Head Coach and Player Comments

Here were Washington Head Coach Rick Neuheisel's comments to the media following his team meeting after the 65-7 defeat at the hands of the Miami Hurricanes. Also included are conversations with Cody Pickett and Larry Tripplett.

Head Coach Rick Neuheisel

General Comments: Congratulations to Miami. They are obviously an extremely talented team that played flawlessly this evening. Unfortunately, we did not. It is a shame to have a season tarnished this way because of the lack of productivity on both sides of the ball. I am still very proud of our football team and what they have accomplished during the season given all of the injuries and all of the things that have happened to us. I am just very discouraged by our performance tonight. I think all of us need to internalize the blame and share the credit for it, or lack thereof. We've got to obviously improve a great deal as we get ready for a bowl game.

On Miami stopping the offense on fourth down: They had a lot of momentum all night long. When you turn the ball over against Miami as often as we did and aren't able to play a field position game with them, you are in for a long night, and obviously that was the case.

On Pickett's performance: I am not going to point fingers at our quarterback. Shoot, he is the reason we are going to a good bowl game and perhaps still a chance for a co-championship in the Pac-10. He is a good player and he will learn a lot from tonight. He is just a sophomore.

On Miami being the best team in the country: If I didn't say they were, I would look pretty foolish. They are a good team that played really well tonight.

On the pre-game feeling of the team: We were just anxious to play. I thought our team was ready to play. We went out and threw an interception on the first series of downs and gave them a quick touchdown. We came back and tried to match the touchdown and got denied. We thought the play would have been open on that fourth down, but we didn't even get to run it. We tripped and fell down. It was just indicative of the things that were to take place this evening.

On the message at halftime: It was that we have to continue to fight. We have to continue to show pride. It is imperative that we do that. Obviously, Miami didn't stop trying to play football in the second half. We went down and scored a touchdown and we were fighting at the end to score a touchdown, it was just an ugly evening for turnovers. Certainly, it wasn't a great evening for tackling either.

On continuing the series with Miami: No – not interested in that.

On Miami's defense: Their defense is just very fast and they cover well. If you aren't able to generate some running yardage and then all of the sudden the game gets out of hand … it was very much the same as our other two losses. You get in the spiral of decline and it's difficult to come back. Our team has to grow up and our coaches have to do a better job. Their defensive line is a great line. They don't have any weaknesses. They have done a nice job of stock-piling talent here. They have a lot of weapons.

On the downward spiral: You can't turn the ball over early in the game. If you think back to the UCLA game, we turned the ball over. Against Oregon State, we gave up an opening drive touchdown. You just can't do that when you are playing quality teams. We have to come out of the blocks and play better.

On the effect of playing on the road: This had nothing to do with playing on the road. This was just a rear-end kicking. We have to accept it, but we have to use it as fuel as we prepare for our bowl game.

On being a most frustrating experience: If you are in this game long enough, you are going to go through some frustrating times. But what makes the man is how you react to it.
Cody Pickett:

"We just didn't play well in any part of the game today. I forced balls that I shouldn't have that I wish I could have back. We got in a big hole and just couldn't dig ourselves out of it."

"That (fourth-down stop) was a big play. We needed to get some points out of that drive. Coach wanted us to go for it and we felt confident with it. Unfortunately, I got stepped on and went down, that was big. It was a roll-out, and a play-action pass and I just couldn't get out."

"They have a great secondary. They are a good team. We shot ourselves in the foot plenty of times tonight. One of our key points was to come out and not to force the ball and to take what they give us. We knew we weren't going to get a lot because they are a good defense. But to start off with the second play of the game and I tried to squeeze it in there to Kevin Ware, I just threw it to the guy, you can't start off the game like that when you are playing the number one team in the country. You have to come out and play better than that. I just tried to force too many balls and tried to make too many plays. I didn't play good."

"I knew it was going to be a big-time game. I probably just needed to settle down a little bit. All of us came in here pumped up, but as a quarterback you have to stay settled down. You can't get caught up in all the hype. I came out here trying to force balls and throwing the ball 100 mph. By the time we got in a little groove, it was too late. You can't do that to a team like this, they are a really good team."

"There were third downs where I threw a pick, and I could have just sat on it so we could have punted for field position. But I tried to force it in there and make a play, and it didn't work. I did that way too many times today."

"Their front four played really well. They can put pressure on with just rushing four and their cover guys are really good. I take nothing away from them, they played great today, but we just added to it by playing terrible today."

"It is unfortunate for the seniors, I feel really bad for them. We needed to win this game for them. For us (non seniors), it is still a loss but it is a great learning experience to come and play the number one team in the country. The younger guys will take away from this that we need to be more prepared next time."
Larry Tripplett:

"When we lost to Nebraska, at Nebraska, in my redshirt freshman year, that was a pretty bad loss. But 65-7, that is pretty rough, it is hard to swallow that one."

"I think it was a combination of them being a good team and us really not playing well. I think a Husky team playing our best can beat that team. But we didn't play very well. We played probably the worst game of the season. You combine that with playing a very good team in Miami, it equals 65-7."

"It was a huge (revenge) factor. Keep in mind, we pretty much gave everything we had in the Apple Cup. That was a must-win for us. Coming into this game, Miami had all of the motivation to play this game well. There wasn't really much that we could grab onto as far as motivational factors, but we are always going to give it our best."

"This is tough, we will have a great bowl game in San Diego. We are going to be ready. Believe me, we are going to give it our best shot."

"They are definitely an athletic offensive line that can really get their hands on you and grab on. This is the first game that all of our defensive lineman had their shirts pulled out. But that is part of the game of football."

"I feel like guys were most definitely trying to give their best effort. They have a talented team. You've got to give credit where credit is due. But a good Husky team, believe me, we can do it like we showed last year."

"Honestly, I think if we would have had this game at the beginning of the season, I think it would have been a little easier on us because we had it after the Apple Cup. Since I have been here, the Apple Cup was the end of the season. This game felt like another rivalry game. We don't like each other. And to have back-to-back rivalry games, it would be tough for anybody. They don't like us, and when they came to Husky Stadium, we didn't like them. But that is what makes college football so great. I am just eager to one day see future Husky teams play this Miami team and keep this rivalry going."

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