September 8, 2008

Tough Loss for Huskies

WASHINGTON

Head Coach Tyrone Willingham

On the game in general.

"I'm extremely proud of our young men and the way they battled this afternoon. We talked to them about coming out and playing like Huskies play, with the kind of fight, the kind of of effort, the kind of energy and I thought very much that they did that. Obviously there were a few things in terms of execution that we could have done better, but I thought our young men gave themselves the opportunity to win, and that should be the kind of pride that the Huskies should play with."

Regarding the excessive celebration penalty on Locker.

"It's unfortunate, but it's one that they almost have to call. It really should be a no call, but it's one that they've got to call when they see that, and that's what they've been prepped all year to do. We've been battling the sportsmanship issue and what is celebration. We've been battling that for a long time. We'll continue to battle with that, what is the right form of celebration and what should be penalized. The game is an emotional game, and you cannot play it without emotion and therefore you're going to celebrate. The key is trying to manufacture the right type of celebration that does not belittle the game and the sportsmanship that should be a part of the game."

On the play of Locker.

"He missed some [passes] - gosh I'd like him to hit every one of those, and I don't think he would feel any different. He'd want to hit every one of those, but he also threw some pretty nice balls out there that didn't get caught, so he's doing fine."

On the Huskies' defense.

"We needed to be maybe just one series better, just to get one more stop in there to give us a chance to get this thing done. I thought they stepped up big when they got the fumble down in the endzone. It was a heck of a drive, and they mustered enough up to get something done and keep them off the board. So there were some good thing, but we've got to continue to get better."

On his opinion of BYU as a team.

"That is a good football team. That running back they have is very difficult to tackle. He's a big man that runs well. He's nifty, he catches the football. Their tight end, obviously posed some problems. They are big tight ends that move well and catch the football."

On Darin Harris.

"Right now, I think the outlook for Darin Harris is very good. There is no form of neck injury we are able to see right now, so he should be fine from that standpoint. We believe that it's more of a concussion than anything else. You could see when he was down that he was moving and wanting to get back and play. It was very close, but I think he'll be alright."

On Washington's running game.

"We picked up our running game in the second half. We did some things a little bit at that point. In the first half, I think it was solely Jake scrambling and doing some things on the run game. But I think in the second half, David Freeman seemed to find some things, see some things, hit some things pretty well, and I think we got a little better than."


Defensive Coordinator Ed Donatell

On switching between the 3-4 and 4-3.

"The purpose of that is to apply mental pressure to their preparation and also to utilize our personnel." 

On Trenton Tuiasosopo.

"He did a good job and he is one of our main guys and we want to get him into the ballgame." 

Did the defense improve this week?

"I didn't see what I wanted from week one to week two.  We faced such diversity in attacks – we had a team that hides the ball in the first week and one that shows it to you this week.  They [BYU] drop back and have a very experienced line that blocked us up very good." 

On no sacks or tackles for loss.

"They blocked us pretty well and their no huddle did a nice job of keeping us off balance." 

Did the defense respond to Darin Harris's injury?

"We came up with a play, it took us until the goal line but we did.  The kids are working hard; I just don't have them in the right positions enough yet.  That is all I can tell you  - I don't have them in the right positions enough yet.  They will continue to work hard and we will find a way for the talent to be utilized." 

On BYU.

"We knew they had a nice running back, an outstanding quarterback and a good tight end.  They have a lot of tools - a lot of foundation and tradition in their offense.  We thought we could do more, but we didn't do enough to win the ball game – no question about it.  I really felt that doing our part there would have been a different result today and that all starts with me."


Offensive Coordinator Tim Lappano

On the excessive celebration penalty.

"That was tough – he did break the rule but by no means did he mean any disrespect to BYU.  He wasn't taunting anybody – he flipped it up in the air, which is against the rules.  That one hurt and that was a tough lesson to learn.  You don't make that call but I'm already in trouble," Lappano later continued, "Everyone knows he wasn't taunting anybody – that's not the kind of kid he is – I just don't agree with it."

What did Lappano say to Jake Locker?

"I told him I was proud of him.  He kept competing even though he missed some throws down the stretch.  He found some ways to make a couple of throws and he showed grit and determination to get the ball down field and score.  He feels terrible and he apologized to his teammates." 

On the offense's improvement.

"Our kids responded well this week.  There was a lot of pressure of them and they fought hard and showed a lot of grit in this football game.  They didn't make all of the plays but they found a way to give us chance to tie the game on that last drive.  You have to like their fight and the young kids are getting better.  We relied on a freshman tight end, then our freshman running back got hurt and David Freeman came in and did a nice job.  Jermaine Kearse caught that touchdown pass in the endzone and as those guys get more game experience they are going to get better every week.  I was proud of those young kids today." 

