Football: Gameday quotables

A sampling of what was overheard after Cal’s loss to USC on Thursday night:


On whether the mistakes were the most disappointing thing about the loss:

“Yes. Absolutely. Mistakes, turnovers – you can’t beat a good football team like SC when you turn the football over five times especially down deep. There’s no question there’s some good things but there are some things that need to be improved – fumbled snaps, ball handling.”


On whether the mistakes can be attributed to a lack of focus:

“I don’t doubt their focus. Maybe sometimes you’re trying too hard. We run the fly sweep with Mike (Calvin) and the ball gets put on the ground. We run that at practice a lot of time and the ball is never on the ground. You just have to trust your fundamentals and go back to work. We have to find a way to put it all together. There are flashes of really good things.”


On why QB Zach Maynard struggled:

“It would be certain plays. I thought the rush was pretty fierce in the first half. I thought he played much better in the second half. He made a lot of plays there. We came out in the second half and moved the ball up and down the field. We just turned the ball over too many times. “


On Maynard adjusting to the speed of Pac-12 football:

“That’s as fast as it’s going to happen. In my eyes, it looked like in the second half he was feeling better with the speed of the game. We just have to be able to eat the ball at times.”


On Maynard’s interceptions:

“Sometimes you try to make too many things happen. The want-to is there. You have to understand to be smart.”


On the defense:

“I thought our defense played well. Stefan McClure stepped up and did a great job. I thought we competed very hard.”


On his confidence in Maynard improving:

“Any young quarterback — which I would put him in that category — with the speed of the game we play in this conference week in and week out is something you need to adjust to. With a guy like him, as competitive as he is and with the composure that he has, I have a lot of confidence he will get it. He will get used to the speed of the game because he can still make a lot of plays. He made a lot of plays in the second half.


“It was a tough day. He’s not the first quarterback to have a tough day. Today was a tough day. We’re going to improve on this. That’s the key, to take those things and learn from them. When you play great teams like these guys, you have to understand not every playy is going to be there. Make good decisions and get rid of the ball.”


On the fake punt:

“It was an option to punt it or run it. If he had the edge clean, then you go for it. It wasn’t clean. He made the determination to run. He should have punted it. With a team as fast as USC is, they can close the gap really quickly on you. I think he made a nice move to get up inside, but they closed the cushion really fast.”


On the team being disappointed:

“Of course. We’ve had a tough three weeks here. Our schedule has been tough. We played two teams that were on quarter system and hadn’t been to school yet. Our guys are right in the middle of midterms, playing Thursday games. We’ve played some good football teams.


“There are some good things. I’m not making excuses by any means. They care about each other, they believe in one another and they’re going to continue to work and they’re going to continue to compete. That’s my true assessment t of where their mindset is.


On team morale:

“Are they disappointed? No question. Is morale down right now? It’s OK to be disappointed but not be discouraged. It’s been tough weeks we’ve had the past few weeks. I have all the confidence in the world that we’ll come back with the work ethic that we need and the competitive energy that we need. There’s a lot of football left.”




On the team’s morale:

“We’re a family. After all these losses, we don’t back down. Our mindset is we can still win out the rest of the season. That’s what we plan to do. Nobody in that locker room has doubts. All of us are on board.”


On his fair catch:

“It was just a bonehead decision. I was on the 16 so I thought I had some ground. I kind of backed up. Right when I was about to catch it, I knew it was a bonehead mistake. You won’t see that happen again.”




On his mistake-filled performance:

”I just have to watch film and see the mistakes I made. I tried to force the ball a couple plays.”


On his interception in the end zone near the end of the first half:

“That hurt. I thought I had the ball high enough over the linebacker. I was trying to get the ball to the back of the end zone to (Marvin Jones). He made a good play on the ball. “


On how he can get better:

“Just take it day by day and in the games, play by play. Jus try to make smart decisions to keep us on the field.”




On what he can do to keep team morale high:

“The biggest thing for me is to keep doing what I do and lead by example. I’m tired of hearing a lot of talk and all the rah-rah stuff. With every loss, I go more into getting myself better. At the end of the day, all we can do is what we do as an individual. Everyone is playing as hard as they possibly can. If I can do my job just a little bit better, it might make it easier on somebody else.


“It’s definitely hard and frustrating and everything like that. You have to keep your head up and get better. That’s what I try to go.”


On whether he’s confident the team won’t get down:

“None of these games have we given up. We’re playing hard .We may make a few mistakes here or there. These past three games haven’t gone our way and we know that. Nobody is giving up. We have six more games left That’d be ridiculous (to give up). That’s not going to happen if we lose the next five games.”


On whether this loss was tougher because of all the mistakes:

“All of these losses are exactly the same. We know talent-wise we’re up there with everybody in the Pac-12. That’s what makes it hard. We know we can compete. When we get on the field, we’re not coming out on top. That’s the most frustrating thing.”



On why he was so effective against USC receiver Robert Woods:

“I knew that I had D.J. (Campbell) over the top. That gives you a little relief when you know you have help over the top.”


On whether his performance will boost his confidence:

“I’m always going to be pretty confident in my God-given abilities. I just go out there and just take it play by play. It’s a lot different from high school so you’re not as confident. You always have to have faith in yourself that you can make a play. The coaches have faith in me. They are believing in me.”


On the difficult situations the offense put the defense in:

“It’s a tough one the way the defense was playing and some of the situations we were in, but we rallied together. We have to get more turnovers. We have to get off the field on third down. Everyone can pick it up.”


On how playing a lot againstOregonhelped against USC:

“It helped a lot. I was really more prepared for the speed of the game. I knew what to expect — the intensity, the speed of the game.”




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.