Sept. 7, 2004
Keith Gilbertson Press Conference On watching film: "It didn't tell me a great deal, but I think that our observation was correct. We played hard on defense and did some good things. I think Joe Lobendahn played an inspired game and I think that Dashon Goldson is going to be a good player. Mike Mapu and Evan Benjamin played well. Derrick Johnson played very well on special teams, particularly punt coverage. I thought that our kicking game was okay, but I would hope that our punter would become more of a weapon than he was. I think that Mike Braunstein will give us some good field goals, but I would have liked to have some of those field goals that we missed early in the game. Offensively, I think that we ran the ball pretty well and I liked how we blocked. I like the way that Kenny James and Each ran. The areas of concern are at the quarterback position and I don't know that our receivers are always right where they need to be, so we need to sharpen that up quite a bit. I was impressed with how hard we played when the score got up to 35, but we hung in there and tried to make a rally of it."
On quarterbacks: "They try and if you haven't been in that situation, and I think that there is only one guy in the room, the first time you go out there as a starter I think that it is really hard. The pressure is high and you don't want to let anybody down, but there are always times that you are afraid that you are going to make a mistake and that is exactly what you do. It is kind of like a self-fulfilling prophesy, but if people want to critique those guys now, unless you have been out there and had to do it than you wouldn't understand. I know all of those kids and everybody who is agonizing about it; no one knows what that is like unless you have done it. As a coach you appreciate them and you can't let the coaching get to them."
On starting QB: "Well I am not going to make that decision today. If we were playing today than I would start Casey. I thought that they all did some good things, Carl did a nice job at the end of the game when he was in there in a completely different scenario. I thought Carl did fine with what we gave him and I still think that he is going to be a really good player. Carl definitely could become a starter, you bet. In all honesty, I am tired of talking about the quarterbacks. I have said all that I am going to say and I wish that we didn't have a bye week this week, but away we go." On second week bye: "It seems like we have had a bye in the second week of the season every year. Last year we went from Ohio State to Indiana and Corey got hurt during warm ups, but we have been through it and we will all have gained from that experience. I didn't expect those kids to go in there and play a perfect game; we were far from it. We have to go with it and grow with it. There are going to be some growing pains and that is just how it is. If the hand goes out, we have to play it." On team confidence and mistakes: "I think that as long as they think that you have faith in them and believe in them, they just need to know that mistakes are okay. You are going to make mistakes and it is okay to make mistakes. No one is going to go out there and play a perfect game and I understand that. You just have to go out there and try your best of all of the time and try to minimize those mistakes that you make or the severity of it, than I think that you will be making progress. I would say the same thing about left guard or defensive end or even right corner, everybody is going to make mistakes every now and than. If it was a severe mistake than just don't make it again and you will improve. I think our mistakes were more catastrophic and I think we wouldn't have had the same conversation if he had thrown the ball out of bounds to the sideline instead of going the other way or the ball doesn't bounce on a hand off. If we are not in that situation than we won't have to throw the ball as much toward the end of the game. I think a couple of things went wrong and they were all big plays. The one throw that Casey made right after the fumble that got intercepted, our receiver ran a route and bumped into the umpire. He ran into him and the ball sailed right in there to where you would normally throw it and it hit their kid." On substitution patterns: "I don't think that had anything to do with our mistakes. The one thing that we wanted to do at the end of the first half, Casey is obviously the most experienced out of the three, we wanted to run our two-minute offense and we wanted to have him for that series. At the end of the half we ended up throwing another interception." On offense: "You move the ball well sometimes and other times you don't. Their defense has something to do with it at times, but there are some breakdowns at some positions that slow you down. I am not displeased with how anybody played and I liked the effort. I think the most frustrating thing is to go out there again and work 90-something offensive plays for 16 points and to have only two possessions in the red zone again. The red zone offense and defense were a huge thing for us in training camp and Saturday we ran 90-something plays for only 16 points." On running game: "I thought that Kenny ran hard and he is a tough offensive player. I like how he plays and how he goes at the defense, we are very pleased with Kenny James, but I would really like to get Shelton more opportunities. We need to get them in a rhythm with Shelton because I think Shelton is a big time player, but I am pleased with Kenny James and I am pleased with Each. Each had some fine plays and I though he took some hits that really slowed him down at the end of the game, so I would like to get James SIMMs a couple of reps. I like our backs and I thought that they did really well." On Shelton Sampson: "I think that it just didn't work out so that he would get a lot of playing time. We put him in for the one series, but then we went three and out, than we put Kenny back in and got a couple of