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October 28, 2012

Postgame reactions after WSU's 24-17 loss to Stanford

Washington State had the ball at the Stanford 9-yard line with 30 seconds to go and a chance to tie the game at 24-24.  Instead, the wheels fell off as Jeff Tuel was sacked on the games final two plays, erasing what could have been a chance to upend the No. 19 Cardinal.

A handful of players and coaches shared their reactions in their postgame press conferences from a tent outside the vistor's locker-room.

CB Anthony Carpenter:


On whether Cougars defense gained pride after the defensive effort today…

"I have mixed feelings.  The defense played pretty good.  There were some key situations where we didn't execute and I wish we could get those plays back, but we can't.  We just have to move one.  Keep playing and keep making routine plays.  This is no moral victory, we lost a game, so I'm a little upset.  But I'm still proud of the defense we did play."

On asked what the problem was on the Patterson 70-yd TD…

"Miscommunication in the secondary, something we're going to get corrected.  The safety (Tyree Toomer) was supposed to roll over. He thought it was a different call and he was in the wrong place which led to the long pass."

On whether things on defense went according to the game plan …

"Our goal was to come into this game and we were going to be more physical.  We matched up well, we thought we were the better team.  I believe that we are a great team.  We really are, we just have to get over that hump.  But, coming into this game we wanted to be physical, low pads, good hand placement, drive.  We just wanted to get out there and we wanted to play our best."

LB Justin Sagote

On what the defensive game plan was coming off of the bye-week …

"The bye-week helped us a lot.  We were pretty prepared for what was coming so the bye-week gave us good time to prepare for Stanford.  We knew what was coming.

On what they defense wanted to do against them …

"Basically, if we just took away the run game, because we new #33 (Stepfan Taylor) was a good back, that they would have to go to the passing game.  We knew the quarterback (Josh Nunes) has trouble getting it to his outside receivers so all we had to do was take away 33 and the tight end (Zach Ertz) and they'd have trouble with that. So that's how we prepared for that."

On whether this was WSU's best defensive effort this season …

"Yeah I think it was.  Again, that bye-week gave us a good chance to come in and play against these guys. We knew what was coming, we knew what we needed to do to win and we just came up short.  But I'm still happy with the performance and the way the defense played.

On the mood and talk in the locker-room after the game and whether the coaching staff talked to the players …

"Not really talking.  Coach Leach just said this is a learning experience.  We just have to come back tomorrow and prepare for Utah.  Stanford is out of the way now."

On what the defense can take away from playing this well against a top-25 team …

"It wasn't just this game -- Oregon State, too.  We're good.  We can play with these teams but we just have to put it all together and become a team so we can beat these guys.  We just need to put it all together and we'll be alright."

WR Dominique Williams

On whether it was a plan to get him extra playing time …

"Kind-of, sort-of, but coach just said when you get your opportunity, just go in there and make routine plays."

On how the receivers responded after the sloppy performance against Cal, including a tough practice on Tuesday …

"After the tough day, we bounced back real quick.  We set a standard as a group, this is our level, and we're not going play down to it no matter what.  We bounced back pretty good."

On his assessment of the receivers …

"We played good but there are still some little mistakes that we need to fix when we watch film and do all that.  I was proud of our defense, the offense, and special teams.  Even the sideline, because we talk about playing all four phases of the ball, so that was pretty good."

On the mood in the locker room following the loss …

"The mood was kind of sorrow.  It's a tough loss because we had them.  But look at where we're at ... we played the two top teams in the Pac-12 -- Oregon and Stanford -- really close.  Look at the standings and that's what we have to live up to.  Keep playing as a team because we play for each other.  We're all a family, so it was off and on."

On whether this is more like the offense is supposed to be looking like …

"To tell you the truth, this is not what our offense is capable of.  We're capable of a lot more.  So we just need to come out and make routine plays, beccause that's what we do in practice every day.  We just need to transfer it over on Saturday's."

On what they were looking for on the last play …

"I was looking for a jump ball, to tell you the truth -- something to give our receivers a chance. You know, Marquess is somebody that will go up there and try to make a play. But, stuff happens.  You can't really dictate whether he was going to get the ball off or not."

