Head Coach Keith Gilbertson Quotes
On USC: "Nobody has stopped them. They have such balance and diversity in their offense. Everyone in the skilled positions contributes; all the backs get positive yards and the front plays well and the quarterback is playing well. So you just hope that you can slow them down. They are going to get the points and move the ball because that is how talented they are."
On Moving Terry Johnson: "I think Terry gave us a little bigger guy on the off tackle kind of plays and the tight end block down plays. When people trade the tight end down on us as they have been doing, sometimes we've got a weak outside line or our defensive end has not been a big guy. Kai Ellis was a little bigger guy, but Graham (Lasee) and Ty Eriks certainly are not. So when people play the tight end on us, we've got a bigger, 290-pound guy standing out there that has some quickness and athletic ability. It's just a spot that if they are going to put a bigger guy out there then we are going to be a little stronger off tackle. Terry Johnson is going to have to be able to play both places. Terry needs to be able to play inside and outside in a rotation. We intend to stay with what we have going for us for right now."
On Shifting D-Line: "We talked about it on Sunday. We thought we needed a bigger guy there and if people wanted to put the tight end on us, then we'd have two pretty good size guys, like (Manase) Hopoi. Before, as opposed to Manase, Terry (Johnson) was on the inside and we had some smaller guys on the outside. It just felt like that was a good change up for us. Plus he is a real physical and athletic guy that any tight end is going to have a tough time with. I don't think it makes it harder to double team. You can still get your scoops and your double teams. You can get your combination blocks up on them; it's not that much harder. He is just a bigger load of a guy for them to handle."
On Donny Mateaki: "I thought he gave us a good hustle out there and he had some really good numbers in terms of tackles, hurries and hustle to the ball. Donny can really run for a big kid. Donny goes in and he plays hard. It was a nice game for him and it was fun to see him get into the line-up and play as well as he did. He is a big, try-hard and run-fast person. He is a very talented guy. He is just a red-shirt freshman, so he has nothing but room to improve all the way up through his career here. He has a chance to be a really, really big guy and he can really run and hopefully he will continue to give us really good inside play because he has got some quickness."
On Getting Williams and Frederick the Ball: "Yes, we did made a conscious effort, obviously, to get both Fredrick and Reggie (Williams) the ball because we moved them around so much and put them in different positions."
On Receivers: "Last week Reggie (Williams) caught better in practice then he had all season. Reggie missed a day and then came back and caught very well. Charles (Frederick) was full speed all week; the first time since the middle of the Stanford week when he got the flu, so that was a very good thing. We have not had him at full speed since then. I thought the other guys, some of the youngsters caught the ball well. Quintin (Daniels) and Sonny (Shackleford), and all those kids caught the ball better. We had a better week with throwing and catching then we have had for quite awhile."
On Dealing With "Lowness" of Team: "Well, like any program or any coach, you face it up and try to figure out a plan to get out of it. I really don't know any other solution other then just plain hard work. It comes down to plain hard work and trying hard."
On Reacting to T-shirts: "I don't the T-shirts had as much to do with it other then the fact that if you are set about something, it is always good to have visual reminders. But I am not surprised at anything and you have heard me say this before, but a game is as mental as it is physical. I keep saying that and of course I have coaches Chuck Heater who played for Bo Schembechler and Randy Hart, who played for Woody Hayes, and of course then I get a barrage of Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes; the mental to the physical is like three to one and then it was four to one and then it was five to one and then it was like eight to one. So those Michigan and Ohio State guys have the same thing, it's just in numbers. But anyway, the game is entirely mental. I say that all the time. It is so mental. I think you always have to feel like you have something to prove and I think you always have to be respectful of your opponent. Then you have to go out and work hard during the week to get better. And if you do, normally, you can count on that. You may not win every time, but you can play hard and play well and you can be pleased with your reference. And if you don't, you are going to go out there and get your brains beat in. You are going to get beat, it doesn't matter who you play. If you do not respect your opponent and if you do not practice the way you should then you are not going to play hard and you will not have much success."
On Respecting Opponents: "I was hoping this was something our team learned before. To me this has always been the case. The game is as mental as it is physical. Does that change in the NFL? I really don't think so. I think this is true for all levels of football. One thing I found in the NFL is that everybody respects everybody else. Everyone knows that all the other teams have good players. Everybody knows that everyone has high draft choices and free agents and good coaches and good players. I never got the sense in the NFL that there was not respect for the opponent. Most everybody knows everybody else in the league, so they know how good they are. At the collegiate level, I sense it more, that the mental part of the game is key and if you are not right, then you are going to get beat. If you are right, then you have a chance to play well and win a game."
