Oct. 25, 1999
Weekly Press Conference
Head Coach Rick Neuheisel
October 25, 1999
Washington vs. Stanford
General Remarks: "Like Coach Willingham, we also are excited to be in a game that has, at least for the time being, first place implications associated with it. We feel very fortunate to be here at 3-1 given the mistakes we made against California but fortunately our kids rallied and got it done when it needed to be done at the tail end of the ball game. We need to fix the things that have been plaguing us if we expect to play with a very fine Stanford team. It's obvious in watching them that it is no accident they are 5-0 in the conference. They have played very well on defense. They have the two leaders in the conference in sacks with Real Johnson and Willie Howard both atop the list there. They are very opportunistic with interceptions and returning them for touchdowns. They're a very talented team and I think they surprised us because of the way things went down the opening week of the season with the loss to Texas. Everyone discounted them and frankly what's been going on around the conference, if you pay attention to what's written and said, I think everyone is just waiting for Stanford to have something bad happen and they are just playing very well so its going to be a great contest and a big time challenge for us. The victory over Cal was not without cost. It looks like Chris Jurgens and Renard Edwards will be at best questionable and obviously they both have played a significant amount in our season and it will be difficult to play with out them and if necessary that's what we'll have to do and someone will have to rise up and play well in their place. We're excited about the game and that we get to be the ABC game and we worked ourselves into a position where people want to watch the Huskies and hopefully we'll se Husky stadium come alive on Saturday."
(On the Stanford game being a "big game" ): "For coaches I can guarantee they're all big games. In terms of what your definition may be, we all are very optimistic in this profession although we may speak different publicly, we all are optimistic and when you're in a competitive endeavor you plan to give yourself a chance to compete for a chance to be the best so it doesn't surprise that we're in the hunt nor that Stanford is in the hunt. It wouldn't surprise me if anyone were in the hunt and I guarantee every coach in the conference is telling his team we can still win and the facts are they're right. If they play great down the stretch a lot of teams are still alive rather than get to far out of our skis I think its imperitive that we focus on fixing the things we can fix within our own program."
(On Marques Tuiasosopo's turnovers): "He tries to do so much. He wants to bail us out. I cant count on the ten digits I have the amount of times he has bailed us out. It is a little bit difficult to just sanction him for the things that go awry when you are benefiting from all the things going on but certainly, Steve Axman, Karl Dorrel and I are anxious for him to continue to improve and get better with his decision making so we don't turn the ball over nearly as often. As often as you get excited about Marques and the things he brings to the table, it struck me on the way home from the Cal game we were on the bus after the flight back and I'm sitting there going over things I'm going to say to the team the next day and I caught a little conversation going on in the back about the classic movies of all times and Marques was involved in this conversation and his favorite classic movies were the Godfather, and I'm kind of nodding my approval as I'm going over my notes and he says "Teen Wolf" and I'm like 'Did he just say 'Teen Wolf' and he did. And he backed it up and went through all the story lines as to why it would be an American Classic so sometimes you have to remember who you're coaching.. So these guys are fighting and they're trying hard and I'm excited to be their coach."
(On team responding after 0-2 start): "They're just playing hard. They're not always playing pretty but they're always playing hard. The one game we lost in that stretch is the one we might have relaxed a little. I'm not saying we didn't play hard, but we might have relaxed a little. Humans have a tendency to want to relax when they get an opportunity and we chose the wrong time to do that against an Arizona State team that played with a great sense of urgency. When we play hard we find ways to have good things happen."
(On surprise surrounding Rose Bowl implications between UW and Stanford): "It's two teams that are going out on a weekly basis knowing that everybody they play is capable of beating them and also that if we play our best we have a chance to win. Nothing has been a forgone conclusion in any one of the games that these two teams have played."
(On Jabari Issa): "Jabari came in with a lot of pre-season accolades and I know his expectation level was high as it was for all of us. And I know he has been disappointed with the productivity at least in terms of sacks but he is playing a very important role as a leader. He has done a good job, although we can all improve, as far as managing his position and I'm looking for a big finish from him."
(On matching up with Stanford): "Given the amount of time we've spent watching them on tape its difficult to be real accurate in answering that question but I will say that it isn't an accident that they are playing very well. They certainly have some gifted athletes on their defensive front and they've been opportunistic. If you watch the OSU film they recovered two fumbles inside the ten yard line and stopped them on a fourth and one. It is a team that has found ways to win although you may not say they are as talented as this team or that team, the teams that find a way to win are always the most dangerous."
(On injury update): " Jermaine Smith happily was able to play a little in the Cal game and did pretty darn well so it doesn't look like he caused himself any significant damage by having played so my guess would be he's a probable for this week. Mac Tuiaea if he was sitting here would tell you he's going to go but the more likely scenario is he's going to probably be out another week. I'd say doubtful to questionable with Mac. Braxton Cleman is getting X-rays today but given the trauma of the injury it will be another week."
(On Stanford): "They had their way with Arizona a little, although the game was closer for a time. They're playing well. They are certainly gifted on offense. Walters is a legitimate guy who can make a lot of plays. The quarterback is talented. They know who they are in terms of their schemes, They know what they're executing, they don't drop balls. They are pretty darn efficient in terms of offense and defensively they are very opportunistic. They make plays when they need to make plays. The few time the offence has sputtered the defense has been there to save the day. It is a team that is finding ways to win and when you game that confidence of finding ways to win you become very dangerous."
(On the possibility of a loss): "We're just going to play and we're not going to worry about the what-ifs. We're gong to play our best and we give Stanford all the respect in the world. Certainly they're a fine team. They're first in the conference, the only unbeaten team and they deserve that. We're just going to worry about ourselves and play our best. If offensively we can keep from turning the ball over and defensively we can keep them from running the ball and having a back like Igbar who ran for 180 yards against us, and special teams keep from having 65 yards penalties then we'll have a chance to be in the game. And if we have a chance to be in the game then maybe our crowd makes the difference."
(On difference between Cal and Stanford): "It was a little different in terms of style of play. Cal is a feast or famine defense. They are going to be up there trying to wear you out at the line of scrimmage and say that you are not going to make enough plays to beat them. Fortunately in the ten completions- we had 300 yards in ten competitions- we made enough big plays to get over the hump. Stanford is not that style. They will play man on occasion but not a steady diet of it. I don't know the exact numbers but I know that zone is at least in their vocabulary. It is not for Cal and why would it be with their great defensive front?"
(On whether or not the option will be used vs. Stanford): "We make evaluations every week determining what's our best course of action given the opponent, given our limitations with our injuries and try to go with what we think we can do effectively and efficiently. We're always our own worst critic with the decisions we make and certainly the option is something we have the ability to do and if opponents have to spend a portion of their practice defending it then it certainly has had an effect on the game."
(On Maurice Shaw's role): "Mo Shaw kind of typifies our team because he was a guy who kind of wasn't sure what his role was going to be at the outset of the year kind of like our football team- we weren't exactly sure who we were- now he sees his chance to help the team and has taken full advantage of that. We have a lot of kids who are in that same category, guys that are finding their niches and we're finding their niches and its all kind of coming together and hopefully it will be in time to make a big push and keep ourselves alive in this race."
(On Troy Walters): "He is the best that I have seen (in the Pac-10). But we haven't seen R.J. Soward. Soward looks pretty good on film as does a couple other guys around the conference. Northcut is a great player. I thought Hartley from Oregon was a great player. There are certainly a lot of players in this conference that have great ability. Danny Farmer, when he is healthy, is as good as anybody."