Sept. 5, 2005
On Cal's upgraded talent since coaching at Stanford: "I thought they have always had talent. I thought they were one of those teams where every year you would see two or three of their guys going to the league. They have done a great job of playing as a team, and that makes all the difference in the world. When you put all those things together in terms of great quarterback play, great running back play, and a great defense you get it done."
On upgrade in Cal's speed: "I think I have noticed that. Usually with the more success that you have, the more upgrades you get in terms of speed. Usually the better the players, the bigger, faster, and stronger they are. When you get these things, they usually play with a lot more confidence. Playing with confidence alone will make you successful."
On coaching differences between Notre Dame and Washington: "Three o'clock is probably still the same, because that is a pretty good time to get out on the field. Obviously every university is different. A state university differs from a public school based on how they function, how you get things done, etc."
On status of Joe Toledo: "Joe will not be available this weekend. We will probably make a move by taking our right tackle and move him to the left side and put Chad on the right side. Hopefully we will have our best guy, Robin Meadow, taking care of covering our quarterback's back. We did some good things on our line on Saturday, so hopefully we will be able to make that adjustment."
On game plan against Marshawn Lynch: "We try not to give out our secrets, but obviously we have a great deal of respect for him and what he has done last year and this year. He is, without question, maybe the best back in the conference. I say that knowing that you have a guy like Reggie Bush in the conference."
On Air Force game: "Our guys did some good things, but there were also some things that we could have done a better job with. We were up 17-6 moving towards the end of the game. The defenders were unable to close a ball game out. We need to be able to make those five or six plays down the stretch that closes the game out and that is what good teams do."
On preparing the players: "It is a gradual process to get the players and their attitudes all in the right place. We just need to keep working hard and these things will come."
On secondary injuries: "I think for the most part we will be okay. We had CJ Wallace go down in the ball game, but I think that he will be okay. We also had Roy Lewis go down in the ball game. We also have a couple of other guys who are injured, so hopefully these guys can get healthy and back on the field soon."
On length of Joe Toledo injury: "Joe will probably be out for less than two weeks, but it could be less or more."
On possible position changes to help secondary: "I think that our first line of defense is to use the guys that already play the position. We will see if they have been working and they will have a chance to create opportunities and step up to make their contributions to this team."
On Isaiah Stanback's performance: "I thought that our quarterback played very well. A victory is what I believe is most important and I think that Isaiah would agree with me on that. He wants to be a guy that leads his team to victory. We will work on our criteria for him. I thought his command of our system was good. I thought that his command of himself was good. I thought that his execution was good and he had a good start for the Huskies."
On Stanback's improvements from now since the spring: "It was just a continuation of working hard and putting the time in. When he feels comfortable with the system, I think he will understand. There are still some growing pains that all quarterbacks have and he had some Saturday. These things will continue, but hopefully all of his performances will look like that or better."
On style of quarterback Stanback will be: "That depends, but I have always said that an important role for your quarterback is to involve the rest of your team. It would be a real shame if went out there and played with nine guys, because that would not be an advantage for us. Therefore, our quarterback's role is important to include all of the guys in our offense and I think we saw some of that in our offense on Saturday. That is important, but I also think that it is important for him to create opportunities to advance the football. I think that he has demonstrated what I thought he was capable of doing so far."
On Air Force's game plan: Air Force did the same thing that we thought they would do in our practice sessions. We didn't change any schemes or anything, it was the same. It takes that kind of mental focus to make the plays down the stretch."
On giving up lead against Air Force: "I don't get frustrated or confused because I think we have some control over what happened to us. I think that we can change things for the future, but please understand that I respect the team that we played and it is not going to be easy against any of the other teams that we will play because we have a tough schedule. I do believe that we can change the things that went wrong and I think that we just have to go about the task of getting it done."
On Air Force being a smaller team and how to play against that style: "They had a lot of guys that were pretty big guys, so I don't think they were as small a team as everyone things. Will there be bigger teams that we will play down the road? Absolutely. The key for us again is going to be the ability to mix the game up. Our ability to run the ball will open up things in our passing game. Cody Ellis caught that pass out of the play-action pass that worked out perfectly. We are not going to be just a power game and we will get a lot of things opening up off of that."
On position rotations: "It is by design for this ball team. Each ball game will decide different things for us in terms of how we use all of our personal. Going into our camp, there was a great deal of competition for a lot of spots. If those guys play well, they deserve to play. At this point it is all based on how they perform in a game and that is really important."
On season so far: "I am very pleased with what we have done so far, but my standard is the team's standard. For us it is all about winning."
On Cal's replacement quarterback: "I can only imagine trying to think along the lines of what they might think. I think that they will use the run a lot in the system they have. I think they have a lot of confidence in him, but they have confidence in their quarterback's skill. They have confidence in their running back as well and I think that they felt that their quarterback was handicapped a little bit by him going one for 10."
On defensive performance against the option: "I probably have some good plays with both our linebackers and up front against the option. We did a decent job against the option. Our overall defense did some good things, but again in our secondary there were a couple times where our guys fell a step behind because of their change in responsibility. My biggest problem is that we just didn't finish it and we have to be able to do that."
On possibility of conditioning being the factor for not closing the game out on defense: "I don't think conditioning was the problem, I think that it was a mental thing. I relate it to our young men and an experience I had in my youth. One time I went hunting with my father when I was about 13 years old and I was in junior high. I was out there in the best condition in my life, and I knew that I was in great shape. I went hunting with him for 10 minutes and I was already tired. It wasn't physical, it was mental, because I didn't want to be there."
On Air Force deep routes: "I think that you have to be very careful when you are trying to look for the ball when the guy has a lead on you. When it comes to that situation, I think that you have to catch up to the guy first before you try and for the ball. He is probably anticipating that the quarterback is not going to make that mistake of under-throwing that ball."
On timeout call before going for the first down on fourth down deep in Air Force territory: "I was hoping that we could make it. The first thing you want to do is get points on the board, then you know where to go from there. A lot of times field goals win football games, but it was early and we needed to start scoring touchdowns. We just didn't make it."
On working Rankin in as a full time running back: "I think it could happen, but you also need to keep your runners fresh. It is just one of those things that you want to try and get a feel for."
On if it is difficult to scout a team coming off a division I-AA game: "I don't think so because in this case we have a staff that has been here a couple years now. We also have the information on Cal from last year that we can take a look at. You have the first game to look at, even though they will make some changes. I think that you can get a fair read on them system wise, while individual players might now be quite as clear."
On Johnny Kirton: "I think he can do a lot of things. I don't think that he is limited to being a tight end, but I am excited about what he has been doing in such a short period of time. I think that he can become an even greater player at his position. I would imagine that in high school he didn't have to block at all considering he was carrying the football. It is probably quite a transition for him, but I think that he is a great athlete that wants to help this football team."
On long snapper: "Andy Heater got the start for us. There was the possibility that Joe Toledo could have got the start for us, but right now he is still wearing that brace on his arm. He is not very comfortable and either is coach Willingham while he has that brace on."
On keeping Stanback's responsibilities limited: "You will always some reigns on what is given to him, but this game plan will have a little more demands on it. Air Force's style of defense didn't demand as much from him, but I think that this one will. Hopefully all of his studying over the off-season was not just for the Air Force game. Hopefully this will carry over into the rest of the season, so therefore I think that he will be able to take that next step and expand his game."