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Husky Press Conference Quotes
Release: 10/18/1999
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General Remarks: "We are disappointed in the way we played, especially on the offensive side of the ball Saturday. We had chances to affect the game in a positive way and squandered them because of the inability to hang onto the ball. Anytime you fumble the ball seven times and lose six of them it's difficult to stay in the game. That's not to take away from ASU's effort, they played very well and deserved to win. We find ourselves like most teams in the conference looking at the second half of the season., and knowing that it will be the half that defines their respective seasons. We've got a chance to have a glorious year and also have a chance to have a not so glorious year and what takes place in the next five games will determine the area that we find ourselves. I think our kids have learned a valuable lesson. We hoped they would have to learn it without having to go through the experience of a defeat but unfortunately that wasn't to be the case and now it is time to get ourselves ready to play a very talented Cal team that is coming of a huge win for them."

(On Cal): "17-0 against UCLA at the Rose Bowl is a very difficult thing to do, and frankly, just like the score would indicate, Cal dominated, especially on the defensive side of things. They were tenacious as could be as far as getting to UCLA's quarterback and making things difficult all afternoon. They have played very well on defense all year and they are excited about their offense coming around especially with 240 yards rushing against UCLA's defense. It's a tall order for us, especially give the fact we are hurt. We have a lot of players wounded. Some won't make the game hopefully some will return and be able to help us but we've got to rise up and play and see if wee can keep ourselves in the thick of things with regard to the conference race. Both teams are 2-1 in the conference, and the winner will have a leg up in the conference race. It's going to be a great football game in my estimation."

(On opponents defending the option): "Well, I think certainly when people watch film they like to emulate success. If they determine Arizona State's schemes were the reasons for our offense struggling then certainly they will use those schemes and incorporate them into their own defense. At times ASU did have great schemes but if you look at the statistics they're pretty evenly matched except for the one that says six fumbles and if we don't fumble the ball I don't know that the outcome is."

(On Cal's inconsistency): "I don't see much on the film that says anything other than pretty darn talented. They have played a pretty tough schedule going to Nebraska and BYU. They have played well almost every time out. I have not seen the WSU tape but I think they have a lot of talented athletes that seem to be playing together . I know they are excited about the upcoming game, with both teams being 2-1 in the conference having a chance to get themselves in the thick of things. "

(On why teams overall have lacked consistency): "I'm not sure of the numbers, but you have a lot of teams that get on a roll and then come into a game where the emotional balance is in the opponent's favor and when that happens you have to guard against a lack of enthusiasm with regard to the contest . It isn't so much that you're not prepared to play or don't want to go out an do well, but you are not at the same fever pitch, or in the same zone that is necessary to play a game at this speed. When the other team is in it you become prey to injury and to other things that are not good. I think that took place a little to us in that we came off three wins and played a team beaten soundly in their last game and it seems so comfortable because we're at home and unfortunately it was a trap and we fell into it."

(On Neuheisel's contact with Bohler): "There were two things, I saw a tremendous talent with respect to his physical attributes. He played at Hart High School, the alma mater of one of my former players Jimmy Bonds. He called me and told me he was the next John Elway and he wouldn't tell me something that he didn't believe so I got a hold of a film as quickly as possible and made the call."

(On injuries): "Mac Tuiaea has sprained his MCL and an MRI is pending but he will likely be out of this game. Jermaine Smith, who missed the ASU game because of an ankle sprain, is listed a s questionable. Braxton Cleman, who had a partially collapsed lung, was released from the hospital and there seems to be no further complications and he'll be out seven to 10 days so he won't play this weekend. Willie Hurst suffered a mild concussion but he will likely practice tomorrow. Rock Nelson is getting some tests to determine if there is any significant nerve damage in his neck. The expectation is that the test will come back negative and he'll be ready to play but he won't be able to practice a lot of physical play this week."

(On Cal's Andre Carter): "There's another guy I called. He is having a great year. He's an exceptional talent and there is exceptional talent abound on the Cal defensive front. They have great players up there and it is no accident they are playing so well as a defense and holding opponents to about 110 rushing yards a game. He's got great quickness and a revved up motor. He's the kind of guy that certainly requires your attention at all times."

(On lessons learned from ASU game): "I think the lesson is you better be ready to play every week out and not allow the fact that a team is coming off a loss and you are on a roll weigh in your preparation for a game. ASU, coming off a loss against Notre Dame and receiving the barbs that were thrown at their program, had every reason to be excited to play and circle the wagons and see if we can't get this ship righted. The facts are they were 1-1 in conference so it was kind of a trap and that's what we tried to convey to our team and obviously we did not do that well enough and I take full responsibility for that."

