Apple Cup - Coaches' Quotes

Here are the coaches' comments post-game after Washington defeated Washington State 35-32 in the 99th playing between the two teams in Pullman Saturday night.

Tyrone Willingham:
General comment: "Our kids just did a heckuva a job. It was against all odds. Last week we were basically written off as dead. But our young men continued to battle and fight and played a great game tonight. When it got tight, they never lost their confidence, they never lost their will and kept battling and were fortunate to come away with the win."

On the importance of winning the last game: "We've been close on a lot of ball games, but our kids never gave up. This is a huge win because you always want to finish the season out with success. This carries over into the winter for those players coming back, and for our seniors they can feel like they accomplished something. This year was much improved over the last couple of years. It's a step in the right direction. But it's not where we want to be and we didn't achieve the goal that we were trying to reach."

On the reason for the big plays: "Our offensive line gave us a couple of opportunities and Louis Rankin took advantage of one of them. That was the most beautiful runs that I have seen. He just stretched it out. It looked gorgeous. Cody Ellis made a fantastic catch and once he catches a ball he can run pretty good. Marcel Reece, he had a couple of big plays."

On the punt block being the biggest 'big play' of the game for UW: "The punt block was as big as any. We had given them an interception for a touchdown and now we were able to turn the tables a little bit and get a punt block for a touchdown. That was a huge play."

On Marlon Wood: "Marlon has been playing at a very high level the past four or five weeks. Sometimes I kind of close my eyes and don't want to watch because he's so aggressive."

On Carl Bonnell: "He's still hurting. He's been a warrior. I've praised our quarterbacks all year long because they have displayed a lot of courage in their play. It's not easy."
OC Tim Lappano:
On the difference between this week and last week: "One of the biggest differences is that we made plays. We found some plays in the run game and we found some plays passing. That's really the only difference. A lot of people think this team quit, but they just didn't execute. That's the thing. Today, they made big plays."

On the big plays taking some of the aggressiveness from WSU's defense: "I think they backed off a little bit, started to play more cover-2, more than we saw last year and all this year."

On finishing on a strong note: "I'm really happy for the seniors. The last five or six weeks have been really tough."

On Carl Bonnell being able to play the whole game: "You have to give credit to Carl. He was beat up and they knew it. He hung in there and my hat's off to him."

On Marcel Reece: "We talked a couple of weeks ago and he wanted to get in there and we told him that he had to step it up in practice. He's really come on the last couple of weeks."
DC Kent Baer:
On the difficulties of trying to stop WSU: "We had to put Mesphin (Forrester) in there because Dashon (Goldson) and (Matt) Fountaine were both out. We had to rework the secondary, which is hard when you still want to do some things in nickel and penny. And as many combo routes as Washington State runs, I'm just proud of the way our guys played. Anytime you have a veteran quarterback, you have a chance. But really, I think we've done a solid job all year long."

On not wanting to lose to WSU three times in a row for the first time in school history: "We talked a little bit about that, but once the game starts going, it doesn't matter anymore."

On the seniors: "I have a lot of respect for all of them, and I'm going to miss 'em. But at the same time, this is something we can use to build on. We have a lot of guys coming back with a lot of playing time. And it's going to be a tremendous off-season."
Washington State Coaches:
Bill Doba: On the game: "I'm proud of our kids. They battled. We gave up some big plays and you just can't go that in that game. We gave up a kickoff return right when we had them, when we score on an interception. Some of the guys on the interception were gassed and we put their backups in. We learned a lesson there, I guess. The kid makes a great catch. The ball is behind, hits his foot pops it up, he catches it and he does 60, 70 yards. And then the run in the third quarter. They made the big run on his. I thought 32 points would surely be enough. The kickoff return, the pass play and the run, those three big plays is what killed us more than anything else. We drop one in the endzone too. My hat's off to them. They came to play and they played a hell of a game. They have been through a lot of adversity. I said before it is kind of like last year. We were on a seven game skid and managed to beat them. They came out and did the same thing to us. That is why it is a great rivalry and that is why it is the Apple Cup."

On the big play capabilities: "No. I knew the kid was quick, I knew they were fast and the kick returner was fast. It was kind of a lucky thing in a way because it was behind him and hit his foot, bounced up and a corner tried to go for the interception. Bingo, off it went. The run was an awesome run. We bit inside, he hit it and bounced it outside. He found the crease and outran our secondary."

On Special Teams play: "It killed us. The blocked punt, there's another one I didn't mention. And then the kickoff return. Those two things hurt. We started squibbing it instead of kicking it deep. (if even in special teams would you have had a chance to win) If they don't block a punt obviously, We have a shot at it. But of course there's no guarantee they wouldn't take it down and score anyway."

On which big play killed WSU: "All of them, all of them hurt. I think probably the kickoff return as much as anything because we had momentum. We just intercepted one for a touchdown and boom, that put them down on the seven yard line or whatever it was, 12 yard line. A they punched it in again and tied it up. And then we are battling back again and they blocked a punt to go up 10 I think it was at that time. That put us in a hole. It changes your whole game plan and you have to start throwing the thing."

On did he see WSU losing three like this: "Yah, I did. I said that a long time ago that we could win the rest or lose the rest. I didn't think we would lose these last three, I thought we were going to get this one, obviously. I really feel bad for our seniors. They battled and we really wanted to get that seventh win so that we could insure a bowl game. Now that doesn't look too good."

On does the team deserve to go to a bowl game: "Yes, as I look around at different games and different teams, yah, I think we are good enough to go to a bowl game. The way they played tonight, yes. They played their fannies off and just made a couple of errors."

On any common thread over last three games: Defensively, I think we struggled defensively. We got a couple of guys back this week but... I think they played well enough except the big plays. The long run and the long pass, at times we just stoned them and then we would have either an assignment error or a kid would jump inside and not hold leverage and bingo, they made plays. I thought their defensive front did a nice job. I thought so going into the game. It was hard to run against them. Their kid did a nice job of beating our kid off the outside edge."

On having a comfort zone between blitzing and not: "I know on one blitz that is where they got the long touchdown pass. We came after them and there was no help behind. We thought there personnel was going to be an empty set and number 9 was a back. We made a mistake and he was in the backfield and that gave them protection, time to throw it. We just didn't think we could put our corners, our DBs out there one on one."
DC Robb Akey:
On feeling like their offense out-played WSU: "I think it was the big plays. When a big play hits you, obviously you take a look at how that happened and is it fixable or a weakness? At halftime we felt like we really could take control of this thing. There were two scores against us but we really felt like we could handle things and then they'd get a cross or out-run us at the beginning at the second half. We ended up with a couple of our own with interceptions and (thought) maybe we can get that "mo" swinging our way but we weren't able to. They obviously they won the game and they did a great job and you cannot take that away from them. I'm not saying that. I think our kids left it out there. I think our kids went out there and played hard. I just feel sick for our seniors that we just couldn't get the job done for them."


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