Keith Gilbertson Post Game Quotes & Notes 09/20

Keith Gilbertson met with the media following Saturday's 45-14 win over Idaho to discuss what went right and wrong against the Vandals. Henry Han of Sports Washington Magazine and Dawgman.com was on hand to talk with the Husky coach.

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  • "It was a good win and a fairly balanced win," said Gilbertson after his second victory as the head coach of the Huskies. Gilbertson was happy with the victory, but he emphasized that there still needed to be improvements in order for the Huskies to be where they need to be as they get set to open conference play next week.

    "It was a good second half of defense," said Gilbertson of the positives of Saturday's victory. "We were very balanced offensively in terms of numbers."

    However, the one thing that stood out to Gilbertson was the poor play in the first half. Overall, Gilbertson pointed out that while the Huskies did not put up big numbers in the first half, he was more displeased with the way his players conducted themselves rather than the numbers.

    "The first half was difficult with all the penalties, fumbled punts, and giving them (Idaho) two really short field positions," said Gilberston. "If we would have played somebody who had an edge offensively today, we would have been in more trouble than we were at halftime."

    "I don't know how to explain it," said Gilbertson of the penalties. "We looked like we had never practiced in the first half." Washington was flagged nine times for 94 yards on the day. Most of the penalties came on personal fouls committed by the Huskies after the whistle had already blown. To Gilbertson, those errors are inexcusable and need to be taken care of.

    "Our guys are smart enough to know that that's going to be nothing but a penalty."

    Gilbertson was glad that the bye week is now said and done, but he let it be known that he was not a big fan of having a bye week so early on in the season saying he believed that they were "disruptive" to the teams' play.

    Said Gilbertson: "I don't believe we are better off with the bye. I am not a believer in byes that early in the season."

    Overall, Washington had a decent day defensively by holding Idaho to 206 yards of total offense. Idaho was held to 120 yards on the ground and just 86 yards through the air. "I was disappointed in our sloppy and undisciplined play in the first half, but we came back and played better in the second half. It was not an artistic success and not the kind of performance we can have when we enter Pac-10 play. We need to play sharper and we'll have to play a whole football game against the teams in our league."

    The one thing that everyone was wondering was why Reggie Williams was not playing in the first half.

    "Reggie did not play in the first half today because he was being disciplined," said Gilbertson. "He missed a team function that he should not have missed. We decided on Monday that he would not be in the first half of the game, so we had all week to plan for that."

    As for Williams' replacement, Gilbertson pointed out that whoever was lining up opposite of Charles Frederick was not anyone who moved up on the depth charts. Gilbertson joked that whoever we saw as the other receiver just happened to be the player that was standing closest to him at the time.

    Gilbertson did make it clear that Williams has served his penalty and will go on throughout the season making sure he does not miss team functions again and that he was not causing any disruption to team chemistry.

    "(Reggie) is a good kid, but rules are rules and the team comes first," said Gilbertson.

    Cody Pickett did not have his best outing as well. While he did complete 20-of-29 passes for 234 yards, he was intercepted once and also lost a fumble on a scramble. Pickett also failed to throw a touchdown pass for the second game this season.

    "I have mixed feelings as to Cody's game today," Gilbertson said of his starting quarterback. "I did not think it was special in any way. I have seen him play so much better and more efficient. Nobody plays perfect. I'd like to see him relax a bit more and go out to compete and have fun and play the way I have seen him play in the past. That is something I hope we'll see from him as the season progresses."

    The running game had a chance to pick up the slack and they did in a big way. The team turned in their second straight respectable running performance by racking up 231 yards rushing. Washington was led by Rich Alexis who carried the ball 22 times for 116 yards and two touchdowns.

    "Rich has improved every game and he continues to improve," said Gilbertson who could not hid his smile. Gilbertson cemented Alexis' once questionable position on the depth chart by declaring without hesitation that "he is our starting tailback."

    But it was perhaps Alexis' huge hit on Idaho linebacker Patrick Libey that will be most remembered from the game. With a screen pass to Williams looking like a busted play, Williams circled around the opposite direction. Libey went into pursuit but was met by Alexis who delivered one of the biggest hits thus far this season.

    Gilbertson could only describe that hit with: "Wow."

    "If anybody has any ideas that Rich isn't a physical guy and can't handle big hits, that hit (which Gilbertson described as being heard ‘all over Montlake') should prove otherwise. That hit was certainly inspiring to the team and part of the whole team's momentum change."

    Another welcome sight was the presence of number 80 on the offense once again. Justin Robbins returned to his first measurable game action in nearly two years with a solid performance at wide receiver.

    "It just warms your heart, doesn't it?" asked Gilbertson who had an even bigger smile on his face by now. "Justin is a good player and a great person who has fought really hard to get back on the team. It is fun for me to see him back on the field. He started on the Rose Bowl championship team as a freshmen and his career has been rough since so it is a good feeling to see him have success again."

    With the return of Robbins however, the team may have lost starting tight end Joe Toledo for an indefinite amount of time. Toledo sat out of the game due to pain in his lower back.

    "Joe came to practice yesterday in pain," said Gilbertson. "He is having issues with a joint in his lower back. Losing him was a shock to the system because we had planned on having him in the game today. It was frustrating to lose him pre-game."

    It is still unknown just how long Toledo will be out, but Ben Bandel and Jon Lyon turned in good games today to lessen the depth concern.

    Finally, Gilbertson addressed the presence of number 25 once again roaming the backfield of the defense in Husky Stadium. James Sims turned in his number 22 for the late Curtis Williams' old number and played admirably today.

    "I asked James if he wanted to wear the number 25 jersey and he said yes," said Gilbertson. "It's a personal thing. Some guys don't want to wear it, and some guys do. But I know Curtis was looking down today and was thrilled to see number 25 back out there."

    "Curtis Williams was a terrific guy and no one is going to forget that."
    Notes - Gilbertson mentioned that Kenny James "tweaked" his ankle today and may be wearing red for the next couple of practices . . . Saturday's game once again showed that Washington is a much stronger team in the second half. Washington has been outscored 38-27 during the first half this season, while turning the tables in a big way by outscoring their opponents 65-17 during the second half . . . Players making their first career receptions today included Ben Bandel (2), Isaiah Stanback, Jon Lyon, and Corey Williams.

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