CB Derrick Johnson said that the Huskies weren’t surprised by anything UCLA threw at them on offense. It came down to execution, or lack thereof. “We had to just make some plays and we didn’t do it. We weren’t in the right checks sometimes, and that happens. They were throwing deep at us in the first half but our defensive line was getting pressure. In the second half it came down to us corners having to make plays on the back end and we didn’t get it done. We had the same game plan both halves, it was the same game plan with the same players. But a much different outcome (in the second half),” said Johnson.
This one will sting, but Johnson will try to refocus. “It’s in the past now. We have to go keep fighting and go put in a tough week of work. When a guy throws passes like Olson was, we have to step up and make plays. Even when he throws perfect balls, we still have to make plays. Our defense was on the field too long. It reminded me of the Purdue game, but we need to move on now. We roughed up Olson a bit in the first half, but he was more confident. He was throwing the rock and they were catching it.”
FB Zach Tuiasosopo had a tough luck interception that caromed off of his hands. He took full responsibility for the costly turnover when Washington was driving and only down by six. “Cody made a great read, and the UCLA linebacker made a great play. It was a great ball but I took my eyes off of it.”
“UCLA played a great game all around. They have great athletes and you have to tip your hat to them. They took advantage of our weaknesses today. In the Pac-10 you have to respect everybody. Now we learn from it and put it behind us and put in a tough week of practice.”
DT Terry Johnson played perhaps his best game as a Husky as UCLA held, jumped on, bit, and hog-tied him in attempts to keep him away from the ball carrier. Johnson had three tackles, two for loss, a sack, and drew three penalties on his own. He was exhausted and distraught after the game and would not talk with the media.
“Not here, not now,” said Johnson in declining to be interviewed.
Defensive coordinator Phil Snow, a former UCLA coach, was extremely disappointed in the way things unfolded for his new team in the second half. “If you look at it, they outplayed and outcoached us in the second half. Every way they could, they beat us. Offense, defense, and special teams. They had three or four plays on third down where their kid threw a nice ball, but we have to make those plays. They know that, and UCLA made the plays today.”
UCLA found ways to protect Drew Olson better in the second half, Snow concedes. “They found ways to block us, but they were also running more three man routes (max protect). The coverage has to take care of that, and we didn’t make plays on the ball when they did it.”
WR Reggie Williams was not shy about talking about the Bruin defense, particularly cornerback Matt Ware. “I was open every time. He (Ware) was scared. There is no love lost, there,” said Williams of Ware. Clearly frustrated that he didn’t get the ball more in the second half, he answered, “I don’t know” when asked why Cody wouldn’t throw it to him. It was very frustrating, I felt I was open every time. I knew that Ware, or anyone else that they put on me couldn’t stop me. It’s there on the film. We’ll work things out, though. We’ll get better this week.”
“I saw in his (Ware’s) eyes that he was scared. All of them were, especially him. I saw it after my first catch. I was open, I don’t know why,” answered Williams about not seeing the ball more after his eight catches in the first half.
Williams was mostly frustrated that his team lost. “I hate to let one slip away. But we’ve still got the whole Pac-10 season. We’ll get better. We’ll get back and have hard practices next week and lay it on the line against Nevada.”
Ted Miller of the Seattle Post Intelligencer asked Williams if the reason why Pickett didn’t throw to him more because he saw Ware on him. Williams bristled, answering Miller with a terse, “Nah. Ware sucks. I have no love for him, basically. He didn’t do nothing. He’s cool, but he couldn’t hold me. He’s a good guy, and a good person, but in terms of holding me, he can’t do it.”
TB Rich Alexis was very down as he left the visiting locker room in the Rose Bowl. “We just let up in the second half. They played great and we didn’t. When you let a team like UCLA back into a game, it will come back to hurt you. They became more confident and more motivated after that sack for a touchdown. That got the crowd back into it and it got them excited. We had them out of their game, but they took it to us after that.”
How does the team respond to such a devastating loss? Alexis tries to look ahead. “It’s a long night, but it’s a long season, too. The Pac-10 is wacky, and every game is a must win now for us. We just have to go week after week now and pull games out one at a time.”
“Settling for three points instead of touchdowns didn’t help our defense at all. We didn’t execute in the red zone today. I don’t know what happened to us today. We had too many penalties that killed us. That’s just discipline. We have to score in the red zone, we just have to. UCLA is a good team but we helped them look even better.”