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Wasington vs. Idaho Postgame Quotes
Release: 09/02/2000
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Sept. 2, 2000

Washington head coach Rick Neuheisel

General Remarks: " Certainly excited to be 1-0. Excited about a lot of good things that I saw on the field. I guess that would be the ultimate in a wake-up call, the 83 yard run to start the game. It certainly got our attention. I was proud of the fact that no one panicked on the sideline. They caught us with a new formation and we didn't get the safety down to help us out. But we fixed that and I thought that minus that we played pretty good. They're a skilled team. They threw the ball well. I thought that the quarterback Welsh was very talented passer. He kept the ball in front of him and he had talented receivers. Every time the ball was close to them they made pretty good catches. Therefore they were able to keep the ball moving and got over 400 yards total offense. I think at the end of the game they were doing things to try to work on their offense. On our side of side of the ball I thought we played well at times and sporadic at times. Some things became glaring and we'll just have to address those things tomorrow when we watch the film. I know you're going to ask what those things are, but I'm not going to tell you because we've got another game to play and I don't want to give them a head start. But we've got some things to address and I'm anxious to get to the tapes. But I know it certainly beats where we were a year ago. It's always the case that anybody can beat anybody in this game so we don't take the victory lightly."

"The first game is a difficult game because we don't know how tired we are. I thought that we were fine. I thought that the 83 yard run, certainly got out attention and got us into the game."

"I was proud of the way the kids caught the ball. We need to do some things to get open."

On John Anderson: "I had hoped that the preseason inconsistency would settle itself out. I saw some improvement later in the week, but basically. But when you're talking about the kicking, you're talking about a trio of people. You're talking about a snapper, holder and a kicker. That trio didn't perform fully effectively. It got better in the second half. We missed two field goals in the first half and they raised some concern. Thankfully he didn't let that bother him mentally. John is a strong mentally. I don't worry about that, but we do need to work on that."

On Marcus Tuiasosopo after the first series: "Marcus is going to be the focal part of our offense whether things are going well or not. I thought he made some real good plays. I know that he would like two or three of his throws back. It's just nice to be improving with a victory rather than vise versa."

On the rushing game: "At times I thought we were great. We tackled well, we stripped the ball well. We caused some fumbles. I thought we did some really good things. But I want to see if we can get some more pressure without having to do a full out blitz. I'll have to wait and look at the video to see if we are improving there."

On Coach Moses: "Coach Moses has a good feel for that and I trust his instincts. And I trust his instincts as to how we play those tailbacks. The way to keep people happy is to win games. I trust him and if I feel like I've got an instinct as to who should go in the game I'll go and tell him."

On the offensive linemen changes: "In the early portion of your season you make some changes until you settle in a realize who your best five and most consistent are. It takes a while and you don't really learn that in practice, it's difficult. But after time you determine who is doing the best job."

On Ben Mahdavi: "Well I gave him a scholarship didn't I? I thought he was a pretty good player. He's got that high revving engine that causes him to be where he needs to be most of the time. The blocked punt was certainly a big play."

On Hakim's interception: "I'm still a little bewildered as to why it wasn't a fumble. But it was great. The defense did a nice job in terms of turnovers. Offensively we did a nice job holding on to the ball, but I'm a little disappointed we had an interception so late in the game because we had a wide-open guy. But I think we'll learn from that."

On Anderson's kicks: "Part of our plan is to do kangaroo kicks, which is short. Some of them were done without being called. Again John has got to bear down and become more consistent as a kicker."

On the cornerbacks: "I think they played pretty well. You ask yourself what you want to try to do defensively. Do you want to let them nickel and dime you and try to get to the passer and make plays. And just don't get beat by the big play. I know Chris Massey is sick about the play that got over the top of him, but he'll learn from that. Massey, Derrick Johnson and Rock Alexander are all true freshman. We're getting better. We've got a great group of athletes that are going to be great. I've got a great corner coach and I know he'll do well."

