Dorrell's Monday Press Conference

Head Coach Karl Dorrell addressed the media in his Monday press conference, answering questions about the status of Justin London and C.J. Niusulu, how to cut his roster down to a traveling 64 for Washington and more...

Head Coach Karl Dorrell's opening statement...

"As a recap of last week, it was an exciting win for our players, to go into a stadium like the University of Illinois, a college town, a great crowd, and for our players to respond and do some great things early in the game really set the tempo and the momentum for us to come out with a victory. Our defense that started the game that had a series where they were getting driven down the field with Illinois's offense and came up with a fourth-down stop inside our goalline area that really catapulted our defense and our offense and set the tone for the rest of the day. The offense turned around and came out and had a great drive to take a 7-0 lead and everything was falling into play. So it was good to see our players get that type of response and going into a stadium like that and play as well as they needed to in critical situations. So I was very pleased with how our players have done. There were no major casualties from the game. We're happy about that. This week we're excited about our challenge going up to Husky Stadium. We know that's one of the best places to play in the Pac-10, where there is a tremendous crowd and it's loud. It's a great college environment, a great environment for a college football game. We're going to have our health back on defense. Justin London, who was probably 70% for the game in Illinois, will be close to 100% this week. C.J. Niusulu will be back. He played sparingly in the game against Illinois. We expect him to be back full speed for this weekend. And offensively, we haven't had any major injuries. So we're in pretty good shape from that standpoint. The other injury that happened in the game wasn't anything of real significance, but it was more heat exhaustion for Jarrad Page. He cramped up and didn't play the rest of the second half. Chris Horton came in and filled his shoes and did a nice job for us. We're happy with the youth of this team. We have some young players that have stepped up and filled some shoes, and done some good things. They're getting some valuable experience. And I know that experience that they're getting right now will make them better players as the season progresses."

What's your read on Washington, coming off the bye week after Fresno State?

"Not much of a read after a bye week. They didn't play last week. I know they're healthy. I know they're going to be excited. It's the Pac-10 opener for both of us. It's a home game. I know they didn't like the result of what happened in their first game. I expect to be in full force, ready to go, when we get there. It's going to be a great challenge for us. We have to go on the road two weeks in a row and have to play in a very hostile environment and to come back here with a victory. It's a great challenge for our program. We took a good step last week, and we have one more step this week."

Do you have to prepare for two different offenses, one with Casey Paus as the quarterback and the other with Isiah Stanback? Because they run some option with Stanback...

"They run some option with Paus, as well. The option is part of what they do in their run game. They'll run some option. They'll run some speed option, and some other options. Stanback is more of the athlete-type guy, comparing him with Paus. Both of them will play. I think the quarterback competition with both those guys, I think they've come to a resolution that playing both is part of the plan for their offense. In answering your question, it is playing two different types of offense, but both do run the option."

Tell us your opinion of Spencer Havner's play...

"Spencer's playing well. He could play a lot better. He definitely is racking up the tackles. He made a few mistakes in this last game. None of them were critical mistakes. He's a three-year starter and we expect him not to make many mistakes at all. He's really done a nice job of getting acclimated to a new position, the middle inside linebacker position. He's done a nice job. He needs to continue that trend, eliminate some mistakes and he'll be one of the best linebackers in our conference."

Wil C.J. Niusulu start this week?

"Yes, our plan is to start him."

Will he be able to go the whole way?

"Just like what we said at the beginning of the year, we're going to have a rotating of linemen that play on defense. He'll start but he'll get ample time to rest. We're playing with a lot of players defensively. I think there were twelve that played (on the line) last week. We're going to continue to play a lot. They're going to spell one another. None of them really have sustained a level where they could play 60-70 plays in a row. That's just where we're at at that position, but we're getting better. That's what's the good thing."

Your game roster will be cut now that you start Pac-10 play, correct?

"Yes. You can only travel with 64. Last week we took 80, and that was a non-conference game. It's cut down considerably now."

How will that work with the defensive line? Can you bring 12 guys to play now?

"I don't think so. We can't. When you have 64, you have to account for a number of other positions that you have to travel with. We'll probably travel with 10 (on the defensive line), and that will be more than enough of what we need."