On Preparing for USC: "In terms of things to do, of course, I am going to keep reminding them about what needs to be done. But we have reminded them of things like this all week. We didn't decide just last week that, oh by the way, we should probably work hard and respect our opponent and practice well during the week. The other thing about it is, that anytime you are involved in this game, the great players I've been around collegiately were the guys you couldn't get out here on Sunday. If Sunday was a day off, Mark Brunell was up here, hanging around. You couldn't get Marques out of here. Guys like that were all looking at video, looking at what they did and how they played and wanting their grade sheet, even if it wasn't done and then going and watching more film. I think when you have teams of guys who are like that and who are willing to take that on, show up and are really interested, then you avoid those really up and really down problems. I think kids at this age, in particular with as many young guys as we are playing, you always have to have those peaks and valleys. We are not a real old team."
On Cody Pickett: "In terms of his attitude, Cody is no different with us. How he is with the media is his own choice, but he always is the same around his team and the coaches."
On Having Crowd Support at USC Game: "It is always a positive thing to have. I have been to some USC games that were really special in terms of what the crowd did for us. I was here in 1990 when we had come off a 20-17 thrashing to San Jose and a 20-14 thrashing at Purdue and we came home to a full crowd and the crowd really lifted our football team up. We got it going and had a good year, but our first two games had not been great efforts and we came home and played USC and this place was like I had never seen it before. And I had been coming around here for a long time and I had never seen it like that. It really propelled our team. Husky Stadium still has great fans and when they want to get into a game, particularly for your defense, they can make this place really hard to play in."
On Rich Alexis' Condition: "Rich won't play here today. He is being examined again. I am still not exactly sure what the injury is, whether it is a contusion, a pulled muscle, or strain. They ruled out a fracture. But I saw him when he was running and going to make a cut to go north-south and he put his foot on the ground and his leg just gave out and that's when he ran out of bounds. I saw that thing happen to him, but we are still waiting to see what the injury is and how long he will be out."
On Tusi Sa'au's Play: "Tusi Sa'au played 31, we were only going to play him about 20, but he played 31. We are going to hold him early in the week and go about business the way we did last week. And he did play very well."
On Joe Toledo and Zach Tuiasosopo's Injuries: "Joe Toledo will not go today. He came in today and said he felt a lot better and that he had improved a lot, but we will see how things are tomorrow. I really can't say until I see him go out and do something. We will probably hold Zach (Tuiasosopo) until Tuesday. His ankles on that astro-turf have had some kind of injury. So we will hold him too."
On Reggie Williams' Injury: "Reggie (Williams)'s problem was again with the turf. His feet didn't do well on that turf. That stuff is lethal. He planted his foot and it gave and he injured it. He came out of the game, but did go back in later. But these injuries are things you see happening a lot on astro-turf. We are not used to playing on it anymore. When I was here with coach James, we always watered the turf. At the game, it was not wet, like it is now. It had been watered just so you wouldn't get all that grab and torque and all those kinds of injuries. The field on Saturday night was really dry and sticky."
On games being fun: "We never tried to take the fun out of it. But the fun out of it is going out and working and going fast. I didn't think it looked like we were having much fun a week ago. It was very un-energertic. The only time you can have fun doing this is flying around the field, hitting people and trying to make plays, doing it as a team and celebrating as a team. The extra effort things are what make this game fun. Just going out there and punching a clock, its 12:30 now and I'll be out of here by 4:30. You're not going to have much fun. I told them, you've got to have fun playing this game. You have to enjoy what you are doing or you need to go find something else to do."
On Standout Players: "I thought our offensive tackles played much better. Obviously Charles Fredrick was outstanding. Cody was playing much better too. Defensively, I think our front seven did a great job with handling a really fine running back and a good defensive line. I thought Derrick Johnson played very well. And then you've got Sam Cunningham coming into the game as kind of a relief role like he did. Then we looked at our special teams and we see that Owen Biddle has 4 or 5 tackles. They had big plays and blocks; just a great effort by special teams. I thought all those people had a really good game."
On moving Terry Johnson outside on defense: "I just thought a bigger guy on people's tackles would have the ability to get some collapse on the outside. The pockets to me have looked really wide and I thought if we stuck Terry out there he could collapse the pockets. It was just my thoughts and defensive staff's thoughts to help close and collapse the pockets more consistently by having a guy that size with quickness and having a bigger guy off tackle to stretch out to the zones on the outside."
On Preparation Prior to OSU Game: "If you are talking about instant, positive results, there was a week of work that went into that. It wasn't just, hey, look we're gonna do this on Monday and then `bam' it happened. There is no magic in this stuff. You make your calls as best you can as a coach and you go out and work as hard as you can. You stay late and get up early and grind on this stuff as hard as you can. It's not magic, its hard work; it is just plain hard work. You look and see what's hurting you and you try to adjust to it and make a change. It wasn't instantaneous results as much as it was a really good day Tuesday and it was best on Wednesday in terms of throwing and catching and being into things and playing and practicing and speed and the tempo being good. It certainly was not instantaneous, we had all been putting in a plain hard week of work in the hopes that was the right plan. If it hadn't worked you'd be sitting there asking me, `how did you screw that up again?' That's how it is. The other thing is that mentally, once you realize you weren't flying around and you weren't having fun, we did the things we were supposed to do to make that happen. We did that and now our goal is to continue that."