Oct. 22, 2005
Washington Head Coach Tyrone Willingham
General Comments: "This afternoon, I do not think that there was any secret that we played a very, very good football team. A football team that understands how to win and a football team that, when given the opportunity, takes advantage. My hat is off to them, because they really took advantage of the opportunities that they had. At the same time I am still very excited about our football team and the effort that they gave. However we have always said that effort is not enough;h it is about getting the wins. We fell short, and they did some good things in order to get the win."
On special teams impact on the game: "There is no question about that. I think early in the ball game there were three critical plays, a fumble or lateral as it might have been, a fumble, and then the two special teams plays. One, I think we had him tackled and he did a marvelous job of getting out of it, then the other one was that we just didn't protect it. There was nothing special or scheme, we just didn't execute and all of a sudden it made a difference."
On Defense's Effort: "I think that I said it during my opening statement, I am pleased and excited about what we are doing, but effort is not enough. The champion team put out effort also and they found a way to win, and that is what we have to do. "
On blocked punt: "We just did not get it right, it lacked the proper execution."
On if fumbled lateral pass was designed to be a lateral: "You hope that it is not, you hope that it is in such a position that it can not be a lateral."
On playing the best team in the nation: "You always have to take that mind set when you are playing the best. This is the best team in the country, how do we stack up. For much of the game I was proud of our guys, but the mistakes killed us. It is not just the obvious ones like the blocked punt, the fumble, and the lateral. There were others in there that we cannot be making and we shouldn't be making. And if we can eliminate those things we will put ourselves in a much better position."
On if he perceived Reggie Bush making a fair catch signal on a punt return: "To be honest that is exactly what our coaches were saying in the press box. That he did call for a fair catch. But you have to play the game, we had him wrapped up, and we have to make the tackle.
On Injuries: "Lewis Rankin had a turf toe and he was unable to come back into the ball game. Darrion Jones suffered a stinger and did not come back into the ball game. Outside of that I think that we finished ok."
On goals for the remainder of the season: "The first thing is you take the time to think about how you should finish the season, we are not going to change how we go about doing our business, we have said along there is a certain way to play the football game and that is what we are going to coach them everyday."
On Durrell Moss's play: "I thought Durrell stepped in and did some good things, and that is a tough position to be in. He had not started for a solid year and we asked him to play against the nation's best team, and we know that there receiving core is very talented. Without looking at the film and analyzing all of the things that he did, I thought he did a pretty good job."
On if Joe Toledo's return had a positive impact on the game: "I don't think that there is any question about that. Just his presence makes a difference to our football team. That alone was positive for us. I think that his play also helped us."
On if there were mental lapses on the field: "No, I don't think that our team lapsed on the field."
LINEBACKER Evan Benjamin
On USC: "They've definitely got a lot of weapons. They spread the ball around to get you into different looks. I thought we played well. They did a lot of things we had seen before, but they've just got a lot of weapons on their team."
On first half problems: "They had a couple short fields and that made it easier for them. They got out to a pretty good lead at halftime. When Reggie Bush gets the ball he's tough to tackled so that punt return did a lot for them but I thought we did a good job containing them and staying away from the big play. We've just got to make plays when we get the chance."
On containing Reggie Bush and LenDale White: "They're a good one-two punch, probably the best in the nation. But I thought we did a real good job. We don't have anything to be disappointed about. We'll take a look at this film and try to get better and I think we'll learn from this stuff. We've just got to come out playing, that's it."
On learning from playing No. 1 team: "I definitely think our corners got a good look at a really good passing offense, because we're going to play a good one next week too, so that's one thing. Playing against a good physical team like USC will help us for the rest of the year, trying to compare ourselves to the number one team. I thought except for last week we've been taking steps forward and trying to be a better defense and a better team overall and we'll keep on trying to do that."
On handling short field situations: "It was tough but I thought we could have got out of them very easily. After the first one where they scored on one play, I thought we could have got them or held them to a field goal. We've got to stop them in that situation because that was where the game broke open."
SAFETY C.J. Wallace
On USC's offense: "They're real good, they execute really well. Against that offense you can't make any mistakes. You've got to mind your p's and q's. They have a lot of big time players."
On the defense's effort: "Our effort was 110%. The effort was there from the first quarter to the fourth quarter. I'm happy with the way the defense played, a lot of guys stepped up and played today and they never got down. We kept our head up and kept hitting them. It wasn't a lot of mistakes, just the same ones we've been making since game one."
On the problems USC creates: "They have a lot of threats. Most offenses have a couple real good guys but then everyone else you can match up with. With USC you pretty much have to worry about everybody. On the left side or the right side of the formation they have somebody who's good so you can't concentrate on one person."
