Rick Neuheisel Discusses Next Opponent
Sept. 4, 2000
General Remarks: "First of all, I would like to say how excited we are to play a team as talented as Miami. They are ranked fourth in the country, and deservedly so. They don't look to have any weaknesses, great outside speed, accompanied by some great interior lineman on both sides of the ball that can fly around and make a lot of plays. It is reminiscent of Miami teams of old who competed for national championships, and certainly they are in the hunt this year. We have our hands full but we are excited about it because it means that our program also gets to be in the spotlight. Hopefully we will pay well, enough to show the country that we deserve to be there."
On History of Washington and Miami: "There are certainly people here who remember the trip to Miami, and remember it fondly because it went in Washington's favor. But that was all before me. I am learning as we go about the great tradition that exists here in Seattle and certainly in Miami. Hopefully this will be a game that goes down in the history books for both programs."
On the Pac-10 vs. Non-Conference Opponents: "First, the Pac-10 has for the most part, always played a heavy non-conference schedule. You look at UCLA just having played Alabama and still having Michigan on their schedule. We play Miami this week and then Colorado. Arizona has Ohio State. Everyone takes on many programs and in so doing, we put ourselves in a little bit of risk. A year ago when things didn't go well, everyone was quick to point out the demise in the Pac-10. I think that as we have said we believe this kind of thing to be cyclical. Most of the teams in our league had first-year quarterbacks, or at least who were starting for the first time. That always makes it difficult, especially on the road."
On Team Speed: "I would say that it is a major factor of concern. It is evident that Miami possesses track-like speed. Santana Moss and company are loaded with talent and great speed. While I think we have players who can run with them, I'm not sure on an overall standpoint if we are there yet. I don't know if that might have been a little bit of over-emphasis. Maybe we went a little bit too hard in two-a-days and that is why we are leg-weary, or if that is just the state that we are in as a program. Certainly we are going to have to try to keep up with these guys."
On John Anderson: "Well, first of all we are as excited as we can be that John came to the University of Washington. He had a great freshman season. He is a top-flight kicker. He did not have a great day on Saturday. But as always the case, you look at the kicker and ask him what is wrong, but it is really a three-man job. I think we just need time between the three of them. Our snapper had a dislocated thumb that made it difficult to get the ball back in the same manner that we had practiced. I'm not making excuses for John. I am as hard on him as any other guy on the team and luckily he is mentally tough enough to handle it."
On Paul Arnold: "I think that Paul was tentative on Saturday. I don't know if it was because he didn't get enough work in or because of the nagging back problem or if he was just nervous. Fortunately, in the second half he looked where he had played in the second half of last season. I still think there is much room for improvement from not only him, but all of our backs. We have to be more aggressive hitting the line of scrimmage."
On the Wide Receiver Position: "I was pleased with the wide receiver play on Saturday. Todd Elstrom did the things we hoped he would do. He was kind of thrusted into a leadership role because of the injury to Chris Juergens, but he responded well. He made some big plays for us and had over a 100 yards receiving and hopefully can remain consistent throughout the year. The other players were unknowns because none of them had a caught a pass in a college football game. Wilbur Hooks really rose to the occasion and will start this week. Justin Robbins and Wondame Davis are both guys that I think can get better and give us some depth at that position. We also might use Derrick Johnson at wide receiver as well."
On Marques Tuiasosopo: "Well, we are going to need a big-time performance from him, as we do every week. As we try to dimensionalize our offense, he is still the focal point. He has got to be very good with the ball in the option game as well as in his passing. He has got to get us into the right plays. I hope he is up to the occasion, he normally is when called upon. You are always concerned for the well being of a player when you have that much invested in a player, as we do in Marques. But, I think most of the injuries that happen to quarterbacks is when they are standing there throwing the ball and exposed to hits. When you are running the ball you are able to see the tackler and cushion the blow a little bit. There is some risk in having him run the ball but he is our go-to guy right now, and I don't know that we can afford not to have him as part of our perimeter offense."
On Miami Quarterback Ken Dorsey: "I visited Ken's high school in northern California when I was recruiting at Colorado. I thought him to be a very talented guy and certainly he has proven that he belongs at an elite program such as Miami. Obviously he has some great weapons to throw to and we will do our best to not let him beat us, but it is hard to stop him or shut him down."
On Miami Wide Receiver Santana Moss: "We are not going to be able to take Santana Moss out of the game, what we are going to try to do is keep him from winning the game by himself. Our secondary is excited about that challenge. We have also got to try to get some pressure on the quarterback so that he can't just sit back there and wait for the receiver to get open."