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Washington-Air Force Postgame Quotes
Release: 09/03/2005
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Sept. 3, 2005

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Washington Head Coach Tyrone Willingham

General Comments: "We had a great opportunity to win the ballgame. There were several opportunities to make some plays and we didn't make them. When you don't make them, you give the momentum to your opponent. They did a great job of taking advantage of their opportunities and keeping the pressure on us."

About the 84-yard pass: "The coverage was there, but the problem was that we tried to do something well, to do something great. We went for the strip, which allowed him to avoid the tackle and we didn't have a guy there to assist him."

On the defense's performance in the fourth quarter vs. the first three quarters: "I'm not so sure that the amount of time that our defense spent on the field all day didn't have an impact on us. We were just missing things that we were taking care of before and that's when you have to lock in and focus and you can't get distracted. You have to make those plays and we didn't do that."

On Isaiah Stanback's performance: "Not knowing all of his stats, I thought he managed the game pretty well. I was pleased but please understand that what is most pleasing is a win and we did not do that and that is a criteria that I have set for our program. We have to find a way to win and we didn't do that."

On Louis Rankin's performance: "I thought it was a solid performance, but there are going to be some things that he is going to look at and say `I should have done better'. And that was the offensive line, the receiving corps, the quarterback, the coaches, everybody."

On UW injuries: I think it is safe to say that we took some hits in our secondary. I think we lost CJ Wallace for a portion of the ballgame, who I think is a leader of the secondary group. When you lose those guys, and we also lost Roy Lewis, we don't have a lot of depth and that was an area that today was stressed because that is what the option does to you."

On this being a tough loss: "Have you ever seen a nice way to lose? I haven't. They are all tough. We just needed to step up and make a play. If we can make a play down the stretch, on offense or defense, there is a good chance that we win the ballgame."

On keeping the team's spirit up after last season: "We will tell our football team the truth. The truth is, we were close but you don't get anything from being close. What we have to do is keep working, keep digging because there were some good things there. We have to just keep coming. I'm told if you keep pumping water from the well, water eventually shows up."

Positives: "We fought. I think the team kept coming, kept trying and were trying to do the things we asked them to do as coaches."

On whether he felt comfortable with the 17-6 lead: "No. I've been around football too long. My biggest concern was our players. When you have a football team that hasn't had a whole lot of success you king of get excited, kind of giddy, about where you are at and that in my eyes is almost the equivilant to a let down. You have to guard against that. So my job is to make sure that our guys keep pressing, keep grinding to make plays down the stretch."

Washington Players

On mood of team:
"It's very disappointing. We tried to get a win under our belt with a new coaching staff. We just let it slip out of our fingers. I guess they just wanted it more than we did. We just let it slip."

On Air Force's offensive system: "It was pretty complicated, but as long as you read your keys it wasn't that hard. A couple times we had missed assignment and tackled the wrong guy or went to the wrong place and then they ran for some yards on us."

LINEBACKER Evan Benjamin
On letting game slip away:
"We got a little antsy when we got ahead a little bit. We've just got to finish."

On dealing with injuries: "It comes down to our defense. We needed to make a stop down the stretch and we couldn't do it. We have to learn how to finish. There's no secret to it, they moved the ball when they had to and made plays when they had to and we didn't."

On performance of linebackers: "Personally, I know I could have made a couple more plays and done a little extra. We have to watch the film, but if it's not a win I don't know how well any of us really did."

CORNERBACK Matt Fountaine
On feeling in the lockerroom:
"This hurts. It hurts the guys on the team a lot more than anything that happened last year hurt. That feeling that's in our stomachs right now, we've got to be able to shake it off. It's a tough task but something that you've got to have if you play this sport -- you've got to be able to shake it off and get ready because come Monday you're preparing for someone else."

On if they thought they had the game: "From last year I learned that you cannot assume anything. I liked what we were doing defensively. I liked what we were doing offensively. But the boys over there at Air Force, you've got to give them a lot of credit because they just kept grinding on both sides of the ball."

On defending Air Force's offense: "I think our coaches prepared us very well. We were ready for all the looks that they gave us. I was out there having fu. As a defense we just have to learn how to put it away."

