Game Talk: Washington State versus Arizona

The Cats lost a close one at home to the Cougars. Cat Tracks was in the locker room afterwards to get quotes from both teams' players and coaches.

Head Coach Mike Stoops

In General

"This was obviously a tough loss. We struggled on offense most of the game, came up with a couple of big plays, but we couldn't finish it in the end. We knew at the end of the game that we had to be at around 1:10 or 1:20 to take a knee with them having one timeout. After that last run we would have just downed it but it didn't work out that way. It just goes to show that the game is never over. Their defense made a great play to spring the ball loose."

On Gilbert Harris running with both hands on the ball and it still coming loose

"The defense just put their hat right on it and got a break. This is a tough game to lose but I believe strongly in our team's character and we will not be discouraged by it."

On if the heat had an effect on the team

"I think towards the end of the first half our defense got tired because I think they played around 52 snaps. So maybe it had a little effect then but I do not think it was too much of a factor."

On not playing for two weeks and having to sit on this loss

"We will use the next couple of weeks to practice and get better. This will eventually be a successful team. Like I said, I believe strongly in our character and our team's attitude. We have to create pressure on other teams. We need to get better in all areas. I wish our break was two weeks of feeling good about what we did today."

On the play of Wilrey Fontenot at corner

"You know, corner is the hardest position to play on the field. I know how bad he feels about it. There is no one that feels worse than him. That is just how it goes sometimes. It is part of playing that position."

Offensive Coordinator Mike Canales

On the Harris fumble

"It is just so tough because the kid was runnin' so hard. This is just so tough. I really hurt for our kids."

On the catch by Biren Ealy in the fourth quarter the Arizona sideline didn't think was called correctly

"We are still trying to figure out why if they gave him forward progress the clock stopped. There were about another 25 seconds that could have been taken off the clock that we didn't get. We didn't think we would need them too much but obviously we could have really used them at the end."

On what to tell the offense

"Our kids realize the way we need to play and what we have to do and we'll get it done."

On the play of Syndric Steptoe

"That little kid has really stepped up. He is becoming a player for us and we are searching for more ways to get him the ball. We are going to get this offense rolling. We'll get it done."

Free Safety Darrell Brooks

"I am frustrated. We had this one. It is most disapointing that we started the Pac Ten season without a win. I am sure there are 100 different things we could fix or do better."

On the play of the defense

"That's how the defense is. They didn't know where we were going to be or where we were coming from. Our defense is punishing. We've been hitting ever since Coach Stoops has gotten here. I'm proud of everyone. It's very disapointing we didn't come out with a victory."

Running Back Mike Bell

"It's just frustrating because we were so close. The defense gets a lot of credit. They gave the offense so many opportunities. The offense just needs to come through."

On where to go from here

"We are not going to give up. I don't know what it is but we've got to finish the game next time. I am just sick of losing. I want to do whatever it takes to win."

Offensive Lineman Brandon Phillips

On his health

"It felt really good to be back and feel healthy. It's great to be back into the swing of things with football."

On the loss

"This one was especially hard. We have got to learn to make that one last play. Until we learn to do that and get over the hump it's just not going to happen for us. It's a habit we have to break. We have to get out of the habit of losing. We have to kick the door open and get the victory. We need to make the plays in the crucial situations."

Wide Receiver Syndric Steptoe

"We are continuing to develop our passing game. We know the running game is going to be there, but we have to continue to improve."

On becoming a go-to guy in the offense

"I'm trying to become that player. If they throw it to me, I'm going to catch it. We are just trying to hit the open receivers. We are just waiting for that one big break-through. We were so close we could taste it, but it will come."

Linebacker Sean Jones

"It's crazy but we just have to keep our heads up. It's almost like we are jinxed at home, or something. Hopefully the football gods will help us out next time."

On blitzing so often

"We knew we had to pressure their quarterback because he wasn't as mobile as he has been (with the slight knee injury). We just wanted to put as much pressure on him as possible all day."

Defensive Tackle Carlos Williams

"We should have won the last three weeks. It just comes down to execution and we didn't execute as well as we needed to. We played as hard as we can. We have to start closing games out. We all need to step-up and make big plays. We will just go watch film and figure out our mistakes."

On all of the game's turnovers

"Coaches stress everyday that turnovers and big plays must be made. We tell the offense to just hold onto the ball and we'll get it back to them in good positions."

Washington State Head Coach Bill Doba

In General

"I did think we we were done when Arizona got the first down. I knew we only had one timeout left and I was trying to figure out if we had a chance. While I was trying to figure it out we got the ball back. It was a tough game. We have a lot of guys injured. It was a physical game."

On WSU's turnovers

"We need to work on protecting the football. We had problems on holding onto it today."

On if the weather had an effect on his team

"The weather wasn't a factor to us anymore than it was to them. It was a dry heat. It felt like you were sticking your head into an oven."

On Arizona's progress

"I think Arizona is playing hard. They were running to the ball. They are in a similar situation as us in that their defense is doing great and their offense is struggling. I think they'll be just fine."

Free Safety Husain Abdullah

On the fumble recovery at the end of the game

I jumped over the pile. When I came down someone hit it out and Scott Davis picked it up. We work on stripping the ball in practice everyday. Just 'strip, strip, strip' and it paid off for us today. The game was a little shaky but when we get a 'W' at the end of the game, it's fun."

Tight End Troy Bienemann

On his injury

"I got a bad bruise on my left shin. I tried to get back into the game twice, but then got a helmet into my shin that knocked me out."

On what the win means to WSU

"The win is huge. We had a ton of turnovers but we capitalized on their mistakes which brought us to the win. Being a Coug, you get used to games like this. It was hard to imagine that things would work out at the end, though."

Linebacker Pat Bennett

On causing the fumble at the end

"Gilbert Harris was just so low. I just lowered my head and hit him. To tell you the truth, I didn't think we had a chance to get the ball back."

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