Gilbertson gave kudos to his defense, as they really held the Pac-10's leading offense in check. "Defensively, our kids rallied around the football and made some big plays. I thought we held their running game down. I still think Steven Jackson is a premier player, but our kids ran to the ball and got off their blocks. We played much better pass coverage and we made the other guy turn the ball over. I've been preaching for a long time that if the other guy turns it over more than you, then you've got a chance."
After last's week debacle against Nevada, Gilbertson was happy with the way his team rebounded. "It was just a wonderful win for these kids. You'd have to be a coach or be a player to know how low last week was. They were about as low as you could get. But these guys rallied and played hard."
"Tonight was just about running around that field as fast as you could go, and having some fun."
Gilbertson again emphasized the importance of scoring in the red zone and making sure the other team has more turnovers. "It's not magic, it's just football."
The star of the game was Charles Frederick. He provided a spark from the get-go. "Fabulous," was how Gilbertson described his performance. "We were waiting for a breakout game. Reggie gets so much attention, but Charles just had a marvelous, marvelous night. He really got us going with that punt return and he had a tremendous night catching the ball. He was there every time Cody needed him."
The coach mentioned that he was happy for the way Rick Neuheisel handled Charles in his tough transition to living in Seattle. "A lot of guys would have handled him differently, but Rick did a nice job in bringing him back."
The Huskies went with a different look on the defensive line, with Terry Johnson moving to the outside and Donny Mateaki playing in the middle. "We wanted to get a bigger guy on the edge to see if we could collapse the pocket from the outside. Also, with Steven Jackson running off-tackle, Terry is a bigger guy to stop that play. It worked and we're excited about that. Terry can play both inside and out."
Another change was that John Pettas moved from the booth down to the sidelines. "I thought after the game last week was that Cody has always had his position coach on the sideline with him. So I said, ‘What the heck, let's put John down there and we can call the plays from the sidelines.' John did a great job and Cody was much more settled down and organized. We were just a lot steadier tonight."
Offensively, rushing yards were few and far between, but the line only gave up one sack. "You have to give Dan Cozzetto some credit for piecing the line together. And Tusi Sa'au played well. He's only got so many plays in him because of his back, because once it gets sore, it's over. I just appreciate so much what that kid does, he'll go until he can't go anymore. Our veteran guys, Bachert, Newton and Barnes, played better tonight."
In trying to figure out what can cause such a turnaround since last week, the coach said it's all mental. "If you are flying around and you want to win, you play like gangbusters. If you don't, you are susceptible to getting beat and being embarrassed and playing poorly. So much of this game is mental."
According to Gilbertson, the last week of practice went really well and the kids just wanted to play. "I felt good about practice but I was also realistic about who we were playing. I knew it would be a tough battle, but I thought we would come in and compete."
Being a night game, the players were on a different schedule than usual, and it was even tough on the coaches. "It's a long day because you drive over from Eugene at about 4:00 in the afternoon. I was about ready to choke somebody by 2:30 today. I kept thinking, ‘Let's go!' But our guys handled the long day very well and came out and played with enthusiasm."
The Huskies kept getting flagged for some illegal formations, twice in a row in fact, but they were legal according to the coach. "We were in an unbalanced formation, so our "Z" receiver got up on the ball. I don't think the official knew we were in that formation, because he told him to get back. But Charles told the referee that he couldn't get back because he was supposed to be up there." So once Gilbertson set the official straight, they could run the play without penalty.
Tailback Rich Alexis left the game in the second quarter with an injury to his leg. "Rich was injured before he got to the sidelines, his leg popped during the run. I really don't know what the status is. They told me at first that it was a fracture, then they came back and said they didn't know."
"That field was really grabby. That Astroturf is way different if you aren't used to it. We had a lot of ankles sprains and foot injuries."