Sept. 17, 2005
Washington Head Coach Tyrone Willingham
On the front defensive seven: "I think that bears no comment, because of the job they did. They had seven sacks, or something in that area. That created for a negative rush total. Any time you can do that it helps you win a football game. I was very impressed."
On the mood of the locker room after the game: "I don't think it was festive. I think that they were excited about the performance that they gave on the football field. They are extremely happy about a `W.'"
On breaking the eight-game losing streak: "I wouldn't say it was relief, because I don't think there has been much focus from a coaching staff standpoint. We just focus on today and I hope that our guys take this in stride and as a stepping-stone to play a lot better."
On the defensive pass rushing: "I think that there was overall improved play in all of the areas. You try to tag your guys or get them in position so that they can make plays; that's why you have the rotation or the substitution. The key is once you are in position your guys have to make plays and I think that our guys improved from that standpoint."
On the past week of practice: "Our whole team had a good week of practice. I thought that there was a sense of better execution throughout the week, there was more effort. I think that we are continuing to grow and I hope we get better in that avenue also."
On if there were changes in practice: "No, I have said all along that we are very confident in the manner that we do things and we will stick with them and that has been our game plan. So no we have not changed how we practice, or when we practice, or anything that we do. It's just getting better at all of those things and having a better understanding."
On the balance of passing and rushing offensively: "It makes the game a lot easier to call for our coaches, when you can depend on both of those. It makes it very difficult for other opponent to target one of those. Most coaches in this country would say they like to play a one-dimensional game, meaning forcing their opponent to have only one thing to go to. Then you can gradually take that away -- kind of squeeze it, kind of suffocate it. What we were able to do was have enough of a rushing attack, especially early in the ball game, and then add some very timely passing to that."
On the team's confidence: "I thought that started with our week of practice. When you practice better then you have a little more confidence in the guys next to you and you do not doubt, and you are not as reserved about your play. Both those things go hand in hand. I think our guys came out and believed that they could do some good things today."
On whom Johnnie Kirton reminds him of: "Johnnie Kirton. Johnnie today looked liked how I hope he will look like. I think he still has some more that he hasn't showed us yet. It was exciting to see him catch it and really run well with the ball down the field."
On Manase Hopoi: "I think the entire group played well, but we asked him especially, being one of our seniors and one of our leaders, to take some leadership. I think that he embraced that. He was excited to have a little more focus being placed on him and he stepped up."
On Isaiah's first quarter: "It was not only Isaiah. I think both teams started out a little slow. I think that we had a series of mistakes like someone else was looking for someone else to do something. We were able to get our running game going and get our feet on the ground and then started to add some of the things that Isaiah can do. And he did those very well."
On DuRocher being eligible: "Yes, it does change us a little bit. We will start to weave Johnny in there a little bit, but it will not change who the starter is for us -- Isaiah has earned that job. He has continued to play well in my opinion."
On the defense's blitzing: "Our lead guy has really been Scott White. He applies the best pressure coming off our blitz packet. We make sure we try to involve him in it because we think he does have the ability to make some plays."
On the win: "It is always nice to win,. It makes the water better, and I do enjoy good water."
On the shielding the players from making the next game Willingham vs. Charlie Weis: "That's pretty easy, because when the scoreboard finishes the day it will say Washington - Notre Dame. It will not say Tyrone- Charlie."
On what this upcoming game means to Willingham personally: "It means that we have a chance to be 2-2, and that's pretty good. I think that is pretty good. I think that is exciting to be 2-2."
On seeing his old players: "That is always an emotional moment, because you go into those guy's houses, you meet their parents. You have done all of the recruiting and you know little tidbits about them. I have always described it like this -- it is like playing your brother; you love him but you still want to beat him."
DEFENSIVE TACKLE Manase Hopoi
On his four sacks: "I was just motivated. Coach Hart was getting on us, saying we weren't getting a pass rush so I tried my best to get after them. I saw the Wazzu game and the UNLV game and I saw their D-linemen get some sacks so I thought, `Why not me?' So I tried to get after it as best I could, use my quickness as an advantage. We changed up some of the schemes with whatever they gave us."
On building on win: "This is a starting point. We did a lot of things right today. We made some mistakes but none that cost us the game. I think it's a step in the right direction. We're going to get ready for Notre Dame because we know they're coming with all they've got."
