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Washington-UCLA Postgame Quotes
Release: 09/23/2006
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Sept. 23, 2006

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Washington Head Coach Tyrone Willingham

General Comments: "For our young men to be able to come back in the manner that they came back in was really excellent. I thought our offense showed a lot of courage and our defense positioned us to have a chance to win the football game by just hanging in there. There were some terrible situations that they were place in, but they stood tall and kept touchdowns off the board - and that was critical and gave us a chance to get back in the ball game. And then of course the interception by Dan Howell was critical."

On the momentum gained by scoring at the end of the first half: "It was important because that put you back in the ball game, now you are one score away. You can come out, get a score and now we've got a dog race. That was critical, to get points on the board. Probably the most impressive thing was to come back out and, early in the third quarter, drive back down. Now you're back in position."

On the offensive turnaround after `sputtering' in the first half: "You are kind with the use of the term sputtering. I think struggling was the proper way to say that. But our guys just kept on battling when things were not going right, but all of a sudden, Isaiah makes a couple of throws and gets a couple of things in place and then all of a sudden you get the ball down the field. And then once you get close, you get hungry and you can see the end result and you get it in."

On the early struggles of Isaiah Stanback: "That's what you're not sure about - whether it's Isaiah or the depth of the route, if it's too short or too long, but you get back on Sunday and you have a better idea. But we weren't in synch, we were not where we needed to be. And that was not just the quarterback and receivers, that was everything. The run game was not very impressive. But the young men kept battling and kept working and fighting and good things happened."

On the difference in Stanback early versus late in the game: "We started executing. A quarterback can only do so much by himself. He was not where he wanted to be at the time, but our guys just kept working and started executing. And once you start executing, good things start to happen and we put ourselves in a better position."

On this team's confidence: "It's the continual process that I've talked about all along. Today was just another one of those steps. We're not there yet. We're still growing and learning how to win and how to be a champion."

On a size advantage: "I think they played pretty good and we did play not very well. It was not just a size advantage, if it was, then when we had it, we would have taken it down the field. But we did not execute, we didn't play in a manner that was very confident or physical or very forceful. But I think we got better as the game went on."

On Dan Howell's interception: "There are certain things that, at least I think, we have no humanly control over, and I am hoping that that [interception] was one of those things. All the things were in place for all the right reasons, allowing him to make that play and having it be a special moment for him and his family. It's one of those that he'll probably say that someone from up above was looking down and it was him."

On thoughts about putting in a back-up quarterback: "Well, it wasn't just the quarterback, so when it's not just the quarterback, then I'm pretty patient. You're always trying to figure out how you can get this team going and what's the right decision. You always have distant thoughts, but with everything going in the manner that is was, no, I was very patient with Isaiah. I don't' think it was all Isaiah. That's what I have to do and the other coaches have to do is see some of that. And sometimes that's tough to see because it looks like the finger is cuing on the quarterback. But we were not doing a lot of things well. And when that's the case, then we have to make sure that we find answers in some other places. What I saw was enough for me to be patient with him and allow him to execute his game and I thought he did a pretty nice job."

On UCLA's quick start: "Unfortunately, that's been two contests. Fresno State took their first drive down the field, and I'm not sure. I think I've got to find a better method or way for our guys to come out of the locker room. Maybe I'll have them walk out backwards or something. We need to do something different."

On what he told the team at halftime: "We need to get moving."

Washington Players

QUARTERBACK Isaiah Stanback
On the game:
"The defense played their hearts out, but the offense came out flat. We didn't do anything the first half. We made a decision at halftime to go out and play. If you going to play in the game you might as well play hard. We just had to make a decision to come out and play. We wanted to make a statement--we wanted to make sure we score on our first drive. We told our defense to get a stop so we can score again."

On the five year losing streak against UCLA: "This is a whole different team from those other teams. The past doesn't matter, and it was up to us to change that."

On coming back for the win after being down 16-0: "We knew we were nowhere near out of it. We were playing flat. Come halftime we had to make a decision. Warren Moon came over to me and said something in my ear right before the half, when we got that scoring drive, and ever since then I was focused."

On Sonny Shackleford's first touchdown: "We knew that they bracket, which means that they double team the inside receivers, and I tried to put the ball over his back shoulder so he could turn around and try to make a play out of it. And he went up and grabbed it. He had a great game."

On Johnnie Kirton's touchdown catch: "That was huge. He got off on a good start last week and got one, and he got another one this time. Those guys do so much blocking, and stuff like that, and sometimes they do not get much credit. But he playing his butt off right now with the absence of some of our key guys."

On the win against Fresno State carrying over to the win against UCLA: "It showed us what we could do. Last week we did not play a great game. We won, but we did not play great. And this week, in my opinion we played worse. But we are winning against very good teams, and we are not playing anywhere near our best. And that shows something. So if we go out there and put it together for a full game, out team will be dangerous."

