Notes and Quotes from the Husky Locker Room

Coach Neuheisel was excited as he ever gets as he ran up the tunnel following the game. He was yelling, "Hell of a win," in reference to beating USC. Once he had come all the way up the tunnel and entered the team meeting room, he yelled to his team, "HOW ABOUT THEM DAWGS?"

The win was huge to Neuheisel, not just because of the last second fashion it was accomplished but also because it keeps Washington in the Rose Bowl race at 2-0 in conference play. "We are thrilled that we were able to come from behind and get a victory. USC played just about error free football today. I thought our coaching staff did a wonderful job. Defensively we really shored up the run after the first couple of series, and offensively I thought our plan was well conceived. We're very excited about the win."

In reference to Taylor Barton's performance Neuheisel said, "I couldn't be happier for him given what he's gone through in his college career and what he's done to get here. He fought through those fumbled snaps well and I thought it was a real big time effort from a really neat kid."

Neuheisel spoke briefly with John Anderson before his final game-winning kick. "I told him, ‘Don't hurry it. Relax and enjoy this, this is what you are here for.' He smiled and then I went back to feeling as nervous as I could be."

USC came out running the ball. Neuheisel said, "Early on they were going to try and test us. Obviously they felt like with Ellis out of the game that they could attack our front and for a little while they did. I thought we did a nice job with adjustments after that. McCullough certainly got his yards but they were hard earned. It was an inspired effort by our defense."

On the Huskies first touchdown, Neuheisel categorized that as "lucky. Todd improvised. He was supposed to cut in front of the linebacker but he went around behind him. I think in truth Cody was trying to get the ball to Joe Collier who would've been open. Fortunately Todd lived to tell about it because he caught the missile and scored a touchdown."

There is no quarterback controversy at Washington. "Cody Pickett is our starting quarterback if he can go next week," said Neuheisel. "That has not changed, but Taylor Barton is a fantastic player that we know can get the job done."

Larry Tripplett was pleased after the game. "You can count on this defense. We have guys that are backing up here that can start and play. We have that luxury and it feels good," said Tripplett of the depth on defense. "That's what this team is all about, just keep on fighting. We're going to keep on fighting until the end of the game. Today we made adjustments after McCullough got all those yards. Our coaching staff threw in a couple of new blitzes. I thought Sultan would try to run outside a little more but he ran it in. He's a tough cat," said Tripplett.

A win over USC always is sweet to the Los Angeles native. "I love it. It feels so good, it feels AWESOME. To finish my senior year with a win over USC feels AWESOME," said Tripplett.

Elliott Zajac felt the offensive line had their best game to date against USC. "I think we were at our best today. USC didn't move around as much as Cal did because they want to beat you one on one, so we just lined up and fired at them. Today USC ran a lot of things that we didn't practice against so it took us a little time to adjust. The second half we just went out and played football. It was our game to win or our game to lose. We put that pressure on ourselves and I think we help up pretty well," said Zajac. Next weekend Washington faces UCLA on the road in a match up of two top 10 teams. "I think we're ready. We played against caliber teams so I think we are prepared. I've got a hometown boy that I'll be facing on their defensive line, Rodney Leisle, so that should be a good time. As far as our young guys go, I don't see them as young anymore. They are veterans now."

Quarterbacks Coach Steve Axman talked about Taylor Barton's performance. "Here he is in the thick of the battle of a tough contest and I think he did a terrific job of running our offense. He made good reads. We were a little nervous about calling the option with it being our second quarterback but he even did a nice job of running that as well," said Axman. "On the fumbled exchanges, Taylor was just a little excited and pulled out a little bit. It was just a matter of making an adjustment and then he got into his rhythm. He has excellent timing and is an excellent thrower. We went to a shotgun with him in hopes that it would take a little pressure off both him and the line. That was a little bit of advantage and helped him get into a rhythm.