Do you know who won't go?

"Not yet."

What did you think about Eyoseph Efseaff in his first game?

"He had nine plays and wow, he made a few tackles, and a key stop on a screen. If he wouldn't have made that play, it might have gone another 20-30 yards. It was exciting for him to get that type of game your first game on defense. You come in and get a chance to make a few plays. So he's excited. I know he's excited. He likes the way things are going for him on that side. We need to get his health back, where he's 100%. He's probably 80-85%. He still has that groin problem. He's working his way through it. I think with the success he had last week that might help the injury come back a little bit quicker. We're pleased with what he's done for us."

Talk about the play of the offensive line...

"They've done a tremendous job. That's one area that has put a lot of work in during the off-season. The fruits of their labor in the offseason has definitely shown. They haven't given up a sack. Our run game is much better than it's ever been since I've been here. So those guys have done a tremendous job."

Do you know yet if Justin London will start?

"We're counting on him to start. He played last week. He didn't reinjure that ankle in anyway that it's any worse than it was last week. We're expecting him to be better."

Did you think he was pretty limited against Illinois?

"Yes. He was probably 70%."

What do you think of the play of Brigham Harwell as a true freshman?

"How about that? Yeah. He comes in and makes a few plays. He comes in in a limited role and makes a few plays himself. That does nothing but boost your confidence as a young player, when you get a chance to step on the field and get involved in the action. He's excited. He was smiling from ear to ear, which I havent' seen since training camp started. He had a rough beginning, with the knee and having surgery, and being out several weeks and then coming back. He's getting back healthy again. For him to come in and have the game he had that will boost his confidence."

How loud does it get in Husky Stadium?

"It gets as loud as it comes. I played in a number of stadiums, the Big 12, the Pac-10. I played up at Michigan. It can get loud. This is a big game. The UCLA-Washington game has been a big game for before I even played. It's the conference opener. I know they want to get the ship righted from their standpoint from what they've started the season. We're wanting to do the things we did from last week and keep improving and continue the trend we're trying to establish ourselves. So there's a lot riding on this game. You want to start off in the Pac-10 on the right foot. They're a good team. Unfortunately they had a bad start, but they have some talent. They have good skill positions and good offensive linemen, defensive linemen, they run well, they have a great environment up there. It's a great challenge for UCLA."

What are your thoughts on cornerback Derrick Johnson?

"Derrick was a part-time starter last year. He's a senior. So they have three of four guys on their backend that are seniors. They have a lot of playing experience. They're a solid secondary, solid defensive line. They have a couple of returning starters at linebacker, so it's a solid defense. They played well against Fresno State. They didn't give Fresno State many yards. Fresno really capitalized on turnovers more than anything. It's going to be one of those great games where it's going to be a defensive contest and the one that can stop the other offense will probably be the one that wins the game."

When you watch the offensive line on tape, are they doing as well as they seem to be doing?

"Our offensive line is playing very well. They're not making many mistakes. They're blocking the people they're supposed to block. They're well-coached. They have a great sense and knowledge in the system now. They're protecting the quarterback fairly well. They're doing well. And their health has been good."

Has what Tom Cable been able to do with them surpassed what you thought for the first two games?

"No. Because a lot of those guys are back from last year. Usually in year two you gain so much experience, like Drew Olson. He's gained so much experience from last year. That's part of the natural by-product when you've been in your system with some experience. Those guys have worked hard to get themselves in the position they are to proving themselves. And everybody has done that on our team."

So did you expect them to perform this well?

"Sure I did. I did. I said that at our media day. We're a much better team. We're a much better team than what people thought. But that's okay. We're going to keep proving ourselves week after week and keep playing hard, keep improving, and get ourselves in a position to win games week by week."

It seems like many guys have come back successfully from their injuries, but Kyle Morgan hasn't yet. Are you disappointed at all in his recovery from his injury?

