Sept. 24, 2005
Washington Head Coach Tyrone Willingham
General Comments on the game: "It was a football game that obviously contained a lot of emotions, but a football game that came down to what all football games come down to, the ability of one team to make plays and the inability of the other team to make plays. They did a great job of making plays when they had to have them and conversely we did not do the same. Therefore we separated ourselves and put ourselves in a hole which we could not dig out of."
On playing his former team: "I thought it was pretty unique. I thought it was a great opportunity to do what real competitors do, compete against each other, even when you know the guy, because that is competing, and I thought that is what our team did, I thought they competed and I thought the other team competed."
On the offense: "I think our offense is still improving, still growing, still getting better. The most important thing to us is winning, and I think that our young men would say the same thing, its about winning. I don't think they will take anything to heart about throwing for a lot of yardage. We didn't win the football game, they will recognize that there were some things that we did not do well enough, one of those things is running the ball, we have got to run the ball better."
On his former plays greeting him at the end of the game: "I expected that to happen, for them to at least say they knew me, that's what happened."
On Defense: "I don't think our defense was outmanned. They made some good plays at some points and we just couldn't get ourselves there. For a huge part of the game our defense kept us in the game and gave us the chance to play a heck of a ball game. We just didn't give our defense enough help at the right times."
On defending the run: "It always depends on who your defensive front is and what you have behind it in the secondary, so it can be defended in so many ways. It could be the corner didn't get off to make they play our depending on what happened with the block or it could be the responsibility of the strong safety. We faced what I thought was a pretty good runner, his ability to see things was not exceptional but it was pretty good."
On Craig Chambers' fumble: "I just saw it different, I thought he was down, but I am biased."
On the closeness of the team to make some big plays: "You have to get accustomed to making the play, and that is all in the process of making those steps in making this team what we want it to be. Close in inches or centimeters or ¼ or 1/8 of an inch is a long way to go, it is usually the toughest thing to get, you can cover a yard pretty quickly but sometimes its difficult to get those last inches, those last are the most difficult part of the task to get. There were some very good things, but you can not take anything from that because we did not win the game.
On if this game was more unique than the typical football game: "That was more for you guys, I thought you would like that one."
On the Huskies running game: "We thought we would have a lot of success with our passing game, and for a stretch I think that we relied on it, we went to a lot of things that we thought would work some of it was us not getting to the running game, they did some things like get off blocks and make some plays so when we did run it, it had marginal success."
On if the turnovers near the goal line got the teams morale down: "I didn't and I don't think our players did either. The next drive, we came right back down and moved the ball again.
On Isaiah's interception: "It is one of those things where he was forced out of the pocket and running toward the side, and you are trying to make a play. I think that Isaiah did some good things I think that he played some good football. But it is always the one or two plays that make the difference, there are five or so plays in the ball game that usually make the ball game. You could go back to the fumble or the interception or a penalty that took place that gave them the opportunity to do something, you look at that see about plays if you make them, you win, if you don't you come up short."
On if Isaiah was instructed to look to pass first instead of run: "It is the understanding of the balance of the two that comes with time. He will get better and better and better in my opinion. Sometimes you are trying to make a play and you believe that the player is open, and he is not. It is not a conscious thought to go ahead and take it and run. His job as a quarterback is to involve a lot of people in the offenses skeem. Because that is what the game calls for."
WIDE RECEIVER Craig Chambers
General comments: "It is real disappointing. Notre Dame played really well, but I feel we played just as well, or well enough to win the game. Next time we just have to capitalize on the drive and score. We had a lot of turnovers, including myself, and I am really disappointing in myself, but we just have to capitalize in the next game."
On the change of momentum in the second half: "I thought that momentum swung a little bit. It is really hard to say, because at half time I thought that we were still in the game. But I felt the momentum swung when they went up a lot, and scored three touchdowns."
On his early fumble: "I think I did let it mess up my head a little bit, but not for that long. They were telling me to get over it. The coaches handled it really well, so that helped a lot. And them not scoring on that drive helped a lot. But I was disappointed. It kind of upset me for the rest of the game. I felt sick--I thought I was going to throw up when I came to the sideline. I am not even kidding, I felt queasy. But I kind of put it behind it, and looked forward to the next drive and scoring. "
On whether he thought he fumbled: "I don't think I fumbled. I thought I scored. And after I scored, I thought my knee was down, and then the ball came out. But all can do is go back and look at it, and see. I mean they do have reviews, and they are there, and they did go back and look at it, and obviously I fumbled because they overruled it, and stayed with the call they made."
