Sept. 29, 2007
On the game: "Obviously, I think from my chair, from my vantage point, I think it was a good football game. I thought there were mistakes on both teams. I felt that we did not overcome some of the ones that we made, but I am extremely proud of our football team. But in saying that I do not take any solace that we came close and didn't win. We only teach one thing and that's to win, and that's the only way you play. I think our guys gave great effort, great fight, but a few too many mistakes we didn't overcome. I do give proper respect to our opponent because they are a good football team. For some of the mistakes we made they certainly made us pay."
On his sense of where the team is right now: "Two answers for you. 2-3. Okay? And the other one is no. We knew we had a good football team. I think for the most part we've played in that manner. There are still some things we aren't doing perfectly, but I like our football team."
On USC's penalties and turnovers: "If I'm their coach I'm alarmed with that many penalties. But at the same time I think our guys were playing and forcing some things. We probably could have got - they had 16 penalties? - we probably could have got 32 on just holding alone because I think our guys were being aggressive and working and forcing them to do things."
On the Huskies turnovers and Anthony Russo's fumble late in the game: "The first thing I always say is, I think we have to be very careful, whether it's a coach or whether it's the media - you know what seems so simple sometimes is not that simple. That guy is ripping that ball out of Russo's arms, or trying to, pretty strongly. The guy bench-presses 300 pounds or more, that's not quite as easy as we make it seem. Do I want him [Russo] to make that play? Absolutely. Do I want that interception? Absolutely. Do we coach them to make those plays? Yes. But I'd be careful - it's not that easy. I think some of those things are more difficult than we think they are."
On this year's game compared to last year's game against USC, and the comparison of the Pac-10 from last year to this year: "I've said that especially this year, that this would be a year maybe some surprises happen because I think our conference is pretty strong. I don't think there is a weekend that you can take off in the Pac-10, and that's top to bottom. If you don't bring your game - and I think the term we used somewhere is that if you don't bring your whole game, I think we said that earlier in the year - you're going to be in trouble. Everybody can get it done or find ways to get it done. I think it's going to be pretty close top to bottom."
On his team keeping it close despite being outgained 460-190: "It says that if we can improve in some of those critical areas, eliminate some of our mistakes, that we can really put some pressure on our opponent. Obviously they [USC] made some mistakes, there's no question about that. I think if I'm correct, I think my words at the beginning of this week were, `we did not have to play a perfect game to win.' I think I was very clear on that. But when we made our mistakes we couldn't let our chin drop, we couldn't have those lapses. We had a couple of those periods where we kind of lapsed just a little bit and they got some big plays against us. For the most part our team fought all night and that's always something to be proud of."
On Jake Locker's play: I think there were some things and some throws that he'd like to have back, but there were also some great plays that he made out there with his legs and otherwise. It's going to be that constant, `yes I'm good, yes I'm bad.'"
On how the Huskies played today: "I felt like we played good but not good enough to win."
On what the team has to do in order to prepare for next week: "We get a week off so we need to rest up and get healthy and focus on Arizona State."
On how they battled throughout the game: "I think we understand that we are a good team. We don't let little mistakes here and there get us down. We just didn't give up. If not for those little mistakes, we would have won that game."
Washington Tailback Louis Rankin
On how the Huskies played today: "We didn't get the win. Even though we made a lot of little mistakes we did some good things too."
On how they can improve: "I think this was a good game that we can improve upon."
On what Coach Willingham said after the game: "Coach said that we made some mistakes and that this was a game that we could have won."
Washington Receiver Marcel Reece
On how the Huskies played today: "We played well, but we don't feel that good because we lost. We have to learn from our mistakes and recover from them."
On how the team needs to improve: "We know we can play better, we made a lot of mistakes. You have to get on top and stay on top."
On what Coach Willingham said after the game: "Coach said that we played well and that we can play with anyone in the country. Though there is no consolation prize for this game, we have some things that we need to improve upon."
