Rick Neuheisel quotes - Spring game

Rick Neuheisel addressed the media Saturday after Washington's annual spring game and commented on all facets of the Huskies. Here's what he had to say.

General Comments: "Spring Games are difficult to be pleased with every facet of the game because every time you do something really well, you've got to be concerned that maybe the other side isn't doing something well enough. So it's difficult to overreact or under react to what you watch without the benefit of a tape but I do like the way we played throughout the 15 practices, I like the way kids have responded to aggressive coaching, the physical nature of what we're doing. Certainly as you watched the scrimmage, you can see that we weren't trying to trick each other with the exception of a couple fake handoffs and rollout opposite the way. We gave very little misdirection as we tried to come at people, we were just trying to run the ball, stay on blocks, and sustain blocks. Defensive coaches will tell you that we've gotten better in tackling, and that's the temperament about practice, which we started in the spring but haven't concluded. Offense will tell you that we still keep going as a running team and stay on blocks and understand what we're trying accomplish but I do believe player leave spring practice with the notion that we are going to be physical team, and that was the main goal of the 15 practices. I'm not displeased, I don't believe there's any one place we're going to dominate in, but I do think that we have the makings of a very good football team and be contender for a crown in this conference."

On the thought of a better O-Line: "I felt like we got (better) late into the third week of practices. Especially when you factor in Todd Bachert's return. Brad Vanneman was a nice surprise in the latter part of spring ball in the fact that first of all he made it back (from his injury) and second of all, he did some good things. I do think we're going to have enough guys to have a good offensive line."

On the issue of whether or not the running game took a "step back" today: Well if you watch it from the numbers, you could say that was a fair statement. But I don't think that's fair until I see if guys are just missing their blocks. Sometimes, a zero yard run can be all that there was and that's an improvement over making a cut and getting a four-yard loss. But those kinds of things are unfair to make a comment on without the benefit of watching a tape.

On the kicking game: We don't have a punter. Let me rephrase that. We don't have a CONSISTENT punter on campus so its important that Sean Douglas, our freshman, is going to be ready coming in. And we're going to look around and see if there is anybody in the junior college ranks that can come in and help us. In the field goal department, I don't feel that way at all. I think Evan Knudson has been outstanding. When we went with our number one unit in protection with our first snapper and first holder, we were nearly perfect. He hit some 50-yarders and was 2-for-2 today. So I think we're in great shape there. Kicking off and punting are big concerns.

On Charles Frederick: First of all, this is the first time where Charles Frederick has been a football player year-round. He has really bought into the idea that he can be a big-time football player. So I think there are reasons for great optimism for him. Now I would like to see how he can run, to see that he has more of a straight away speed, he has unbelievable quickness. We want to have him around for the summer where he can be working with teammates and becoming very close with Cody and so forth so I just think he's got tremendous upside. He made it all the way through not only spring practice, but also all of last fall. He hasn't missed practice in some time and the only time he's missed was the second half of the Washington State game, and that's because of a knee injury. He's been pretty resilient. I just think he can be a great weapon for us."

Backup Quarterbacks Situation: "I thought it was a great day for Isaiah (Stanback) and by saying that, I don't mean to say that I've made my decision on who's going to be number two, because I thought Casey (Paus) did some good things too. We've got a little bit of a mismatch with our backup wide receivers with our second team corners. We just don't have the same kind of athletes, so those quarterbacks that don't get to go with Reggie and Charles don't have the same kind of weapons to throw to. But he certainly shows that he's got elusiveness, he's got the ability and it also shows that he's raw. There were some young mistakes that he made. But there are reasons for optimism with him.

"We just have some inexperienced wide receivers right now and its difficult to make plays the way Casey is going to make them for you as opposed to Isaiah. But I think both have had productive springs, both have improved, and we'll just see how things are in the fall."

Running back depth: "It's open. We're going to watch how Rich Alexis does for the next few months and we're going to watch and see how Kenny James responds when he's well and gets some chances. So we'll just wait and see who takes the job and runs with it."

Tight End Depth: "Joe Toledo will be our starter. Joe played enough last year and logged enough experience to merit the starting assignment and we're all very excited about it. I'm disappointed that he didn't get any spring football, but like I said, he played enough last year. The question was who is going to be our number two guy and I thought we saw some really good effort from Ben Bandel. I think he's going to be a really good player and Jon Lyon showed that he is a capable player. So those two guys will get some playing time."

On Jerome Stevens: "For us to be the best football team we can be, we need Jerome to be a great player. We've talked to Jerome about the things he needs to do to become more consistent and what we need we need from his is consistency. So it would be a good challenge for Jerome to remain consistent and play like he played today."

Scott White: "Scott White has been a great surprise in the fact that he's been good this early. Scott has great football instincts. He has a good football IQ. Now he needs to get more physical. He needs to get into the weight room and change his body and become a physical presence as well as a "cerebral presence" and then you'll have a special package."

On the new coaches on the staff "Whenever you have an opening on your staff, you need to not only think about how the new person will impact the players you've given the charge to coach, but how he'll interact with the other coaches on the staff. There is no question that the new guys have familiarity with the guys on our staff because they've either worked together years ago, or all three have worked together on a staff before, or they are familiar because of their years in the conference."

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