Head Coach Rick Neuheisel

Coach Neuheisel, admittedly heartbroken and still in shock over the way the game unfolded, addressed the media after stomaching a very tough loss.

General Comments:

"Congratulations to Michigan. It was a hard-fought game and was probably very exciting for all those who watched it. It is a heartbreaker for the University of Washington in that we played really hard. Obviously there are going to be a thousand things to correct, a thousand things that we can improve upon, but I was proud of the effort especially given the fact that we started out down 14-0. We have a very young team in places and our youth, unfortunately, showed up at a time when it couldn't and that gave them the opportunity to have the last-second kick. It is difficult right now. I am in a little bit of shock over what took place in the last couple of minutes. It was a nightmare loss. But, we are going to be a good football team and we are going to respond."

"I have great admiration for the University of Michigan's program. And I have great admiration for our program and the way the kids fought. I just told the team that there are a thousand things we can correct when we look at the tape. It would be unfair to just point at the last mistake of having 12 guys on the field and say that was the reason that we didn't win; although, it is the most obvious to them given the circumstances at the time. It is unfair and it is not going to be our stance. We are going to move on. We have 11 games left in our season. This was a great opener. We are heartbroken that we didn't come away with the victory because we were certainly in a position to get one at this great venue. We look forward to playing next week with hopefully a much improved execution, because I think the effort was everything we ever wanted."

On the 12-men on the field penalty: "We had a defensive substitution group on the field on the second down play. At the play's conclusion, I called time out. I wanted to make sure our kids understood that if we tackled them in front of the first-down marker that they wouldn't be able to get the final kick off. It would be a victory for us if we tackled them for less than a first down. Then, we moved over to our position coaches, Bobby Hauck and Randy Hart, and got the substitution group. But then we switched substitution groups and we are going to kick ourselves for a thousand years because we communicated it to all but one guy. I am not going to mention who the guy was because he didn't lose the football game. It was an unfortunate circumstance and we ended up with 12 out there. When you end up with 12 out there, you are in a quandary because you can't sit there and scream to get off the field because you alert the officials. The officials saw it, gave us a 15-yard penalty, which put them in field-goal range, and for the first time all day, they made a kick. I didn't know it until the flag came out. I've got defensive coaches that do the substitutions, but I am probably going to be more keenly aware of it in the future."

On other mistakes: "Even with all the drama that unfolded at the end, the truth of the matter is we had two turnovers. We fumbled and threw an interception. We had a missed extra point which resulted in a missed two-point conversion try. We had a missed field goal. I am anxious to do all the coaching that we can to get better. I am proud of my football team. I am sick to death because I pride myself and our staff on being really good at the end of a game. We as coaches have got to be better in preparing our guys to know who is in and who is not to be in the game."

Running game on final two drives: "What you would like to do is to try to control the clock if at all possible. We had the big run in the fourth quarter for the go ahead touchdown so we were trying to spring one. If "ifs and buts" were "candy and nuts," we would all have a merry Christmas. We all can second guess, but that is why football is so fun, everybody gets to be the coach the next day."

On Reggie Williams: "Michigan certainly had a plan for Reggie. They had a lot of double coverage. They had a great player in Marlin Jackson on him, and I thought he factored into the game. I told Reggie that it was a good compliment that they were putting the good players on him. But, Reggie made his share of plays."

On road performance: "I thought the effort level was great. I talked to the kids about the different things we needed to do on the road and I thought we stayed right in there and went tooth and nail in front of a great crowd. We had every right to win the game but we just didn't get it done. We had real misfortune at the end."

Emotional impact on young team? "I would be worried except I know who they are, I know their character. I also know the character of our coaching staff. While we are going to be sick to death and have a difficult time sitting still for five hours en route back to Seattle, the mettle in this team will rise to the occasion and we will play good again next week."

On two-point conversions: "There are just too many possessions in the game (to go for it early on). You immediately just don't go for two because you don't know what will happen if you don't make it. If touchdowns turn into field goals, you would like that one point back if your attempt fails. I am against two point conversions until you start getting into the fourth quarter."

On play of defense: "I thought the defense was at times outstanding and at times needing work. But it is the first game and that was the Michigan Wolverines. We will improve. The defense took over with a minute left and had to stop them. And, for all intensive purposes, they did. We just had an extra guy on the field and we couldn't afford to."

On QB Cody Pickett: "I thought Cody at times was really, really good and at times we have got to get him better. That is what is fun about the game, we have to keep trying to improve."

On bad snaps: "We are trying to get better at that and it was an issue last year. Ben Mahdavi is playing a lot at linebacker, but right now, he is our best snapper. Until we find somebody better, that is what we have to do."

On SS Greg Carother's injury: "At the worst possible time, and this is just how things work, he cramped. You can't play when you are cramping. If he doesn't cramp, the clock is still running and they have to throw a fourth and two from the line of scrimmage and I have a good feeling that they aren't going to complete it because we knew what the call was. Sometimes things are meant to be. That is not an excuse and it doesn't mean we aren't going to work our tails off to fix it or that I am trying to not be held accountable. I am accountable, we have to do better. I get paid to be the head coach and the head coach at Washington should be as close to error free as he can be. But, I also want to keep my eye on the big picture, which is that I have a bunch of guys that will fight."

Future Rose Bowl meeting? "I told my team that we may see these boys down the road. And it would be a heck of a rematch."

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