On Derrick Johnson's touchdown: "Keith calls all the plays. I thought it was a great call at a great time. It was a nice play at a nice time."

On the special teams: "They did some really good things and then we need to work on some things. We need to work on our kick off coverage. Didn't get many opportunities on punt return."

Washington Player Quotes

BEN MAHDAVI
(On the team's reaction after Idaho's first touchdown): "I was scared after they got that first touchdown because we knew they were a good team. I think after that happened though everyone relaxed. We had a lot of young guys out there so there were a lot of first-game jitters, especially for myself because that was my first game at linebacker. We settled down after that though and played well."

(On The Blocked Punt): "It was just a regular punt return with an overload to the right. The upback told the center to go right so I thought to myself, `there is no way that I am going to get blocked.' I knew before the snap that I was going to get through."

DERRICK JOHNSON
(On his first touchdown as a Husky): "I was overwhelmed but just happy that I could contribute. We came out on that play with a little trick under our sleeve. We wanted to catch them off guard by waiting to go out on the field until the play clock went down and it worked out because we caught them on their heels a little."

PAUL ARNOLD (On playing a bigger role in the offense this season): "Everyone has been saying that I'm the main guy so I'm going to be fine but when I got thrown in there I was really nervous and it showed early when I made a lot of mistakes but I was able to rally. Coach, instead of saying 'you suck', was really supportive and said 'it's over with, pick it up in the second half''. That made me feel better and I came out and played a lot better in the second half."

ANTHONY VONTOURE
(On playing with little practice time): "I definitely took my lumps and that's what happens to you in this game. I just had to go out there and hack it out. I didn't play that well and when you don't practice then you figure that it's all going to catch up to you and it did. But just going out there and fighting it out was a victory for me."

(On how this game prepares the Huskies for Miami and receiver Santana Moss): "It's great that we took our lumps this week and we have a lot to work on in the next week of practice. I look forward to the challenge of facing Moss. I have only one direction to go and that's up. I'm happy I competed well and it was a tough game but Idaho was by no means a pushover."

MARQUES TUIASOSOPO
(On how the receivers performed): "They came out and did a great job. Todd Elstrom made some great catches. Wondame Davis made some great adjustments off the safety pressure and Wilbur Hooks did a great job. The couple plays we didn't make, that was my fault. We had guys wide open and I didn't hit them I lofted the ball a couple times. I'm happy for those guys. They were a question mark but they stuck together and worked hard and I think it showed today."

(On running the option): "Coach Gilbertson called some great plays, he's got a lot of them . We don't worry about not running certain plays to keep Miami in the dark. We just go out and play and the option just gives Miami one more thing to worry about. The offensive line did a great job, especially on Derrick Johnson's touchdown. I flipped the ball to Derrick and looked back after I got hit and the offensive line just flowed. It was a great time to run that play too, being right after a turnover."

TODD ELSTROM
(On His Touchdown): "It was just a simple post route and I was fortunate to get inside of the man and get good position and Marques was threw a ball up there that I could get good position on and I brought it down."

OWEN BIDDLE
(On Almost Scoring A Touchdown): " That was the longest run towards the ball I have ever had. All I saw was the ball and the whole field, I was going so fast that it was tough to pick up, but I blew it and kicked it out of bounds."

Idaho Head Coach Tom Cable

GENERAL REMARKS: "I really don't think if you turn the ball over five times you can expect to win those games. I believe we probably gave them 20 points by simply turning the football over. That's hard to swallow right now because we feel like we put a lot of time into ball security and our kicking game. We've got work to do, we've got to back and coach better and take a little bit more responsibility with ball security with the players. I felt like we went out there and played, we moved the ball, they forced us around on defense. But, we did give them 20 points."

ON A "MORAL VICTORY": "I think we're gonna be a good football team when we get a couple of things worked out as coaches and players. The moral victory thing is not a big deal to us, we came here to win a game, to play a good game. We got beat today and turned over five times."

