Head Coach Rick Neuheisel Post-Game Comments

The Huskies averted going 0-2 in the conference by squeaking out another exciting victory in the final minutes of the game. Now Neuheisel will take the evening to enjoy the victory and worry about the clock operator's salary, before focusing on the USC Trojans.

General Comments:

I guess I realize, in the grand scheme of things, that this is just one game and that we still have a lot of things to do better before we can be a team that can get back into the Pac-10 race. But for this brief time, I am enjoying the heck out of that win. It was a great, great effort by everybody involved. I am very pleased with the resiliency of this football team. I am concerned about things that need to be fixed, but we have a little time to fix some of those things. But guys went out there and kept fighting and scratching, and for the most part, I was elated with the effort. Not so much the beauty of it all, but the effort was terrific. I am looking forward to getting better before USC.

I thought Arizona did a great job of throwing the ball. Bobby Wade, Andrae Thurman and Jason Johnson are a terrific threesome. But when we started to get some pressure in the quarterback's face, it became more difficult. We have to get better if we are going to survive this conference. There were some chances to make plays. Chris Massey had the ball in the endzone but it fell into their hands for a touchdown. Those are the kinds of things we need to get going our way.

Injuries: We had Derrick Johnson go down with a concussion; I am told it is not too serious. Nick Newton sprained an ankle in the first half and we have to wait to see the extent of that injury.

On who is the Pac-10's best receiver: It is silly to argue about that. I'm sure Coach Mackovic would vote for Bobby Wade and I'm sure Mike Price would have a few candidates, but I'm not looking to make any trades. I like the guys that I've got.

On the range of emotion: We were fighting for our lives, but that is what you do in the Pac-10. And this has been quite a series. It isn't as though we have to panic when games are going to be close, what it is about is getting fundamentally better. We turned the ball over again in our red zone, we can't do that. We had a field goal blocked in crunch time. Those are the kinds of things that have hampered us. To date, we have been one of the least penalized teams in the conference, we need to get back to that.

On winning TD pass: We had seen there was a lot of room over there and Cody was probably anticipating that there would be pressure, so he gave Reggie the ball. When guys take bad angles and somebody gets out, then obviously it becomes a huge play. That is exactly what took place. I would guess Cody checked into that play, I don't think that was what was called at the line of scrimmage.

On the Husky Secondary: Nate (Robinson) on that third down play (on last UA drive), that was big time, absolutely wonderful. Sam Cunningham made some plays. Derrick (Johnson) and Roc (Alexander) for their careers would probably act as though they are old veterans. But the fact is they haven't really played very healthy. We have to try to get them better and better.

On Husky run defense: The run defense was outstanding. We did some things poorly in terms of containing the quarterback. The quarterback had time outside of the pocket and he found ways to get the ball down the field. But, I'm pleased with our rushing defense. It has been good all year. We came into the game second in the conference in run defense. If we can get our pass defense to come up to speed and have that same aggressive style, then we will be where we need to be.

On improving the running game: Keep working, I don't know any other answers. It isn't like we can go and try to get new players. This is who we are. We are going to try to keep working at it. I thought there was some improvement. We don't have any big runs, but we started churning out five and six-yard gains. Had we not fumbled down inside the red zone, we could have punched it in there. Then we could have really tried to get the running game going because the game is in your favor. But the game swung in their direction and so the running game had to take a back seat.

On a more balanced offense: We had one punt today, so we were churning some yards and were efficient. The good news is that Cody threw 35 times and that doesn't put the pressure on him that comes with 59 attempts. The yards that you run for are important in denting the defense, and hopefully you break one. It hopefully takes a little out of their pass rush and it takes a little bit of pressure off of your quarterback. We still haven't quite found our identity as a running team, but we are going in the right direction.

On another nail-biter win: Since I've been here, somehow we find ways to win in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, against Texas and Michigan, we found ways not to win. It is great to get back on the other side of the ledger. Our defense found a way to get it done. They did get it done against Michigan. I screwed it up. Today, we had the big play to Reggie, but the defense went out and got them stopped. Jimmy Newell makes a great play on fourth and six. That was really, really important.

Second-half pressure on Arizona QB: We came after him more. We did a better job of containing him so he couldn't get outside the pocket, and made him throw off of his back foot. But there is a lot of grass out there when you go after him, and Bobby Wade may be the best receiver I've seen at coming back to the ball.

On Neuheisel's reaction during the TD play: I was watching the guy that was chasing him. I was checking his angle to see if he was going to catch him. As soon as I saw he wasn't, I was putting my hands in the air signaling a two-point conversion. Then I switched over to our defensive guys to talk about how we have to stop them.

On being crisis time for the team: You lose at Washington, it is a crisis. None of you acted like it was a good game last week. This is a high-expectation job. We are in crisis mode, we have to fix things. Now, we get to relax for one day before getting back to grinding and working to try to fix the things that have plagued us.

On the blocked FG: It looked like we hit it good, but somebody just got their hands up. It looks like it got blocked about seven or eight feet up in the air, right over the line of scrimmage. I couldn't tell exactly, but I know that I didn't like seeing it.

What to improve on to beat USC: We have to improve on everything we do. They are the number one defense in the conference. They have great weapons outside with their receivers, Keary Colbert and Kareem Kelly. And we all know what type of a player Carson Palmer is. It is going to be a tremendous challenge for us. We haven't won on the road in a while, we need to go and do that.

On trying to run out clock on last pass: We have to talk to our clock guy (laughs). It is an amazing thing. When we need one second left on the clock against Wyoming, there is zip. When Idaho has a five-step drop and a 12-yard out, they get it done in four seconds. We throw the ball as high as we possibly can, and I look up and there is one second left. I know we are dealing with some budget cuts here, but we need to pay that guy more.

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