WIDE RECEIVER Sonny Shackelford
General comments: "They were the better team today. We moved the ball up and down the field, we did good on offense, and the defense held them for a long time, but you cant hold them all day."
On what he knew he had to do for this game: "Well the receivers knew that we had to play hard, and try our best to get open at all times, and do what we have to do. We just had to help our team win the game. We started the game really good, we were moving the ball up and down the field--even in the second half we were moving the ball up and down the field--we just couldn't get the ball in the end zone."
On the momentum change of momentum after a strong start: "It seemed like we had a third and out. They went down and scored, and the momentum started to get in their favor."
On the toss from Stanback, and him becoming the passer: "Well all it was, I was running a little bubble and they threw me the ball, and I was supposed to throw it to Anthony (Russo) down the sideline, but I guess I led him too much."
On the character of the team based on the loss to Notre Dame, but still playing hard: "It tells me like it should tell everyone else that we are a great team. No one should think we are not. We had a real good chance to win the game. We had a lot of opportunities to put the ball in the end zone, we just came up empty handed with fumbles and interceptions, and things like that, so we just have to work on all the lose ends, and get the ball in the end zone."
LINEBACKER Scott White
On overall defensive performance: "It was good for the most part. Guys fought. We just made too many mistakes."
On what keyed the strong first half: "We were outfighting them. Coupled with our offense that did a good job moving the ball and eliminating their possessions. We did a good job in the red zone, keeping them out of there. We did a good job on special teams forcing them back. For the most part in the second half, compared to the first half, we just didn't make plays. That was the difference."
On stopping Notre Dame on two fourth downs: "That's a big momentum changer. Especially there where if they keep their drive going they're probably going to score. Any time you can stop a team on 4th and 1 like that it really shifts momentum and gives the offense a lot of opportunities to make something happen."
On if the team felt one play away from taking control early: "I'm sick and tired of saying `almost' or `a couple plays here or there,' but that's the reality of it. I think we're that close to being a great football team. I think people are starting to realize, and I know my teammates believe this, that we're really close to being a great football team."
DEFENSIVE TACKLE Manase Hopoi
On the overall defensive effort: "I think overall we were aggressive. We were hungry and trying to get after it as best we can. We had some great calls from the coaches and we were just trying to make some plays against their offense."
On first half performance: "We were just playing solid defense. We knew what they were doing in 2nd and long, 3rd and long, and the different formations they had. We knew they were going to the quick pass and trying to make plays off of that. So if we eliminated those small things we could make big plays."
On adjustments Notre Dame made after halftime: "There was not that much of a difference, we were just making more mistakes in the second half that allowed them to capitalize. So I think it was more us than them. But they're a great team so that's what happens when you play a great team like that."
On losing the turnover battle: "Turnovers happen. Today it was against us. We were trying to get some turnovers for our offense and it didn't happen. We've just got to get better at creating turnovers so our offense can be on the field longer."
On the defensive line's performance: "I don't think we played our best. We were losing gaps and we were allowing the O-line to get to our linebackers. We didn't put enough pressure on Quinn. He's a great quarterback and if you give him enough time he's going to pick us apart. So I think we can correct some of those things and get a lot better when we play UCLA."
LINEBACKER Joe Lobendahn
On second half: "Again, we didn't finish the game. We played hard for three quarters and we just did not finish the fourth quarter."
On Notre Dame's game plan: "Their game plan was a lot of perimeter runs. Everything was outside. All we have to do is stay in our gaps, but there were some times when they broke through."
On the linebackers performance: "Personally I don't think I've played to my potential yet. I can't say for Evan (Benjamin) and Scott (White)."
On turnovers: "That's the thing, turnovers are key. That's the big key. If you have a lot of turnovers you have a great chance of winning and we didn't get that done."
Notre Dame Head Coach Charlie Weis
General Comments: "We are very happy to come out of here with a victory. It was the week after the Michigan State game the guys really had to regain their focus. I thought it was a typical bend but don't break performance by our defense. Obviously we gave up a lot of yards in the passing game. You have to give a lot of credit to Washington but turning the ball over and getting the ball back helped keep the game from slipping away from us. Actually we really weren't good in the end zone most of the day. We had a little problem in the warm-up kicking field goals into the open end and we had an unusually short landmark to be kicking field goals from which in hindsight I would probably just go ahead and kick the field goals anyway, even if we come up short. That's why we went for it on both of those fourth downs. Overall, I'm very content coming out of here with this victory."