(On changing the approach): " I'm thinking about that and wondering if I talked about it too much and created a self-fulfilling prophecy. You do your best to communicate and tell your players the truth. In some ways I think we came out of the box and played well. We scored on our first possession and held them to three and out the first three times they had the ball and I think we thought we'd finished the job and obviously the job was far from complete."

(On team being ready to play): "It looked especially on defense that the players flew around and they were really excited but there's something missing when you fumble the ball six times. That's intensity. Obviously, there are going to be fumbles in physical games, but six is a little out of the ordinary."

(On the special teams): "It started out like gangbusters. It's disappointing that Ryan Fleming has struggled in the past few games, but the bottom line is that there always has to be competition. Regardless of what position we talk about, if somebody's not playing well, we need to have competition to either incite his ability to get better, or to replace him with somebody who will give us some more consistency. It's nothing personal, I think Ryan Fleming's one of the outstanding kids on our team, and I know he wants desperately to kick well. But if he's unable to perform, then we're going to have to consider making a change and so we'll add more competition this week with Levi Madarieta, as well as John Anderson. Some guys can do great things in practice, and then don't do as well at . Although, Ryan has done well at times in the games, so hopefully it's mechanical thing that he can fix and get back to being a very fine punter. But if not, we have to consider making a change."

(On Willie Hurst): "I expect Willie to be back next week, and hopefully he will be, but certainly you have to prepare for every eventuality in this game, and if he's unable to I think it would be a split deal between Maurice Shaw and Paul Arnold."

(On the use of the option versus Cal): "Certainly, the option suffers when you're not able to cut off the defense, and quickness [like Cal has] makes it more difficult to cut off. But we're going to have to find ways to get the ball outside if we're going to be successful against this team. You can't stay inside and live. We'll have to figure out ways to get that accomplished."

(On the fourth-and-one play at the goal line vs ASU): "We called the play, and although it may have looked like there was nobody in the A-gaps, the gaps on either side of the center, they stunted right into it, so had Marques decided to audible into a quarterback sneak, the likelihood is he wouldn't have made it. We called a play that on the chalkboard works every time. Unfortunately, you've got to block it correctly, and keep your blocks long enough for everybody to get it done. On that particular play, our tackle collided with our crack-blocking wide receiver, so we left an unblocked guy. It's too bad, but it's football. I think all of us as coaches look at the play and say, 'we could've done this, we could've done that" - coaches are the best of that in terms of second-guessing ourselves, and knowing what I know now, I wish I had another call, absolutely. But I was in full favor of the call when it left our sideline, and I thought it would be executed well. Had it been, we wouldn't be having this conversation. That's just the nature of the game. They win on that particular play."

(On the decision to call timeout before the above play): "Sometimes, I think it's worth a timeout. Certainly, you don't like squandering timeouts if you don't need to, and if you'll recall, the fourth-and-two against BYU for a touchdown, there was no timeout. I knew we were going to go on fourth down, so we just went and ran a play. It isn't as though we don't have anything predesigned. The deal on this fourth-and-one was that we were throwing the ball on third-and-seven. The likelihood was that we were either going to score a touchdown, or we were going to kick on fourth-and-seven. Instead, because of the end's penetration, Flowers got up the field, we had to cut up inside and Marques made a great run to the one, so it required a decision. I made the decision to go for it. Karl Dorrell, because we were on that hash, now was in a quandary. Do we want to call this play on that hash? You want to make sure that it's what you practiced, and with a limited amount of practice time, it's hard to get things done on both ends of the field. We hadn't really practiced anything from that side of the field. I called a timeout using my discretion, to make sure that everybody was comfortable with what we were going to do. That's definitely something that you would kick yourself about, if you let something go and it's not a hundred percent. Given the point where we were, with three timeouts left and four minutes to go in the third quarter, I think that's worth one, and so I decided to use it."

(On the decision not to kick a field goal on that same play): "I think that when you're down six, you're really leaning towards wanting to go for it. Now, if you don't feel like you can make a yard, then certainly you kick, but given how we've been in fourth and short, this is now only the second time we've failed in fourth and short. I felt like we could get it and made the decision. I was wrong."

(On the Cal defense): "I think they have a great front seven, and certainly guys like Deltha O'Neal and some of the other guys in the back are talented too. They've got a very good defense, there's no accident why they're ranked so high in our conference."

(On the Cal running game): "When you're bringing along a young quarterback who doesn't have a lot of experience, you try to take the ball out of his hands, to not put so much pressure on him. They've worked at it, and in working at it they've gotten more proficient at it, and also they're running hard. Joe Igber has had a couple of 100-yard games in a row now, and the fullback had one of the great runs you'll see against UCLA."

(On the town of Neuheisel in Germany): "I did know it was there. My father has been there. But no, I have not been to Germany nor have I visited the town of Neuheisel. Actually, it's pronounced Noy-hi-zull, which is, I guess, German for 'new home'."

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