TIGHT END Johnie Kirton
On the win:
"It was big. It was the first game in Pac-10s. We were confident going into it at the beginning of the game that we could get this streak against UCLA turned around. We didn't start off the best, but it is the end that counts."

On what Coach Willingham said at half-time: "He basically just said to step up to the challenge. He asked us if we were afraid. That was the last thing he said before he left, if we were afraid, and we said, `No'".

On his touchdown catch: "It was huge. Honestly, I didn't play very well today, but my number was called and I came through, and I am just glad he threw it to me."

On the 3-1 start: "It is definitely a confidence booster. We have decided in here that nobody else can tell us that we can't do it anymore. We are definitely as a whole a lot stronger than we were the last couple years."

On beating UCLA:
"I have never beat them before. It is the first time ever beating them. It feels good to finally get a win on them. They are a really good team. Their defense was really aggressive -- it was a brawl out there."

On the slow start: "I don't know what happened with that. We had a real good warm up, but I do not know why we came out so slow. In the second half, though, we just came out as a different team. I am glad."

On what Willingham said at half-time: "He told us to start playing the way we play. He didn't feel like we were playing up to our level of play. He didn't feel that we were being ourselves."

On the fans: "We need the fans. I thank the city of Seattle for supporting us like that. We need that every week and they're a big part of us and they are a big part of Husky football. Any time our fans come out and support us like that, with the city behind us, it gives us more confidence. So to all the fans please come support us, and thank you for supporting us today.

On playing Arizona next week: "The Pac-10 is one of those conferences that every week you can't rest, you can't relax you have to keep going and getting better every week. We know that and coach knows that, and our team is focused. We're going to go work hard every game just like we did last week and we're going to try to come out and win the game."

On the interception return:
"I just did what I was told. The defensive call required me to bust to the flats and I did just that. I was in the right place at the right time and all I had to do was catch it and run. After I caught it I just thought to myself, `I'm not getting caught.' Then when I crossed the goal line I just thought, `I just scored a touchdown!'"

On making a big play after return from father's funeral: "I almost couldn't breathe. It was unbelievable. I just wanted to come out this week and have a great performance for my dad. I knew he was watching me and all I could do was come out and play my hardest. God put me in the right place at the right time."

On the defense in the Red Zone: "That's Husky defense. We all really stood up and played real defense. That's defense we have to play everywhere on the field. We really had to bring that out today."

On the crowd: "They made them jump once or twice. That 12th man is always going to be there and the more of them there are, the more they make their presence known. You could tell the crowd was starting to affect them, especially when we started making plays late in the game. That is exactly what we need."

On the difference between the first and second half defense: "It's called finishing. We started off too slow. We had to come out in the second half and we had to finish it. I don't think there was a distinct point that turned it around. It is something that is within us and it clicked in each of us individually that we had to come out and finish."

On being halfway to being bowl eligible: "Our goal is to get to a bowl game. Our goal is a bowl game victory. This victory is just one game closer. We have checkpoints and every time we win we reach a checkpoint. The moral is high obviously and we have to focused, finish and start faster."

General Comments:
"We were psyched. We knew that we had to capitalize on some opportunities. I think we came out in the second half and played a heck of a game. We did what we needed to do. We're happy. The whole team is excited. You can tell by the vibe in the locker room. It was a well-fought battle and we pulled it out. I don't think that we played to our capabilities in the first half, but that just goes to show that we can step it up when it's time and make plays."

On the red zone defense: "We're a bend-but-don't-break-defense. That's the kind of mindset we take on. They might have gotten us in the red zone, but we bared down when the time came and only gave up three points in the second half."

On the importance of picking up the offense when UCLA held strong time of possession advantages in the first half: "It's always like that. That's just more motivation for us to go out there and execute our skills. We wont say that we wish for things like that, to be out there on defense for that long, but at the same time that's the time for us to showcase what we're really about and show that we're a great defense."

On the strength of the defense: "We are all clicking. We're just trying to build that chemistry, especially in the secondary, and I think we're really coming along. Mesphin had another interception and all credit due to our front seven. I think as we keep coming together as a defense unit we are going to definitely be one of the top defenses in the country."

On whether the team is back to where it needs to be: "We are on track to where we should be. We're getting the ship rolling in the right direction and I think that we're doing great thing. We're trying to live up the Husky tradition and the Husky pride that is entrusted in the program and that's what we're trying to show."

On the slow start:
"It killed me that we started off slow at the beginning and really the whole first half. That was good that we only gave up three points all those times. But we have to come out and start out faster. If we're sluggish against some teams they are going to put up more points and we might not be able to come back from it. We just have to come out focused from the beginning."

