Coaches' Notes - UCLA

At the end of the first quarter it looked pretty bleak. By the time the Washington Huskies started moving the ball against UCLA on Saturday, it was well past the half-way point of the second quarter and the offense was just sputtering. But after being outscored 16-0, the Huskies responded with a 29-3 barrage of points and a 29-19 win over the Bruins in front of 58,255 at Husky Stadium.

Washington Head Coach Tyone Willingham:
On the win: "For our young men to be able to come back in the manner they did was excellent. And our defense, they were placed in some terrible situations and they stood tall. That was critical for us to be able to get back in the ballgame. And that interception at the end of the game by Dan Howell...was very appropriate."

On Quinton Daniels' catch in the second quarter catalyzing the UW offense: "It was important, because it puts you back in the ball game. Now it's 16-7 and if you can come back out and get a score, you've got a dog race again. That was critical. And what was most impressive was to start the third quarter, drive down and now you're back in position."

On the second quarter TD drive: "We were flat struggling. Our guys kept battling. Things were not going right, but all of a sudden Isaiah makes a couple of throws and we get the ball down the field, and when you get closer you get hungrier and you see that end result and we were able to get it in."

On whether or not he ever thought about pulling Isaiah Stanback from the game: "We weren't in sync. We weren't where we needed to be. And that just wasn't Isaiah and the receivers; that was everywhere. Our run game was not that impressive. But when you keep battling and fighting, good things happen. A quarterback can only do so much by himself. He was not where he wanted to be at that time, but once you start executing, good things happen. And we started putting ourselves in better position. It's not just the quarterback, and I'm pretty patient about what we do. I was very patient with Isaiah."

On moving away from the two-back sets to spreading the field: "Looking at what they were doing, it was better to spread them out just a little bit and help ourselves from that standpoint. And that would coincide with seeing a few more runs from Isaiah because of those formations."

On what the team takes from the win: "It's the continual process that I've talked about all along. And today was just another one of those steps."

On UCLA taking away the run: "They played pretty good, and we didn't play that well. We didn't execute. We didn't play in the manner that I thought was very confident or very physical. We got better as the game went on."

On Dan Howell's pick and the timing of it (Dan's father Keith passed away two weeks ago): "There are certain things that there is no humanly control over, and I'm hoping that was one of those events...everything was in place for all the right reasons to allow him to make that play and be a special moment for him and his family. And he'll probably tell you that there was someone looking from up above, and it was his father."

On Washington's slow starts defensively: "Unfortunately that's been two contests. I need to find a better method, a better way of doing something to come out of the locker room ready...maybe I'll have them walk out backwards or do something different."

On Sean Douglas and 'outkicking coverage': "It might be that the coverage is not keeping pace with the kicker. We have to do a better job of getting our entire group down the field. We were not bad with our gunners, and Roy Lewis may have gotten a nudge in the back on that play. We have to get everyone else down the field. But the real highlight on that play was who made the tackle - Greyson Gunheim. That will probably be one of the more impressive plays that you'll see in the course of a football game...for a 260-pound defensive end to run down a punt returner...he just flat ran him down."

On Sonny Shackelford's play: "He may have played his best game as a Husky, and I hope that the numbers bear that out. He came to play. That was the way he practiced. He was much more aggressive in his practice and trying to do everything with a very physical mindset. He did that last week and it carried over to this week."

On his halftime speech: "We need to get moving. As you gain confidence, you don't question as much. You aren't as laid back or hesitant. You can be more assertive. Hopefully we'll start playing at my level all the time, instead of just happening in spurts."
Washington Defensive Coordinator Kent Baer:
On the play of his secondary: "I know this sounds crazy, but I've been pretty pleased with how they've done all year long, except for about four or five plays. Those plays just happened to hurt us. But consistency is the most important thing and I think we've been pretty consistent, especially the past two weeks. We just need to continue to do that. Their longest pass was 16 yards."

On playing sluggish early: "We started slow. I don't know what it means. Maybe we need to go out and scrimmage before the game. But we started slow. And I'm not pleased with that and I'm not pleased with that long run. That's something that we emphasize. We don't give up long runs. If you take away that long run, that's a pretty good defensive football game. That one doesn't sit well, but we'll get that corrected."

On the connection between the defense and the fans on Saturday: "I could feel the booth rockin'. I wasn't sure I wanted to stay up there. I could feel it and I could hear it, and I think our guys loved it. I'd say from the middle of the second quarter, we played pretty consistent. We were just off balance for a while, and it's because we just didn't start fast."

