Keith Gilbertson Press Conference - 9/20

Having started the season 0-2, the Washington Huskies will hit the road for the first time this season to South Bend, Indiana to meet a Notre Dame team on somewhat of a hot streak. Washington head coach Keith Gilbertson met with the media on Monday to discuss the past game with UCLA and to speak about the upcoming match with Notre Dame.

Gilbertson and the Huskies are still trying to figure out what went wrong on Saturday to allow UCLA to rack up 424 yards on the ground, part of a 546-yard offensive outburst for the Bruins.

"Well obviously after Saturday, we're very concerned," said Gilbertson about the Husky defense. "We had a terrible struggle against UCLA and I don't know that we really solved it. They put up huge numbers rushing the ball against us so we have a lot of concerns about what happened to our defense."

The Huskies will head to South Bend this week and have the eyes of the nation on them on an NBC-nationally televised game. Wahington has been on some big-time road trips in recent years and has not found very much success.

"It's been a while. We've had some tough road trips. We've been to some landmark places like Miami, Ohio State, Michigan so it would be nice to win one of those games," said Gilbertson.


Assessing Notre Dame
While Gilbertson was still concerned about the happenings of the UCLA game, he knows that Notre Dame is less than a week away and there are concerns coming out of the Midwest as well.

"There are lots of concerns," he said about Notre Dame. "First, you look at their offense and how it improves all the time. Their quarterback (Brady Quinn) gets better. They certainly have found a couple of tailbacks. I watched the Michigan game. That young tailback (Darrius Walker) is certainly going to be a great one." The freshman Walker ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns against Michigan and 98 yards against Michigan State.

"We know Rhema McKnight from trying to recruit him, and they have two big receivers so I mean it's an offense that's getting better all the time," Gilbertson continued. "They are a tremendous defensive football team. They run, they tackle, and pressure the passer. They have a great down front four, a great front seven, and terrific athletes on the edge so I have a lot of respect for them. Plus, I know those coaches very well having coached with a couple of them and coached against them out here in the west and know that it is a quality staff."

Notre Dame head coach Tyrone Willingham is familiar with Washington. Willingham is 0-5 all-time against Washington from his days at Stanford. Notre Dame offensive coordinator Bill Diedrick is a former offensive coordinator for Washington (1994-1997) and is familiar with Gilbertson, having been on his staff at Idaho.

"We certainly have a lot of respect for the traditions and the game-day atmosphere at Notre Dame and it might be as unique as anywhere in the country," said Gilbertson. "Whether you are 0-2 or 2-0, it's been a tough place to play for many generations and I have lot of respect for their traditions and what the school is all about.

"It's one of the greatest places in all of college football and you're lucky to even be able to play in the place and have that experience. But you still have to play the game and against a good team and once all of that settles down, it's our team versus that team between the stripes. But sure there is uniqueness about playing at Notre Dame. You would be foolish not to think so."

The Fighting Irish have been able to find success at defending their red-zone. Using team speed and athleticism, Notre Dame's defense drew rave reviews from the Huskies' head coach.

"Nobody is getting in the end zone," Gilbertson said of Notre Dame's defense. "They're knocking the hell out of you. That's what they're doing. I think if you look at their defense now, the guys they've recruited over the last couple a years, they are a lot faster. If you look at their first three games, they have speeded up. And offensively, their tailbacks and wide receivers are just as fast. They're really fast defensively and at the skill positions. They have good team speed."


Review of last week
"I think the offense played better," said Gilbertson when asked about any positives. "I think the one thing I was pleased with was we did not turn the ball over, which you would think would help the defense, but we ran it pretty consistently and Casey (Paus) made some pretty good decisions. We were pretty consistent."

Obviously overshadowed by UCLA's monstrous day running the ball, Washington put together a decent day of rushing in their own right with 219 yards. Kenny James and Shelton Sampson combined for a major chunk of that real estate.

