Head Coach Rick Neuheisel Post Game

Coach Rick Neuheisel was terse, to the point, and at a loss for words to explain the implosion that the Washington Huskies suffered this afternoon after the first quarter was over. In today's Sun Bowl, the Dawgs had hoped to launch their 2003 national championship aspirations. Instead, they are left answering more questions.

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  • General Comments:

    Congratulations to Purdue. I can't explain, without looking at the tape, why we played so poorly. Even with a 17-0 lead, we really weren't playing that well. At the end of the first half, we were 11 of 27 throwing the ball and we are normally a 60% outfit. We weren't clicking. The ball wasn't where it needed to be. We were okay because Purdue hadn't caught their stride yet. We knew going in they were a talented team and we had to do some things on offense to keep them from dominating the time of possession, and we were unable to do that. We were way behind at halftime (in possession time), and in the third quarter, we had six plays and I looked up and there were two minutes left. We also started to turn the ball over in the third quarter, and that's doom. Unfortunately, the game got away from us. We couldn't get them off of the field on third down and we left our defense on the field for too long.

    We finished the season 7-6. It was a disappointing year. There were a lot of great things from the standpoint of dealing with adversity. But we really have to go back to work and find a way to get back to the upper echelon of not only our conference, but in the national picture again. This is not what I envisioned for Husky football.

    On Purdue's pass defense: When we don't throw the ball well, you have to give credit to them. Their scheme didn't look overly complex, we just weren't in sync. Our feet weren't set when throwing and we dropped passes we normally can make. I can't put my finger on exactly why we were so inefficient.

    On the early led: Well, 17-0 is certainly not an insurmountable margin. I was thinking that we needed to keep playing. Unfortunately, the officials got really involved in the game in the second quarter with all the talking going on between the two teams. I don't blame the officials. I told them, "don't call another one. If you see something cheap, we'll throw them out of the game, and we'll deal with it as head coaches." The penalties certainly gave Purdue good chances to get back into the game. And once they got back into the game, it was hard to wrestle the momentum back from them.

    On Purdue containing Reggie Williams: They were jamming him at the line of scrimmage and doing a good job there. He isn't the only guy we go to in our offense and we were trying to get the ball to some other guys. I just don't think we played very well. It certainly wasn't by design that we weren't trying to throw the ball to Reggie.

    On getting better: We have to get tougher. We have to get back to being able to run the ball, playing great defense on third down, and controlling possession time. We have some amazing athletes and Cody and Reggie had some big numbers, but they can still have big numbers without us having to throw the ball on every down. I'm not disappointed in how we called the game, because that's who we were. I am disappointed because we didn't execute like we are capable.

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