But instead of disappointment, Husky coach Rick Neuheisel chose to look ahead immediately to the California Golden Bears and the PAC-10 conference opener next Saturday in Husky Stadium. Overall, he was pleased with his offense, and credited a scrappy Idaho squad with sound execution and planning in the second half.
Opening Statement: "We are excited about completing non-conference play, and we're anxious to begin play in the games that really matter. And it begins next week with California. It's difficult emotionally for a football team to get up each and every week, when everything they hear and read says that these are games that they should win handily. Because you can never, ever, drop your guard. In today's world of College Football, the other team is anxious to play and to prove that they belong. And that's exactly what Idaho did today, especially in the second half. (Idaho) came out and played very efficiently, and that's exactly what we had talked about all week long in terms of controlling the ball, being very efficient. It was tough, but fortunately we were able to do some things that kept the game where the outcome wasn't in question."
"But rather than being upset about it, I am just anxious for us to get out there and continue to improve and create some answers, especially our first-down defense, because that area gave up too many yards which eventually led to the long drives by Idaho."
"I predict that Idaho will win their conference, and we'll wait and see how that comes out. They are very well coached, very efficient in what they do, and I wish them good fortune. All credit to Idaho, they didn't quit."
On how he sees his offense as conference play opens: "We're not churning out running yards like we'd like to, and we're throwing for an incredible amount. And yet when you look at the defenses we're facing, they're lining up with eight guys (in the box), as if they're daring us to throw. And so we throw. We throw for the kind of yards that have not been seen here before. We'd like to run the ball, and we'll continue to work on running the ball, but we're not going to bang our heads against a door that won't open. If defenses continue to overload, we'll keep taking what they give us."
On Cody Pickett establishing himself as a prolific passer: "No question, he likes throwing. You'll never see him tell anyone that his arm is tired – that isn't his style. All great quarterbacks do."
On the health of Reggie Williams: "I think Reggie was more scared than hurt. He got into a compromised situation and he thought something might be really wrong. (The knee is) bruised, but I don't think there's any structural damage. We'll wait and see on that, but that's my hope. I don't know whether or not he would have returned in the second half if it were a league game. But since it wasn't we didn't want to risk anything."
On Charles Frederick's huge day: "He's a magnificent football player, and he's got a "get" in him. He's very elusive and has great hand-eye coordination. He's fun to watch – in fact, we have a lot of guys that are fun to watch. Patrick Reddick and Will Hooks – I am thrilled at the productivity we're getting out of the position."
"Charles made a remarkable play on the long one. There were a couple of cuts I wasn't sure he should have made, but he reminded me of my son's video game – he just kept going back-and-forth and ended up in the end zone. And I'm hoping he'll make a lot more of them."
On Rich Alexis' day: "I'm going to have to look at it to know better, but Rich led the team again in catches. So you can say we're not running the ball, but when you check the ball down to him it's just the same – it's like a draw. I know it will be written ‘we can't run' or ‘we can't do this' or ‘how will we survive in the PAC-10'. Well, let's just wait and see. Last week, Rich caught seven balls for 50-some yards and this week six-for-87. And that's like running yardage to me. Eventually people will have to cover us down, and then our running came will come around."
On Cody being sacked four times: "We had missed protections there. And both times we saw it, we got it fixed right away. One of the problems was getting to the line too late. I told Cody that next time if it's hurried and he has to check protection responsibility, go ahead and call timeout. We were really good on third-and-long except for that."
On Braxton Cleman and Jimmy Newell's return: "I thought Braxton looked good. There were some great cuts on third-and-fourth down runs that I thought he looked good in getting us the yards we needed. And I know he'll be hungry for more. I'll have to watch the tape on Newell, but it was good to see him out there. Let's hope we get the same types of returns when Zajac and Justin Robbins can get back out there."
On Washington's total dominance in the first half: "After (Arnold's) fumble, we didn't lose momentum, because 30 seconds later we get (Carothers') fumble for a touchdown. From that point on, we played pretty darn well. We missed a fourth-down, and missed a field goal – those are things that hopefully we won't do when the games are for real. But I like this football team, and I like our chances lining up against everyone we have left on our schedule."
On the defense, first-to-second half: "I think it was a case of Idaho just going out and executing in the second half. There is a tendency – look at the last drive in the first half when we miraculously made five seconds look like twenty – to just keep things in front of you. And Idaho didn't hurt themselves. In my mind, we got a little bit into a prevent mode, and it changed the psychology of our defense, and it's difficult to wrestle it back once that happens."
On having to play the first-team longer that perhaps expected: "You know, it is what it is. If we're not capable of just blowing teams away, then we need more game practice anyway. So I don't think ‘disappointment' should be the word for that. I think ‘eagerness to improve' is what we're anxious to get done.
On the Husky Stadium crowd: "Hopefully the crowd will be back and excited, getting into it some. Not to suggest that they weren't here, but we know that some people weren't thrilled about who we were playing. I've always argued that I thought they were here to see the Huskies play. But I'm anxious to get conference games underway and get off to a good start for them."
FIELD NOTES: Kevin Ware was named to the West roster for the East/West Shrine game, to be played January 11 in San Francisco's Pacific Bell Park. He celebrated the achievement with a career-high five receptions. He'll join teammate Ben Mahdavi in being so honored.
Locker Room Quotes and Notes from the Press Box will appear later tonight or tomorrow.
Rick Samek can be reached at RSAMEK1@ATTBI.COM
Rick Neuheisel's Post-Game Quotes
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