Nov. 8, 2004
Well, we are coming off a disappointing loss last week to say the least. We had a little bit of a slow start. We had some inconsistency in executing in what we did the week before in our offense and defense. They made a big play against us on special teams that resulted in a turnover and then they scored and put us in an unfamiliar position right from the very beginning of the game. That is something that our guys haven't experienced - a start like that. It showed in the first half. In the second half we were able to regroup and do some things to be more productive on both sides of the ball. We made it into a competitive game by the end, but we just ran out of time. It is unfortunate given the circumstances this week, the ninth week of the season, being in a situation where there is a lot on the line. We had a great week of preparation leading into the game. Things just didn't turn out the way we would've wanted them to turn out unfortunately. Here we are in a familiar position. After these particular setbacks we have had, we have responded and that is one thing I'm expecting our team to do this week. We have a tremendous challenge of going up to Eugene and winning a game versus the University of Oregon. We have a lot to address this week in order to get ourselves into the proper mindset for us to go up there and execute and do what we need to do to come away with a win.
In terms of our injuries, there was only one significant injury in the game that is listed as day-to-day and that is Maurice Drew. He left the game early in the first half and was unable to return. His ankle injury is pretty significant, but we are listing him as day-to-day. We will see as the week unfolds what his progress is from a day-to-day basis. Marcedes Lewis has a bruised tailbone which is not as significant. We think he is going to be just fine and ready to go on Saturday. I would like to open it up for questions please.
Is it possible that you overlooked Washington State?
I sure don't think so. We put a lot of attention to Washington State. I'm not going to discredit what Washington State had done coming into the situation last Saturday. They just made some plays early in the game that gave them the momentum from the start. That was something we didn't anticipate and we got ourselves in an unfamiliar situation. Our players knew the ramifications of everything in terms of that game and the stretch here the last three weeks of the season. So it wasn't a case of overlooking, it was just a case of inconsistent execution and not doing the things you need to do right from the start. There are sudden change situations that happen in a game and we haven't had a sudden change situation that had happened in that early portion of a game all season long. For them to score on the very first play offensively, that is a sudden change issue for a young team that is growing and getting better. It was a learning experience for them to be in that type of situation right from the beginning. We will have to build from that. The great thing about this team is that they always respond.
Why do you think there were so many missed tackles?
We just weren't executing. We were in position to make plays; we just weren't executing the plays. By the time we were ready to do it we just ran out of time and that was really what it comes down to in a nutshell.
Talk about the play of Chris Kluwe.
He has been great. He has done a great job. He has great hang time on his kicks and our gunners have done a great job at covering their kick returners. He has pinned some kicks inside the 20-yardline. Our special teams, other than the opening play of the game last week, has played very, very well. (Special teams) is an area where we are being consistent, we just need some more consistency in some other areas of our football team. Offensively, we need to be more consistent at the beginning and getting the continuity that is needed to keep the momentum going. Defensively, we need to execute. Stanford was really the first game where we saw all three phases work together. Unfortunately that didn't happen last week, but we know it can happen because it has happened before. We are going to strive for doing that again this week.
How important is this week for this program?
This weekend is important because we want to win. We have to get back on the winning track that we had. The one thing is that, the latter part of the season we know the issues. We had two back-to-back losses in the middle of our season with Cal and Arizona State, and this team has shown all the things we need to do to continue to improve. They have had two major setbacks in a row and there were able to get back on the horse and get themselves into the win column again. This is another occurrence. It's week nine, we lost a game and we have two games left and we are going to get ourselves right back on the horse again. We will put our best effort again this week. The season is not lost. There is still a lot to improve on. There are a lot of young players who are getting better and better. We need to really harp on the consistency now. We need to be more consistent with our production and more consistent with our execution. Those are the details we are going to focus with.
For coach Dorrell's complete press conference, please click on the audio link located at the top of the page.