Coach Rick Neuheisel quotes

UW Head football coach Rick Neuheisel was dejected and left wondering why his team doesn't appear to be making improvements as the season wears on. After dropping the Pac-10 opener to California 34-27, Neuheisel and his team are about to do some soul searching.

General Comments:

Congratulations to California, it was a big win for their program and for Coach Tedford. There has been a lot of frustration in the series with Washington over the last several years and I know they are excited about the win. They were the better team today. I am disappointed about the way we played. We are going to have to do some soul searching about what we are doing, how we are doing it, and getting back to being a fundamentally sound football team. I don't know why we struggled so, but I give credit where credit is due. California made some big plays and some trick plays that fooled us and scored long touchdown passes. Unfortunately, we turned the ball over in our own end, twice, for two touchdowns and we can't afford to do that. I told our team that we had to do better in the turnover department and, instead, we went the other way. We turned it over three times and you just can't afford to do that in Pac-10 play.

We knew California was a good football team. They had good experience on the road at Michigan State. And when you aren't getting big home crowds, which is the case at Cal, then it is almost more fun to go on the road. I am excited that I don't have to play against Kyle Boller and Joe Igber again. They have been great players. I thought they outplayed us. It is a very disappointing loss. I am really sick about losing our home field streak, but hopefully we can rebound and find a way to win a game against Arizona next week.

On health of RB Rich Alexis: He was gimpy throughout the week, and he didn't practice much. He practiced a little on Thursday, but he was still limping. He said he was ready to go and then on his first carry, we fumble it. I kick myself. The guy doesn't practice all week and he probably shouldn't be in the game. And yet we wanted to see if we could get a little jump start in our running game with him and it failed miserably. It's my fault.

On the game plan: There is going to be a lot made about the fact that we weren't very good running the ball. We didn't come into the game with a big plan about how we were going to run it because we felt there would be a lot of room outside, and there was. Unfortunately, they played very aggressively in pass defense and sometimes we got calls and sometimes we didn't. The replays got all kinds of screaming from the crowd, but you have to be able to run the ball if you aren't going to be able to shake defenders.

On the passing game: We made a lot of "just-miss" plays. We just weren't in sync today. Give California credit. They had a lot of pressure and our protection wasn't as good today as it had been. They got close to Cody and we just didn't look as efficient. Obviously a good pass run and well-covered guys can take you out of your rhythm. We have to have other ways to counteract instead of just dropping straight back. Then, when the game gets out of balance, that is all you can do. They were mixing man and zone, but the bottom line was we just didn't play as efficiently in the passing game. Cody wasn't nearly in the sixty-percent range and that is where he has been. If you are just slightly off, then you have to have other ways to move the ball. We just didn't move it well. It was a frustrating game.

On how to correct things: I thought we practiced really well this week. I thought it was one of our best weeks of practice. I don't fault our practice. We have to analyze if our plan was good because obviously it didn't bring victory. We need to figure out what is keeping us from getting better because something is missing in terms of the improvement that teams need to have. I don't know if we are falling in love with the ability to throw the football with all these great receivers, but I think we have a talented line, so we need to figure out how to get positive yards other than dropping straight back.

Reasons for lack of running game: It starts with me. We have to figure out how to be an offense that can generate yards and points when it matters. I don't really care whether it is running or throwing, but you have to be able to do things to keep defenses honest. If you get one dimensional, then you no longer have that.

On RB Braxton Cleman: I think Braxton is a good football player. I don't think he is at full speed yet, but he was ready to play. We thought he was our best pass protector, and that is why he got the majority of the reps.

On the Husky secondary: On a couple of trick plays, Derrick (Johnson) got caught looking in the backfield. We got turned around on another touchdown pass. On the final touchdown, Roc (Alexander) looked like he got ‘out-physicalled' or he could have lost his balance. We had him in his face, somehow the receiver shook him, and Roc was down on the ground.

On the pass interference penalties, or lack of them: The rules are the rules. You can't hold and you can't make plays on the receiver without making a play on the ball. That is the rule. Top Stories