Linebacker Ben Mahdavi led all tacklers with 15 stops, including a sack. "Last week the defense started out very slow. We came together today to try to stop that and I think we did. We played well together for the first time and we need to do that from here on out," said Mahdavi. "I studied what they were doing a lot and some of their tendencies worked out to my advantage. McCullough cut back to me a lot. In the second half we hit our gaps harder and we felt that we needed to carry more weight when Cody went down."

Defensive Coordinator Tim Hundley made almost every right move after the first quarter. His adjustments helped shut down a USC ground game that was functioning very well early in the game. "They talked about controlling the ball a little bit and they concentrated on that in the first half," said Hundley of Norm Chow's USC offense. "On third and three or third and five they went to the tight end, and we probably didn't do as good of a job on that as we hoped. We took him away in the second half. It didn't surprise me that USC ran the ball as much as they did, but they had a couple of plays that they featured that went against their nature. They are normally a stretch team that plays on the perimeter but today they went with a power game. We had not played the power game well against Cal, so they probably featured that a bit more. They may have picked on our outside linebackers a bit when they flipped their tight end over, that made us play our SAM linebacker as a REB and the REB as a defensive end. It's difficult to have that REB hang in there under that circumstance."

On the final USC touchdown, Hundley bristled a bit. "I'd love to have that back. We want to put our guys in the best possible situation to win and I'm not sure that in that case I did that. We had a big safety blitz and they were max protecting. It's tough to get there and hard to cover. We have good cover guys but it puts a lot of pressure on them. Maybe too much," said Hundley about his decision to blitz.

Quarterback Taylor Barton was very calm and analytical about his performance today. "I made a lot of mistakes and I'm going to get in the film room on Monday to see what I did wrong and the things that I did right, and with my coaches I'm going to correct the things I did wrong, "said Barton. "I think there were a couple of times where I really pressed a pass. Nerves may have gotten to me and I probably could've put more air under it. With guys like Paul Arnold and Reggie Williams, you have to give them a chance."

"When I first came in I was confident. The snaps with Kyle Benn, those are just experience. I haven't had many repetitions with him. He's been the center here for three years so obviously I have to change what I was doing. We went in at halftime and fixed it. The thing that amazes me about the University of Washington is that no one panics. No one comes in at the half yelling at anyone or pointing fingers. No one panics. They look each other in the eye and say, ‘We believe in you. We're going to get it done. We are the University of Washington and we're never going to give up or quit,'" said Barton. "Cody Pickett is one of the toughest guys I've ever met. To be in as much pain as he was but yet he wanted to go out and try it to see if he could help this team speaks volume about his character."

Barton's throw to Williams was an audible. "Our front side read was supposed to be to the tight end and to the "z" receiver, which was Todd Elstrom. I gave Reggie a slant backside and told him when we broke the huddle to make sure that he was ready. It was a sight adjust and the safety came. That linebacker dropped so I got scared and had to put a little air and lead Reggie on that one, but whenever you are throwing to a 6-5 guy it makes your job a lot easier."

Linebacker Zach Tuiasosopo had nine tackles in his first career start as a Husky. "Bottom line is that we came out with a ‘W'. It keeps people on the edge coming from behind, but the bottom line is the win no matter how you get it," said the Woodinville native. Tuiasosopo had a much better game this week. "I lacked focus at Cal. I knew that if I let down, I would let everyone on the defense down. All I did today was go out and have fun today, play calm, and try to represent the University of Washington. It was a matter of focus today, and it was fun. I also thought Houdini Jackson played very well, with both of us taking Kai'' spot. We just need to go on from here."

Freshman receiver Reggie Williams found the endzone today for the first time. "It felt great to get into the endzone. It was a big relief to get there (smile). It was an original fade route but Barton audibled to a slant. I got into the right spot at the right time and he threw me the ball," said Williams.

"I expect to have a good game every week, to play my heart out every game," said Williams, who now averages almost 100 yards per game in receiving yards after four games. Top Stories