On the game: "We just didn't take advantage of the ball tonight. We just couldn't do more things wrong in the game. I think there was close to 200 yards in penalties, we turned the ball over three times. We just couldn't get out of our own way. I think it's a classic game when you really mess it up and give up a night. Washington was there to take it; all they needed was one more chance. On this night also we overcame that. I am grateful to have this win under all of the circumstances and all of the stuff that happened. A lot of teams lost tonight in a similar fashion, but they got beat. We almost beat ourselves tonight, we tried really hard. The difference between last week's game and this week's game is extraordinary, with all of the problems we had. Thankfully we were able to find a way to win. It was kind of, let's just get the clock out of here, and let's get out. We were so horrible that it was hard to watch. Anyway, it's a win and we're fortunate to be out of here. We really got hammered tonight. Two offensive linemen got hurt. Chilo Rachal got a knee sprained and Kristofer O'Dowd got a dislocated patella. We pulled a hamstring on Shareece Wright and Stafon Johnson got stepped on. It was just a night that was really, really hard on us. So we'll fortunately get out of here, get back to work and clean it up. We can't play like that the rest of the season or else we'll lose like a normal team. Our guys understand that. They understand you have to get out there and play like crazy every week. This was a classic example of how you can go the other direction and almost lose a football game."
On an explanation of game struggles: "No, there really is no explanation. The lack of continuity in the line of scrimmage was real obvious. We had four procedure penalties in the line of scrimmage. We had the late hit on the sidelines; I thought the guy was still in bounds. We had the loose ball underneath the receiver on a ball that might have been a lateral on the line of scrimmage and we get penalized for a helmet to helmet contact, which I guess happened. Stuff happened: the pass interferences feet get tangled up and it's just that night. They did a really good job there was none of that stuff on the other side, it was all us tonight. We're at fault totally and we have to clean it up. Explanation, no, I don't have that."
On underestimating Washington: "Oh gosh no. That had nothing to do with it. We were so fired up we were hitting too much. And getting after you guys, we probably hit the quarterback late one time. Every penalty in the history of football might have gotten assessed tonight. They had the penalty where they have across the line of scrimmage illegal pass and they lose the football. I can't remember that ever happening. It was everything you wanted to see in the world of officiating tonight."
On the game: "I know for me, I can only speak for me, and I felt good about our game plan and the way we practiced all week. Every time we go on the road, or even at home, teams are gunning for us and giving us their best effort and their best shot. We made it close tonight. They executed when they had to, and got their chances when we gave it to them, but it was us, and I take responsibility for that. We could have lost this game, and it could have gone the other way, but we came out with the win. I think that has a lot to do with our senior leadership. The guys were just fighting all the way through 60 minutes and just were not going to let it go."
On penalties and miscues: "We were just giving them opportunities to keep this a close game - similar to how Oregon State was a couple of years ago. I think our guys that have been around and are experienced weren't going to let that happen again.
On fixing miscues: "I think it's fixable. I think it's just one game out of four and it happens every year where you go on the road and it is a tight game with all the elements: there was rain, it was cold, the wind was swirling, the crowd was really into it, but we were able to come out with a win. There are some things that we would love to have back and we would love to over again, but that is why you play the game. You just have to get a win. "
On dropped passes: "We had a couple, and a couple I threw high. It's really weird, because it was kind of windy out there for a while, but the ball was really slick. Between that and dropping them, we weren't able to get much done. That is unfortunate, but still we were able to come out with a win."
USC Defensive End Lawrence Jackson
On overcoming penalties: "I think this is a character builder. Obviously any time you turn the ball over like that and you get penalties, it kind of knocks you out of your rhythm. It alters how you want to attack the game, especially if the team scores off of those turnovers and the defense can't stop them. But we fought back and we came out on top this game."
On whether there was fear of losing: "Not at all. It's not over until it's over. Even when they blocked the punt, we got the ball back - it was just a matter of us catching the onside kick. I had complete confidence in our guys."