On the improved running game.

"I think obviously it starts upfront with the lineman.  They played more physical and more aggressive.  Our spread run game was a little more successful and when we packed them down in there I thought we would be better."  

On missed opportunities.

"I need to watch the film but I think we missed some cuts early in the game.  We wanted to toss the ball and get their linebackers running.  We didn't think they had as much speed as us and we didn't think their linebackers could keep up.  We had some cutbacks in there we missed and we just strung it to the sideline.  We also ran a draw play with a big cutback that we missed." 

On Locker's performance.

"He had some great protection early in the game and he missed on a touchdown.  Even the touchdown I think he threw it too soon.  He needs to trust his line and he knows it." 

Is there a moral victory to be had?

"No – did I act like it after the game? No – it's a loss and it hurts."


Sophomore linebacker Mason Foster

On how the defense responded after Darin Harris's injury.

"The team came out and played with a lot of heart.  Darin always played as hard as he could and I think we came together and played with a lot of heart.  I hope he's all right and all of my prayers are with him and his family."

On celebrating.

"I play with a lot of emotion.  Everyone is going to be emotional after a play like that – scoring a touchdown.  They had big plays and they got up and celebrated, that's just how the game goes." 

On what he was thinking when the penalty was called.

"I was celebrating the touchdown and I didn't even know what had happened." 

Does he feel like the Huskies were robbed?

"I don't like to make excuses, but you have to let us play.  It was a big play in our first [game] at home and I think anybody would do the same thing in that situation."

Are they taught not to celebrate?

"You are told not to celebrate in the endzone, but it was a huge play.  Jake [Locker] is real emotional and I love Jake." 

Any positives that can be taken from the game?

"A loss is a loss but I feel that we made changes and improved.  But a loss is a loss and we don't have the W – it's tough."


Freshman wide receiver Jermaine Kearse

On his first career touchdown catch.

"We are taught to stay close and use our body as a shield and then make the big catch.  I just stayed on his toes, ran a good post route and it felt great to get my first catch in Husky Stadium."  

Did the game slow down?

"It slowed down a lot.  I felt more comfortable and at Oregon it seemed like I was rushing and things were so fast.  This game everything slowed down a lot.  It felt good to play at home to have your support system behind you.  It helped to know that no matter what happens out there your fans have your back."


Freshman tight end Kavario Middleton

On the team improving from last week.

"We talked about it all week to just set everything aside, don't let anything from the outside in, play as a family and play as a team and I think that showed out there." 

On him getting the ball thrown his way.

"It was in the gameplan to work me in and in critical situation I want to make myself available." 

What's next?

"We just need to keep climbing and come together as a family and as a team.  We just have to keep working." 

On Jake Locker getting the penalty.

"You can't blame him for that one play after all of the other plays he made throughout the game.  He's our quarterback, he's our leader and we will follow him in everything he does."


Sophomore quarterback Jake Locker 

How does Locker feel about the penalty

"I was disappointed in myself.  I have never done anything like that in the past.  I wasn't trying to show anyone up by doing it – that is not what I'm about.  I have the utmost respect for those guys and they are a good football team.  It was just exciting and I like to play the game with emotion but it got the best of me.  I didn't think about it and I didn't premeditate it.  Obviously it's something that will be on my mind next time." 

If the officials came out and said they made a mistake would that be enough?

"It's not going to give us the win." 

Did that play decide the game?

"Officials never decide a game. It's obviously a difficult call at that point, but if we had capitalized on some things earlier we might not have been in that situation." 

On Darin Harris's injury.

"I think that's difficult anytime that happens. I was familiar with that and it kind of hit home for me. When it happened to me it's something that we understand it is a part of the game. We said a little prayer for him and we wished him the best and hoped that was nothing too serious. It's on your mind when something like that happens. When your teammate, a guy that you've spent a large majority of time with, it's difficult because it's like a family member out there being in that ambulance." 

Does Locker feel more comfortable outside the pocket and on the run?

"I don't know if I'm getting more comfortable. Sometimes guys come open because I have more time back there and it's hard to cover them for that long. They were dropping eight and only bringing three or four guys most of the time so I was able to get outside the pocket and buy some more time so our receivers could get open more."

On the final drive.

"It was really good for us as a young team. We overcame a lot of adversity on that drive. We had D'Andre (Goodwin) wide open on the first play and I overthrew him, but we didn't hang it up there. We were able to get some first downs and move the ball. We converted on a fourth down and a couple third downs and we did what we had to to keep the ball moving. For how young we are, I thought it showed a lot of growth and maturity." 

