Gilbertson went on the praise his former cross-Bay rival by saying that he thought Tyrone has a really great football team. "They are very good on the line of scrimmage, very big and strong. Their defensive front is certainly the best we've seen so far this season." Gilbertson added that they were just as good in person as they looked on film.
Notre Dame was especially good, given all the chances that Washington gave them. "If you don't convert first downs like we did in the first half or turn the ball over, then they are going to be really tough to beat," said Gilbertson. "We did not play well, and they had a lot to do with it."
Gilbertson was understandably frustrated with the events of the first quarter. "We felt like there were some throws there, but we had three balls batted down and four drops in the first quarter. We aren't mature enough or fast enough on the outside to play from behind like that – to have a ‘throw first' mentality. We're not there yet, so it really puts us in a bind."
In a bind they were, so Gilbertson decided to go to the young quarterback, Carl Bonnell in the second half. "I thought he played very well. I think he is improving and he is opening our eyes to some things. He is an athlete who can get himself out of trouble. He made some good throws, he just needs to see some more defenses coming at him with different things. I think he is going to be a good player."
And that leads to the obvious next question – will there be a quarterback competition next week? "There probably will be," said Gilbertson.
He added, "I think Carl played well in the second half in a really tough situation knowing the rush is going to come at you, and I think he did a nice job."
Although Gilbertson thought Paus played well at times in the first half and had his receivers drop a lot of balls, the head coach made the change because "I just felt like we weren't getting anything done. Carl's a little bit more athletic and better at getting away from the rush and I felt like it was time to give him his chance."
Gilbertson also gave plenty of other young guys their chance, especially on the defensive line. "We played all those freshmen – Wilson Afoa, Jordan White-Frisbee, Erick Lobos, and Greyson Gunheim – I think they are all going to be good players. They are going to have trouble against a big, powerful, veteran group like Notre Dame, but their time will come."
A couple of veterans were fighting the injury bug, so they didn't see much playing time. Charles Frederick had a high-leg injury. Gilbertson said he never really got the okay that ET was ready to go. "It was, ‘well maybe he can play, maybe he can't' – so we decided to hold him. Clearly he had a chance to run by some people and couldn't, he just got worse and worse as the game went on."
Jimmy Newell also had a bad leg after last week's loss to UCLA, so that left the door open for redshirt freshman Chris Hemphill. "We wanted to get him some snaps and get him in the rotation. We are going to play those freshmen – that is how they are going to grow and improve."
Washington is off to an 0-3 start, and they were held without a touchdown for the first time since Nov. 7, 1992 in a loss to Arizona. But coach says you just have to keep pushing. "We have to go back and work hard and practice hard, and tell them we still believe in them. But sooner or later you have to win a game so you don't forget what that feels like. It's been since last November since we've won one."
Comments from Defensive Coordinator Phil Snow:
"I thought we played the run a lot better, but they did what they wanted to do in the first half. We just didn't make plays. I thought we got better in the second half."
On playing so many of the young guys: "We think, down the road, that those are going to be our best players. I think they did some good things – but they got beat too. What's bad is that Notre Dame beat our veteran players that we didn't expect them too. We just have to keep getting better."
"C.J. Wallace played quite a bit, he is a true sophomore, and Chris Hemphill got to play. They [freshmen DL] also played great. It is amazing for true freshmen to play on the line. They did a nice job today."
On secondary play: "We didn't hold up the corner today, so we'll evaluate what we did and try to get better."
"We are a work in progress and hopefully by the end of the season these young guys will have matured and will understand their position."