Keith Gilbertson Press Conference - 10/27

If there was any sort of hangover from last Saturday's loss to USC, Washington head coach Keith Gilbertson did not show it at his weekly press conference on Monday. Instead of spending too much time going over what went wrong against the Trojans, Gilbertson pointed out that it was more of what USC did so well that allowed them to leave Seattle with a sound victory over the Huskies.

With Oregon coming to Husky Stadium this weekend for a nationally televised game under the lights, this is a chance for the Huskies to once again get the wheels rolling with the help of a local rival en route to finishing the second half of the season strong.

Oregon (5-3, 2-2) and Washington are tied for fourth in the Pac-10 standings behind Washington State, UCLA, and USC. Both teams are looking to separate themselves from the other and take a slight lead in the standings.

The Ducks started the season with a lot of hype, including a big win over Michigan, but proceeded to go on a downward spiral by dropping three straight games - including embarrassing losses to conference foes Washington State and Arizona State. However, the Ducks rebounded with a 35-0 shutout over Stanford last Saturday and looks to continue with their momentum this weekend.

"Washington and Oregon are similar in a sense," said Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti Monday afternoon. "If they do not beat themselves with mistakes and turnovers, they are a very competitive football team. It's just a question of which team shows up."

The Ducks will continue to use the ‘two-headed' quarterback system of Kellen Clemens and Jason Fife. "When it works," said Bellotti of the system, "it's the best system for Oregon."

Both quarterbacks are in the top five when it comes to quarterback efficiency in the Pac-10. Clemens, the sophomore starter, and Fife, the senior backup, are both looking to avenge their poor outings against the Huskies in Eugene last season. The image of the Huskies celebrating in the middle of Autzen Stadium is surely in the minds of every Oregon player. Bellotti felt that the post-game celebration was "in very poor taste" and it did nothing more but fuel the nasty rivalry between the two northwest schools.

"I wasn't there," Gilbertson said when asked about his feelings about the celebration last year. "I was in the press box. I really didn't know about it until the next day. It wasn't in my lane last year."

Gilbertson also reserved his comments when asked if he was the head coach last season, he would condone such a celebration on an opponent's field.

"That's asking me to throw Rick (Neuheisel) under a bus," he said. "I'm not going to do that. You guys (the media) know how I am."

"It's intense," he said of the rivalry. "It's a lot like the rivalry with Washington State. Everybody is going to be excited to play."

Gilbertson took some time to review the USC game. After the game last week, Gilbertson gave a lot of credit to the Trojans for making the Huskies miss on so many different occasions.

"We tackled very poor," said Gilbertson after reviewing the film. "We threw our bodies on them instead of wrapping up. I'm not taking anything away from USC, but we just did not have a good day tackling."

"Our defensive line did not have a good day as well," he said. "We need to play better and be more productive."

Gilbertson was full of nothing but praise for USC's Reggie Bush. The true freshman excelled in all aspects of the game for the Trojans and showed why he was such a highly recruited player less than a year ago.

"When Reggie Bush is in the backfield, he changes the whole game." Gilbertson said. "Their other back (Herschel Dennis) is also a fine player but Bush can have such an impact on the game. He reminds me of Napoleon (Kaufman) in the way that he the same kind of impact. He is absolutely terrific."

Gilbertson also felt that Cody Pickett played well despite having only one experienced receiver to throw to for the majority of the game and both Kenny James and Shelton Sampson filled in nicely for the injured Rich Alexis.

"Cody played fine. I would like to have that throw he threw away back again but otherwise he played fine."

The one play that Gilbertson did not agree with was the questionable call on the drive after the Huskies recovered a fumble deep in USC's territory. On second down, Pickett went back for a pass and the ball was batted away as he was attempting to throw the ball. The referees called it a fumble and the ball rolled past midfield. Washington recovered the ball and faced a third-and-50. Gilbertson felt that the officials made a "very poor call" on that play and that it clearly should have been called an incomplete pass.

Looking ahead to Oregon, Gilbertson mentioned that having to study both Clemens and Fife on film makes defending a single player impossible. Instead, they will focus on the entire offense system when it comes to the Washington defensive strategy this week.

"You have to defend Mike's schemes and systems," said Gilbertson. "Both are talented guys. We are going to have to defend the system the best we can."

Washington will be defending the big play abilities of both tailback Terrence Whitehead and wide receiver Sammie Parker. Whitehead rushed for a career-high 172 yards and two touchdowns against Stanford last week and is fourth in the conference in rushing. Parker has 41 receptions on the year with three touchdowns. It is his speed that can hurt the Huskies.

"Sammie is very, very fast," said Gilbertson. "Their system uses speed and gets him deep on you. He is tough to catch.'

Injury Updates:
ET questionable, Alexis ready to go: Charles Frederick will be held out of today's practice. Frederick injured his clavicle early against USC after making four catches for 57 yards. Gilbertson said that "there is a chance" that Frederick will play against Oregon. It is somewhat of a similar situation that Rich Alexis was in last week. Some people feared that Alexis fractured his leg against Oregon State and would be out a significant amount of time. Instead, Alexis sat out against USC and according to Gilbertson, will be full speed and will start against Oregon.

Secondary ailing: There will most likely be no change in the depth chart in the secondary this week. Both Roc Alexander and Chris Massey are expected to be held out meaning Sam Cunningham, Matt Fountaine, and Dre Simpson may see more action this week.

More hurtin' Dawgs: Joe Toledo looks to be lost for the rest of the season after a leg injury against USC. After missing five games due to a back injury, Toledo returned against USC only to get hurt again. Justin Robbins is also not listed in the two-deeps and it is unknown just how much longer he will be out. Reggie Williams leads the team with 58 receptions, 776 yards, and seven touchdowns this season. With Frederick, Toledo, and Robbins all hurting, that leaves the rest of the team accounting for 66 catches, 714 yards, and one touchdown. Top Stories