On defending Dwayne Jarrett: "From what I saw he had a big game. He's a big time player. I didn't get a chance to line up against him though."
CORNERBACK Roy Lewis
On USC's offense: "They executed, they made mistakes but we didn't capitalize on their mistakes."
On defensive breakdowns: "It was simple fundamental things that we messed up on. Other than that there really wasn't anything that we were overwhelmed with."
On defending Jarrett: "You just have to be aware of his presence. He has a height advantage; he's a big guy. Other than that it was pretty much just he and I. I misjudged a few balls and Matt Leinart placed some great balls in there."
PUNT GUNNER J.R. Wolfork
On Reggie Bush's TD return: "That was just great athleticism. We got guys down there on him, and it looked like we were going to wrap him up. Then he got some good blocks from his guys, and made some great moves and got outside on us. He's an amazing athlete."
QUARTERBACK Isaiah Stanback
On their defense: "We turned the ball over. They didn't really do anything to make us turn it over. They are a good team, but it was our fault that we turned the ball over."
On the strategy going into the game: "The strategy was the same as any other week. We have to do just what we practice."
On not being shut out this season, like last season: "We are a totally different team than last year. No one on our team is the same. We just have to eliminate the turnovers like every week."
On believing if USC is truly the #1 team in the country: "Yeah. We gave them points. We had two fumbles. They didn't hit us or anything, it was just us. I mean that was 14 points that we lost, and I think they returned one for a touchdown."
WIDE RECEIVER Craig Chambers
On his early touchdown: "The first series, they gave me the same look, but we didn't score, so we had to kick a field goal. And then I asked the coach if we can call the fade. So we go out there, and we did the fade, and Isaiah threw it up, and I caught it, so it was cool."
On his dropped pass: "It stinks. It was the first drop for me this season. I saw something open, and I thought I was going to catch it, but I dropped it. I know I can't do that next time. I have to stay focused.
On improving in 3rd down possessions: "We have been working on that a lot. Coach said that we weren't that good on third downs, so we set a goal to make over 50 percent from our first downs, which is a big improvement from last year. I think we did a lot of good things this game, it was just few things that hurt us. "
On not being shut out this season, like last season: "I think it is self-evident to everyone that we are better this year than last year. I mean we still didn't get it done, but we definitely scored more points this year. We are improving this year, so we just have to keep on improving.
On believing USC is truly the #1 team in the country: "Obviously they have played a lot of good teams this year. There are a lot of good teams this year in the Pac-10, and half the teams are ranked in the top-25. I mean they had a close game against Notre Dame, but Notre Dame is ranked up there too, so I think they probably will be when this year ends, too."
USC Head Coach Pete Carroll
On overall performance: "This was a very important game for us. We needed to show everybody that we could play better than we did last week. Our guys did a good job of that today. We played with intensity and a good attitude, not so much to prove anybody wrong, but to show that we get it. When you come up against a team that has been struggling a little bit and you come up against them and answer the call, you have to take a lot of pride in that. I am just thrilled to head back home now and get a chance to finish up our season strong."
On scoring quick and often early: "I think that we only had 23 plays in the first half and our first drive was 12 plays, so it was good for us to score fast and get things going. I didn't feel any concern about that at all, because once you start playing you get a chance to get into a rhythm on offense."
On start to game: "We kept our penalties at a minimum and that we were able to get into a better rhythm. We had a bad start with allowing that kick return, but we responded and made some things happen. We really showed the kind of intensity that we need to see at this point, so it was a very successful game for us. We had some things that we really wanted to accomplish while we were here and we did that, so we are pumped and ready to head home."
On Matt Leinart: "He was on the whole time. He was 14 for 17 and two of those passes were either taken away or thrown away, so I felt like he did a great job out there for us. He was whipping it around all day and the protection was awesome for him. He just played a terrific game."
On Reggie Bush's punt return: "I really need to see that play again. I didn't even get a chance to look at the replay, but it looked like a phenomenal play. It looked like he got stuck up in a pile of guys and he was able to spin around and get back out to get going. It was just a terrific play by an amazing football player."
On team rhythm: "We wanted to make sure that we could get back into the rhythm that we knew so well, that was really important to us. We believe so much in what we are doing, we just went back to the principles. That doesn't mean that we stop throwing the ball downfield, we just didn't. I think that in the first half we just didn't have enough plays because everything happened so fast, it was hard to field a running game. We did what we hoped to do and we were able to get a lot of points in a short amount of time."
