Keith Gilbertson Press Conference
Nov. 8, 2004
General Comments: 'I thought we did some good things on defense. Made some plays on special teams, made them turn the ball over, a fake punt that was a long run, a nice kickoff return. Offensively it was a real struggle. We don't have any consistency and more than that we haven't been able to make any big plays. Everything's hard right now offensively.'
On this season: 'Sometimes you don't know what to say or how to act. If we have too many seasons like this, you don't get to coach very long. I have nothing to compare it to.'
On California: 'It's a better team than they were a year ago by a long way. Their quarterback is a year older and better, their offensive line and Arrington are a year older and better, now they have two really good running backs. They have good skill, there's a really good player at every position. Their tight end, Cross is excellent. Of course, McArthur opened the game against us last year with an 80-yard touchdown reception. I thought they were a really good defensive team at the end of the year last year and I think this one is much better. They have a great front, their backers are active, and they have good tacklers. Cal is a really good football team, this is a really fine team and they're good at a lot of things. Offensively, Rogers can throw it as good as anyone in the country. He's accurate and the ball's out and he has a really live arm. He has good people to throw it to and Jimmy Michalczik has done a great job with their offensive line and their backs are terrific. They have an awful lot of good people in their program now and a lot of depth.'
On what Cal has done to be where the Huskies were four years ago: 'For one, I think you have to say that they've coached real well. The second thing you'd have to say is that they went out and evaluated and projected players that fit what they were doing, so they've recruited the right people. I think the third thing is that they've brought in some awfully quality junior college players into their program. Certainly their quarterback, tight end and tailback. Some of those defensive players. They have done a great job of bringing junior college players in along with their high school players, they've coached very well and built it piece by piece and now they're as good as any college football team in the country.'
On what respect about Jeff Tedford: 'One is the variety of things they do and the quality that they do them. If you look at everywhere he's been, they execute offensively so well. The second thing that I've always been a big fan of is the technical aspect of his quarterback. How he carries the ball, how high he holds it, and he's had good players. Rogers, Joey Harrington and Boller. Everybody he touches he improves and makes them better and I think he has a unique way of doing it. The other thing I watch is how well they execute what they do and the speed at which they do it. I've always thought that the offensives of his teams execute offensively at a pace that's really tough to play.'
On Arrington: 'He's pretty darn good, he's averaging seven yards per carry. Their front's playing well and he got off to such a great start early this year with the big games that he had and he has been rolling ever since. And then the youngster, Marshawn Lynch gives them another dimension, so they're very deep at tailback.'
On Cal vs. USC: 'They're both so very good. If you put Cal back at full strength with their receivers, I mean they're averaging 492 yards per game, which is something and they have great balance, but so does USC. I think they're both awesome football teams. I wouldn't want to get into that debate. I think the league's lucky to have them both and they both will be playing in January games because it's good for the league to have two powerful teams like this. And if you compare the scores against who they play against, they do what they have to do. They're both very well coached. They're similar, they both have great front fours, they both have great players at quarterback and running back, they both have excellent offensive lines. They have a lot of strengths that are similar.'
On recruiting junior college players: 'For one, it's harder to get junior college players in here because of what they transfer and bring in. It's not as easy for us because we don't have a P.E. program, so that is out of the gate in terms of earning a degree in something that was started in junior college. Both of them have one thing in common, besides the fact that they were good players at quarterback and that is that they both spent time working for Jim Sweeney. And Jim Sweeney, instead of his touch, he probably has his thumbprint on them. Jim was always a great evaluator of talent and Fresno has always had great success with junior college transfer players, so they have that background of evaluation and projection and they've done a nice job of fitting guys into their program and knowing what they're getting and those guys have been very productive for them.'
On quarterbacks: 'All of those guys have played the position and the one thing that would be really good for them is to get more detail oriented, but I don't want to get into a critique there.'
On Oregon's success vs. Cal: 'I would think that the background of Jeff (Tedford) and the defensive staff at Cal, that Oregon would know an awful lot about their system. There are some similarities. I also though over the last four to five weeks, that Oregon has really improved a lot and is playing good football and I think Kellen Clemens is a good player. I think if you look around our league, the teams with the established, veteran quarterbacks are playing well and the teams that don't have established quarterbacks are struggling and not playing as well. One thing about this league is that there are a bunch of veteran quarterbacks every year and they seem to do well.'
On Carl Bonnell: 'He's young, he's a red-shirt freshman, I don't expect him to be as mature as he will be in three years, but he has struggled with some things. One, the injury was hard for him, missing time and falling behind with reps with an injury that didn't seem to be slowing him down. I'm sure there's some struggle there. I think he fell off with him timing.'
On what Senior Day will mean to the seniors: 'I think you'd have to talk to each of those youngsters individually. Hopefully they're all thankful that they're all going to get a degree at the University of Washington first.'
