Football: UCLA quotables

Here is a sampling of what was said after Saturday’s win over UCLA:



On the defensive performance:

“The defense played like they normally play with a better understanding of the pistol, obviously. I’m very proud of their effort today. They did everything you could ask them.”


On how UCLA’s  pistol compares with Nevada’s:

“I don’t want to put their offense down at all, but I think they would admit that it’s not quite to the Reno stage yet. Reno has been doing it a long time and their quarterback is excellent with it. They’re very, very efficient. UCLA’s not quite there yet. But once you play it the first time, which we did, you learn lessons from it. And we definitely needed to learn from our last experience with it, and I think we did.”


On backup running back Isi Sofele:

“Isi was productive when he was in there. Shane played another real good game today. We definitely need to get Isi more involved in the game as we continue to move forward.”


On whether running inside the tackles was the plan coming in:

“I felt like we were going to try to challenge them downhill. Some of the teams they’ve been successful against have been spread teams. Houston is a spread team, Texas is a spread team. Stanford played them well going downhill on them. We were going to test them downhill and try to make it a physical football game. That was mainly by design. But we still need to throw the ball better, no question.”


On quarterback Kevin Riley:

“He needs to improve. We need to improve as a pass offense. He made some decisions that we need to get better with. He needs to throw the ball away when he can throw the ball away. He needs to complete balls. He didn’t throw any interceptions so he was smart with the football. But we need to improve in the passing game.”


On running back Shane Vereen:

“We all understand what Shane brings to the table. He’s been a productive, consistent back, whether it be in a backup role or as a starter. He’s very dependable, very tough, very smart guy. We all know we can count on him. But that being said, we can’t run him into the ground. We do need to spell him and keep him fresh. He had another very good game today.”


On the offense in the second half:

“I wasn’t happy at all about the second half. I’m very disappointed about the way the offense played in the second half. The defense just kept answering. I was not pleased at all with the offense’s production in the second half, and some of the things on special teams. Those are things you can’t have happen, because they are going to come back to haunt you.”


On crediting UCLA’s secondary for slowing down Cal’s passing game:

“We have to look at the tape and see if they were covered. We ran a couple nakeds where we had guys in the flat but they were covered. When you run those types of plays, sooner or later they’re going to get you. Those are the cases we need to throw the ball away and not take negative yardage. Kevin is smart with the ball.  He’s not turning the football over, which is key. We threw a screen pass on 3rd and 4 that was going to go a long way, probably. We didn’t connect on that one. We have to learn. We have to keep getting better.”


On not being able to get the ball into Keenan Allen’s hands in the second half:

“We didn’t get the ball into any of the receivers hands. We definitely have to be more productive in the passing game. “






On improving against the pistol since the Nevada game:

“That night against Nevada, we didn’t play with a lot of discipline. We didn’t play with good gap integrity. It was more about us, not about who we played or who we’re going to play. We really focused on improving as a defense (during the bye week).”


On why the defense played better against UCLA than it did against Nevada:

“I liked our game plan against Nevada. I liked the game plan we had today. Every team presents a little different flavor of what they want to do offensively. Obviously, UCLA is a lot like Nevada. Nevada presented some more matchup problems and I felt like they could throw the ball a little better than this team. It was a little different game plan in terms of how we were going totry to defend this team, even though they had similar offenses.”


On Darian Hagan’s two sacks on corner blitzes:

“This defense is going to allow everybody to get touches. Whether you’re a defensive  lineman, a linebacker or a secondary guy, you’re going to get a chance to get in the action. This defense is more about what we want to do and how we want to utilize our people. That was something we felt could benefit us. We were able to utilize it a couple times today.”


On outside linebacker Mychal Kendricks:

“He’s made a really good transition to outside linebacker for us. He’s a gym rat. If I give you the label of being a gym rat, it means you’re a good football player. You could play him anywhere. He loves the game. He loves to line up. He loves to look at film. He likes to study. You have to kick him out of the meeting room. He shows up on his own all the time. He’s always wanting extra. He’s very hungry to play football. I’ve enjoyed watching the maturation of him as a football player through the course of time I’ve been here.”

“He missed all of spring (with a shoulder injury). We really weren’t sure where we were going to play him. I kept hearing about him and hearing about him, but I’m not going to feel good about a guy until I actually see him line up and start playing. He really didn’t do that until training camp. Once training camp started, I could see he could do some things. Based on our scheme, we felt like playing outside would be the best chance for us to get the best 11 guys on the field. He was open arms to that. I think he has a bright future ahead of him at this level. He’s learning and processing and doing everything we’re asking him to do.”


