ANALYSIS: Breaking Down Cal's Loss to Oregon

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Emily Turner and I break down Cal's loss to No. 6 Oregon, from the good to the bad to the questionable.



PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES

California head coach Sonny Dykes
General comments:
“I told the guys after the game that I was really proud of how hard they played. I thought they played really, really hard. We had a bunch of guys that were a little beat up physically that were able to come back and compete hard for us. We just made too many mistakes in the ballgame to beat a team as good as Oregon, but I can’t tell you how proud I am of these guys. They compete, they’re good kids, I just really love being around them and how much they care about each other. I’m lucky to have the opportunity to coach them. I told them that we have to get more disciplined, too many mistakes. Guys are trying to make some plays and sometimes try to do too much and we have to not do that. A lot of the things we can get corrected. So we’ll look at the tape, make our corrections and get ready to go play on the road against Oregon State next week. I know our guys will play well, we’ll have a great week preparing and we’re already looking forward to it.”

On mistakes:
"We are playing with a lot of young players and they are making some mistakes. That is what young players do and that is why really good football teams don’t play with that many young guys. We have so many freshmen and newcomers playing for us that are still learning how to play. We have got to continue to improve and get better. I told those guys the hardest thing you will learn in this program is how to play hard. They know how to compete, they know how to play hard and they aren’t scared. I know it isn’t always pretty, but I know they are going to give their best. That is really all I can ask for."

On special teams:
"We gave up a punt return [for a touchdown] and that was something that hurt us. We punted the ball really well and covered the ball really well this year. There was a concern coming in. We knew he was a good punt returner and they do a nice job. Again, we have a lot of young players in our punt unit and that is the overall lack of depth in our program and something we are trying to address. That is why we are playing true freshmen. We hope to get the lack of depth addressed and continue to grow and improve as a program. We made some mistakes. We just have to be cleaner on our executions and do a better job of coaching and our substitutions. We made some errors today that we have to get fixed."

On the third-and-21 conversion:
“We were in cover three, and it was post wheel, and Art called cover three, the corner chased the post, didn’t see the wheel.”

On Oregon’s elite program:
"They are playing with guys who have played, and that is what really good football programs do. They graduate 15 seniors one year, graduated 15 seniors the next year and guys just come in and take their place. That is how you build a football program, and that is what these guys have. They have depth in all the spots, and they have a lot of good football players. They did a nice job recruiting and have depth."

California Players
Jared Goff, QB, went 32-for-52 for 360 yards and two touchdowns, sacked twice
On the early first-quarter success:
“I think that is a credit to our gameplan and I think we felt comfortable with it. We came out and executed it early on for pretty much the whole first quarter. With a team like that, as good as they are, you can’t make the small mistakes. When you are playing a good team and you make those little mistakes, they turn into big mistakes and most times they’ll capitalize on them.”

On the injuries to four wide receivers (including Bryce Treggs, Chris Harper and Kenny Lawler in-game) and the impact that had offensively:
“I don’t think it changed too much. We had a few guys get out there in rotations, but we have a lot of good players who are backups that play a lot. I think they stepped up and did a good job and we needed that. At the same time, it wasn’t enough and, offensively, I think we needed a few more plays here, a few less mistakes there.”

Daniel Lasco, RB, ran for 85 yards on 15 carries, caught 8 passes for 101 yards
On the back and forth nature of the game early on:
“We knew it was going to be a shootout so every single time they scored, we knew we had to answer. It came to a point where in some of the drives, we didn’t execute enough. It is the little details that are holding us back. It’s not anybody else, it is ourselves and those are the things we have got to correct.”