On the fourth quarter defense: "We did what we needed to do and that's all you can say. Once the game is over all you care about is the scoreboard and it said, Huskies 29, Bruins 19. All that really matters is to win. We'll go look at the film and correct our mistakes, but overall we got the "W" and that's all that really matters."

On pressuring the quarterback: "He's a big quarterback. He's like 6'5", 225 and we were trying to get pressure on him. They had a nice protection scheme with a lot of three-step drops and we had the nickel package in. In the second half we picked it up and started getting after him a little bit, forcing him to move around in the pocket."

On defending another good running back: "We started out slow against a good back last week, but even though he got his 100 yards, in the fourth quarter we shut it down. We did a better job of tackling this week and that helped us out. Playing for the University of Washington you play against good backs all across the nation so you just have to step up to the challenge."

UCLA Head Coach Karl Dorrell

General Comments: "It was a disapointing game for us. We did some very good things in the first half where everything was working well. We had a chance to really seize control of the game the first half. They gained some momentum late in the second quarter and got a score for them and really changed the complexion of the game. The first half we couldn't have played any better other than a few mistakes. The second half we just didn't get into the rhythm that we had in the first half - we made some positive plays but it just wasn't the same. They had great momentum from the success of ending the second quarter and going into halftime with scoring seven points. They did a nice job of finishing the game in the second half. That's one thing we didn't do, from our end of it, was to finish the game. We had some opportunities close to scoring in the red zone that really could have put the game out of reach and we didn't capitalize on those opportunities. My hat is off to them, they are a hard playing team and played all the way for sixty minutes and we had an opportunity to win it and we didn't. We are 0-1 in conference, and there are eight games to be played, and we are still going to fight to keep ourselves in contention to be a conference factor at the end of the season "

On Mistakes in the Red Zone: "We have made mistakes on our own. That's the hardest thing that we're taking into that locker room is that we had our opportunities to really do some great things that good teams do. We're still growing. This game is a hard mistake to learn from, but we will definitely learn from it."

On Whether Ben Olson saw the Linebacker on the Interception: "He probably saw it, but again, this was one of those games for him. You knew that the atmosphere was going to be different from the first two games he has had, and he played pretty well most of the game, except for he'd love to take that pass back. He's going to continue to grow and gain from this experience. We like to add it at the expence of a loss, but it is just one of those things we have to take at this given time and learn from it, and rebound and have a great week next week to get ourselves back going again."

On Terrence Austin's 79-yard Punt Return: "It was good to get a nice big return like that for the young guy to catch. It was a huge punt that overkicked the coverage, and he made a couple guys miss and he got us again into scoring position and a nice run for himself. We had a chance to really put up something bigger on the scoreboard. We're at right about the eight or nine yard line, I believe, and did not capitalize in a really critical time of the game where we should have. That's part of what happened in the first half - we did not finish with opportunities when we had a chance to. I know that when it comes down to scoring and red zone it looks like you did pretty well in terms of percentages, but they weren't touchdowns, we needed touchdowns and that's the difference in the game right now."

On Possible Improvements: We need to fix a lot of things. Right now it is just a number of things. We're not excecuting as well as we could. There is no single factor in it. I think it is one of those things that an offensive unit does learning how to play together. We have to continue to work on doing those things as well as we can."

On the UCLA Defense: "They played well. When you are playing against a dynamic quarterback - like Stanback - it's only so long you can continue to keep him totally shut down, so they played well. I think, offensively, we could have given them a little better comfort zone throughout the course of the game, and we did not do it, unfortunately."

UCLA Players

On red zone offense:
"When we get into the red zone we have to be able to convert for a score. The defense got a couple of turnovers for us and we weren't able to convert for some points. For whatever reason, we are not executing. I can't say exactly what it is that we are doing wrong, other than the fact that we are not executing."

On moving on to next game: "We need to be able to finish out the game. We should have won this game, but we just gave it away because we weren't converting in the red zone. We have to finish strong if we want to do well in this conference because there are so many great teams. "

On maintaining focus for entire game: "I really can't say what it was the went wrong for us today. We have to be more focused. We were in a huge stadium and all of the Washington fans were pumped up. We have to be able to come out and just want to win the game."

On Stanback:
"Stanback just took over that game. His team was down and he is obviously the leader of this team. He stepped up and made some great plays. He is an amazing football player and I have a lot of respect for him, his team, and coach Willingham."

On defense: "I think that defensively in the first half that we played well. I can only speak for the defense right now and I think that we played great. Even in the second half, it's college football and you can't stop everybody. Stanback is a great football player and he just made the plays that he had to make against us. I think that we are a team on the rise with a great future."

On losing the game: "A loss is a loss no matter how you look at it. I don't know how to take it either way. If you don't get the "w" than nothing else really matters at that point. I am not going to sit here and tell you that it doesn't hurt, because it hurts bad."

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