ON THE OPENING TOUCHDOWN PLAY: "We thought we would come out and try to set the tempo with them. We felt like if we didn't make a statement by trying to be physical right in the beginning of the game, they would see that. Our plan was to come out and see if we could knock them off the ball early. It was really a great thing, we blocked well and Willie (Alderson) made a great cut and out-ran everybody."

ON HALFTIME LOCKER ROOM MOOD: "We really felt like we had already given them 13 points in the first half by turning the ball over. So we were disappointed from that standpoint, but we also felt like we were starting to push them off the ball offensively. We really weren't settled in, but the flow and the direction of the ball game was what we wanted."

ON UW DEFENSIVE STANDOUTS: "The safety (Hakim Akbar) we knew he was a good player coming in. I saw him make some plays in space when we thought we had a chance and he would show up and make a play. Line of scrimmage, I felt like we were fine offensively."

ON IDAHO QB JOHN WELSH: "I think for his first time out, he missed a couple of hot plays. It was his first time in the system and we'll get it straight. He picked a couple up, but he also missed a couple. He stood there and he threw some balls a couple of times in traffic where he made some huge throws. He's a good quarterback and he's really going to do something for us."

ON THE OPPONENT MATCH-UP: "Obviously we were concerned (about the match-up) because I knew since day one that the defensive line was something to look at. We got beat on the option a couple of times today and we did not play our option responsibility. I'm still concerned about the depth issue, some young guys played today. I think we belonged in this stadium today."

ON STATUS OF TEAM: "One thing I was really proud of is that I think we were in really great shape. I didn't see us get obliterated there in the second half when we didn't have any juice left. We were still pushing on the offensive side of the ball and I am proud of that."

ON FIRST GAME AS HEAD COACH: "Coming out of the tunnel was really emotional for me. This has been my dream to be the head coach at Idaho. It was tough to get out there, get settled and get going. I'll have to go back and re-think things and we'll be better next week."

Idaho Players Quotes

QUARTERBACK JOHN WELSH
(On Idaho Offense): "We could have run our offense better even with the five turnovers if it weren't for the little things which we will work on starting now.

(On first play of the game): "I just handed off the ball to Willie (Alderson) and let him do his thing. It is something we have practiced so I knew it would work."

(On the first half): "We stopped Washington good on defense. I thought we were in it until the second half. I became much more comfortable as the first half went on. I had a lot of time to pass. I leave this game knowing we competed hard. We are on a mission for the rest of the season to win."

(On young Idaho team): "We learned a lot as a team today. A lot of the young guys did a good job of not losing control. We should we could play tough offensively and defensively. I am excited for the next few games.

LINEBACKER CHRIS NOFOAIGA
(On the experience of playing at Husky Stadium): "I love the atmosphere here. We were not intimidated by the crowd or the stadium itself."

(On UW Quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo): "He is a good athlete. I think we fought hard against him and we are not going to hang our heads about how we played against him."

(On #14 ranking of UW): "I can't really tell if they deserve this rank, but they have good athletes and big guys. Obviously more people think they deserve to be #14 than me."

RUNNINGBACK WILLIE ALDERSON
(On the first play of the game): "We executed it perfectly. Our offensive line made the blocks we needed. This play is something we have practiced and I just envisioned it how we have practiced it."

(On Idaho turnovers): "We can't have five turnovers and win over any team. We need to work on our ball security. Washington adjusted well to our running game and that hurt us also."

NOSETACKLE WIL BECK
(How prepared for Washington): "We watched a lot of film to prepare for their throwing ability. We prepared for the speed of their offensive line also."

(On Idaho turnovers): "On defense when we make stops, we have to keep making them. It is something we can't give up on. Football is not just defense and offense though either. We win and lose as a group. I guess we can't pin this loss on one certain area."

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