On second-half adjustments: "We didn't change all that much and stayed with our game plan. We wanted to confuse him as much as we could, and I think he had a tough time reading. He's a great quarterback with a tremendous amount of ability, but we didn't get locked into one thing, and we've done that for two weeks in a row now. That really helped us."

On holding UCLA down with third-down conversions: "We're coming together. They seem to like each other and they seem to like playing with one another. They are teammates, and good things happen and bad things happen. You have to play through all of it and not get too high or low and just keep coming back. And to come back from"

On why UCLA didn't try and take UW deep more often: "We were in coverages a little bit to try and take that away, but I was a little surprised they didn't take more shots, especially in their base personnel group. At the same time, maybe they just didn't feel comfortable doing that, based on what we were giving them."

On Ben Olson: "Being a young guy in terms of playing time, I just felt we really needed to mix it up with him. He's going to be a tremendous player."

On being in the booth for the second-straight week: "I don't think they'll let me back down after the last couple of weeks. I certainly feel comfortable up there."

On continuing the improvement: "It's a great performance, but I'm disappointed in how we started the game. I'm really disappointed in how we started, because we're better than that."

On Dan Howell and his interception: "Good things happen to good people. And he's a really good football player, but more than that; he's a great person. He works hard and he cares about other people. He cares about his teammates and he cares about what we're doing defensively. For that to happen to him - he's dropped so many balls in practice I think guys were giving him a hard time - it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. I'm really happy for him. He was really attentive this week. We were at the hotel and we were telling stories, and he was telling stories about his Dad. And he wasn't emotional about it; he was talking about his Dad like he was here. And I thought, 'Wow, this guy is a really strong person,' He really did pay more attention this week, and maybe it's because now he knows how short live is."
Washington Offensive Coordinator Tim Lappano:
On the struggles early to get anything going offensively: "It was a struggle. I knew in the second quarter that the two-man run game was not going to work and I wasn't going to get stubborn about it and try to pound it in there. We sustained that drive in the second quarter, and then I told our guys at halftime that we're going to spread it out and were going to run our quarterback and we're going to mix in the single-back runs, and that's how we're going to win the game. It was clearly evident that our two-back stuff was not going anywhere and I knew we could spread it out, loosen them up and then run the football. We did it. They started fast. They took the ball and went right down and scored and got right back in it. But it was like deja vu with the Fresno (State) game. It was ugly. It was tough."

On Isaiah Stanback: "We have to ride 'em, because he was clearly giving them problems. And I knew that if we spread them, they would have to cover us down and when that happened there's too many creases for him not to run the football. As long as they spread with us, we knew we could get some runs. We took a couple of shots, missed a couple. I wanted to attack their corners earlier but we were too backed up. I got scared because their ends were a problem. We knew they were good, but they were evenb more of a problem than we anticipated. We knew they had speed and the strength of their defense was those two ends. They were good. He started out shaky, and that was frustrating...because I gave him the same stuff I gave him last week...I'm not asking him to throw streaks right out of the shoot...I gave him some easy stuff early...x quick screens, some 90, some hitches, and he was off the mark early. I think he was seeing more of their rush than we wanted to early."

On problems establishing the run again: "I want to be able to run the ball out of two backs here. I know we can run it out of one, we've shown that. We'll look at the films to see what happened, but we just weren't getting any lanes up in there. We have to address that."

On the receiver screens: "We thought they were going to come after us and they mixed it up pretty good. They showed some blitzes that I knew could be a problem and I wanted to put in a receiver screen. We actually put a receiver screen in against Fresno State, but we saved it. We wanted to unleash it against these guys. That was part of the plan, to draw them and screen them and slow their ends down. I knew I had to get out of the two-back offense and spread them out, that's all I knew. My job is to give our players the best chance to win and the best chance to win after banging our head in there and not getting anything was to spread the field and let 4 (Stanback) go to work."

On whether or not the spread helped to lessen UCLA's aggressiveness defensively: "It's hard to blitz being in that spread, because if you miss and you're blitzing and everyone's playing man and locked up - it's over. He (Stanback) is 30-40 yards down the field. You live and die with that pressure when you're spread out like that."

On the differences between the two halves: "I was really frustrated at the end of the first quarter. I was searching. For them to answer like to challenge...I know Coach Willingham challenged him and they answered the challenge. They are still learning how to win, and it didn't start out pretty...but the more adversity we face, they gain confidence and they continue to believe in one another. And they have to believe that we can spread the field, operate our offense and know that we have enough offense to win the game."

On the mood of the locker room going into halftime: "It was mixed at first, but then they calmed down. When we left, everyone was OK."

On the work of the receivers: "We worked hard in practice this week, and they understand what happens when you drop balls, especially when your running game is not up to snuff." Top Stories