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Football: Players postgame quotes

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.

 

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  • GoBears89

    JO, I’m sure you know there were a couple of downs – including the one where Kendrick had the INT – where we only had 10 players on the field. Have you talked to the coaches to find out how/why this could happen???

  • Pug

    With Kendricks guarding the middle of the field I think the coaches felt they only needed ten players.

  • bearupthere

    Hill has been targeted time and time again the last 2 games (break out your DVR recording) and continues to give up too many receptions. He’ll be a good corner in the future, but the Bears need to be starting Hagan !… Who looked awesome against UCLA I might add.

    Gregory obviously has something personal against Hagan.

  • ToparchiBear

    JO I am wondering that Best officially only counted for 102 yards. Could you please verify that. Beside the 93 yards touchtown run, Best also got a few of nice runs that amount should be much more that 102. Wouldn’t you guys agreed.

  • rollonubears

    best was dropped behind the line of scrimmage on almost every carry. he had a nice touchdown reception, but that doesn’t count for rushing yards. i think the number is pretty accurate. one big run. a couple small runs. and a lot of runs for negative yardage.

  • Jonathan Okanes

    Go, I didn’t know it at the time because I actually was walking down to the field when it happened. I heard after the fact. Obviously, it worked out because they got the pick. But no, I haven’t talked to any of the coaches about it. We’ve only had access to them Sunday and i didn’t know about it at the time.
    Top, the number is accurate. Best had one other good run, a 22-yarder. But besides that almost all of his runs were for negative yardage.

  • Dan

    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.

    Bearupthere— quote above by Gregory reinforces what you said about Gregory having something personal toward Hagan. I was at ther game, and Hagan just jumped out at you on several plays. You notice Hill gettoing beat frequently, and Gregory compliments him while somewhat dismissing Hagan. Also, to Hagan’s credit, there was none of that ridiculous vamping and celebrating he has done before. Maybe he’s getting it. It’s OK to be genuinely fired up, excited and celebrate with your teammates, but Hagan has done more of that “look at me” posing after- reminds me of the old Miami junk. I was very impressed with Hagan- he is the most physically gifted CB on the Bears. He clearly has some work to do mentally, but he played well Saturday.

    Also, on Kendricks pick, if that ball is 3 feet higher, UCLA TE Logan Paulsen is wide open in the middle, no Bear to be found for a TD. That changes the whole game, as the Bear O had gone into conservative, predictable hibernation.