"No, he played pretty well. He came in there and played pretty well. You're seeing a lot of defensive linemen rotate through there. They're not getting a lot of plays in one lump sum. That's probably the bad thing to playing a lot of players. There's not much continuity because of the three of four plays that you get, and then you're out, and then come back in at a later point. He's doing better. Both he and Brigham are really at the same stage in terms of their knees. He'll be full speed and ready to go this week. We'll try to get him more in the fold. But we're playing with six defensive ends. When you have six defensive ends not a lot of them get extended playing time, other than the starters."

So this rotation will be widdle down as the season moves on?

"It has to. As we get going through the season, we're going to start honing in on the players that aren't making as many mistakes and doing the things they need to do. Those are the guys you end up hanging your hat with. That's how we do with every position, in a way. The guys making the least number of mistakes are the ones that end up playing the most. We're still working our way through that and improving each week."

What kind of progress do you think Drew Olson has made?

"He made great decisions with the football. He had one interception, which was a tipped ball again. It wasn't a bad decision. It was tipped at the line of scrimmage. He's throw the ball away when he's supposed to, when nothing's there. He's taken off with it and ran 29 yards when he has the opportunity to do what he needs to do with the football. He's playing exactly the way we want him to play. We just want him to continue to take steps to improving week after week."

How pleased were you about the running game?

"It's been great. When you have Manuel White and Maurice Drew. Chris Markey had a few plays. We have some depth in that backfield that we feel real confident in, in case someone gets hurt, and hope we don't have to worry about that. Those guys have done a great job. All the offensive line, tight ends and running backs have done a tremendous job. And our receivers did a great job blocking downfield. It's a whole team effort."

Do you see the running backs splitting carries like that continuing?

"There was a pretty good balance. Both of them had roughly 20 or more carries, and that's what you want. They've had a great rhythm running the football, with both of those guys getting the yardage they were able to get for us. That's probably a perfect game. It's usually not that way, 20 and 21, or something like that. It's a good start and we love to be in that position every week. We know it's going to be tough to do, but it's something that we can strive for on a week to week basis."

How did Marcus Cassel play, in your opinion?

"He played pretty well. He got beat a couple of times, and had to catch up and make some plays in the end. That's going to happen. He plays a position where you know you're going to get beat every now and then. But what do you do? How do you respond in a situation where you have to come back for something like that? And he was able to do that. He's really getting better. He's really improved from week one to week two and now we need him to improve from week two to week three. He's starting to feel comfortable in our defensive system."

So, is there some intention to not play the freshman offensive linemen to possibly retain their redshirt year?

"No. Two of them are on our field goal kicking team. They're both both on field goal protection."

Is that Shannon Tevaga and Brian Abraham?

"Yes. Actually and Chris Joseph. All three of them are on there. So they know they're not redshirting. They're going to get their time here pretty soon with some offensive snaps. Joseph and Abraham are on our kick-off return units too."

Has it happened quicker than you thought playing freshmen?

"We knew that'd be the case. That's just the nature of where we're at right now. And that brings a lot of excitement in our team. We're playing with these young guys that are excited to do something in our team and have roles in our team that help us become successful. That actually feeds to everyone. The seniors, juniors, sophomores, freshmen, all of them are really feeding into this team aspect of just doing your roles, and just doing it as well as you can and coming out with a victory like we did in Illinois."

Did Chris Horton play mostly for Page in the second half?

"That's correct."

And will he push for more playing time?

"He played well. He was our defensive player of the game, for a guy that comes in make the plays that he made. It was a great interception toward the end of the game. If you remember, he was one of the kids who had a great spring. He does back up both positions. He's our third safety. If one of those safeties get hurt, he's usually the one we call for, to replace them. He's done a tremendous job with that. Dennis Keyes played for the first time and played very, very well too. We're really excited about those young guys. They'll get more playing time as the season unfolds."

Is Horton then above Eric McNeal?

"I'm not changing any depth charts or anything. But it's something that we want those young guys to play. Right now there's some continuity playing some young guys that have really been an energy boost, in a lot of ways. That's just one area where some young guys have come in and done a great job. Rodney Van has come in and done a great job in our special teams. Michael Norris. A lot of those guys have come in, and even though they're not playing much at their primary positions they're doing some great things for us on special teams. That's something that's exciting in our program right now."


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