By Jonathan Okanes
Monday, October 19th, 2009 at 12:10 pm in Last game tidbits.
Here is a thorough sampling of what was said immeidately following Saturday’s game:
QUARTERACK KEVIN RILEY:
On making plays in the passing game
It feels good. Right from the get-go, the second touchdown, you could see our offense go back to what we did the first three games. That’s what we were waiting for. People weren’t pressing. Like we said, the bye week came at a good time for us. We got to just concentrate on ourselves and work on some things. We worked on the team aspect a lot, people kind of pushed each other a lot, and it worked out really well today.
On getting that first touchdown pass
It was good to have a touchdown – it’s been a while. It’s not like I forgot how to do it, or I didn’t have confidence I could do it. We made more plays today – like I said, once we get one we’ll keep on going with it. UCLA has a good defense. That’s one thing people don’t think about. We scored 35 points on one of the better defenses in the Pac-10 in the first half, and we’ve got to continue to improve on that.
On the importance of the first drive
Good play calling. Nobody was out there on that run with Shane. He made a good play. We got a couple of good run plays on that first drive. On that first third down – we haven’t been getting many of those in plus-five situations – so it was good to get that. That kind of calmed people down.
On whether completing that first pass was a boost of confidence
To start off the game, we were seeing things really well. You have games where you can see things better than others, and today was one of them.
On his block during Jahvid Best’s 93-yard TD run
We have this thing where you get a cut block and you get a little skull-and-crossbones thing on your binder, so I might be the first QB for Coach Ludwig to give one. He’ll judge it. I’m hoping to get one. … I was just jogging with Jahvid, saw him start to cut back a little so I just tried to get in the way of anybody. I was just hoping I wouldn’t get the guy from behind, but I got in front of him. And Jahvid finished off a great play.
On his second TD pass to Marvin Jones
It’s a great feeling. Pre-snap look there, I knew Marvin would have a one-on-one – with a veteran player, but Marvin had a height advantage. He does a good job of getting those balls and holding onto them. It’s that trust I have in him. I gave him the opportunity to make a play and he did.
On the impact of the win moving forward
We talked about how this is a new season now, since the bye week. This is just one game, we have six more in the Pac-10. Hopefully we’ll continue to practice hard and get better every week.
On the heat
It was pretty hot. You first walk out there and it’s like, “Oh, it’s hot.” But it makes you loose. It was comfortable, it wasn’t too bad.
RUNNING BACK JAHVID BEST:
On missing the beginning of the first half
I got dehydrated so just getting dizzy. I wasn’t feeling right. It took me a little while to get up and get back on the field.
On his long touchdown run
They overpursued on the outside, so I cut back inside and from then on it’s just finding a way to the end zone. So I was just trying to find my way out there.
On Riley’s block
I saw (Kevin’s block). I’m not surprised at all. He does that all the time, so I’m not surprised at all.
On recovering from dehydration
It was just dehydration, so I was just in the locker room. I was just hydrating, eating fruits and relaxing and I came back out and felt pretty good. I don’t know if it was the heat or my asthma. It could have been a combination of both. It was hot.
On sharing reps with Shane
That’s the way we want it to be. We don’t want it to be lopsided at all. At practice we’re always sharing reps, and in the game we share reps. We should have good production from both of us.
On executing big plays
It’s real important for us. It just energizes the team, especially on the road when you don’t have a big crowd. It’s vital.
On the importance of the bye week
Luckily we had a bye week so we were able to just get back and work on fundamentals. So it was kind of easy for us to get back to where we were at. Thank God we had that bye week so we could get everything squared away.
On the closeness of the team
We’re a lot tighter as a family now. We do everything together now. Our team bonding is elevated a lot.
On whether he’s broken that many tackles on a long run before
I don’t think so, unless I go back to high school.
On UCLA defense
They had a great defensive scheme. They were doing a great job of stopping the run and even the pass sometimes. Luckily we were able to come up with some big plays and generate points. I don’t really know what they were doing against me but as a scheme they were just … throwing us off a little bit.
On his touchdown reception
That was a play that we’ve been running forever since I got to Cal. We just wait for the right opportunity where we have the matchup we want and then they just tell me to go out there and outrun the guy. We had the right matchup so it worked for us.
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR BOB GREGORY:
On limited playing time for Mychal Kendricks
We rotated a lot of the guys because of the heat. All those guys rotated so he had a fair amount of rest. We just felt he was unhealthy during the bye week and D.J. Holt was playing well during the bye week.
On Darian Hagan’s play
Hagan did play well, but the guy who really played well was Bryant Nnabufie. He, Josh Hill and Hagan all played well. Bryant did a nice job today though. It was good to see those guys play and respond in a tough game.
