By Jonathan Okanes
Wednesday, October 14th, 2009 at 11:03 am in media luncheon.
Here’s a sampling of what was said at Tuesday’s weekly press luncheon
LINEBACKER MYCHAL KENDRICKS:
On taking busses to UCLA
It’s going to be fun. I’m going to enjoy it. More sleep time, more time to study plays. I always like busses and train rides. I don’t really like planes because you don’t really know what’s going to happen up there.
On how he’ll pass the time on the bus
Probably play games. That’s what we did last year when we flew to Maryland. It was a 45-minute bus ride and everyone was just playing on their gameboys.
On the team’s morale
We’ll be fine. We just have to go out there and have fun. We know we’re good. Just a couple things set us back, but we’ll be fine.
On whether he was surprised by getting blown out twice
I don’t know if I was surprised because things happen throughout the game consistently. We weren’t doing our part. You can kind of tell when the team has just kind of fallen out of proportion and just things aren’t happening the way they are supposed to happen.
On what went wrong
It was just us. It wasn’t anything that they were doing. Everything that we did was on us – wrong fits, wrong assignments. Nothing that can’t be fixed.
On the team’s defensive performance against USC
I felt like we did well. We could have done better, but a couple of blown assignments here or there caused big plays to happen. Small mistakes become very big.
On the prognosis for the rest of the season
We have to win every game for now on. We can’t lose again. We lost two games already. We’ve only had six points in eight quarters. We can’t lose again. I don’t think we are, either. Actually, I know we’re not.
On whether the defense gets frustrated when the offense is struggling
I feel like we play better. I know as a defensive player, the defensive guys rally up when that stuff happens. We kind of put the game on our shoulders. If one side of the ball isn’t going to get it done at the time, then we have to take it upon ourselves to do it. I think we come together and play a little better.
On what makes him so confident the team will win
Because we can’t (lose). We can’t. That’s going to be my answer every game. I don’t think we’re going to lose. That’s going to be my answer forever.
On whether it’s dangerous to think “we have to win.”
You have to have that mentality and play relaxed and just have confidence. Play with swagger.
On what will happen Saturday
We’re going to win this week.
On Jeff Tedford having the team form a “rally huddle” at the beginning and end of practice
That’s that swagger that we have all day, every day. That was fun. That’s what they’re trying to install in us. You have to have fun while we’re doing this. You just can’t be out there playing this game for no reason. You have to have fun while doing it.
On the importance of having fun on the field
We always have a sense of urgency and we always want to win, but I feel like having fun while we’re out there playing is just going to help us play better. Win or lose, honestly all of us play this game and we all have fun, win or lose. Now when you win, you have a lot more fun.
On whether it’s a positive that the problems the team is having appear to be fixable
I wouldn’t say it’s positive, but it’s a reassurance that it’s fixable. Just take a step back and do what you have to do.
On what he’s learned this season
What we’ve learned is that we win as a team and we lose as a team. From the coaches to the players to the waterboys — We win as a team, and if we lose as a team, we can bounce back.
On watching the Oregon-UCLA game Saturday
I like watching football on Saturdays. I don’t usually get to do that. It’s hard not to watch any football game from a different perspective now that I’m playing at the collegiate level. I can’t even watch football without making reads. But I tried to watch it as a fan on Saturday, just tried to get away from it all and just relaxed with my folks and have a good time.
On having a friendly race against Jahvid Best
No, I haven’t raced him. Not yet. I would race him, though. I’m sure he’d win, but I don’t know if he’d kill me. We can set that up. Bring the cameras out.
SAFETY MARCUS EZEFF:
On the team’s morale
I think we’re fine. We played two good teams in a row. You have to credit them. You can’t really question our effort. Our effort has really been there. We’ve been playing hard. A lot of things just haven’t been going our way. We’re looking forward to going down to the Rose Bowl and playing another good team.
