Nov. 4, 2006
WSU HEAD COACH Bill Doba
I don't think we played real well on both sides of the ball. It didn't seem like we were as intense. I think you have to come to play every week in this league. As I told them before the game SC found that out last week and we found it out today. They are a pretty good looking football team on the hoof. They executed and we didn't execute very well.
(Momentum in the third quarter after first drive) That's why I went for the fake punt. I thought we had momentum. The time before they were dropping off and I thought the thing would go. They did a nice job of stopping it. They had a block on, it looked like. Anyway that gave us a short field and that wasn't fair to our defense.
(Too confident?) I don't think you can ever be too confident, no. I don't know why, I just think they were not focused. They (WSU) had a good meeting in the lockerroom afterwards. I think they will come ready to play next week.
(Growing pains loss) That's probably a good way to put it. I hope it is. We better learn something from this one.
(Did Arizona do anything different to take away running game) Nothing really much different than they did before. They played well. They have some good defensive linemen and they have been playing good defense all year. Offensively they didn't really do anything exceptionally different. They used the two backs a little more with the tight end and with the two tights more than they had I think in the past. Once they got the lead they put the two tight ends in and ran the clock.
(Any capability of playing the 4-3) It is still a depth thing. Aaron (Johnson) is really not 100 percent yet either. I don't know, I think it is our base (would the 4-3 have helped). It would have helped to have both those guys, Ahi Ahmu and Ropati (Pitoitua) back, I think it would have helped. But the 3-4 has been doing okay for us too. I'm not blaming anything on us, we just didn't play well enough and they played a great game.
(Did you think about going on fourth down, rather than fake punt). The way we have been running it, I didn't think that was an option, to be honest with you.
(Willingness of Arizona to stick with run game) They had the lead and they were just eating the clock. That is good clock management.
(Injuries): They (Bumpus and Hill) have high ankle sprains so you know, I don't know, anywhere from two weeks to three weeks. It is hard to tell. It changed (the offense) a little bit. It hurts. They are a deep threat. You know, quarterbacks are used to throwing when they break, used to their cuts and the way they run their routes. All of a sudden you throw in other people it is a little bit different for them. It throws off their timing as much as anything.
WSU's ROB AKEY, DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR
"Did we over look them, no. I'm not saying that by any stretch. They did a heck of a job. Arizona played their tails off. That's the best I've seen them play this year. I also don't think we played very well and I'm very, very disappointed in that.
(third down defense) What were our numbers, they were not very good. The one that stands out in my head we've got seven minutes to get the ball back for our offense and go get two scores. We get them in a third down and forever and they run the draw and that went for quite a while. They third downs weren't good enough. We were only 50 percent on those.
When we build opportunities to get ourselves off the field we've got to do it. That is why we have success in other ball games. We've had some good take-a-way numbers, we've had some other things that have worked to our benefit. But tonight we didn't, especially late in the game when they are running the football and we need to get the ball back for our offense, we didn't get that done. I'm very disappointed in that.
They ran different parts of their package but it was nothing new. Where they have been mostly in 11 and 12 personnel with one back in the backfield, they took one of those tight ends, it was mostly a 12 personnel game, so a two tight end ballgame, which they've been doing, but this time they lined him up at fullback. They did that in early games this season. They did more of it tonight.
WSU WR Brandon Gibson
"We kind of played it slow, we didn't get it going like we needed to. But in the second half we came out and you saw us punch the ball down there, run it down. We could do anything we wanted. It is a matter of will and what we want to do with it.
(What happened after first drive of third quarter) I just think the cards on the table didn't go our way. It happens. In order to come out well (unclear) we need to execute better.
(92-yard TD catch) I think the linebacker, I think he was playing a hook curl and I gave him a move, I think I gave him an out move and he jumped to it. I think the safety was coming down and he wanted a pick, but Alex threw a good pass and threaded it in there and I turned around and ran to daylight.
WSU DE Mkristo Bruce
(On tough loss) It was hard. I kind of felt like all aspects of the game we didn't really step up and do what we needed to do, defensively, offensively and special teams we didn't really come through. It's frustrating because it's a game we thought was ours to lose. They came through and they wanted it more. They had that bye week and they really studied us and pointed out every weakness and took advantage of it.
(On being overconfident entering game) I don't think we were overconfident. We felt like we were ready for the game. We felt like we had a game plan that would work. Defensively we couldn't get off the field on third down and that hurt us real bad. It was third and 16 and they run a draw play and they get 16 yards. That's not something we wanted to have happen.
WSU QB Alex Brink
(On coming out with lack of emotion) We came out pretty flat, especially offensively, two first downs in the entire first half and that is real uncharacteristic of us. That goes back to not just the game but our preparation all week. We need to understand, a lot of people have been patting us on the back, but we have to work hard and stick to what we know and bounce back this week.
(Difficulty of moving chains without Hill and Bumpus) I think we adjusted pretty well. Brandon came up big, Charles made a few catches, and Chris Jordan came in and played pretty well for coming off a knee injury. We adjusted well but at the same time when you lose two of the best receivers in the Pac-10 you are going to have troubles spreading the ball around enough to move the ball effectively.
(On being ready for game) We were up for a Pac-10 game, we knew what we were getting into and we knew exactly what was coming. When you have as many people telling you how great you are as we had, it's hard. You have to block those things out and we came out flat, I don't know why, I don't have the answer to that. We can't have that against Pac-10 teams.