On the team's performance following last week's loss: "I was very happy with the production and the efficiency of our offense except for a few plays that were down in the red zone. Defensively, and you have to give kudos to Washington on this one, they did a good job of containing the quarterback but I think he had a bunch of completions all day long. We were really concerned about him getting out of the pocket but he made us pay with a bunch of fade balls. He made a bunch of plays and you have to give credit to Washington. I really feel like I'm content with our performance."
On whether today's game marked the old and new Notre Dame parting ways: "I don't think I ever felt that. I understand the logical deduction that everyone makes because of Coach Willingham but as I said when this thing started, our coaching staff and our players have the utmost respect for coach Willingham, his staff, his players and the University of Washington. At this point, the game is over, I'll move on and I hope they move on. I wish them nothing but the best but it is time to put that behind us and let's worry about beating Purdue."
On whether today's game allows the Notre Dame players to put the past behind them: "I think psychologically for the players, this will be a good thing to have that behind them and move on to the next game."
On the offense: "I think the offense did a pretty good job running it today and Brady (Quinn) got better protection. I think we did a much better job of picking up the blitz zones today than we did in the last few weeks. You give this quarterback enough time to throw it, he's going to complete a whole bunch of passes."
On giving up yardage to Washington: "First of all, they made some plays. The only thing that bothers me is the yardage we gave up. It's one thing when you complete a fade ball, one-on-one coverage and they make a play. I'd say the one play that bothered me the most was play action post, similar to the game against Pittsburgh, plus 50 situation, here it is, two back regular, I-pro, player action, here it comes, it's first and 10, it's a shotgun rotation and the next thing you know the ball is on the 10 yard line. We have to have a better awareness when it comes to that. When they are throwing it up there and it's throw and catch one-on-one and they are making the plays, you have to give credit to Washington. Sometimes you just want to chastise your own players but most of their guys are out there making some plays for them."
On what the coaches' exchange was before the game: "We both acknowledged that it's been a little bit of a circus and I think in a very cordial and friendly way. I think we were both glad to get to kick-off and get it over with because no matter how hard you try you know what it's going to be about. We got to share a little chuckle with each other because we were both thinking the exact same thing."
Notre Dame Players
SAFETY TOM ZBIKOWSKI
On defense in the red zone: "They got in the red zone, and we got turnovers when it counted. We came up big."
On getting Washington game out of the way: "It feels good to get this win out of the way. Now we can concentrate on football and only football; there is not going to be any outside stuff that is going to affect us."
On satisfaction with playing "bend but not break" defense: "No, not really, we are happy about the win and everything. But, we definitely stop that much yardage. We stopped the bleeding though when it counted."
On Washington's passing game: "You can see that they are developing into a passing team. Early on they started with a lot of fullback stuff, you know, pro-set. In the Idaho game, they brought out a lot more four-wide. They showed us a little more pass, and they are developing into a passing team."
On seeing Coach Willingham: "I went over, shook the coaches' hands. You know, those are the ones that recruited me to come to this school. I have the utmost respect for them. Playing against them and getting the win make you definitely happy."
WIDE RECEIVER JEFF SAMARDZIJA
On using his height to his advantage: "When I get the opportunity to do it, it is something I have to do. I can let [the pass] get in off my body."
On bobbled holds: "There are a couple of things here and there that we are going to work on. One was a bad snap, the other on just got behind me, but I should have got a hold of it. It came down on my fingertips and just laid flat on me. I hustled a little too much; it was a PAT, I should have just took my time and put it on the ground for D.J. (Fitzpatrick). We are going to try and go back on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and try and get a lot of reps in."
On his career day: "I took advantage of coverages. I took advantage of the situation. I think in one they were in press, and we ran a play-action. I got a good release, and got out. You never know when you might get a chance to make a play."
RUNNING BACK DARIUS WALKER
On fundamentals paying off: "We were able to move the ball relatively well. We were kind of frustrated with not getting more touchdowns. We were able to move the ball."
SAFETY CHINEDUM NDUKWE
On momentum: "Even going through the first half, no one was really standing out, making huge plays. I think when we were in the second half we started getting it going a little bit. The offense started scoring a little bit more, and the defense started to hold them a little bit."
On Being Must Win Game: "We just need to win the game. We came off that loss that shouldn't have happened last week. So, we need to get in here and have a solid win, just like we did, and move onto Purdue next week."