On shaking off the loss: "There's another team coming in here and they don't care how you feel. They're prepared to come in and beat you. They could care less what about you did last week or how your emotions are. That's how you shake it off. You've got to know that there's another team coming in here next week and if you don't want to feel this way again you've got to get a win."

QUARTERBACK Isaiah Stanback
General Comments:
"I thought we did pretty well. Some plays we didn't make. We just got to find a way to win. Air Force is a good team, but we had it in our hands, and we just let it go."

On having one quarterback: "Coach said he is a `one quarterback' kind of guy. I wasn't worried about how much time I was going to play; I was just going in there, trying to lead the team."

On not running the ball as much as he did in 2004: "That is just me progressing as a player. I've got to learn how to let other guys make plays. I used to put a lot of pressure on myself to make plays. When it's my turn to make plays, I will use my legs, but I am a quarterback so I have to throw the ball first."

On the last play: "It was just a desperation play. It was just, `throw it up, and hope someone comes down with it in the end-zone.'"

General Comments:
"We didn't do well enough. We didn't get the win, and that was mission number one. I am disappointed; we are all disappointed. Personally, I was excited to get my first touchdown. I did alright out there, but obviously I can do more."

On spirit of team after touchdown scored: "The win was in sight. It was ours to take, and we just let it go. We can't do thaT."

On season outlook: "This was just game one. We will watch the film, learn from it, and move on. We've got Cal next week. Don't count us out - we have 10 more games to go."

TAILBACK Louis Rankin
On career high in rushing:
"We lost the game, so I guess that isn't enough. I am hoping next week that we will win the game."

On season outlook: "I think we will be O.K. We have to step it up next week and get the win. We got our first loss, so now we are just taking each game at a time."

Air Force Head Coach Fisher DeBerry

General Comments: "This was a great college football game today. I'm certainly proud of our football team. To come on the road and be 11 points down and give up two turnovers in the game, it didn't look too good. But you never rule a Falcon out. I'm certainly proud of our football team and the way that they hung in there and overcame some things that happened to us. Coming back and winning it is a good sign of the character that we have on our football team."

On Greg Kirkwood: "I am certainly very happy for our wide receiver, Greg Kirkwood. This was a special game for him. He made some great plays in the game. We had outstanding protection and put the ball in there very well."

On using two quarterbacks: "We used two quarterbacks, which was intentional and was decided before the game. We weren't disapointed in any way with what Shaun Carney was doing in the game. It was a strategy we used to change the pace of the game and we were successful in doing that. Adam (Fitch) moved the ball very well. We were our own worst enemies today and we have to do something about that."

On O'Dea's kick at the end of the game: "That sky kick by O'Dea at the end of the game was a thing of mastery. I thought he hit it in the right spot. He [the receiver] had trouble handling it because it was into the sun. That was a really big factor in the ballgame also."

About Washington: "I want to give the University of Washington a lot of credit. They have been through a lot of adversity, they had some injuries, they had some players who were told at the last moment that they would not be able to play. I think Coach Willingham and his staff did an outstanding job of having their football team ready to play. The game plan they executed was really what we anticipated. I think they have some fine running backs but I think their quarterback far exceeded our expectations. He has improved so much from last year."

Air Force Players

On last drive:
"Maybe the Huskies were tired. We just looked at each other's eyes and told each other that we were going to do it."

On Kirkwood coming home to play: "He was really excited. He was trying to get tickets for everyone and everyone had signs for Greg Kirkwood. I am glad that he played so well."

On first and goal on last drive: "I thought that I was in the first time. I might have been stopped on second and goal. On the first one I got in to my waist; I don't know how I didn't get a touchdown. The second one I think they actually stopped me. We were confident because we had three more downs to score on."

On offensive line: "Our offensive line played really well. I didn't get hit the whole game until the last drive, but no one was supposed to pick up that guy anyway. I felt really comfortable back there with them and I think that we are going to be a great team."

On offensive strategy: "I think that we are still trying to out-coach people like we have always done and play smash-mouth football."

On playing back in home state:
"It was great to just come home and play two hours away from my house. The biggest thing was just getting the win."

On touchdown catch: "We ran the same play we had earlier. It was a slightlly different formation and the corner came up, we caught the other receiver on the wheel. We just threw it over the top."

On passing more later in the game: "We were just trying to stretch the defense. When they start putting a lot of people in the box we can spread the field and open up some things for the running game."

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