(on playing catch-up) It took a while offensively for us to adjust. Give credit to them, they are a great defense and we knew that coming in. We have to be able to move the football like we did at the beginning of the second half right from the get-go. We can't wait around for anybody.
WSU TE Jed Collins
(On not as intense as should be) It was tough. We've heard about Arizona and you look at their record and didn't expect them to come out and be as tough as they were. They are a tough group of guys and you have to respect everybody in the Pac-10 and we learned that today. Before the game we were as hyped as ever but nobody gave us that spark in the first half to get us going like the people did down at UCLA. We are going to bounce back; it's not the end of the world. We've had losses before earlier in the season, we are just going to come back and fight.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH MIKE STOOPS
"We really controlled the tempo of the game and that was really pleasing to see. I thought it was a good match up for us defensively. [WSU's] been throwing the ball extremely well and they played well, but our kids really competed. Our offensive execution was better in critical situations and that's always key. We got some tough third and fourth down plays to keep drives alive and that was really pleasing to see. The third-and-15 pass to Steptoe was spectacular and that was probably the turning point of the game."
On running back Chris Henry:
"I thought Chris ran exceptionally well. He really protected the football and got us some tough yards in there. The most pleasing thing was when we got the ball back with five or six minutes. To really grind out two or three first downs right at the end of the game was really good to see and that helped us finish off the game."
On the team's execution:
"It always gets down to execution. Our execution has not been what it needs to be in those tough situations and it showed up in some games. Tonight I really liked the way we came up here and played on the road against a team that has been playing exceptionally well. To control the game like that was really pleasing to see."
On quarterback Willie Tuitama:
"I thought Willie did some good things. He was a little bit rusty but made some unbelievable plays. We just have to get him back in rhythm and keep doing a good job protecting him. We have three tough games left so we have our work cut out for us, but I really like that this team has really stayed together."
On the team as a whole:
"I was really pleased with our team effort. I thought we played probably as good a game on offense, defense, and special teams as we've played in quite a while. It was a very complete and gratifying game. Our toughness was really good; our position on the ball defensively was superb; we controlled the run game; coverage was excellent. Again, we made plays offensively which we haven't been able to do and we scored some points. We made some third downs that kept drives and some fourth downs that really enabled us to win in a tough situation."
LINEBACKER DANE KROGSTAD
"Our week of preparation that we had was great. The coaches put us in the right spot and we executed the best we have all season."
On the impact of tonight's win on the rest of the season:
"It's huge. It sets us up well. There are three great teams that we have to play next, but if we can execute like we did tonight I think we'll be okay and hopefully reach a bowl game.
On quarterback Willie Tuitama's return:
"It was a morale booster for the offense definitely. I think it gave them a lot more confidence and it gave the team a lot more confidence to have an experienced quarterback back there."
WIDE RECEIVER SYNDRIC STEPTOE
On tonight's win:
"It's always important to come into someone else's house and get a victory. When you play on the road you always know that everything is against you so getting that victory is a good thing for the program. This was a ranked team. They're bowl eligible right now so this was a great win, probably one of the best wins since I've been here."
On his one handed catch on third and 15:
"All I heard in the locker room was 'Great catch, great catch,' but it was just making a play for my team. I knew the play needed to be made and, being a senior, I knew that I have to make the play whenever they call my number."
On the return of quarterback Willie Tuitama:
"To always know that Willie's back there, to know that he's going to try and get you the ball whatever it takes is great. He's standing there taking the hits, so you know you have to come up with the play. It was great confidence for us, so we just went out there to play well for him."
On the offensive line:
"I give credit to the o-line. They blocked great tonight. They gave [Chris Henry] holes to run. It always goes back to the o-line. They did a great job tonight. We always knew they had it in them. We know we have a young o-line but we also know they're going to get the job done."
QUARTERBACK WILLIE TUITAMA
On tonight's win:
"Basically we just stuck with the game plan. We ran the ball all night. Chris [Henry] was back there all game and played his heart out. Our offensive line opened up some holes. We moved the ball, kept the clock going, and when we threw the ball our receivers made some great plays."
On the offensive line:
"Outstanding. Honestly. The conditions weren't that good, but the times that we did throw the ball I basically had all day. There was maybe one or two times that there was a little bit of pressure, but I still got the ball off."
JUNIOR RUNNING BACK CHRIS HENRY
On his performance at running back:
"Every running back thinks about a game like this when you can help your team out and run the ball hard and carry your team to a victory. It definitely feels good. I think as far as running the ball it's the best running game I've had because of the fact that it's the most carries I've been given. The more carries you get as a running back, the more confidence you get, so I guess you could say this is the best game I've had so far."
On the offensive line:
The o-line did amazing. They picked up all their assignments. They played against Mkristo Bruce and he's a really good defensive end and they handled him very well. The whole line stepped up big tonight."
On the impact of tonight's win on the rest of the season:
"It puts us at 4-5. We have three games left, we have to win two for a bowl and we're going to try and win the rest of our games. They're a good Washington State team that has been beating teams so it does a lot for our confidence and I think it takes off a lot of unnecessary pressure that was maybe on the coaching staff and some of the players. Hopefully people will respect us a lot more since we've shown what we can achieve when we play at full speed and full intensity."