Is Locker pleased with the improvement from last week to this week?

"I thought it was a great improvement. We stepped up and played like we can - but we still missed a lot of opportunities that will have to get cleaned up.  Against a team ranked in the top 20 you have to take advantage of those. It was a good start for us, but obviously we have to get better, but it's something we can build on."


Sophomore safety Nate Williams 

On the excessive celebration penalty.

"I saw him toss the ball in the air, but I didn't think there was anything wrong, but the refs obviously did, so they called a penalty. We all know that the rule is a lot more strict now, but when it's a game like that, when it's that close, player's emotions get high. They might do things they normally wouldn't do - I think that's what happened. We all have confidence in Jake. We know it was one mistake, and it probably won't happen again. It's just one of those things that happened when you're emotions run high. He made a great run and he got a little bit excited."

Regarding playing BYU.

"It was pretty tough. The running backs were pretty big - probably some of the largest running backs I've ever had to play here. They ran hard and they run right at you. I took a couple of shots from number 45. It's just one of those games. We knew what to expect coming into the game, because we watched a lot of film. A couple of guys have to learn how to tackle better I guess, I don't know."

On putting the loss behind.

"We just have to put this game in our past. We can't keep on looking at this game and say we should have did this or we should have done that. We've got to keep on moving forward and get ready to play Oklahoma next week."

Regarding his forced fumble on the goal line.

"I was on the ground. I heard everybody yelling, and I thought that he had scored. When I got up, everybody was jumping around. I was just trying to hit him and I guess I knocked the ball out, but I didn't even know I did it. I was just trying to get my head on the other side, to stop him from getting in the endzone. Coach preaches that all of the time, to put your head on the ball - I did it and it worked out."


Freshman running back David Freeman 

Regarding playing in his first game as a Husky.

"I wouldn't really say I was nervous, but excited, because I knew I was going to play. Chris Polk going out - we never want a man to get hurt in any kind of way on our team or the other team. I was disappointed that he went out, but I had to step up and play to the best of my abilities, because the team needed me. It wasn't what I expected. I expected it to be much faster. When I got in, I was like 'oh, this is not that fast'. It was not too much adjustment there, just play football basically - what I'm here to do."

Regarding using the running backs in multiple ways.

"We've been working on the running backs getting out into the receiver formations and running some routes. That was something that I was used to running in practice. Playing against the defense, it kind of brings you up to speed really easy, because they're a good defense. It was just going out there just like practice, making plays, doing everything I was used to."


Sophomore safety Tripper Johnson 

Regarding the call against Locker.

"It's a tough call - three seconds left in the game and we just scored a touchdown to go down by one. You expect some kind of celebration. It's not like Jake spiked the ball or threw the ball in the stands or anything like that. It's just one of those things where you expect a little bit of celebration with three seconds left in the game."

When asked if the penalty affected the extra point attempt.

"It's hard to say, but it definitely puts you in a tough situation, when you've got to kick a 35-yard extra point. That definitely affects us as a team, and the kicker - probably puts a little more pressure on him. That is a tough situation. With the game on the line, even an extra point is a tough situation as well - just unfortunate."

When asked if Willingham's job security has an affect on him.

"No. As a team, we have come together. We've had team meetings, and Willingham's our guy. Everyone has a lot of respect for him, especially captains on this team, like Juan Garcia and Jake Locker. We have the utmost respect for Coach Willingham. He's been doing this for a long time. He's guided us in the direction, and it's up to us players to perform. He's not going out there on the field and performing. I've only been here for a short time - he's done a great job. We, as a team, want him as the head coach. It's up to us to perform."

Discussing coming in for Harris and having to step up.

"It's one of those situations I've got to step up. I made some mistakes along with coming up with that fumble. It was a great thing, but I've also got to finish. There was one drive, where they scored their last touchdown, where I made a couple of mistakes. When I come in the staring role like that, I've got to step up and make some plays. I made some mistakes, and it's one of those things I've got to build off. I try to do my best out there, I gave it everything I got. I did make some mistakes and I did hurt the team as a whole a little bit, but that's one thing I've got to learn from. It's pretty much like I'm a true freshman out there. I've got to bounce back. I'm not expecting to be an all-Pac 10 player right away."

On Harris' injury and how it affects the rest of the players.

"It's tough - kind of takes the air out of all of us. But injuries happen in football, so we've just got to get it out of our minds and get to the next play. Darin's a leader for us and he's done a great job in the first two games, so it's tough. I just try to fill in and do the best job I could."




 

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