QB Jeff Tuel

On what he takes away from the loss …

"First off, the defense played a hell of a game.  It was probably their best defensive performance and that's honestly what kept us in the game.  We were feeding off of each other and that's something that this team has been missing -- playing as a team.  I don't know if people on outside will understand that, but when the defense gets a stop, it fires up the offense, the offense goes down and scores, and the defense has our back.  Really, it was the first time all season it really felt like we played as unit tonight.  As far as what I take away from the game is that we can play with anybody if we play that kind of ball."

On whether this performance feels a little more like what the offense is supposed to be looking like …

"Yeah, I have a better understanding of the offense.  Leach and I have gotten on the same page and this is my first season with coach Leach - as it's his with me, too.  The growth from the first couple games to now is tremendous.  I understand what he's looking for and asking for.  I understand what makes this offense tick ... the freedom he's given me to do the things I want to do on the field.  It's starting to come along in that aspect and it's really just getting the ball to a bunch of receivers on the field so they can't key on certain guys."

On the wide receivers making tough catches…

"Without a question. Bobby [Ratliff] on that last drive ... one of the best catches I've seen since I've been here, without a doubt.  Dominique [Williams] early down there ... the receivers did a great job. I don't recall any drops that were easy balls to catch.  They did a great job."

On the sack on the last play of the game …

"There was a little miscommunication between Marquess and I.  I signaled something and we talked about it afterwards.  He got a great release on that corner and kept it vertical.  Bottom line, I can't take a sack in that situation, there's no excuses, and we'll just keep it at that."

Head Coach Mike Leach

On the reaction in the locker-room between he and the players after the game …

"We played well, we played hard, we played a complete game.  Stanford played more mature than we did.  Their maturity was ahead of us and they won the game.  We outplayed them in most of the important aspects of the game, but they had that sense, that go for the kill, that expectation that, we as a team, need to get. We need to keep growing up, but I think we improved."

On Jeff Tuel's performance …

"I thought he played well, I think he played pretty well.  He played tough, kept drives going, and did a good job of overcoming adversity.  We didn't protect him very well at first; most of our pressures came in spurts.  You can add them all up, but there was something like seven sacks in the first quarter and three or four on the last drive when we needed to go down the field and make something happen.  The middle of the game we did a better job of it.  That's the thing, more mature teams avoid those little lulls, those situational things. We need to keep improving, keep getting better.  I think we played hard and I thought we played well.  We just need to be a tougher, more mature team.  They have a bunch of seniors out there and it showed."

On Domnique Williams, his increased playing time and why he got the start over Marquess Wilson…

"He played better than Marquess in practice.  I thought he played good, better than Marquess.  Dom [Williams] played better earlier in the game then Marquess got hot at the end.  If Marquess wants to play the whole game he's got to stop being hot and cold."

On how hard it was to run the ball and whether they hoped they could run it more …

"Well, nobody has run the ball real effectively against these guys.  Maybe Notre Dame, I don't know what Notre Dame had, but nobody runs it very well against them.  There was a mismatch there -- their front and ours.  To pacify the masses, it was a little foolish of us to bash our heads against the wall because they think it's a good idea.  I think it's a good idea if they bash their heads against the wall, but that doesn't mean it's productive for them."

On how WSU's wide receivers played …

"I thought they played pretty well and the quarterback played well.  The offensive line played well a lot of the game but they didn't play well in the first quarter.  Defensively we played well.  We had some turnovers we didn't get.  There was that one big play (70-yard TD pass to Patterson).  But, as far as effort, a really good effort game, so I'm really proud of our kids for a great effort."

On the 70-yard touchdown pass and whether it was a blown safety coverage ...

"Yeah, they could have punted the ball to that kid."

On the troubles in the punting game, catching the snap, and the benching of Michael Bowlin …

"Bowlin didn't play well so we benched him.  It's a little bit like receivers when the punter can't catch he ball, I don't know.  Catch, punt. You catch the ball and punt it.  [Wes] Concepcion came in and punted it pretty good.  Right now, if we were to play in 10 minutes, he's the starting punter."

On Isiah Meyers, who didn't make the trip, and whether he'll be ready to play next week …

"I don't have a crytal ball so we'll see.  He's still on the team.  He hasn't been suspended and we're very happy with Isiah Myers."

When asked whether Myers' absence is injury-related …

"You can use your imagination, which I've discovered is quite vivid."



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