Sept. 1, 2007
Washington at Syracuse
Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
Courtesy Syracuse Sports Information
Coach Tyrone Willingham:
"Obviously, there are a lot of smiles, but this was a first game and there are some things we need to work on. Jake (Locker) was so-so. He can do better. I think Louis (Rankin) can do better, too."
On the early offensive problems:
"We had told Jake that every quarterback is going to make mistake. We knew he would settle down after the slow start. We expected to do what we did. That is our expectation in every game. It was a big play when Louis (Rankin) turned what looked like it was going to be a loss into a big gainer. Good players step up and make plays, and he did."
"That is the most speed we've had on the field in three years, and it showed in a lot of positions. There was one play where Louis (Rankin) didn't look like he had the corner, and then the next thing you know, he's going in for the TD."
"Our guys gave a great effort. When they do that, we have a chance to win any game."
Senior Outside Linebacker Dan Howell
On ability to make defensive adjustments:
"Coach (Willingham) always tells us we have to make adjustments fast, we have to start fast. In the first series they can show anything, we don't know what they are going to come out with and we have to prepare for many things and we have to learn to adjust as fast as we can and play hard. We played harder than them in the first series, then the first half and in the end we were able to play harder the entire game."
On starting amongst freshmen:
"The underclassmen didn't need to be settled down. They were very composed for freshmen. I was pretty impressed. We all have room to improve always. But I was impressed by their game play and their ability to make plays."
On any jitters:
"There was a little confusion by their formation early on. I think after we got a sense of what we had to do, we were able to settle down."
On ability to stop the run:
"I think our ability to fit the run is what stopped Syracuse. They had a couple of runs in the first series, but we were able to adjust, settle down, fit our gaps properly and wrap up and make tackles. We were just able to play good defense."
Senior Center Juan Garcia
On the running game's effectiveness:
"I think our game plan and our execution worked tonight. You never know what to expect in an opening game and how teams are going to come out. You never have enough film on the team. They can change their entire defense. We executed the game plan and came through."
On offensive effort:
"I think we made a couple of mental mistakes. But we did pretty well. On a scale of one-ten, I would give us about a six-to-seven because we are capable of more but we played very hard."
On building on victory:
"We need to go one game at a time. We have a ranked team in Boise State next week and we to execute each and every time we play."
Redshirt Freshman Quarterback Jake Locker
On family support in the crowd:
"I think there were about 70 people from my town of Ferndale and about 150 from my home county."
On early game performance:
"The first couple of drives, we could have started off better. I threw a couple of balls with some pretty good zip on them that went high. We could have scored a little bit earlier and a little bit quicker. We played well on offense overall but we have some things that need to be cleaned up. But it was a good start."
On making adjustments:
"I think we just settled in on offense. Everyone was pretty excited and we just settled in and executed the game plan and we were effective tonight."
On performance of Louis Rankin:
"Louis is a big play guy and he showed that tonight. He can always break one free. It's always great when you are struggling and someone makes a play he did tonight. It excites everyone and you want to be apart of that. It energizes everyone and it jump started us tonight."
Senior Defensive End Greyson Gunheim:
On away-game crowd support:
"I think our fans are the best. They always seem to be there no matter the outcome. To have fan support during an away game is really special.
On defensive growth since last season:
"We always have stuff to work on. But we play as one unit now. We always know where each of us is going to be and that always help. We don't void any gaps and it helps the entire team."
On stopping the Syracuse running game:
"We mentioned our gaps and if we had a double or people tried chipping us, we always fight the gap and fight the double teams and not allow openings. The mindset was to stop the run and stop it early to make a statement that we've improved from last year."