On Washington's play: "They looked good and they did a nice job. They have some real style to them and Isaiah is a really good football player who keeps you off-balance. His running is a big threat and he was able to get a few key first downs for them by running the ball. We weren't playing the run as well as we wanted to early, but we wanted to make sure that we did a good job on the perimeter and we paid the price for that a little bit. I think they got down to their third tailback as well, so that is unfortunate for them. They have a good aggressive nature about them and they have some guys that can make some big plays. They were very good on third down today and I think that is probably the best they have been all season on third downs."
On cornerback Josh Pinkard: "We have some young guys on defense that are still emerging. You saw Josh Pinkard play corner for the first time and we are going to leave him there. I think that this guy has a tremendous upside and he will be a good player for us on the outside. He is such a good football player and we have moved him all over the field, but him playing corner is good for us."
QUARTERBACK MATT LEINART
General Comments: "They played good. On film they're a good team and they played UCLA tough and played Notre Dame tough for awhile. Giving up a long kick return to begin the game obviously wasn't what we wanted to do, but we had 25 plays in the first half and scored 35 points. We had a short field to work with a lot of the time and when we did have a long drive we executed. Overall, I think it was a great game and I think the offense finally got back on track by getting a rhythm going and getting back to the basics and executed a lot of plays that we know how to do. Our defense settled down and they played very well against a good quarterback that can make plays on the run."
On Reggie Bush's punt return for a touchdown: "I called it actually. He was about due to have one in one of these games. It's great. He always steps up in games like this and every game and makes big plays. I think he's probably relieved that he got his first punt return."
On his performance: "I felt good. I just felt back on track. I had a good week of practice for myself and the offense. We just went back to the stuff that we've been doing for the last couple years. Sometimes we want to take advantage of all of a defense's weaknesses right away and not get in a rhythm of running the ball, going with three-step stuff, stuff that we've been really good at the last couple years. I felt good finally. I threw a couple of touchdown passes or whatever, but I had all day to throw."
On breaking Andrew Walter's career Pac-10 touchdown record: "It's cool. There's some great quarterbacks on that list with John Elway and some other guys like Walter. I think it will hit me when I'm done playing football. Right now I'm really not worried about that, I just go out there and do my job, but it's definitely an honor to be on a list with all of those great players."
On Bush taking pressure off him: "Any time he touches the ball he's a threat to score from anywhere on the football field. Having him and LenDale (White) back there to hand the ball off to is great and Reggie is an excellent receiver out of the backfield or wherever he lines up and he opens things up for other guys too. So he obviously takes a lot off me and he's awesome."
On the offense: "It was finally good to feel good about ourselves after this game. Even last week it felt like it shouldn't have been that close and we kind of hurt ourselves. This week, we didn't make any turnovers with the exception of a pick towards the end. Other than that our defense got us the ball and we were able to move the ball pretty much every series. It feels good to get those drives, to execute in the red zone, to score and to be able to run the ball."
RUNNING BACK REGGIE BUSH
On Punt Return for Touchdown: "I think I'm overdue for a punt return. The first half of the season we really haven't done the greatest job of being a sound return team. We wanted to really focus on getting back to putting that fear back into people's heart of kicking the ball deep to us. Today was just a great opportunity, they punted the ball deep, there were a lot of great blocks provided by my teammates. I made about two or three people miss, and it was off to the races."
"I spun out of the pile and ran to the sideline, there was only one guy there I had to beat. Actually, the guy I had to beat took himself out of the play, I think he ran inside."
"Punt returns and returning kicks, I feel that is my chance to go out there and make a big play for my team, and give us that momentum in the game."
On Short Passes: "I think so, it really gives a chance to get into a rhythm. As far as running the ball, it gives our offensive line a chance to get physical and dominate, and knock them off the ball. It just kind of set the tone early, we did a good job of that today."
On Feelings Coming Into Game: "We definitely felt like this was a game where we could get our confidence back. Our past couple of games have been pretty close, especially the Notre Dame game. So, we definitely felt like this was a game where we could go out and dominate, and just kind of get back to executing and playing football like we know how. Playing on our level and not the other team's."
On Team Maybe Being Overconfident: "No, I think maybe the first two games might have made us overconfident. I think that kind of made us think that we were going to blow teams out. Lo and behold, a couple of games were closer than we thought, and we were fighting for our lives. So, at this point, I definitely know we are not an overconfident or cocky team. We are a focused team, and we know what we have got to do."
WIDE RECEIVER DWAYNE JARRETT
On Overruled Catch: "I had it and then when I was coming down with it and it brushed against my shoulder pad and it popped out a little bit and I scooped my hands back under it but the ref called it incomplete so I guess it was."
On Potential of the Team: "We have a great team here, we have a lot of talented players and the best is yet to come."