Sept. 13, 2003
UCLA Head Coach Karl Dorrell
Obviously, we are very excited about the win. It was mine as a head coach and the first in a new era. I think that we beat a pretty good Illinois team. Their defense and kick-off teams did some things that caused issues for us for the second straight week. It was a hard fought win. Our defense played lights out and gave a great effort. As a matter of fact, the whole team made a great effort. We know we have a lot of work to do, as you saw today, but the whole direction is positive.
We're excited about our win, obviously its short lived because of who we play next week. We are going to enjoy this win and prepare for Oklahoma next week.
That is just the beginning. It was a great test. For them to put the big stop there and be a distraction on the field goal is a great testimony to the defense. Defense right now is carrying our flagship.
On how crucial the special teams were in the game:
They were very crucial. They had a couple of good punt returns, but unfortunately we didn't capitalize. Maurice Drew did a nice job returning for us. He's got the cobwebs out of the way this week looked good for us. Our special teams are solid, and we hope to keep improving in those areas.
On Manuel White Jr.'s role in the backfield:
Manuel's role was big in that we've given him more reps this past week in playing tailback. Last couple of drives we featured him as a tailback and he gave us some production there. I was encouraged that our offense was generating some movement towards the end of the game. It's a step in the right direction, and hopefully we'll keep improving on that in the weeks ahead.
On the play of the defense:
I am pleased with where the defense is right now. The defense is good, but they can still get better and they know they can. It's nice to know they can still get better. There is always room for improvement. At some point the offense will get it together and things will start clicking. I am happy with where we are right now, but not satisfied.
Today's win was a big win for us. It wasn't pretty, but the magnitude of the win was a benefit in terms of growth. We do fight, we do play with an attitude of putting it on the line, and those are things to build from.
Illinois Head Coach Ron Turner
We had a lot of opportunities to make plays and didn't make them. One play is not going to decide a ball game. I am proud of the effort of these guys. We have a good football team and we went against a really good football team. If we continue to play with the heart and the passion that we played with tonight, we are going to win a lot of football games.
On the Illini defense:
Our defense rose to the occasion. Our defensive coaches came up with a really good plan. We did some things a little bit different, threw some wrinkles at them. Our guys played great, outstanding football. If we keep doing that, we are going to win a lot of games.