not going to say anything about the quarterback position until we get a chance to go through all of them. We may change but them again we might not change.'

On injuries in the USC game: 'Well I think so. The concern was Wilson Afoa sprained his foot, but the x-rays were negative. So I think Wilson's going to be fine. We're going to move Jordan (White-Frisbee) back to inside defensive tackle. We get so thin in there, now Wilson we don't know where that's going, we'll move Jordan back over there. Tusi Sa'au will now play both guards, he'll get reps at both guards. I think he can handle that, he's a bright guy and he has played them both. So I think fine. I am just worried about one more injury in the defensive line, we're so thin there that we don't have the chance to be too deep.'

On having Mapuolesega back in the lineup helps Hopoi:'Gosh I think so. I've always been straight forward about the fact that I've always thought Manase was a better inside player with the quickness in his hands, than say an outside player where a lot of that is foot speed. I've always thought Manase was a better inside player, I think he's played well. He's certainly having a nice career in terms of his tackles for loss and sacks and things he brings to the defense. And he's experienced, he's played for a couple of years. Mike Mapuolesega likes to play. He hustles around and gets into plays. I think there are some times because of the weeks he missed that he's not going to look like he's in great shape, but I think the more he plays the better shape he will get in. But he's not in as good of shape as say the other people.'

On his demeanor at this point in the season: 'Well I told you at the start that I was going to enjoy coaching this team, because this is a great bunch of kids, a great bunch of young people and I meant it. It's a great bunch of people to be around everyday. And to their credit they haven't come in with a long face or a chin hanging down one time and they have had every reason to do that. They've had every reason to, hey well the records this and we failed to this and failed to that, they haven't done that. I've enjoyed coaching them and they know that and I go at it that way with these guys. We have obviously not enjoyed what has happened to us but those are great people to be around everyday and still the best part of my day. Other than this gathering is still when I get up with those people on the field. '

On the burdens of being a head coach: 'Even thought your record is bad I get to go do every morning what I want to do, I get to coach football. I don't get to coach as much football as I used to when I was an assistant or a coordinator. Other things occupy a lot of my time, but I still get to go drive across the bridge and see Husky stadium every morning. Go work at the University of Washington, so I am going to enjoy that as long as I get a chance to enjoy that. And I am not trying to do an end run around your question either.'

On goals for the last four games of the year: 'Yeah win some games. You bet there would be some goals the last four games. Some how, some way we have got to find some offense. Last week, Saturday was very discouraging. I was really disappointed. I thought Joe Toledo gave a really good effort. I thought Ryan Brooks blocked very well. We couldn't muster any run offense, we had people open we couldn't get them the ball. I thought other than our pass protection where we gave up one sac and our pass protection ratio to attempt is outstanding. It's one sac to 25 attempts, which is really a really fine number. We just can not seem to find any offense. We are struggling at a directed pace.'

On offensive woes: 'We have no ability to be balanced, we have no ability right now to threat knee deep. And when we did have people open we didn't find them, it was just a very frustrating day. I was very frustrated. These people know my background in offense and pass offense. I'm very frustrated.

'They held us to zero. I mean certainly I not going to take anything away from USC's talent and defense, but we left some offense out there I guess is what I am saying and I am frustrated with that. And everybody knows that when you play those guys, if you play well on defense and you do the things you want to do in the kicking game, offensively you can't fumble the ball, you can not fumble the ball. You've got to generate some plays some time and you can't miss a couple field goals if it gets you right in the game and those things are happening all the time. It's frustrating. We are soul searching, searching for answers. We're looking in the mirror, this isn't I confess, you screwed up or it's all your fault kind of thing. We're all, everybody's just grinding, I don't know another word to use. And everybody is just grinding, staff wise it's insane how hard we are going at this thing to just try to find some spark. And we really have not found any consistency. But we could go in the game, our quarterback was able to make some plays, ad lib running around the field. Saturday, no. So my point is w haven't progressed there. We're just frustrated and we are looking for anything to give us a spark. Anybody on the outside. We're going to visit with Cody Ellis about splitting time offensively and defensively in that he's played receiver in high school, we thought he was a good receiver, he's obviously got really good vertical speed and he's a state sprint champion here in the 4A. We were talking about it earlier but we had the depth problems in the corner so we are going to talk to him about that and also he would be a part of our nickel dime packages defensively so we kind of have to know a couple spots.'

On the quarterback situation: 'I'll talk about that tomorrow. I don't want to talk about it until they are all here and until they have all seen the video and those kind of things. I'm frustrated with the turnover deposition obviously. No one has separated themselves or really taken the job. I'm frustrated that when we did feel like we had a guy that was a starter he gets injured and now you are back to the rotation and I don't think all those things have helped. What's gone on in receiver obviously hasn't helped and then losing your left tackle hasn't helped. We have to generate something for our defense because I think those people have turned in some pretty good efforts.'