On whether it was revenge for the Nevada game:

“This game was completely separate. The Nevada game was the Nevada game. As soon as that game was over with and we looked at it and realized the mistakes that we made and how we could try to play better, then it was behind us. It’s nothing we dragged into the weeks going forward.  UCLA was UCLA. Arizona was Arizona. You take the good and the bad from every game.”


On inside linebacker Mike Mohamed finally being completely healthy:

“Of course, when you don’t have one of your best players, it hurts. It doesn’t matter what level or what position you play. To have him back him out there on a full time basis…he’s the quarterback of our defense. We ask a lot of him. To have his skill set and his mental capacity back there on the field obviously helps us as a defense.”

Mike’s a very talented player on a lot of levels. He can do a lot of different things. As we move forward here in these next seven games, you’ll see him in a variety of different roles where we can utilize his skill set to the best of his ability.”





On atoning for the Nevada game:

“That’s kind of what we focused on for the two weeks. We felt like we had a lot to prove. We lost our identity. Having a second round with the offense meant a lot to us. We just wanted to go out there and prove what kind of defense we were.”


On not being limited for the first time in a few weeks:

“It was awesome. You forget how much you really love the game until you have to sit out. It was huge just being out there, being with my teammates. It meant a lot to me.”






On Shane Vereen and the strong running game:

“From the first series, they set the tone – up front blocking, Shane running the ball and receivers blocking. After that drive, we were just running the ball constantly. The passing never got going, but I think part of that was the running game was doing so well. We definitely have to be more consistent through four quarters. When we’re running the ball like that, it kind of takes other team’s offense out of it.”


On the passing game:

“Obviously, it has to improve. We’re not doing well enough in the passing game. I think there were a couple throws where I tried to aim it and not throw it. You just can’t play that way. Some of those plays, their defense did a good job. They had pretty good coverage. But also those are plays you have to make in order to be a better team.”


On the effect the strong defense has on the offense:

“It gives us confidence. Sometimes you press when the other team is scoring and moving the ball consistently throughout the game. When our defense is playing like it has, you kind of go out there relaxed, having confidence the defense is going to stop the other team. If we put up some points, we’re going to win this game. Today wasn’t the greatest overall offensive game. We did a great job running the ball. But the way our defense was playing, it didn’t really matter.


On his poor passing:

“Some of them were just bad throws. Some of them were plays where they had good coverage. Nobody was really open. I have to get the ball out of my hands a little quicker. Some I have to throw the ball away and some I have to put it in the right spot and make a play.”


On whether sitting out practice during the bye week because of a hamstring injury affected him:

“I didn’t feel rusty. A couple throws, I just have to step into a little more. I felt like my feet weren’t in rhythmn. It shouldn’t affect me at all. It’s just one of those things where I just never got comfortable throwing the ball today. I think they did a good job. There were a lot of times where we did have a play called and I changed to a run because of the look. It ended up being a good play.”


On his bad day:

“There are times when quarterbacks don’t have a good game. Hopefully that’s my one. Hopefully I’ll get better from here. If you win 35-7 and you’re quarterback has and of day, that’s pretty good.”


On rebounding:

“I’ve played long enough where I’ve played bad games and  I’ve bounced back. That’s what I’m going to try to do next w eek.”






On the running game:

“We definitely started off great. I kind of got the feeling the O-line was feeling good. We got some good matchups. It was pretty soft inside. The second half didn’t really go as well for us. I think we need to come back and look at that a little more closely.”


On finally playing another game after the tough Arizona loss.

“We couldn’t wait to come out and get another game under our belts and finally push that one aside. W fell off the horse the past couple weeks but this week of practice we were able to get back on the horse and do the things we do well.”






On the defense’s level of confidence right now:

“We’re confident in what we can do and we definitely believe in the scheme. The defensive coordinator sets out a plan and you have a defense that believes in it wholeheartedly. Great things can happen, like they did today.”


On finally playing a game after the tough Arizona loss:

“When you lose and you have 14 days to let it sit and jab at you pretty much every day, and you have coaches who will bring it up as motivation, it definitely its something you don’t forget.”





