By Jonathan Okanes
Monday, September 28th, 2009 at 10:21 am in Last game tidbits.
A thorough sampling of what was said outside Cal’s locker room after the game Saturday:
On what he told the team in the locker room:
I told him that we got beat today by a better team. Oregon did a nice job. Give them a lot of credit. We got outplayed. We got outcoached. WE still have to believe in who we are. This is just one loss. All it means is we’re not going to go undefeated.
On if he felt the team practiced well during the week:
I thought we had a good week of practice. Oregon played great today. It’s a very tough place to play and we didn’t execute in any phase of offense. Give Oregon a lot of credit. We didn’t play very well today.
Is Kevin Riley disappointed?
Everybody is disappointed. When you don’t play well like that, you invest so much time and energy in what’s going on, it doesn’t feel good. He’s our leader on offense. Of course, he’s disappointed.
On the struggles on offense:
They were just beating us at the point of attack. We weren’t getting any movement up front. I’m really impressed with their defensive front. They did a great job in the run game. They did a great job rushing the passer. Give them all the credit.
Reaction to Verran Tucker’s taunting penalty:
It was undisciplined and you can’t do things like that. It was going to be a play for us to get us closer to the end zone, and it turned out we didn’t get any yards on it.
On inability to establish a passing game:
We couldn’t protect the passer. Kevin was really rushed all day long. You have to be able to do that to get the passing game going.
On Oregon’s physical superiority:
You have to give Oregon credit. We were manhandled up front today. They played very hard. I still have confidence in our guys up front.
On his faith the team can bounce back:
I have a lot of confidence that we’ll go back this week with a good attitude. Obviously, SC is a great football team. There is going to be a lot of focus and concentration on what we need to get done. We need to do a better job as a coaching staff to put our players in a position to be successful.
On his confidence in the team still being a good team:
I have a lot of confidence in this team. I love this team. I love the kids. They prepare well. It’s one loss. It’s a tough loss because we were beat pretty soundly today. I think it got everybody’s attention to make sure we work extremely hard.
RUNNING BACK JAHVID BEST
On the struggle to run the ball:
It was not so much what they were doing, but we weren’t executing as an offense. When you don’t execute, you’re going to struggle.
On if it was more Oregon being good or Cal being bad:
It was on us. What they were doing, we had practiced and we went over it. We just weren’t executing as an offense.
On how much they loaded the box:
They did load up the box a little bit, but we were ready for that.
On the breakdowns despite practicing well and being prepared:
We were making a lot of mental mistakes, mistakes we hadn’t made this year before. That was basically it.
On the surprise of not being able to run against Oregon:
It was a little shocking, but we have to put it behind us now and get ready for this week.
On putting the loss behind them and getting ready for USC:
This loss is going to sting for a little bit, but I’m confident. It’s SC week. People are going to forget about this real quick. It’s a big game, so we don’t have time to worry about this loss.
On the mood in the locker room:
We were down a little bit, but everyone is just trying to relax and forget about it and get ready for next week.
On what Jeff Tedford said to the team afterward:
The biggest thing he said is all this means is we’re not going to have an undefeated season. This doesn’t mean we can’t win the Pac-10. It doesn’t mean we can’t maybe even go to the national championship.
On his confidence that Cal is still a good team:
We just didn’t play like ourselves today. It’d be different if we played excellent and still lost.
QUARTERBACK KEVIN RILEY
Surprised about what happened?:
We thought we were ready. From the first play, it was just a bad game. We took turns messing up, everybody on the team. I’d miss a throw, something would go wrong with the blocking. We never got it going. It was a terrible game. We just have to learn from our mistakes and forget about it. That’s all you can do.
On Oregon’s defense:
They had a good game plan. Their defense did well, didn’t let us get anything going. I give it to Oregon for playing well. It was them, but a lot of it was us playing bad.
On the fact that it was still just 3-3 at the end of the first quarter:
We were waiting to get something going and we never did. As I was saying, we were taking turns – missed throw, missed block, not hitting the holes. It was everyone on the offense taking turns messing up. That’s all there is to it.
On halftime adjustments:
The things we were running were pretty open. We continued and went more into our game plan. We started off well and then didn’t do anything. Next drive, same thing, didn’t do anything. We couldn’t capitalize on anything.