LINEBACKER Scott White
On the feeling after the game: "You can feel the energy in this locker room. Everybody's excited, everybody's upbeat. We've got to keep it going. We had a lot of good things going for us out there. Hopefully this will springboard us into the heart of our season now."
On the quarterback pressure: "It was a great job by the front. We didn't have to blitz a lot. We played a lot of zone behind them. We only ran a couple blitzes, two or three. For the most part, the front four did a fantastic job getting pressure on the quarterback. That was the story of the day."
On getting Coach Willingham his first victory: "I'm happy for Coach, he's put in a lot of hard work, a lot of time, a lot of effort. I'm just excited to get his first win for him. Hopefully it won't be the last."
On raising the team's confidence: "It boosts everybody's morale. Everybody feels like now we know we can do it. Guys have been preaching all along how good we are and the kind of team we're capable of being and it showed today out there on the field."
CORNERBACK Josh Okoebor
On the defensive pressure: "The linemen where whupping them, to be honest, all game long. They were getting a real big push, backing them up, making it easy for us as DBs to cover. They did the best job of the year today."
On his interception: "I saw the tight end run a corner route and then there was an out-route right under it. I saw the quarterback drop back and I knew he was going to throw it to the short side of the field, so I just jumped in. I saw the ball the whole way; it was mine. I wish I would've stayed up so I could have ran it back, but hey, there's always next week."
On making a statement with the win: "It's indescribable. We knew we had to come out today and we couldn't just win 17-14, we had to really make a statement. That's the only way that we were going to leave this game satisfied knowing that we were ready for the rest of the season. So we tried to make a statement. We had opportunities to score more points, but Idaho is a good team. They were with Wazzu all game, and they should have won against UNLV, so we knew we had to just come out here and beat them down."
TAILBACK Louis Rankin
On his first career touchdown: "It was really exciting -- the whole thing. It felt like a dream until I got into the endzone."
CENTER Brad Vanneman
On the team's 208 rushing yards: "I felt we did some good things today, but we didn't do everything that we needed to do. We kind of got our assignments crossed at times -- but it was still a lot better. When you rush for 160 yards in the first half, you know you are doing something right. But we are not quite ecstatic yet,"
On being able to work on little improvements this week instead of big improvements for the offensive line, as they prepare for Notre Dame: "It feels so good to get this off our chest and be able to celebrate a little bit, and to prepare. We have to work on our pad level, especially playing against a good team like Notre Dame. They are well coached, and they beat Michigan at Michigan which is not an easy task, so we have our work cut out for us. But we just got to play low, play hard, and play fast."
On this game being pivotal for the rest of the season: "I think it was. This was a crucial turning point that we had to do, and we did it. Our defense played incredible. We ran the ball. We did what we needed to do on the passing game. I thought we protected pretty well, for the most part. We are heading down the right path, and it is finally nice to see that we can do it and actually come out with a victory instead of messing around, and not getting anything done. "
QUARTERBACK Isaiah Stanback
On his playmaking ability despite defensive pressure: "I kind if laugh, because I know they want to get me so bad. I mean, that is everyone's mission on defense, to get the quarterback. When I see them coming to get me, I just laugh because I know I am just about to dump the ball to someone else, and make a play. It is fun; I take it as a challenge."
On what Coach Willingham said after the game: "He just said to remember the moment. Remember how it feels, and remember how we prepared this week. We had a great practice this week, so he just told us to remember this in the back of our heads, so we can resort back to it."
Idaho Head Coach Nick Holt
On the offense: "Offensively you can't give up seven sacks. You can't have nine tackles for losses. You've got to protect your quarterback better. You've got to run the ball better than minus four yards. You've got to be less predictable on second down. I thought that was a down that really hurt us and I'm going to give them some credit on defense. They did a nice job. They are well coached on defense. They got after us and they did exactly what you should do. I think they called a nice game on defense and made it hard on us on offense. We'll learn from it but we've just got to do a better job of not being so predictable in some situations. We've got to run the ball better and I know we are trying. I think our inside guys got stuffed all day long, it's unacceptable as an offensive line and we will address that in the upcoming week."
On the defense: "Defensively at times I thought we played really, really well. We had some nice goal-line stands; we have some nice defense in the first quarter and in the fourth quarter. It could have got ugly. They had their first team in right up until the second-to-last series. I like the way we competed in the second half. With all the bad field position, the punt block which is just inexcusable, the center went the wrong way, he didn't get the call, and we shanked one also for about 25 yards, it could have gotten really ugly. In the past the team probably would have given up 50 points at least with all of that great field position but these guys battled. I thought the assistant coaches did a nice job of keeping their kids focused on one play at a time."