On the affect Clancy Pendergast has had on the defense:

“There is a different mentality on this team since he came. We’re go-getters. We don’t sit back. We go get the ball. We pressure the quarterback from all corners of the field. We all have the same mentality.”


On lifting up UCLA tailback Derrick Coleman and throwing him down:

“That was big time. I don’t think he saw me. I was coming off the edge. Those are the plays as a player you go to bed dreaming that you get that type of tackle. I was blessed to get that one tackle. Those are the tackles you dream about.”


On finally getting to play again after the Arizona loss:

“We came off a loss, a bad loss.  Losing by one point hurts. On top of that, we had the bye week so it was settling in. Today was a big day to come back and get a win at home.”


On how UCLA’s pistol offense compared with Nevada’s:

Overall, they ran it pretty well. We just had a different scheme.  The big thing was just do your job. That’s exactly what we did and we came out with a victory.

“It’s all about trust. If you trust he guy next to you is doing his job, you don’t have to feel like you have to do someone else’s job. So that was a big thing for this game. Coach emphasized just doing only your job. Do your job, and know the guy next to you is doing his job, and you’ll be all right.

Jonathan Okanes

Jonathan Okanes is in his fourth year covering Cal's football team. Previously, he covered Cal's men's basketball team for four years. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OkanesonCal.

  • The D is solid enought to keep Cal in most games (but maybe not Oregon/Oregon State). Nev LB problems seem fixed. Overall grade A-.

    The O is problematic. Good on the run but Riley is still the same–can’t win without him/more often than not, can’t win with him. If he minimizes the fatal errors we will do okay against the mid-level Pac 10 teams, but lose to the upper end–Oregon/Oregon Stae and Stanfurd. We should have beat Ariz and thus I put us #4 in the conf, if the coin flips in our direction at 60/40 the rest of the way.

    Not what I want to see, but I can live with it. If Sweeney was a savior he would have played by now. Conclusion–Riley is what we have/ we go with what we have…. The QB fight will occur next spring; not this year.

  • rollonubears

    i heard desean jackson was on the sidelines and pumping up the crowd against ucla. if that’s true, that’s great to hear. especially with all the recruits there. i feel a lot better about him now. no hard feelings. that was a nice thing to do.

  • rollonubears

    maybe it’s just me, but I’m not so sure it was the bears defending the pistol as much as it was ucla running something that didn’t look like the pistol at all. maybe i had too many bud lights, but prince almost never ran with the ball, and i don’t recall but a couple handoffs that were actually fakes. it seemed like a very plain vanilla offense, almost like they thought they would abandon the pistol for this game, thinking that’s all we’d spend time preparing for. that, or ucla just really sucks at the pistol, but the texas game looked so much different than this.

    last comment. i know there’s an off chance we’d rematch against nevada in a bowl game. while it would be a sucky bowl, if we’re not going to finish 3rd or better in the pac10, i’d kind of like that opportunity. might be fun to see again. i think nevada’s got a legit shot at taking down boise state. we’ll see. that would be simply awesome.

  • rollonubears

    cal got 2 votes in the harris poll. not too bad. our bcs number should be close to cracking the top 25 if we win next week. our only 2 losses were to ranked opponents on the road. (albeit nevada wasn’t ranked at the time)

  • Calduke

    Initial odds – USC over Cal by 2-1/2 points.
    That’s not much for homefield advantage.

  • Boaltblue

    To you DeSean Jackson detractors:

    DJ has never shown any disrespect for Cal. His NFL introduction as a Long Beach Poly grad is just an expression of love for that institution, not any dislike for Cal. DJ explains, It’s no disrespect to Cal. I just feel coming from Long Beach Poly was a huge step for me to make it to the NFL.”

    In a 2010 interview with Jim Rome of “Rome is Burning” Rome concludes the show with a statement to the effect, DeSean Jackson “representing Long Beach Poly”. DJ interjects. “Give the Cal Bears a lot of respect too, man”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXEP6Fh6OIM

    Any claims that DJ regretted his choice or time at Cal are simply false and are probably the creation of a press that needs to sell “news” or people who are misinformed. In an August 23, 2008, interview with
    Black Athlete Sports Network, DJ states:

    BASN: What made you decide to go to Cal?

    D.J.: It was a great program and a chance to expand my game and be part of an up and coming team.

    BASN: What was your most memorable game in college?

    D.J.: There were so many that I look back at that were important to me it’s hard to pick just one.

    BASN: Do you have regrets from your college career?

