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Keith Gilbertson Press Conference Quotes
Release: 09/01/2003
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Sept. 1, 2003

Monday, Sept. 1, 2003
Coach Gilbertson Press Conference

General Comments: "My comments haven't changed since the football game. Ohio State is a great, great, talented football team. I think that everybody that saw that knows that, there were some bright spots for us. We were disappointed in the game. We were disappointed, particularly offensively with how we played. There were some bright spots. I thought Roc Alexander played about as well as he's played at Washington. I thought Joe Lobendahn and Jimmy Newell did some good things, I feel good about our secondary. Offensively Reggie Williams had a fine game. Charles Frederick and Cody (Pickett), under some pressure, really made some key throws and competed. Rich (Alexis) when given a chance ran well. Like I said, I'm disappointed, I'm not discouraged. 21 guys got their first snaps as a college football player, in front of a 108 thousand, on national TV, on the road against the defending national champs. So for 21 guys that was a unique experience. What was unique about it was that Tahj Bomar made his first plane trip and he made the first tackle of 2003 on the opening kickoff, I thought that was kind of neat. My comments about our team or theirs have not changed. I have a great deal of respect for them, they are immensely talented and immensely deep at every position. We are not quite there yet, doesn't mean we can't get there. But, the focus for us now is we just have to get better every week. We have to get better this week and next week and the week after. I think our guys have a great sense of that. There are some people in our program that are disappointed in the way we played and are anxious to get back out on the practice field."

On defensive playmakers: "On our defensive front I think Terry Johnson, who had two sacks against Ohio State, and Jerome Stevens, Manase Hopoi. At linebacker Joe Lobendahn, Marquis Cooper is a really talented athlete. I don't think he had one of his better games. Scott White came in a played well in a backup role. At corner Roc Alexander really has a lot of talent and speed. He is probably the fastest guy on our team and had a really fine game against really talented Ohio State receivers."

On having watched Indiana game film: I have spent this morning working on us, so I haven't watched that side of the ball yet. I do that on Monday afternoon."

On areas to improve on: "There is not one aspect of our total team play that we feel does need improvement, that is every aspect of offense, defense and special teams. Everything we do needs improving. We have to take everything up a notch and a level. I think our guys are anxious to get back on the practice field and get back to work. There is nothing that we are quote satisfied with."

On if the team is past the coaching change: "Yeah, I think so."

On coming out throwing after halftime: "Well it got to be 21-0 after the first half. We were trying like heck to keep it at 14, but we got kicked way down in there and we were going to get the half over and we got two penalties back-to-back and then the clock stopped. Then we had a completion that was dropped and we were just trying to get off the goal-line. Then we gave them a really short field. That was also our worst punt both hang-time and distance so now they have a short field and we gave up a touchdown before half. We just went in and said, 'listen, the one thing that they are having some trouble defending was our spread formation. We were getting some throws out of it, getting the ball off quickly and we are going to have to throw to get back in this. We are down 21 and you know when they get the ball they are going to keep it for a little while, so you have to throw to get back in it."

On depth chart changes: "I thought Bachert played really well and Todd had not had a really great camp. He was getting a little better all the time and I think Todd played far and away the best in that game. I think at the weak guard position Dan (Dicks) is a little bit more experience, although Clay (Walker) did some good things. Then to keep the competition alive at the other guard where I thought Bachert played very well. It was good for him to have to compete like that and I think he clearly won the job."

On making home debut as a head coach: "I am certainly looking forward d to playing a home game. After you go to Ohio State you are really looking forward to Husky Stadium. I can't wait for practice this afternoon. I think our athletes will be excited about playing at home. There is something special about playing here."

On it being a sentimental moment: "I hope we play better, that is about as sentimental as I get."

On improving during non-conference games: "I think there's several strategies, but the number one thing has to come from the athletes. The athlete has to want to get better and improve. We're going to be relentless coaching them, so if the guy will take coaching and wants to get better we'll give him every opportunity to get better."

