Keith Gilbertson Press Conference 10/18

It just seems like Keith Gilbertson and the Washington Huskies can not catch a break. To say that the football gods have shown no mercy to Washington this season is an understatement. And to top it all off, the Huskies travel down to Los Angeles to face defending national champions and current number-one ranked USC, who are coming off consecutive victories over two previously unbeaten teams.

USC coach Pete Carroll:
"We're obviously pleased that we have it through to this point," said Trojans coach Pete Carroll when asked about his team. "We've been processing a lot of transitions in major areas in our receiving group and our offensive line and we've been through some transitions in the secondary too." Most notably, receiver Whitney Lewis, offensive lineman Winston Justice, and safety Scott Ware have been missing in action.

The Trojans are coming off two big games with a 23-17 win over Cal, and a 45-7 win over Arizona State.

"I was really pleased with the game this past week and finished the first half of the season on a high note against Arizona State," said Carroll. "We played a really complete game.

"We're pumped up about continuing to have a chance to play at home. Our last couple of games at home have been really exciting for us and to have another game at home against Washington is a real bonus for us." The Trojans will be playing their third consecutive home game at the Los Angeles Coliseum, a place that has drawn nearly 90,000 fans per game this season. "There is a lot of excitement about the program and there is a great energy about it right now that we're proud if and it's fun to be a part of this. It's an honor to represent them and the atmosphere and the environment has been the best we've seen."

Up north in Seattle, Carroll knows that there are different feelings that surround the Huskies program.

"Well they've awfully banged up it seems and the coaching staff has issues they have to fix in the personnel because of that," he said. "I know putting together a new program is hard. You have to try to get things in the direction you want and it takes time to do that.

"I think what we saw from Isaiah Stanback is a lot of explosion in the offense while running and in the air throwing and he creates all kinds of situations and he's going to give us all kinds of problems. We're looking to get their best game and their going to bring it and we're going to makes sure we get prepared for it."

USC has one of the nation's most exciting players in sophomore Reggie Bush. The speedster leads the Trojans in all-purpose yards and touchdowns (eight). And get this --- he's not even a starter.

"It's pretty fun watching him play," Carroll said of Bush. "Every week he figures out something to do to shock us a little bit and gets his teammates off the bench and jumping up and down. He's got so much speed and such great play-making ability and we continue to move him around and give him open field situations. He's so versatile too."

The Trojans also have another young talent at receiver that the Husky secondary may get familiar with. Dwayne Jarrett, a true freshman, had a breakout game against the Sun Devils with 5 catches for 139 yards and 3 TDs. That has drawn comparisons to another talented receiver, former Trojan Mike Williams.

"I've seen Mike grow up in this program and I see Dwayne and they are very similar," said Carroll. "Mike is a little bit heavier than Dwayne, and Dwayne is a little bit better on speed. I think we're just starting to see what Dwayne can do on a regular basis."

USC has another name on the roster that may sound familiar to Husky fans – Rashaad Goodrum. The former Washington signee did not qualify last spring and thus made him a recruitable athlete again. He landed with the Trojans this fall.

"He's playing in a backup role right now and helping on special teams," said Carroll. "He came in with a knee injury and it set him back competing early on and we're hoping he'll play a significant role for us in the second half."

Team news:
Charles Frederick's hamstring is giving him fits again and he may miss another game because of it.

"As of right now he's listed as out," said UW Head Coach Keith Gilbertson of Frederick. "He re-aggravated that hamstring probably sometime in the first half. We went in at halftime to treat it, but his performance was going downhill. I think he really re-aggravated it on a kick return. He missed two weeks with that same injury and I'm not sure if that's the same case." It is the same injury that Frederick suffered against Notre Dame that caused him to miss the Stanford game and most of the San Jose State game.

The latest official depth chart at quarterback reads: Isaiah Stanback OR Carl Bonnell OR Casey Paus.

"Just like it reads on the (depth chart)," said Gilbertson when asked to explain. "Casey hurt his ankle on the field goal and Carl is coming off that injury so we won't know until we get a chance to se him. I won't know how far long he is until tomorrow."

Gilbertson also gave an update on the condition of defensive tackle Dan Milsten. The junior from Rogers High School in Puyallup suffered a gruesome ankle injury that required a stretcher and surgery right away.

"I saw Dan yesterday at the hospital and he wasn't doing very good," said Gilbertson said. "He's home today but in quite a bit of pain yesterday morning." Gilbertson was asked if he had a chance to review the replays that show how Milsten was injured and if he felt there was a cheap-shot involved.