On Tusi Sa'au: 'You have to be careful with the number of reps that he takes. I believe that he and Clay Walker will be the starting guards this week. Stanley will be in the back up role this week, but those guys have all changed and played both spots. We have been moving those guys all around.'
On Anthony Russo's injury: 'I don't think that it is serious, but we won't know until we see him practice tonight. The doctors don't think that it will be too long of a recovery.'
On concern for defense: 'I think that you are always concerned about them. It has been known to happen and it happens quite frequently, but I don't think that we were totally immune to any of those things. We haven't seemed to have any. It would be fun for those defensive kids to go out there and feel like they are going to have a chance to play and the offense can score some points. It would be a lot of fun for those kids to be in that situation.'
On linebackers against California: 'It is hard to say because we have never had a record like this. We probably are not going to get much recognition, but I certainly like watching them play. The three of them have quietly had good years. You would have to say with Scott White being young and new at his position that he really will go five years for us. He has played and awful lot of snaps and I feel great about it.'
On motivating the players: 'We are certainly supporting them and encouraging them. We are being positive about the things that I think we need to be positive about and I am going to point out the things that are frustrating and need to be critiqued. That is the way it is with every team. I think that every team has to decide whether they are all the way in and totally committed or your not. I think you have to be pretty honest with yourself. We talk about looking at yourself in the mirror all of the time and you have to ask yourself `Am I totally engaged?' The next question I think that you have to ask is `Am I someone that my teammates can always depend on?' I think those are fair questions.'
On last years game against California: 'Well I am going to bring up the fact with how badly they beat us last year and how poorly we played in that game. I think that the team was very embarrassed because it was very embarrassing.'
On recruiting: 'You have to see if he is really tough and if he likes to come early and stay late to improve. You have to see if he is going to be a great college player and how coachable he is. If you are dealing with harsh criticism than you better ask more than him. I think that if you sort it all out than you pretty much get the truth about people. The process is to ask more than one person, but I don't have to worry about that.'
On senior class: 'I know them individually as people. The fifth year guys being Jimmy Newell, Derrick Johnson, Zach Tuiasosopo, and Khalif Barnes. Those guys are part of a really good recruiting class and for some reason or another it has just gone away. If you put the two classes together we only have nine scholarship seniors. It's like there are no seniors. We travel with only five seniors per trip. The next class would have been Charles Frederick, Joey Galloway, John Lyon was a junior college transfer, and Brooks. This is a pretty good looking class of guys, but for a couple years in a row it has really dwindled. I think that is hard for them, but the kids who have stayed are really good people and they have really hung in there. They have been thrown a lot of curve balls in the last three years. Those guys are still standing and I am going to say nothing but good things about them. With all the moves and changes, some of those guys have had four different assistant coaches in four years. It is not their fault, if you have had a different position coaches every year, that's hard. We all have our own way of saying and doing things and we all come from different systems. I would have loved to see these guys to have a chance to play on a better team so that they could go to a bowl game, but it didn't work out. If you look at the guys, very few of them are standing and they have been dealt a very unfair hand. They have given the best effort that they can at this University.'
On strength and conditioning: 'I think the strength and conditioning coaches have done a marvelous job. It wasn't that long ago that we had an incredible amount of shoulder injuries, but now the only kind of a shoulder injuries that we have had are the ones that come with the guy. An injury like Dan Milsten's and Mateaki's leg getting twisted in a pile really doesn't have anything to do with our strength and conditioning. They do a great job and they are as good as any place that I have been. These things are just freak kind of injuries, but things like Corey Williams running into the wall at Notre Dame have nothing to do with strength and conditioning. It has just been one of those years, but I give those guys high marks and I would recommend them to any program.'
On coaching changes: 'So much of the time when you are an assistant and you recruit somebody, you become a part of their extended family. With the changing all of the time, I think it has a negative effect on the guy. I think there was a time where we had five receiver coaches in five years and I think that it takes it's toll. I don't want to make the newer coaches sound less trusting, but it is just a lot of changes. Assistant Coaches have the right to better themselves, I don't think that it is right to stand in their way. The thing that drives you nuts as a head coach is the lateral movements. Someone who leaves for just a few dollars more. If guys have a chance to get promoted as they move, then I think that you ought to do that. To move to a position of equal or lesser value is when I get frustrated. If you want to move up in the this business you need to stay in one place and learn the system to get your name on it. Put it out on the field, go to the press box and call it....that kind of thing instead of just moving all of the time.'
On young quarterbacks: 'I would be more concerned about the detail part of the game, knowing his sights, his hot routes, and his reads. I don't think that a red-shirt freshman could go in there and do well. I would not expect a red-shirt freshman to take on a leadership role, I just want him to move the chains and keep the drive moving.'