9/23 Rick Neuheisel Press Conference

The Huskies improved to 2-1 over the weekend after another great display of "Air Pickett" under the lights at Husky Stadium. The team is ready to go back to work this week as they wrap up their non-conference play this weekend at home for the third straight week against the Idaho Vandals.

Idaho is coming off of their first win of the season the team confidence is higher than it has bee all season long.

"This has obviously been a good week for us, we got our first win and are getting better every week and played a bunch of teams that are good, so its been a test for us thus far but we're very pleased with our win and how we did it," said Idaho Head Coach Tom Cable via conference line this afternoon. "We will continue to get better and that's kind of been our goal this season as we go through this first part and then get into our conference play."

Cable was very pleased with the outcome of last Saturday, but made it clear that what happened against San Diego State does not have anything to do with what Washington is capable of.

"They're really good and they should be undefeated right now. They've played some teams that obviously they are superior to and they've handled them rather easily."

Like all the other opposing coaches, Cable emphasized the need to maintain the Cody Pickett – Reggie Williams combo that has thus far has not been easily contained.

"I don't know if there are two guys any better in the Pac-10," he said. They're as good as anybody we'll see and probably better than anybody we'll see. Those guys are special and that's a little different deal for us."

Washington Head Coach Rick Neuheisel also seemed pleased with his team's performance against Wyoming and gave his thoughts about gearing up for a fired up Idaho team.

"We are excited about the opportunity to play our third straight game at home and excited about improving as a football team and continue to enjoy the college football season," Neuheisel said. It's fun to be in mid-stride now and we look forward to the game against Idaho."

Idaho is 1-2 after they topped San Diego State by a score of 45-38 after two tough losses against Oregon and Washington State.

"I think our team is well aware that Idaho is coming in here off of a victory after scoring 45 points against a San Diego State team that has given fits to a couple Pac-10 opponents so I think we have a healthy respect for our opponent and like I said anxious to come back," Neuheisel said.

Idaho QB Brian Lindgren had a huge game against San Diego State and put up huge numbers and Neuheisel is fully aware of exactly what he is capable of. Lindgren passed for 382 yards with five touchdown passes without throwing an interception.

"It'll be a really good test for our defense in the final game prior to Pac-10 play so I'm anxious to see how our defense responds and I know they're coming off of a victory and I know there's nothing like a victory to bring confidence back to a program," Neuheisel said. "They're riding high right now, as San Diego State is a big time Division I program. They knocked them down so they're going to be excited about coming into Husky Stadium."

Even though the outcome of the game against Wyoming said otherwise, Neuheisel made it clear that the game was not played without any flaws and that there still was improvements to be addressed this week.

"I thought we played better in the pass defense this last week. Wyoming had some difficulty getting the ball down the field and a lot of things happened late in the game when the outcome had already been sealed. I did see improvement between San Jose State and Wyoming and I'm anxious to see some more against Idaho."

Not only was the pass defense a question, but holding onto the football ad the lost fumbles still concern Neuheisel. However, he made it clear that it was not an epidemic plaguing the team, but just some errors that can easily be fixed with a few adjustments.

"I think we need to re-evaluate ball security. I'm not sure you can just say it's the option," he said. "Truth of the matter is, on Rich's first fumble, he had already tucked it away. That's just a ball security issue. Cody Pickett had tucked the ball away and that was also a ball security issue. It wasn't a mismanagement of an exchange or anything like that. On Rich's final fumble, he just took his eyes off of it because he thought he was going to score a touchdown.

"Bottom line is, execution is always big and it doesn't matter if you're running blast, or if you're running stretch, or power, or option. They all require a certain level of proficiency and execution and we got to get better and anxious to do so.

"Cody loves the option. That's his story and he's sticking to it," Neuheisel said with a chuckle.

After another one of Pickett's monster displays of his offensive talents, Neuheisel gave much praise to his junior quarterback.

"Cody's numbers are outstanding and certainly is going to lead to a lot of talk about his talents and the talent around him and so forth. I prefer to think of it in the context of our offense and I think he's improving as the manager of our offense.

"It also will help our running game in that defenses are not going to be able load the box and they're going to have to realize that they can't just play man-to-man outside and have to go out and take some chances on covering guys," said Neuheisel. He was quick to point out that the passing game is only half of the offense. The need for a more balanced attack and the need to take advantage of the benefits that comes along with such a high profile aerial assault is still something that needs to be addressed.

"Hopefully that will mean that our running game will continue to come along for the ride along with our throwing game. We're not far away from being where we want to be," he said.

As for the infirmary report, Neuheisel made sure to state that nothing is written in stone regarding the recovery time period of his banged up players such as Braxton Clemans, Jimmy Newell, Elliot Zajac, and Justin Robbins.

"It's kind of a day to day thing. Braxton Clemans is going to try again this week and we'll see. Elliot Zajac is going to start progressing towards getting back into the game but I'm not sure if he'll be ready for the weekend, that'll be a wait and see thing. Hopefully Jimmy Newell will also be that category of players almost ready to return.

"Justin Robbins is almost ready to come back but maybe a week behind the other three."

As for the overall mood of the team, the coach hoped that the mistakes made to this point in the season does not put a dower on the team's confidence level and that it is important that the players do not shoulder the entire blame and put too much pressure on themselves.

"The expectations are very high in this program and each of the kids as well as the coaches put high expectations on themselves and we don't want it to be any differently but sometimes you can feel yourself pressing when things aren't going as well as you probably would like."

"We all need to relax a little bit, but while doing that not overlook the ability to fix the little things and ready to play a complete ball game."

All Time Record: This is the 35th meeting and Washington is 31-2-2 all time against Idaho, with the two losses coming before most of us were even born (1905 and 1907) and only two games have been played in the state of Idaho.

Marquis Cooper named player of the week: Junior LB Marquis Cooper was named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week after his big game against Wyoming. Cooper had seven tackles, six solo, with four tackles for loss (-28 yards) and two of which were sacks (-21 yards). Oregon State RB Steven Jackson (Offense) and California K Mark Jensen (Special Teams) were also named Players of the Week.

Game Time: There was talk that this Saturday's game against Idaho and/or next Saturday's game against California would be played under the lights at 7pm and televised. However, both deals fell through and will be played at their regular start times. (12:30pm) However, the Idaho game can be seen on tape delay on Fox Sports Northwest at 7pm this Saturday.

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