first downs. I think it just worked out so that as soon as we got Kenny in he just didn't get much of a chance, he just needed that series to last longer. We need to try and get him on the field more too. When he was in there, I don't think that it was power running, but we certainly run some plays where we will run a lead draw and some things up the middle. We don't quite run the power offense per say, but we haven't really pulled the guard in awhile and tried to run the ball outside that way. Kenny is a good inside runner that makes people miss." On younger receivers: "It is hard to say because they didn't have many chances. I don't think the ball came there way much and Fresno State's defensive backs were very good. There were probably some places that they shouldn't have been." On offense: "I think that Fresno can press and cover to cause problems with out routes and they are experienced in the secondary. I think they have good corners and our guys just need to play. Corey Williams missed a lot of training camp with a hamstring and I think that Charles gets his touches and makes plays. We have to get a little more balance from the other side and than I think the inside receiver needs to get more balls and get more involved with what we are doing. I think that we can get more out of the tight-end position, there were some balls that went his way, but one got batted down and another one got thrown behind him. We just need to get a little more balance in catching the ball and the younger kids just need to be a contribution to the offense." On other Pac-10 teams: "I saw some scores, I watched Cal in the morning and they are obviously very impressive. They are a really solid team, but that is really the only team that I saw." On preparation: "It is still all about winning games, so you have to agonize over that for a couple of days. A lot of things I liked about this game and a lot of things that I didn't, I was pleased for the most part and I would hope to be after watching the video. There are some other things that we are going to need to get better at, but the positions that we are experienced in look like it. The things that we feel experienced in at fullback, tailback, middle linebacker, safety, and Derrick Johnson at corner you feel good about." On 48 passing attempts: "We threw the ball way more than we wanted to throw. It was just a repercussion of what happened in the game. The last quarter and half we were pretty much out of the game and just trying to get back into the game. Ideally, I definitely would not want for that to happen. When you get into that 40-thing it is usually out of desperation unless if you are playing the way that we were playing a couple of years ago. It really makes you cover all of the receivers and it is hard on the defense if you can do it successfully, but I don't think that we are there yet and we certainly don't have that kind of experience at receiver. That many balls just gives our guys that many more chances to be where they are not supposed to be that many more times, but you would like the game not to get to 28-10 too." Player outlooks: "I think that Mike Mapu is going to be a good player, obviously I think that Manase Hopoi is, and Donny Mateaki missed a lot of work while Greyson Gunheim did some great things. I think that Jordan White-Frisbee will get more and more playing time as the year goes on. A month from now he and Gunheim will be a lot more experienced because their last game was a high school all-star game. To go out there and line up at this level is tough to do and they will get better and we are excited about them." Defensive Line: "It was okay, I thought they did fine. With the two sacks you would like to have more, but I thought they played well. If you look at their attempts, they pretty much don't have to screw it up." On Milsten-Mateaki: "I think he is back, but you know his hamstring is still kind of lingering and I don't think that he played as well as Donny can play. I think he just needs to practice a lot because he has missed a lot." On improving: "Well some people say that it is from first to second, but I don't know that I have always believed that. I don't know that we did that a year ago or two years ago, but two years ago we made the biggest jump from week eight to nine. Even with the Rose Bowl team we really did the same thing and didn't make the big jump until late in the season, we really made a move and took off and I don't know that that always applies." On Douglas: "I think that he can be more of a weapon than he was, that was his first time as a punter. He has a big leg and the potential to be a fine punter, so he just needs to think of himself as more of a weapon. There were a couple of times where I felt like we needed a big one to change field possession and it just wasn't there." On Harris: "I don't think that he played, but we are going to play him and we are not going to red-shirt him. I would say the same about Trenton Tuiasosopo, but Howell, Gunheim, and White-Frisbee all played." On Isaiah Stanback: "It is hard to say because he missed some reads in there, threw and interception, and than fumbled that one for the touchdown. He is an option, yeah." Injuries: " Joe had that stinger at the end of the game, but I think he is fine. We are not going to push to hard this week. Brookes and Stanback had a sprained ankle, but I think that they will be fine. Brookes is probably going to be a little longer just because he is a bigger guy in the rehab. Derrick has a little bit of a sore wrist, but he will be ready to go, but I think that's it. Today we won't do much other than conditioning and some special teams stuff, but as we get later in the week we will see how everyone feels." Overall: "I thought we played hard and ran the ball, but for the most part I liked the way that we tackled. We tackled better, but I was disappointed on the one touchdown run because we had a couple of guys that had their chances and didn't get him, but I think that we tackled better."