On the mood in locker room afterward:
It’s one loss. We don’t want this to be a downward spiral. We gotta come out, practice harder and get better – take care of the little things.
On Oregon’s crowd:
I wouldn’t say it was a much of an issue. It definitely has an effect on rhythm and things like that. It’s a lot nicer to play at home, no doubt. It was same as last week, a little louder.
On his confidence Cal is still a good team:
If people saw us before and saw us today, this isn’t how we play. Oregon did a good job of taking us out of our game, but it was more us than them. We’ll come back next week and surprise people with the way we play, no doubt.
On the USC game:
We’ll get better from it. We’ll respond. SC is a good team. We’ll play better, no doubt about it.
On the stakes of the USC being different now:
Both teams have to win now. You’ve got to fight, that’s all there is to it. You can’t just lay down and have bad things keep on happening. You have to respond in a good way.
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR BOB GREGORY
On Oregon tight end Ed Dickson’s big day:
I can’t tell you exactly why. We have to watch the film, but there were a couple of times on screens, we just didn’t respond quick enough. It was the whole deal – we didn’t play well as a defense today.
On why the defense couldn’t continue its recent success against Oregon’s spread:
They can move the ball against anybody. Certainly, we didn’t think they’d move the ball that well against us. But that’s what this offense can do – they can be pretty explosive on any given day.
On whether he saw this coming:
Well, no. If I saw it coming, I wouldn’t have showed up. We always expect to play better than we did today. It was a major struggle. Hats off to them – they did a great job. I did not do a good job. We’ve got to get back at it next week.
On if Oregon did anything schematically that surprised them:
They did a few wrinkles, as far as what they were doing running-wise that were a little different than what we practiced. We should have practiced that and we didn’t. In the future, we’ve got to make sure we practice everything they think we could do.
On Josh Hill starting over Darian Hagan:
Our decision was because of Darian’s performance against Minnesota. We felt like Josh was playing well enough. He played in our sub packages and we felt like he deserved a chance to play. I thought he did a pretty good job today.
LEFT TACKLE MIKE TEPPER
On the offensive line’s struggles:
The whole day, they had eight men in the box. As an elder on the team, I put it on myself and the offensive line. We couldn’t open the holes for Jahvid or Shane or any of the backs, and we couldn’t protect for Riley.
On the team bouncing back:
We’re definitely going to look at this film and learn from it. We have a lot to learn. Iv’e never been shut out before in my life. It’s definitely a huge learning experience. I’m ready for us to get better from it.
WIDE RECEIVER VERRAN TUCKER
On the passing game balancing out the running game:
We were not able to do that today. If we get manned up, we have to be able to beat it just to take the pressure off Jahvid. Every time I looked back, I noticed they were always in the backfield. I felt like next week I have to do more to make plays down the field — make the corners feel threatened by us.
On bouncing back:
We understand this is a tough loss but we have to put this loss behind us and go to next week. We understand that we cah still win the Pac-10. We understand that we lost this game, but we’re focused.
On whether the team practiced well during the week:
We were prepared. I really just don’t know what happened. I’m still kind of shocked by it. We’re going to watch film and see what we did, but I’m still kind of shocked.
LINEBACKER MIKE MOHAMED
On whether the team practiced well during the week:
We felt pretty confident coming in. We thought we were going to come in here and play our usual game. We just didn’t show up today. They came out and played tough. They dominated us. It showed on the final score.
On Oregon’s efficiency in the passing game:
They definitely threw the ball a lot more, and they threw it pretty well. That was a big surprise for us. We didn’t anticipate that up until that point. They really hadn’tt thrown the ball at all. That kind of shocked us and we had a hard time adjusting.
On Oregon tight end Ed Dickson:
They really got the tight end into it and we really had a hard time accounting for him. That got us in trouble.
On the mood in the locker room after the game:
We’re a little down. That’s not the outcome that we wanted. We’re optimistic for next week. We feel like we’re going to bounce back strong.
On avoiding another 2007 meltdown:
A couple years ago, we were No. 2. When we lost, in the locker room, it kind of felt like it was the end of the world. Now, all it means is we have one loss. The Pac-10 is still wide open. We can still win the Pac-10, which is our goal. We’re going to come out tomorrow and just work toward that.