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Rick Neuheisel Press Conference Transcript
Release: 09/27/1999
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Sept. 27, 1999

Husky Head Coach Rick Neuheisel Oregon Press Conference

General Remarks: "It is much easier to start a week off of a victory than it is off the alternative so we're feeling good about ourselves with the results of last weekend but we're quick to point out that we are far from a finished product. There are lots of things on the take that need to be corrected. There are some personnel issues that have to be confronted so we can get guys playing the way they should be playing so we can beat a team we all want to beat and hopefully we can get that stuff ironed out. As I said to the team yesterday this can not lead to complacency. We need to remember we are 1-2. We still are in a desperate state in terms of trying to put together a season that we can all be proud of. But, we are now beginning a new season, a conference season, and it's important that we try to do out best to get off to a great start. If anything, the victory should lead to more urgency, to want to turn up the heat even a little more on how we go about practicing, how we go about executing and hopefully we'll continue to improve. There has been improvement but we need to get a steeper rate of improvement as we head now into the games that count. "

On Oregon Quarterback A.J. Feeley: "I think he's an excellent player. Oregon has done a great job of knowing who they are, of replacing their skilled athletes with more skill and continuing to come at you with a diversity of attacks. Feeley looks to be a guy that's getting better on a weekly basis. He finds ways to get the ball down the field. If you look at his numbers and all of a sudden no one told you Akili Smith was gone no one would be saying what's wrong with Akili, given the way productivity has gone. I think he's filled in real well and we've got to find a way to contain him. In playing against Akili last year he could make some plays with his legs but that wasn't what scared you to death. What scared you to death was all the skill at wide receiver and the amount of diversity with the screens and all the things they do with their athletes. Feeley makes all the same plays."

On the Washington-Oregon rivalry: "After having gone around the state on the state tour in the months of May and June, its very apparent that this is a passionate game, that the fans in Oregon are passionate about their contest with the Huskies and I think vice versa is a safe bet to say as well. Its one of those games where two schools are very proud of their programs, and proud of their states and they look forward to this game on a yearly basis and it will ring true again this Saturday night. Oregon has a fine program, they've done good things, they've had their way four out of the last five years and the Husky fans are anxious to see if we can't turn the corner."

On this rivalry as compared to the Apple Cup: "Well I haven't played in the Apple Cup either but certainly all the games when you're playing against your Northwest sister schools are important because all of us are trying to establish a niche in recruiting, a niche of being the school of choice is this region of the country and in this region of the conference. You need to make sure your players understand the significance of the contest and it just so happens that with Oregon and Washington it doesn't take a lot of fire and brimstone anecdotes. It's pretty well understood that this is a game of great magnitude."

On Marques Tuiasosopo: "We're kind of a work in progress. Certainly Marques is a very talented young man, he's got all the attributes that you would want in a quarterback. He's competitive, he's tough, he's durable, he throws the ball well, he runs well, and he's got a 3.4 GPA. You wish you had a daughter you could introduce him to. He's a remarkable young guy but in terms of how he fits in to our offense, its still being sculpted. Were trying to find a way to continue to utilize his talents, make him comfortable, not put so much on him that he can't perform and find a nice mix. Stay tuned, we'll let you know how it turns out."

On facing Oregon in previous bowl games: "We've been fortunate because we've played two very good teams in bowl encounters while I was at Colorado. One in the Cotton Bowl and last year at the Aloha Bowl and we ended up on the right side of the scoreboard in both contests. But, I mentioned it has not been the case here at Washington four of the past five years. Oregon has had their way so it's important that our players get ready for the contest. Certainly they already have a healthy respect for this team given the state of events in the last five years but they also need to know that if we continue to improve we'll have an opportunity for success this Saturday night. We've had two bowl games against Oregon which is a little different in terms of preparation in than one week to prepare for a team and so our studies were probably more thorough in those two ball games cause sometimes you've had more than a month to get ready for them so I think the background in knowing how Oregon approaches things will be helpful but it's more about who does well on Saturday night."

On Jabari Issa: "Jabari is an outstanding player and not only does he bring skill, but also an attitude to our defense. He has not really been able to let everything go given our opponents. In the first game they spread us out and got rid of the ball quickly so he had a hard time getting to the quarterback. In week two we played a wishbone team where he was really capturing dives and stringing plays out so others could make tackles. And against Colorado they the so many screens he had to spy and sit back on the line of scrimmage and wait for things so he really couldn't use his aggressiveness and quickness to get to the quarterback either. So he's kind of waiting for a more conventional attack, he'll have to wait another week because Oregon does so many things to keep you off balance as a defense. But he's a great kid, we chose him as one of our captains, and I look forward to him making some big plays for us as we get into Pac-10 play."

On the running game: "I attribute it to a lot of hard work. I've been giving credit to our coaching staff to guys on both sides on the ball. They've really worked hard and it's starting to payoff. Keith Gilbertson and that offensive line are doing a wonderful job. Hopefully Coach Moses and Keith can continue to churn out positive gains on the ground and keep defenses off balance and help keep our defense off the field."

On Ja'Warren Hooker: "Ja'Warren has been around, he wants to stay close to the football program, and we would love him to. It's a once in a lifetime chance to prepare for the Olympic games and represent your country as a sprinter, and for him to take this time to devote himself to that end, how could I ever stand in his way? We wish him nothing but the best. It is a little peculiar because the summer games are in late September, so his future as a football player is a little bit unclear because if he his successful it would be a little bit difficult for him to comeback and make the impact that I know he would like to make at that point in the season."

On preparing for the night game: "I don't know that it makes a whole lot of difference, although this week might have a little bit of impact in a favorable way because both the University of Oregon and the University of Washington are quarter schools. In your first week of school there is a lot going on and a lot of things in your life that are a little bit different that creates more fatigue than normal. It has been my experience that this is always a week that you worry about the rest that your team is getting. Maybe the fact that we don't have to get up as early on Saturday morning will have a positive effect on both teams."

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