By Jonathan Okanes
Sunday, October 4th, 2009 at 9:52 pm in Last game tidbits.
Here is a sampling of what was said in the interview room following Saturday’s loss to USC:
COACH JEFF TEDFORD
On the loss
They played better than us. They stopped the run. They put pressure on the passer. We didn’t execute very well in the passing game. We had some chances to make some plays in the passing game and didn’t do a very good job of it. You can’t be one-dimensional. You’re gong to have to be a total football team in order to be successful.
If Cal was one-dimensional against USC
We were zero-dimensional today. We couldn’t run it and we couldn’t throw. We moved the ball OK at times. We got down to the red zone and we turned the ball over in the end zone. Give SC credit. They’re a great football team, no question about it. Their defense is one of the best in the country. You have to give them a lot of credit. But there were chances for us to make plays out there today and we didn’t make them.
On the team’s morale
We’re gong to find out. I have confidence in these guys. We’re going to prepare well. I don’t know what’s going to happen against UCLA. All I know is I have a lot of confidence is that we will prepare well and have good attitudes. There’s a lot of football left to be played. We’re still 3-2. There’s no way in the world we’re going to fold out tents. I don’t believe that. We’ll have a great bye week. We’ll get healthy.
If USC is that much better than Cal
They are that much better than us if we don’t execute, if we don’t throw and catch the football and protect the passer. We have to make plays.
On Kevin Riley’s play
Kevin can play better and we can play better around him.
If there will be competition at quarterback during the bye week
Kevin is our starter.
On how Cal can improve the passing offense
Keep working at it. Do what we do every day and continue to have faith in each other and just keep working. That’s all you can do. You can’t talk about it. Talk is cheap. We’re going to work to get better.
On the field goal attempt at the end of the first half
We wanted to put points on the board. There were 12 seconds left and I didn’t want it to be a situation where somebody caught the ball or we got sacked and we came away without putting points on the board. I thought it was a nice drive. We moved the ball down the field nicely. We just missed it.
On whether he should yell at the team
We need to work hard. I’m never going to scream and yell at the guys. I’m never going to do that. They don’t deserve that. They play hard. I get e-mails saying you should chew them out. I’m not going to do that. I’m going tom motivate them and we’re going to work hard to get better and create a positive environment to get some confidence going.
SAFETY BRETT JOHNSON
On the team’s morale
Two straight losses is kind of tough but I think we have the right group of guys to get the ship righted. It’s a long season. We still have plenty more Pac-10 games to play and there’s still a lot to get out of the season.
On failing to live up to expectations so far
We definitely had a lot of expectations. We just kind of haven’t been able to put it together these past two games. It happens to everybody. Rarely does anybody go undefeated in the Pac-10. We knew it was a hard conference, a hard schedule. We just need to bounce back from these two losses and get the ship righted.
On where the team goes from here
Fortunately we’re going into a bye week. It will give us a lot of time to reflect and look in the mirror and see what we need to do individually as well as as a group to perform better. Hopefully it gives us time to make all those adjustments and come out strong against UCLA.
On concerns this could be another 2007
There’s always that concern. Like I said earlier, we don’t have the same guys we had on the ‘07 team. The ‘07 team had a lot of different guys with different mentalities. This team has better personalities and guys who won’t let this drive them down.
On his belief in the team
We know what we’re capable of. We know what we can do. We have the personnel as well as the game plan to do it. We just have to put them together. We haven’t been able to do that the past two games. We just need to get that done.
QUARTERBACK KEVIN RILEY
On whether he’s frustrated
I’m very frustrated. We moved the ball. We have to get it in the end zone. I missed a lot of big opporutniti9es. There’s not less confidence in our offense as a group. We know we can move the ball. We have to finish. That’s all there is to it.
On getting the ball in the end zone
That’s just something you have to do. You have to work on your fundamentals to get better. We have to go out and practice this week and work our ass off to get better. That’s all there is to it.
On how much of it was USC’s defense
I’ll give them some credit but a lot of it is on us. We had chances. They did a good job when we got down toward the end zone, but a lot of it is on us.
On the importance of finishing drives
If you want to win games, you put the ball in the end zone and we’re not doing it right now. We got down inside the 30 I don’t’ know how many times. I happened a lot of times and we couldn’t do anything with it.
On whether the interception at the end of the first drive hurt morale
I don’t think so. It was definitely new not the way you want to end a good drive like that, but we knew we could move the ball on them. We just have to find a way to put it in.
On his confidence
I’m fine. I just have to play better. You can have all the confidence in the world, but you have to go out and do it.
On whether it’s surprising they’ve gone two games without a touchdown
We have athletes all over the field. I think that’s the hardest part, not getting the ball in the end zone with the players we have. `
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR BOB GREGORY
On problems early
I think we pressed and played a little bit tight early. We missed some tackles because we were trying so hard. We left our feet early and put our heads down. But I think we calmed down a little bit.
We just calmed down and they got in the flow of the game a little bit. They settled down and played hard.
NOSE TACKLE DERRICK HILL
On where the team goes from here
After two losses, we have to go hard. We don’t want to have a scare like we did a few years ago.
On if his belief in the team is shaken
We’ve put too much work in to let two games throw us off. To sit here and say our hope is down is not going to happen. It’s only going to make us stronger. Adversity is the best thing for a team. You see what you build from it. I’m looking forward to building off this adversity.
On the concern of a repeat of 2007
More than anything, we’re a family now. That’s one thing I can honestly say with all my heart is this team is a family. Everybody is going to keep their head up. If someone has their head down, that’s what leadership is for. We don ‘t want to make it like it was two years ago. We want to make sure we stop it right where it’s at right now.
WIDE RECEIVER JEREMY ROSS
On the passing game
We all just have to execute. If everyone focuses on doing their job, I think we’ll be successful passing. That’s what it comes down to, everyone focusing on their task. Once we do that, the passing game will start clicking.
On whether it’s a surprise they haven’t scored a touchdown in two games
It’s real surprising. We have a great offense. We have a lot of speed and a lot of guys who can make big plays.
On the frustration of not being able to keep defenses honest
It’s frustrating. Jahvid is a great player and has a lot of speed and makes big plays. He’s a big part of this offense. When we can’t get him going, it is frustrating.
On whether his belief in the team is shaken
It’s not shaken at all. We are still confident. We still believe in ourselves, even with two losses. We know what we’re capable of doing. We know what we need to do to get back on track. Just tighten up some loose ends and prepare a little bit more and I feel like we’ll be fine.
TAILBACK JAHVID BEST
On whether USC had too much speed on defense
They weren’t that much faster. We felt like we had control at some points of the game. It just wasn’t happening for us. We’d make one mistake and we’d kill the drive.
On whether he would have like to been more involved
Yes and no. I can’t argue with the coach’s decision. Whatever I get, I have to make do with it.
On the interception that ended the first drive
It did bother us, but the good thing we got out of that is we could move the ball pretty quickly. So we felt pretty confidently about that.