On Kenny James' fumble to start the second half: 'I didn't think the fumble that was dropped on the first play of the second half deep again was a violent, nasty hit. It was a cough up that's what I thought. I don't thin he took a terrible shot. It was a real costly turnover in the game we're in and other than missing those field goals we had not found any pass offense. But we were in the game, the defense was doing what we wanted to do, we were doing what we wanted in the kicking game and had we gone 10-6. And the other thing is their touchdown, their field goal came off real short field possession. Our defense did a great job of holding them to three. There were a lot of good things going on other than we could not find any offense. But if you go in there 10-6 and even if you punt the ball back to them you are in 10-6. Instead of 10-0, we turned the first play over to defend our territory and now it's 17 and it's a different game. That turnover I thought really changed the football game. And they do, you know how it is, turnovers kill you they change your life.'

On what worked well against USC: 'Well I thought our guys did a nice job of adjusting and finding five and not giving him some big plays. I thought his best play of the night was the run where he ran up in there and bounced in outside and beat us on the edge. I think Phil and our defensive staff and our kids did a good job of lining up their stuff. And the other thing about it is with those people you can't always be where they think you are going to be because if you are the way that they move five (Reggie Bush) around and out at number eight (Dwayne Jarrett) and McFoy are coming around, he'll beat your brains out. So I thought we did a good job of not being where they thought we would be a lot of the time. And you've got to credit Manase and the front guys for getting up field for a little more pressure than what he had. Particularly Manase in the backfield. For the most part we tackled. I think they were frustrated offensively for most of the game with the prolific numbers that they have been putting up. Just how they have been dictating the course of the game to everybody, their offense with those people. But they do have some big strong talented people and I think five (Reggie Bush) is super, I think he is really good.'

On Charles Frederick's playing status: 'I don't know until tonight until we see him run, until we see him go fast. Probably really won't know until Tuesday. You know sometimes on the trainers reports it will say full go and then it will be in red because he says no I can't go. So we really won't know his status until probably until Tuesday.'

'Yeah there is, there is a chance.'

On the placekicking: 'That job is in competition again this week, like we do we'll chart all the kicks. Evan's healthier now and hitting the ball better. We'll put in back in competition, we've missed three in a row now so I think we have to force the issue.'

On changing the offense: 'We can't get much simpler now. In comparison to the other years that I have been here. I have been so fortunate to coach experienced guys from Kerry Konklin on. Our play lists are a third of what we used to do. Personnel groups, shifting, we're not very complicated right now what we are trying to do. It's not very complex, it's pretty basic stuff.'

'Well we've had a lot of new people, offensive line, receivers. There's been a constant rotation at quarterback and we are limited in some ways compared to what we used to do.'

On Oregon's play lately: 'Well one I think you see the quarterback (Kellen Clemens) really taking control of the games. His experience is starting to show. (Terrence) Whitehead is giving them some offense so they have got some balance running the pass. Terrence has improved a lot. Defensively the healthy Haloti Ngata, more experienced than the secondary. Devan Long and Chris Solomona, Chris Solomona we always thought was a pretty good player. And then Robby Valenzuela, their front is really doing a lot of things for them. If you watch the Stanford game, they're just all over their quarterbacks, the pressure on the quarterbacks is every snap. The win at Washington State probably did a lot to really give them some confidence and momentum and a boost. Because the Cougars are really doing well and Oregon came back and won the game. Probably gave them a lot of confidence offensively and defensively last week against Stanford who I think is really a talent offense, hold in 13, that's hard to do. Stanford's got two real fine quarterbacks and those Oregon front people really pressure them. A lot of sacs, pressure on the quarterbacks. In the last couple of weeks they have really made a good move.'

On how Oregon's offense is different than other Pac-10 schools: 'Schematically I think they have the ability to half role and do a nice job of protecting the quarterback and they have the ability to launch some pretty deep launches. They can really throw the ball deep, deep comebacks, what we call prongs. They can force the ball deep in the passing game. They've also always been an excellent, excellent screen team. They've been hard to defend, they have always been a great screen team and now the emergence of the tailback being a real threat running wise. They have good balance and good skill. Demitrius Willimas is a good player, the quarterback is a good player, and the tight end is a good player. And now you add the tailback who is running the ball well, they're hard to defend.'

On Oregon's Chris Solomona and Haloti Ngata: 'Well they don't play the same position. One's a defensive end and one's a defensive tackle. They are both going to raise a lot of problems. I think one of the benefits that Devan Long has is that he has those two defensive tackles collapse in that pocket because they are both well over 300 pound people. Haloti Ngata was one of the top two or three defensive linemen in the country the year that he came out of high school. He is a big, powerful, athletic guy. They list him at 345? Like I said he is a big powerful man.'

On the ability to win games despite mistakes: 'I don't know because in the mid-70's I would have said yeah you win a lot of games like that or in the early 80's I would have said that's the way you play. But offenses now that you play are now so prolific and you guys can throw in so many formations and the skill level is up and the scoring is up. I don't know if you can win one like that, I'll guarantee if you get a turnover you'll lose it. But football today is different than it was then and there is so much more offense. I just know that if you turn it over you are probably not going to win the game.'

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