"Well obviously even though we rushed for a significant number, (UCLA) rushed for twice that," said Gilbertson. "If you're not stopping the run, you're not going to win football games and when people rush for the amount UCLA rushed for, you're lucky to even be in the game.

"We're 0-2, I'm concerned about everything we do. That goes without saying. It is always going to be a concern when you think that we have a chance to have a pretty good lead against UCLA, you look up and they're back in it after two plays."

When asked if the defense will get an overhaul after Saturday's lackluster performance, Gilbertson noted that there will be opportunities this week for other players to step up and open the eyes of the coaching staff.

"Greyson Gunheim and Jordan White-Frisbee will get their chances and there is competition there," he said. "I think Jordan is working his way into playing more and more. I think C.J. Wallace will get some looks. I think he's worked his way in there and I think he's a high-velocity player. I think there are some guys that will get some looks and competition. I don't care what class they're in. I'm pretty pleased with our linebackers and I think it would have been hard for anybody – Dick Butkus would have had a hard time playing middle linebacker here last weekend – with the amount of linemen that got out on our linebackers in that game. So our defensive line has got to improve."

As for the secondary, "Jimmy Newell was banged-up at the end of the game. I think he'll be OK. But I would like to get Chris Hemphill into the game and as he gets older and mature, we would like to get him more snaps, but C.J. Wallace played tremendous on special teams and had a lot of big hits. I don't think Dashon (Goldson) had a really good day and I think his day started poorly with a terrible block in the back and he got up and retaliated and got a penalty. He just started wrong and I think he'll rebound from that and that he's a better player than how he played. I just don't think it was a very good day for him. I think he's a capable player ."

There were still questions as to just how UCLA was able to rack up so much yardage and in the short time they did so.

"I think on several occasions you'll see that we ran around blocks and schemes when we were supposed to go up against the scheme so we didn't do what we were supposed to do and they got up on our linebackers," Gilbertson said. "There's also the case where they grabbed us and threw us on the ground or cut us. If you look back at the game, we had a lot of guys on the ground so I'm not pleased with either of those."

Another question waiting to be answered was the issue with the game clock towards the end of the game. After the game, Gilbertson questioned just how much time could have elapsed during the last possession exchange.

"Let me just say that I've asked the league to look at it," he said. "It would have been nice to have a few seconds at the end. At the same time, I think we had significant chances earlier in the game to do better so it shouldn't have come to that. I'm not laying anything off on anybody. And then you take the holding call towards the end of the game which I do have some concern about. I don't think there was a hold on the inside breaking route to Charles (Frederick) that gives us a first down and instead puts us at third-and-seventeen or twenty."

The quarterback situation seemed to have cleared after UCLA's game. Casey Paus took advantage of the extra reps in practice with Isaiah Stanback down and put on a performance that looked much better than the previous game against Fresno State.

"(Casey) was doing fine," said Gilbertson. "We had two or three drops, a couple of places where I thought the read would have taken him to the other side of a route, but I think he was doing fine. I thought we caught the ball at the end of the second half very well. I think Casey was pretty consistent all the way through the game. I didn't see the bad ball, the missed advantage checks; he seemed to manage the game, huddle, timeouts well. I thought there were a lot of good things he had in this game."

With the time missed, Gilbertson also said that Carl Bonnell is now behind Paus on the depth chart and hopefully Stanback could come back healthy and challenge for the position once again.


Notes:
There was no update on the condition of Mike Mapuolosega. The junior defensive end left the in the second half reportedly with a knee contusion. Gilbertson said that Mapuolosega will be examined tonight and hopefully will have an update on his condition. Should Mapuolosega be out a considerable amount of time, there is a chance that Manase Hopoi would move back to the end from his defensive tackle position.

Tight end Joe Toledo returned to game action against UCLA and came out unscathed. However, Gilbertson said that he would still stick with the rotation of Jon Lyon at starter and using Toledo as the backup with Dash Crutchley in the mix as well. Ben Bandel is still out.

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