On UCLA’s offense
They just did their deal. We didn’t play ours as well as we could have. Gave up a couple long passes, we were right there, just didn’t make the play. Those guys made the play, so it wasn’t anything new.
On the defense’s shortcomings
It was all technique issues. Our guys played their fannies off today. I’m very proud of them. There were some guys that were totally gassed at the end.
LINEBACKER MYCHAL KENDRICKS:
On whether his interception was more meaningful since he virtually guaranteed a win during the week
The pick felt real good. I wouldn’t say I put pressure on my team. I just had confidence. I thought we were going to win before. I just had strong confidence in my team.
On whether the interception more meaningful since he didn’t play as much as usual
It felt good. I’m going to support the team no matter what. I’m going to support the coaches’ decision, whatever they choose to do. But it felt good — starting or not, getting a pick.
On whether he felt he had to make a play once he did get in
I was rallying up the guys. If I wasn’t going to be in there, I was talking to my teammates, I was in their ear. And yeah, right when I got in, every time I got in, I made sure — yeah, I got to make a play.
On whether he thought about his interception earlier this season when he was tackled before reaching the end zone
I thought about that for a split second. I was not going to get caught. I didn’t get enough plays and I couldn’t get caught. If I’d got caught, that would’ve been the end. I got too much stuff for it last time.
RUNNING BACK SHANE VEREEN:
On whether he is tired
Yeah, you can say that.
On the heat
It was hot enough to grab your attention. After a couple of runs you start huffing and puffing a little bit, but you’re able to battle through it.
On playing so well near his hometown
I think it’s very special. I look forward to playing in L.A. every season. I circle that game on my calendar, so doing it in front of my family, friends — just to come down here, just to get a chance to play on the field with the rest of the team — is great.
On Best remaining in the locker room when the second half started
I asked and they said he was coming back, but they didn’t know when he was coming back. I just took over and held it down for him until he came back.
On the first touchdown that broke a long drought for the team
I was just happy that I was able to score for the team. It was a big sigh of relief for us, and to get on the board, get things rolling the way we had it four weeks ago, it was a good feeling for us.
On whether the passing game loosened up the box
I think a little bit. When you have both things going pretty well, when receivers are catching the ball and we’re running it, it puts the defense on their heels. They can’t really play one too heavily. So when that happens, it makes it a lot easier for us.
On Kevin Riley
We told Kevin before the game that we had his back no matter what, we were going to be there for him and I told him just to go out there and play with confidence. Just to go out there and play the way that he’s capable of playing.
On how big it is for Tedford to win in Los Angeles
I think it’s significant on a personal level for Coach T, but I think what overrides that is the fact that we came down here as a team after losing the past two games and we performed very well. Very proud of the way that we came out as a team and accomplished our goal of getting a W.
On playing with determination when feeling hot and tired
I just wanted to do everything I could for my team, for the rest of the guys on the field because I knew if I was able to do my job it would make everyone’s life easier and they were able to do their jobs. Like I said, whenever my number’s job, I just try to go out and do my job 100 percent every single time.
WIDE RECEIVER MARVIN JONES:
On the resurgence of the passing game
It was very important. We obviously don’t want three and outs, we don’t want to have our defense tired and on the field. So those explosive plays we do need, and we need to click offensively so we can help our team in general, and we did those. We did those things and it paid off.
On his second TD catch
When I held onto the ball, I just kept holding onto it because I wanted to make sure it was a touchdown. Everyone was trying to grab me, but I was still hanging on. It was just a good throw.
On his trust in Kevin Riley
Riley has a lot of trust in me and when he throws the ball up. I have to get it. It’s what I have to do. It’s my job. It was a good feeling to know that my quarterback will just throw it up for me to get it.
On the video review of his second TD
I actually didn’t hear anything because I was kind of in the zone. I was too hyped to even know that they were questioning the call. But I was just glad it all worked out.
CORNERBACK DARIAN HAGAN:
On his play after Thompson left the game
Having Syd go down, I try to go in with a different kind of mindset, a little more focus, and do as best I could to do that job.
On whether losing his starting job has been tough
It hasn’t really been tough. I know the guys that do fill in are doing good jobs so it’s just about me trying to bounce back and getting back to the group and I think I’m on my way.
On whether his confidence ever suffered
The past few weeks, even during the Minnesota game I was still confident, I played with terrible eyes that day and kind of got exposed a little bit but I’m just trying to focus and not let that game happen again.
On the importance of the win
Coach has been preaching that it’s a seven-game season now and we have to do our best to get all seven wins. Everybody came out today with great focus.