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November 10, 2008Monday Notes
Tyrone Willingham Quotes
"Coming out of last weekend's ball game I still feel very much the same as Saturday night. I feel our young men gave us some effort. They fought hard to be in a position to win. We have been questioned about our ability in the third quarter, but if you look at the third quarter it was basically even. Where we didn't finish the ball game was in the fourth quarter. What was concerning for us was our execution. So, what we are going to try and do, is what we do every week, and that is get our young men better by trying to do all of the things right. It will be an endless pursuit in doing that and I think our young men are committed."
The running game has been the biggest source of problems for a struggling offense, what has gone wrong and what must be done?
"I think the key word is execution. We can't have the missed assignments, we can't have the lack of communication, you can't be successful doing that. I thought early there were a couple of plays that our backs were aggressive trying to make something happen and they might have missed a read or two. But it all comes down to execution and we have to do that to get some yardage."
"We have to be more consistent and have execution every time out. We had some hard earned yards and Terrance Dailey made a couple of good yards when there was nothing in there. THere were a couple of tosses that he did some nice things on. But all of those plays had more to offer if they executed them. There was not one area that stood out and gave us a ray of hope. If we get consistency in execution we will be alright in the run game."
The players seemed to have more energy on Saturday to start the game. Was that because coach Willingham has loosened the reigns?
"No I haven't loosened the reigns, I have tried to choke them," said Willingham with a laugh. "The thing I have asked our football team to do - is at all levels understand their responsibility. Even the guy that is not going to play has a responsibility to his teammate. The thing that we try to do is educate them so they know what is going on, on the field. Then they can help a player see something that they didn't see. What we want is more activity and more energy. Maybe what you saw was guys starting to mature a bit and maybe they can start to execute their role."
Did Willingham's resignation have the effect they hoped it would?
"There is so much I don't know. But I do know that there is another coach in the country who had to do the same thing. Phil Fulmer had to do the same thing, but they didn't have USC next, he had Wyoming (Tennessee lost to Wyoming 7-13) . No disrespect to Wyoming, but they are not USC. I think it just points out the difficulty of the task and I applaud our coaches for keeping our team motivated and keeping our team going."
Has it come to the point where there is nothing to lose?
"I think there is always something to lose. I don't play the game feeling any less about myself today as I did yesterday. I think you are a competitor and you go out and play. Any time you play you have something to lose. You have your dignity, your hard work and your sweat. No - there is something to lose anytime you go out."
DId the players gain any confidence by winning more one-on-one battles against ASU then perhaps in previous games?
"Again, we are not interested in moral victories, we want the real thing. But, you take all of the positives from everything you do and try to build on those so you can be a better football team. I think our team did some positive things. One was the energy - we created some energy and some confidence in ourself to go out and win some football games."
Any positives for the defense last week?
"I think they did a decent job. In the first half they gave us the potential to win a football game. They had a couple of three and outs and held well and didn't give up early scores. But again, we didn't finish it. I like Mason Foster and think he is playing really strong for us. He probably is one of the guys who at the end of the year he could be up for one of the all-conference spots. I think we became a better defensive team when we moved Donald Butler to the strong side linebacker position. But we have to continue to find ways to stop the run and get off the field on third down situations."
Does Rick Neuheisel coming back to Montlake take some of the pressure and spotlight off of Willingham?
"It is a good thing," said Willingham with a laugh. "it is not that big of a thing. My situation is done and everyone knows what is going on with me. That is old news."
Ronnie Fouch Quotes
Is Fouch less sore then after the USC game?
"I got hit a little more this weekend. Yeah I'm still pretty sore today."
What is the biggest hurdle for this offense?
"We just put ourselves into too many long distance situations. In the second half we were in too many third and long situations and we were shooting ourselves in the foot with penalties, mental mistakes and assignment mistakes. It is tough play calling wise in those situations. "
What went wrong in the redzone and why did they throw the football so much?
"We thought they would bring more pressure down there so we wanted to spread them out. Coach Lappano thought we could get the ball in there if they blitz but it didn't work out. We will get better next time."
How frustrating was it to settle for so many field goals?
"Our modo is to keep the kicker off the field. We want touchdowns not field goals so yeah it was frustrating."
What prompted the trick plays and was if fun to run them?
"We have been practicing those plays for most of the season now and we knew that Cody [Bruns] had a strong arm. If was fun to get out in the game and not just run it in practice and Cody has been throwing good balls all year in practice."
How many touchdown receptions has Fouch had in his playing career?
"That was my first."
Are the players talking about Rick Neuheisel returning to Seattle?
"I'm only a redshirt freshman and we are not too worried about all of that. We are more concerned about UCLA coming into our house and us getting a win for all of the seniors."
Why was there more energy to start the game?
"It just came down to us talking as a team this week. We had a couple of player only meeting and we wanted to step up this week and have more enthusiasm and have more fire. In the locker room before the game we were having more fun, bouncing around and that helped us have a fast start. That is a credit to how we came out and how we approached the game."
Can that continue even though Washington suffered another loss?
"Yeah, because it helped us have a good start. We didn't put it all together but it helped us and it brought more fun to the game."
What if anything has changed since Willingham resigned?
"We have been going out there every weekend trying to get some wins for coach before he leaves. We just pulled together as players and our head coach is a fighter and we are going to fight for him. He hasn't given up and we won't give up either. He still cares about us a lot and that shows just how strong of a person he is."