On the team’s defensive performance against USC
I think we played OK. We could have played better. You always want to play better against a team like that. At the same time, you have to credit USC. They made the plays when they most mattered. We didn’t. But we fought hard and we played hard, and that’s all you can really ask for.
On whether it’s frustrating for the defense when the offense struggles
It is what it is. The offense is going out there trying to do their best to get into the end zone. We just stick behind them and know that this is a team sport. They’re trying. Everything is not going our way right now. We’ll see what we do this Saturday.
On whether mistakes happen when guys are trying too hard
When everything is going wrong, you try to do everything you can do to make a play. Sometimes people do certain things that they’re not supposed to because they’re trying to make a play. That’s why the bye week was great for us. We came back and started from Day One what we were doing right. We’re going to see where that takes us this week.
On whether he’s shocked by the blowout losses
I’m pretty much the guy that understands that it is what it is. You can’t question our effort. Sometimes the ball just doesn’t go your way. It sucks, but that’s just the game. Coach Simmons always says it’s hard to be great at football. There’s just so much to it. You have to really practice and practice and practice for perfection and be great. But sometimes you just get those bumps in the road like what we’re going through right now. What we do right now, how are we going to respond to adversity? I feel like we’re going to respond pretty well.
On the importance of winning Saturday
I think we’re fine. Even though we lost these two games, I don’t think it’s ruined team chemistry. Team chemistry is still there. Everybody is still pulling for one another. We have people down, but at the same time we understand that this is a tough conference. Every week is going to be a hard week.
On the prognosis for the Bears going forward
That’s going to be everywhere. A lot of people had a lot of high hopes for us. The season isn’t over. We have seven more games; hopefully eight with another bowl game to really make this season what it’s for – everything we’ve worked hard for and put ourselves in this position for. The season is brand new now. That’s how we’re looking at it. We’re going to try to go 7-0 as well as get a possible bowl bid.
WIDE RECEIVER MARVIN JONES:
On getting away from football for the weekend
When you have time off, you always want to step away from the game but still have the game in mind. So it was nice to have that luxury of just staying home.
On whether there is pressure to produce in the passing game
I don’t really feel pressure. We’re going to have rough games. There are going to be games where there’s a slide, but we can’t feel pressure about it. The first couple of weeks, we were prolific in the passing game. So we can’t feel pressure when things are negative. We’ve just got to take it one day at a time.
On quarterback Kevin Riley’s state of mind
I think he’s handled it pretty well. Along with the rest of the team, he’s trying to bounce back, put the negative behind us and prepare for this week. That’s all we can do. We can’t keep the negative stuff in our head, that’s just going to transfer it to next week. He’s preparing very well.
On whether Riley takes too much of the blame for the lack of passing game
Not all the blame is on Kevin. We just weren’t successful on our drives, as a whole offense we have to get those little things corrected, whatever they may be. I wouldn’t say it’s all on him or all on us (wide receivers). When we mess up, we mess up as a team, as a unit. We just need to execute flawlessly.
On Riley and the receivers working on routes they can “own.”
It would be a big confidence boost. We did meet as a group, wide receivers and quarterback. We’ve been doing that more, just to see what he’s thinking and we’re thinking, so we don’t have any of that miscommunication. We’ll run our routes knowing, ‘OK, he wants me to do this,’ and then the quarterback will be on the same page. From that aspect, it will give us a big confidence boost.
On the importance of getting a swagger
We definitely need to get our swagger back. After last couple of weeks, we have to ask, what can we do as a unit to get better and get above that? I think we’re handling it well. There are just little things that separate the games – if we just make a couple of plays here or there, then we’ll be in the game. It’s just the little things, and they’re correctable. We need to correct them this week, and we’ll be off on a good foot.
On playing close to his hometown (Etiwanda)
I’m going to have a lot of family there, the anticipation is definitely there – I’ll only be 15-20 minutes away from my house. I have to channel all my energy, try not to use it too much in the pregame.