On letting up during non-conference games: "There's going to be none of that. First of all we're going to respect everybody we line up against. Obviously we're not a finished product if Saturday night is any indication, so there's lot of work that has to be done."

On running time dictated by Singleton injury: "That caused us to play Rich Alexis more snaps than what we had planned on early in the week. James and Sampson have to play some. Rich played, I think, 70 or 80 snaps. That's a lot of snaps at tailback. We would like to go, maybe a 3-1 rotation or a 3-1-1 rotation. Rich has a little quad contusion that's going to slow him early in the week some, but those kids have to get better at every aspect of the game. They're good runners, but the things that would concern you would be, the pass protection, which is probably the hardest thing for a back to learn. A lot of that is repetitions, they'll get a lot more repetitions this week than what they've had. We've had four tailbacks, now it's three."

On the challenge of protecting against OSU defensive front: "I'd say their front is on par with the Miami fronts we saw here in 2000 and in Miami in 2001. Physical, big, and strong, and very quick. 280-290 pound guys who can all run, well thought of by the NFL people. Ohio State has been saying it's the best defensive line in the country. It's the best one I've played this year, I guarantee you that. I told you guys last week, if they can get to you with four guys and pressure you, you're in for a long night, and they did that. They are very talented guys, they are special. Obviously we know how talent rich Ohio is and they were the number one recruiting class, I think, two year s in a row at one point here recently, and they've been in the top four or five every year for the last five years, so they're going to have some pretty good football players. They have plenty of them, and God bless them, they're loaded."

On kicking and punting situations: "I would like to get Sean Douglas a chance to punt, now that he's got a game under his belt and he's kicked in a game now. He has the best leg, although I think Garth Erickson did some really nice things in that game. We are still looking for a better net punt with a better hang-time which will help us cover. Garth was really positive. The field goal has to still be up for grabs too. The last field goal time was 1.7, I could get there and block that. We were timing their people, they were off in a 1.16. Their snapper is so fast that you can not get there. On the missed field goal, the snap was slow and Evan was slow, it was 1.47, anybody you play is going to get there, that's got to speed up."

On freshmen receivers: "They had that look in their eyes, like it's prime-time and it's bright lights and there's a lot of people here and those guys over there in the red jerseys look pretty good. Quintin made a nice catch, really didn't get a lot of chances. I thought Bobby one time really ran a naked route wrong and ended up dropping the ball. He put himself in traffic when he really had some space if he had run the route correctly. So they played like freshmen and that's kind of how I expected them to play. That is a daunting thing, 105,000 the very first game against the national champs, for 21 guys, they'll be telling their grandkids about it. I'm glad we did it and I think it was good for us to get into a situation where it's that hostile, that tough, at times, maybe for youngsters, that intimidating, it's really good for your team."

On losing chip on shoulder from the loss: "I think you have something to prove, if you're a competitor, you feel like you have something you need to prove. We sure do, we certainly felt that they were very talented and very respectful of their talent, but we still have something to prove. It was a difficult way to start the season, but in some ways that was good for us to get into that."

On defensive speed: "They're (Ohio State) really fast. I asked their coach before the game if their guy really runs a 4.26 in the 40, he said 'oh yeah, he does every time for the scouts'. Their receivers are fast. I thought Roc played well, I thought he held up well with the speed of their wide receivers. I was pleased with that. I was only displeased the one time when the corner just blew a coverage that should have got us out of a drive. If you talk about our front, we don't have Donald Jones and Andy Mason, we have who we have. I think Manase is a good guy on the edge and Terry's quick inside, but I don't know who else to put in there. Marquis Cooper's our fastest defender in the front seven, although I don't think he played particularly fast. We tried to speed up our front seven by moving Carothers from safety to outside linebacker, so we're probably about as fast as we're going to be. If a youngster like Brandon Ala, who has some quickness can mature, he'll give you one more speed guy off the edge. There's not a lot of guys who are going to speed us up. The speed people are on the field already."

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