Sept. 12, 2000
Reflections on the UCLA game
"The big thing I addressed the team about was that there were a lot of positives that came out of the UCLA game. The bottom line that's very hard for everyone in our football program was losing to UCLA, again, in a game that was winable. You've got to finish those games and you've got to get those wins."
"There were a lot of positives. Our kicking game was a lot better from the Ohio State game to the UCLA game. We covered a lot better. We protected our punter better. All of our cover teams, especially our kickoff coverage, was a lot better."
"On defense, we stopped UCLA 15 out of 20 on third and fourth down situation, and three of those came on penalties...One of the big things we wanted to correct on defense was to be better on 3rd-and-7 or more. I think the exact stat on it was they were 3rd-and-7 or more eight times, and we stopped them seven times."
"As far as their running game, I thought we did a good job of stopping DeShawn Foster. He had the one 50-yarder on us. But other than that, I think the final stat was we held their running game to 2.8 per carry. So I think we did a very good job in that area. But we need to do a better job against the no-huddle. We need to work on that a little bit. But overall, defensively, I thought we played a good game."
"That was as good a defensive effort I've seen since we've come here. That and the Air Force game in 1997. I thought our defense played very well."
"Offensively, we had a hard time getting the run going. We're going to keep running the football, because I think that's important. Paris Gaines got a few more reps this week than against Ohio State. Hopefully, with these two weeks, we'll have him back to 100 percent by the time we hit Cal. Hopefully, Derrick Ward will be over his ankle and knee injuries, which I don't think our major injuries. We need those two players at full strength."
"UCLA defensively is a very good team. It's going to be tough sledding against teams of that caliber. But you've got to run the football, and we need to get better at that. I thought we did a lot better job with our protection this week. David [Carr] had a lot more time to get the ball downfield, especially in the fourth quarter. I thought our protection was excellent when we really needed to have good protection."
"I think once again, as a team, the conditioning showed up. I've always thought this team is a well, well conditioned football team. Our program stresses conditioning, and I think once again it showed up in the fourth quarter. It really showed up defensively the entire game. They had the ball 38 minutes of the game."
"I told our team afterward that 21 months ago, we had just finished a 5-6 season. And UCLA and Ohio State were going into the end of the season ranked No. 1 and 2 in the nation. Through all of it there has been a lot of improvement in 21 months. It just doesn't show right now in the wins and losses. But I think this football team and this football program is getting better."
What improved offensively from the Ohio State game to the UCLA game
"I think the biggest improvement we made was in protection. We haven't had the same group of offensive linemen on the field for any period of time, which has really hindered our development. But I think our players packed it in pretty tight against UCLA. Rodney Michael, who's one of our top players, went down in the first quarter. Mike Stovall went over to center. Freshman Fitu Tu'ua, who missed all week with a shoulder, had to go in at right guard. Overall, that group played well, especially in the fourth quarter when we had to protect well."
On the game Jeremy Johnson had
"I've said it before, I don't know if people have heard me talk about it, but Jeremy Johnson is an outstanding prospect. I think Jeremy Johnson has shown, two weeks in a row, that he's ready to play at this level. He's a game player. I think two or three years from now, with the development and the size and the things he has going for him, he can be one of the premier tight ends in the country."
On the no-huddle offense
"We like the no-huddle. We've used it here before. We used it last year against TCU and the year before against Oregon. We use it situations when we think we are in better condition that somebody. To use it early in the game is not to our advantage. We need to pick the times when we use it. A lot of times when we use it, it's very hard for us to use motions and things like that which gives us some advantage...I think we will use it at times because David is comfortable with it."
On playing California
"They pounded Utah pretty good...Cal pretty well dominated the game. They are very, very good on defense. This will be our third straight game against a very good defensive football team. Once again, we are going to have play well defensively. I don't see this being a high scoring football game. It's going to be a very tough football game. A lot of it is going to depend on field position."
"Ohio State and UCLA are good defensive teams. We've played two very good defensive teams, and Cal will be a third. They led the Pac-10 in defense last year...They are similar to us. They play very hard on defense."
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