On the secondary: "On special teams, other than that punt -- which was just a mental error -- there was nothing wrong with the scheme, our center just went the wrong way with his protection. When you are a freshman you don't want that to happen but you can't get mad at the kid. You just learn from it. I think we had three penalties by the secondary, two by one guy and one by another guy, that's 45 yards of great field position we gave them. It's still anybody's ballgame in the first half and it's just unacceptable. I know we are not going to get every call here -- we didn't get a call here at all -- but we need to do a better job with that as coaches and as players with penalties. I'm disappointed in what happened and in the outcome. Again, I thought we competed for the most part."
On struggling to run the ball: "When you can't run the ball you get your quarterback killed. That's exactly what I say all the time. Our kids know that and we've got to address it and we are trying to run the ball. It's just that when you are getting stuffed, and you want to make first down, and you can't do it running the ball, and then on second down when they are pressuring every down and you don't have enough guys to protect it, or guys are going the wrong way because they are really young, that's what happens. I applaud Washington's defensive coaches. That's exactly what I would have done today, too."
On Isaiah Stanback: "(He's a) good athlete and he'll made a lot of plays with his legs and he'll always give them a chance. He did exactly what I thought he would do. You've got to keep getting better personnel so when we are all over him, you've got to be able to finish it. We just need to get the right guys in the game at the right times because there are guys on the sidelines that probably can catch him."
On Steven Wichman: "When he had time he was pretty sharp. They are very similar to us on defense, a lot of things schematically. We just didn't have the numbers to pick it up because they are all out on the routes. That's what happens when you get into second and long, you just tee up."
On the status on the injured players: "I don't know. I know this, we've got to get tougher at some positions and play through some injuries. So we'll figure out how hurt they are and go from there but I don't think it's anything major, Desmond always has headaches and then Nate, just an MCL sprain. Thank God they wear braces. When the going gets tough we need guys to suck it up and not take themselves out of the game."
WIDE RECEIVER DANIEL SMITH
General Comments: "We came out flat; we could have played with more energy. Coming in we thought we were going to have a good game. The coaches prepared us and we believed in the system. We came out on the field with some early turnovers and miscommunications. A couple of our guys got bumped up, and that right there kind of put a stop on what we had going. We didn't execute plays that I thought we should have."
On Big Loss Being a Step Back: "I don't think it was a step-back, I think it was a learning experience. We never take steps-back, and we never give up. We played hard through the fourth quarter. We are going to learn from the film, and get better next week."
On Defensive Pressure: "The pressure wasn't too bad up front, the corners were playing soft in a zone. I guess they wanted to take away our deep threats, so that we would have to throw a lot of underneath balls. We were stuck in the short game, and we just have to execute what the coaches ask us to do. We had a lot of sacks and a lot of tackles around the line of scrimmage. We have just got to clean things up around the offensive line, and we will be ready next week."
On Quarterback Steve Wichman: "Steve was doing his job out there. He is a good quarterback. He is a tough guy that knows the offense well and he put the ball where it needed to be. There were some catches that weren't caught today that should have been caught. We need to do a better job of helping him out."
STRONG SAFETY D.J. DYKES
On Washington's Offense: "They played pretty well against us, and they beat us on a couple of plays. It is still preseason right now, so we have got to do a better job of playing when conference play starts. We have just got to bounce back from this loss, and play well. "
On running game: "We came out and just didn't stop the run. They came out and pounded the ball on us. I don't think they have any amazing players in their backfield. I think that it was more of the case of us not being physical enough and not tackling. We did expect them to run the ball, especially when we can't stop it."
LEFT GUARD JAKE TADVICK
On Washington's Defense in Comparison to Washington State: "I don't think there was that big of a difference between the two teams. We definitely played a lot better against Washington State, but Washington was able to get a lot more pressure on our offense. Both teams did good things against us, and both teams did bad things against us. They are both beatable."
On Idaho's Performance: "Our team played alright, but it is hard to pull anything good out of a game like this. In the second half our defense did a better job of tackling, but there isn't that much that you could get positive out of this game. We are going to learn from this and we are taking steps forward and making progress."