Keith Gilbertson Press Conference 09/28

After a little over a month at home, the Huskies will return to the road this week to face the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl. In a sense, this game will see just how far the Huskies have come since Ohio State, which happened to be the last time the Huskies played away from the friendly confines of Husky Stadium. After all, the Huskies have not won a road game yet and UCLA has always played Washington tough, especially in Los Angeles.

UCLA is 2-2 thus far this season under new head coach Karl Dorrell and this will be the Bruins' first conference game of the season. Like Stanford from the week before, the UCLA coaching staff may have a few familiar faces. Dorrell was the offensive coordinator and the wide receivers coach at Washington in 1999 and UCLA offensive coordinator Steve Axman joined the Bruins staff this year after spending the previous four years at Washington as the quarterbacks coach.

It is probable that the Bruins will have Matt Moore back at quarterback. Moore had been out with a knee injury since the season opener at Colorado. In his place, Drew Olson had been starting. Olson is no stranger to the Huskies. In his first career start last season, he led the Bruins to a 34-24 win in Seattle.

"We played Olson a year ago and he had a good game against us," said head coach Keith Gilbertson. "I'm sort of familiar with their offense. I've been with both Karl and Steve Axman but the concerns would be first, we know about (Craig) Bragg and we know about the tailbacks Manuel White and Tyler Ebell. So I'm concerned with their offense obviously."

White is a big, bruising back (6-3, 236) who can play both fullback and tailback, and Ebell is the smaller back (5-9,180) who can do damage with his speed. "When Manuel White carries the ball 35 times, that's 35 car wrecks," said Gilbertson.

On the UCLA defensive front, Gilbertson expects a good match-up between Reggie Williams and UCLA corner Matt Ware. "I think Reggie would look forward to playing against Matt Ware," he said. "We've got a lot of respect for him. We tried to recruit him and know that he is a good athlete."

Putting big corners like Ware (6-3, 223) on Williams may be what opponents are planning on doing to stop him. Last season, California used safety Nnamdi Asomugha (6-2, 210) to disrupt Williams in their win over Washington. When asked what Williams must do to win these kinds of match-ups, Gilbertson was very blunt in his assessment.

"Not get held," he said. "The Cal guys got away with tackling him. End of story. But Reggie is a big powerful guy and he'll do fine in any kind of match-up that people want to throw at him. Reggie had plenty of catches that day. The guy nearly had 100 catches last year, so nobody really shut him down. You match-up, roll-up, or do what you're going to do. We're going to find ways to get the ball to his hands."

But overall, Gilbertson expects the UCLA defense as a whole to be very aggressive. UCLA leads the Pac-10 in defense and is 14th in the nation. "I'm putting them in the same classification as Ohio State," Gilbertson said of UCLA's defense. "They've got ample athletes and they've got ample pass rush and they play a very disruptive type of defense particularly to your passing game so we've got our hands full trying to move the ball throwing on these people."

"I think their front seven is as good as Ohio State's front seven right now. They are all very experienced. We've played a lot of football against these kids. We know them not only by recruiting them, but we've coached against them for years and years. That front seven is a really fine bunch of athletes."

The Bruins will be playing the first half without the services of Rodney Leisle. The senior defensive tackle has been suspended for the first half of Saturday's game due to his ejection for a fight against San Diego State last week. "Well I was hoping he punched the guy twice," kidded Gilbertson. "He really dominated us two years ago when we were down in Los Angeles. UCLA has a group of defensive linemen that are outstanding. I think Rodney is a great football player and his absence will impact them some, but I don't think their level of play will fall off."

Offensively for the Huskies, Washington looks slightly more comfortable running the football as opposed to throwing it. After four games, there have been 165 rushing plays and 144 passing plays.

"I don't think we're a finished product in our passing game," said Gilbertson. "There's just some things that I'm frustrated with a little bit that I think we can be better at and still not have to just go out there and throw 50 or 60 times a game. I like the balance, and if we stay like that, it's better for our team overall."

One of the interesting side stories to this game are the assistant coaches. With Axman the offensive coordinator at UCLA and former UCLA defensive coordinator Phil Snow now at Washington, the positioning of the coaches kind of makes you scratch your head a little.

Said Gilbertson: "The Phil Snow for Steve Axman trade had no cash involved in it or players. Both parties are saying that the trade benefited us both. Hopefully there are two or three recruiting picks yet to be named."

But Gilbertson believes there is no advantage for either team in terms of having insight on what the other school is doing. "We've changed our hand signals and line of scrimmage cadence," he said. "We're not standing in their huddle and they're not standing in our huddle."

"I think it just shows what a goofy, damn, business football is."

Gilbertson on Dorrell: Karl can hit a 5-iron for 50 yards or 250 yards. So I ask him, ‘What are you going to do?' and he answers, ‘5-iron.' ‘You got about 210 yards. What are you going to do?' ‘5-iron.''How are you going to get out of this bunker?' ‘5-iron.'

Tight End Update: Gilbertson added that he was "hopeful," that the full depth of Joe Toledo, Ben Bandel, and Jon Lyon will be going to Los Angeles. Toledo will see a back specialist on Tuesday and Bandel, who had a stinger against Stanford, looks to be good to go on Wednesday. Top Stories