On the quality of Oregon:
“They [Oregon] have a good defense. Every single team we have played the last couple of weeks has had strong defenses. I still believe that it’s all on us. It’s us just not clicking. A game where it might take us a whole half to get settled in. There are little mistakes here and there and that can cost us the whole ballgame and that takes us out of our groove. I think we started fast tonight, but there were a lot of plays we simply didn’t execute on, small third down and shorts where we didn’t keep the drive alive. It’s a game of inches, and when you can’t pick up those inches, you put the defense back on the field with a high-tempo offense like Oregon. We are just crippling ourselves. We have to find ways to move the chains. Big plays are great, but inch-by-inch, we need to move down the field until we score, however many plays that takes.”

Stefan McClure, S, team-high 8 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1 INT, combined with Cedric Dozier and Michael Lowe – two other defensive backs – as the three leading Bears tacklers
On defending Oregon:
“Any game when you’re playing defense, you’ve got to stop them on third down, and we didn’t get off the field on third down. I think they were 10-for-17 and that is just too many opportunities. Some of them were third and long, and if you get off the field on third down, they can’t score. There were a lot of mistakes on our part, tackling and just running to the ball. We’ve just got to make some better plays and more plays out there. Getting off the field on third down is really what the game comes down to.”

Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich
General Comments:
“Obviously, defensively, neither team got off to a great start. They did a great job mixing their quarterbacks and the run and pass options off of both. I think when it got to 31-14 a few of our guys took a deep breathe and relaxed too much and that’s on all of us collectively. A bunch of our guys, like everybody's are banged up, and I thought it was a gutty performance by a bunch of guys. Defensively, our skill guys did a great job. It was a big road win and compliments to Cal on a great effort. Offensively, those guys are lights out. They’re obviously down their best player defensively tonight and hopefully he’ll be back soon for them.”

On Marcus Mariota’s game (18-for-30, 1 INT, 326 yards, 5 TDs):
“It was pretty good. He had some big-time runs. He did a really good job of managing contact tonight in situations where he got the first down or had a manageable second down where he got either down or out of bounds. He had a couple of mistakes, which is almost funny because you expect him to be perfect. Marcus is such a stud and it’s great that he has another year and a half left.”

On the defensive effort:
“Good in spurts, really good at times. Our whole thing going into this game was that they were going to make some yards. They made some spectacular plays throwing it. They’ve done that on almost everybody with the exception of Washington. They’ve been able to score a ton and get a ton of yards.”

On team play and being held to a high standard:
“I believe in the adage that teams win championships. There are a bunch of guys in that locker room that are disappointed that the margin wasn’t different and their role in that deal. That’s a great thing, but it’s also a frustrating thing. Nick Saban was talking the other day about how frustrating it is when people expect certain things to happen. That’s great, but at the same time, that’s a really good football team and a really good talented team, especially skill-wise on both sides. To win on the road in a neutral site on a short week with a bunch of guys gutting it out, you can’t just look at numbers and go, ‘These guys stink’."

Oregon Players
Charles Nelson, WR/PR (58-yard punt return touchdown)
On his punt return for a touchdown:?“In my head, I thought I was going to get tackled but I was patient, waited for my blocks to get through and I was just glad I got in. Everybody was crashing towards the right and I made a cut and tried to get in. We’ve been talking about how close we are to scoring on punt and kickoff returns. We just wanted to go out there and execute, and the blocks were a big key."

On getting involved in the run game:?“It was a great feeling just going out there and trying to help the team in the best way possible. Whatever it is, I just enjoy doing it. I just want to help the team. In high school, I did a little bit of everything, so it’s natural.”

Marcus Mariota, QB
On success passing the ball:?“For us it was our receivers and their route running. They were able to get open and we liked our matchups outside. Guys were able to execute and play well. It was those guys getting open and I had the time to throw the ball.”

Byron Marshall, RB, 7 carries, 58 yards and 1 TD rushing, 4 receptions for 123 yards, 1 TD receiving
On his bigger role at running back tonight:?“It’s the same thing that goes through my head every game, just be ready when they call your number whether it’s running back or receiver. Nothing has really changed over the past couple weeks. They had me playing running back a little bit more, but all-in-all it’s the same thing."


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