And while others may have different opinions as to how the game was played, Gilbertson felt that there were positive signs that came from the game and that his team needs to build on the positives instead of dwelling on the negatives to get their first win of the season.
"I'm not totally displeased with the way everybody played," said Gilbertson during his weekly press conference Tuesday. "I liked the effort. I think the most frustrating thing is to go out there and run 90-something plays and score 16 points and have two possessions in the red zone and come out of it with zero points. Red zone offense and defense was a huge thing for us in spring football, training camp, and Saturday."
The Huskies defense was one of the positive points. Led by linebacker Joe Lobendahn's 16-tackle performance, Washington's defense held Fresno State to 11 first downs and 262 yards of total offense.
"I think we played hard on defense and did some good things," said Gilbertson. "Joe Lobendahn played an inspired game. I think Dashon Goldson is going to be a good player. I thought Mike Mapuolesega, Even Benjamin, and Derrick Johnson played well. I thought Johnson played exceptionally well on special teams in terms of punt coverage."
The defensive line graded out "so-so", according to Gilbertson. With many players getting their first extended time, Gilbertson felt good about their potential.
"I think Mike Mapuolesega is going to be a good player," he said. "Obviously I think Manase Hopoi is. Donny Mateaki has missed a lot of work. Greyson Gunheim has done some good things, and I think Jordan White-Frisbee will get more and more play as the year goes on. A month from now he and Gunheim will be more experienced and that's quite an undertaking. Their last game was the high school all-star games. They'll get better but we're excited about them."
Gilbertson gave a mixed review of his special teams. The areas that stick out are Evan Knudson's two early missed field goals as well as Sean Douglas' 31.2 yard average per punt.
"I would hope that our punter (Douglas) would become more of a weapon than he was, and I think Mike Braunstein will hopefully give us something kicking field goals. I would have liked to have those two field goals earlier in the game," he said.
Gilbertson also felt good about the way the running game got off. Kenny James and Zach Tuiasosopo led the charge as the Huskies racked up 170 yards on the ground.
"I thought we ran the ball pretty well," said Gilbertson. "I liked how we blocked. I liked how Kenny James and Zach (Tuiasosopo) ran.
"I thought Kenny ran hard. He's a tough runner. I like how he plays. He goes at the defense. We're very pleased with Kenny James. I would really like to get Shelton (Sampson) more opportunities and get into more of a rhythm with Shelton because he has big-play capabilities. I like our backs and I thought they did well."
Sampson had only one carry for five yards against Fresno State.
Then came the area of the offense that has the greater Puget Sound area debating – the quarterbacks. Casey Paus and Isaiah Stanback played the majority of the game, with Carl Bonnell coming in at the end. The end result left even more unanswered questions surrounding the position then there were heading into the game.
"If it's the first time you go out there and you're the starter, I think it's really hard," said Gilbertson regarding Paus' performance. "You feel a lot of pressure and you don't want to let anybody down.
"A lot of times when you're afraid of making a mistake, that's what you do. It's kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Hindsight is always 20/20, so if people want to critique those guys now, unless you've been out there and live with your decisions like coaches and players do, you wouldn't understand. I know all those kids were agonizing about it. No one knows what that's like unless you've done it. At the same time as a coach, you've got to tell them how much you appreciate them and you can't wait to coach them in the game."
All five turnovers Sunday were caused by quarterbacking miscues.
"One thing you got to understand is that mistakes are OK," Gilbertson said. "It's OK to make mistakes. No one is going to go out there and play a perfect game. We just have to try to make less and less all the time and try to minimize the mistakes you make or the severity of it and you make progress." Gilbertson also said that he felt it wasn't the amount of mistakes that hurt the team, rather how 'catastrophic' those mistakes were that really set the team back. "A couple of things just went wrong and they were all big plays."
With all three scholarship quarterbacks getting some playing time Sunday, Gilbertson said that he felt the trio learned a lot from their time under center.
"I think they'll be better and we will all gain from that experience," he said. "Like I said at the end of the game, I didn't expect those kids to go in there and pitch a perfect game. We're going to have to go with it and grow with it and there are going to be growing pains and you got to play it."
With that being said, Gilbertson refused to name a starter for the UCLA game that is just a little under two weeks away. He did say, however, that if the game was played today, he would go with Paus. He also did indicate that Bonnell will have a chance to open the coaching staff's eyes in these two weeks to get a shot at playing.
Wounded Dawgs – There were some injuries to report from Sunday, but none are considered to be serious. Joe Lobendahn suffered a stinger late in the game and will take it easier than the rest for a few days. Ryan Brooks and Stanback both sprained their ankles, and Derrick Johnson sprained his wrist. All are expected to fully recover this week.
Joe Toledo did not suit up against Fresno State and is questionable against UCLA as well.
Defensive Pups – While they didn't play on Sunday, true freshmen Darin Harris and Trenton Tuiasosopo will not red-shirt this season, according to Gilbertson, joining Greyson Gunheim, Jordan White-Frisbee and Daniel Howell.
Keith Gilbertson Press Conference - 9/7
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