"Many times," said Gilbertson. "I got a lot of thoughts on it. I'm going to leave that to everybody's judgment. They see what they see. I have an opinion about it but it doesn't do Dan's leg and anybody any good. There are coaches in this league that I believe can make comments on officiating and I don't consider myself to be one of those."

"He's a feisty guy," Gilbertson said about Milsten and his attempt to fire up the crowd as he was being carted out. "He loves the Huskies and loves being here and wants us to do well. He felt a lot better after they got his ankle back in. He was not going to exhort the crowd until that happened."

Back to the quarterbacks, Gilbertson reiterated that he was impressed by how Stanback responded when he came in for Paus. "I thought there were some great athletic things," he said of Stanback. "Making plays like he does with his feet, he's able to go anywhere. And some of those are going to be outstanding plays and some of those plays you're going to ask why he did that. But that's just kind of the way he is.

"He's still awfully young at quarterback also. The throw to Joe Toledo in the end zone was a beautiful throw on the move and you see he's capable of making the throw to Quentin Daniels.

"He's going top make some plays and he's going to make plays that makes you shake your head but you don't want to take away some of the exuberance about the game. You kind of have to live with some of that and as he gets older, he'll be more and more on the page. "

However Gilbertson stopped short of naming Stanback the front-runner for the job. He reminded everyone that neither Bonnell nor Paus technically "lost" their jobs because of injuries.

Gilbertson also said that he felt the time off Stanback had nursing his injury helped him become a better passer.

"I think the weeks that he missed with the sprained ankle, really helped with his motion," he said. "He was not much of a body-thrower, but an arm-thrower. When he needed to get his body into it because his ankle was bothering him, I think it improved his motion. I think his motion improved this year. He had to use his body to throw more and I think he threw more over-the-top and he's just a better thrower. He can obviously improve."

Another topic of discussion was whether or not Gilbertson felt compelled to decide on a solid quarterback anytime soon to give stability to the offense.

"Well I don't know if it is important that you settle in at one quarterback the way those two guys (Stanback and Bonnell) athletically compliment each other," he said. "If we were 6-0 that's one thing, but we're not and we have kind of a constant rotation at receiver and no one seems to be able to stay healthy for a week so a lot of it now falls on the shoulders of the quarterbacks being athletic and making some plays.

"I don't know if it's important that you settle in on a guy but if you think about the future, it's better to have two or three guys experienced. Cody Pickett, for three years, took basically every snap. We got into this season with little or no experience at quarterback. For the future, it probably works better. Not that we're chalking this season off. I don't want to come off like that. But an experienced Isaiah and an experienced Carl Bonnell and an experienced Casey makes the next go-around better."

Also listed as out for Saturday is Quentin Daniels. Daniels suffered a knee injury on Saturday and will have an MRI to determine the extent on the injury.

Assessing USC:
"How good do they look? They look really good," said Gilbertson when asked about the defending national champs. "They're a tremendous college football team in every phase. They have nothing they are not good at. They make things look so easy.

"Offensively, they function at an unbelievably efficient rate and speed and can do a lot of things. They have a great offensive line and maybe the best player in the country in Reggie Bush.

"Defensively, they are a great bunch of athletes. They have a defensive line that reminds me of coaching on Sundays. They're athletically and physically capable of dominating the game. They've got it. That's a team that's got it all."

Gilbertson was full of praise for the talented Bush. He was asked what he thought could slow him down and give the Huskies a better chance at subduing the sophomore play-maker.

"Food poisoning," he said with a chuckle. "I don't know. He's going to be faster than the fastest person on your team. He can fly. He's a marvelous athlete. He can run, catch, make you miss, I'm pretty sure he can pass if they want him to do that and I'm pretty sure he can punt and place kick. There isn't anything he can't do. He's remarkable. Anytime he's got the ball in his hands, you're going to hold your breath. Anytime he's got it, you're nervous."

Gilbertson was also asked about his observations regarding how the SC program rose out of the ashes of mediocrity from the early mid 90's to get where they are at today.

"They have a lot of talented players," he said. "If you look at their recruiting classes the last few years they have number-one recruiting classes. If you do that for a few years, you're going to stockpile a lot of talent and they've done that. The top players in the west went to USC. They coach well and they have good schemes on both sides of the ball. That's how you get it going." Top Stories