    D.J.: None.


    No one has ever provided any proof that DJ has bad mouthed Cal. Many Cal fans have certainly done DJ wrong. To you DJ detractors, SHOW ME or FOREVER SHUT UP!

    It is time to put an end to the false stories of DJ’s disrespect for Cal and welcome him with open arms. DJ was at the UCLA game cheering us on. We should show deep gratitude and love for one of the best players to put on a Cal uniform.

  • thisiscal

    I agree with PeteBear. If we were going to see another QB, we would have seen him already. I think Jeff Tedford’s quotes about the passing game just reinforce this. Riley is our guy and so it’s best to support him.

    This team has great athletes and great potential. I would love to see us put it all together a couple of times. If we play to our potential we can beat any team in the Pac-10 including Oregon and U$C.

  • CoBears

    Riley is going to look a lot better against a team without an adequate defense, and is going to gain a lot of confidence in finally beating $C.

    Go Bears! Beat up on the defenseless Toejams!

  • rollonyoubears111

    Looking at how the defenses are covering/ lined up in all of the games that I’ve watched (from UC Davis to UCLA), there were plenty of opportunities to go for long passes. The zones that were played covered 10-15 yards- somehow knowing the ability of our QB and our OC’s playcalling (short passes). If Riley can somehow muster the skill to throw the deep ball, then maybe we could see better production.

    So, please, let’s show that we have a deep threat- c’mon Riley. It’s time to shine!

    Go Bears!

  • rollonyoubears111

    There should be less staring down receivers- because that’s part of the reason that there is indecision. When the LB’s cover that sightline, you hesistate to throw- hence increasing your risk for a sack/interception/indecision. He should look off defenders more often. ok…that’s enough armchair qb talk. GO BEARS!

  • Shaka

    A little more armchair: To his credit Kevin acknowledges his tendency to aim rather than just letting it go. Under pressure he looks to revert to that little hitch and wind up resulting in those high overshoots. Aaron Rodgers had the same issue early, but look at him now. Kevin, watch Rodgers, visualize the quick release, throwing on the run, bombs away, be the ball, have fun,& run the table. GO BEARS, Beat sc.

  • Steve W

    Riley’s biggest problem at QB is that he does not have the innate ability to see the whole field and look off receivers. I watched a tape of the UCLA game to confirm this. He was staring down his primary receiver way too often, which gives the defense time to adjust. Maybe Tedford should have him rolling out of the pocket more often to allow him to see more of the field, but Riley loses a lot of accuracy when he throws on the run. It’s a Catch 22 that Tedford surely recognizes.

    The ability to see the whole field and look off receivers is a gift. Andrew Luck at Stanford seems to have it, which is why the NFL scouts are drooling. The last guy at Cal with this ability was, ironically enough, Aaron Rodgers. If I was gameplanning SC, I might revert to what Tedford did with Rodgers in the 2004 game. You may remember that Rodgers tied an NCAA record in that game with the most consecutive completions. Most of those completions were quick hitters with a two or three step drop for the QB. Something to think about.

  • rollonubears

    i like that the u$c game is a day game. i like that a lot. most of their felonious fanbase will probably just bail on this one since it’s before they normally wake up.

  • Bean

    I know Riley’s passing has earned some due criticism, but his run blocking continues to be exceptional, most notably on Ross’ touchdown. QBs need to pass well, but let’s not forget the other skills Riley brings to the game.

  • Juancho

    I’m not as confident as others in Riley stepping up against USC. I know USC’s defense is down this year. But what has always troubled me the most about Riley is his mental state of mind. Andrew Luck comes off as a strong-willed leader who expects to win. Whereas Riley to me seems like a perpetual self doubter. I hope he proves me wrong.

  • BlueNGold

    I was at the UCLA game and I thought Riley showed he has the tools and the skills to be an above average QB. His biggest problem seems to be lack of consistency in the level of his play, and when he slides into inconsistency it seems to spread to other components of the offense, which is what seemed to be happening during the 3rd quarter. I do not know how much confidence plays into that, or whether it is something that coaching can overcome. I would like to think that over time, he will feel more comfortable in the role and that will boost his confidence. But you would think that already would have happened by now, at least in part if not completely. I just hope it does not take the entire season for him to figure it out. If Riley has NFL aspirations, you would think he would realize what his inconsistent play is doing to them and kick himself in the butt to elevate his game.