— Pat Fitzgerald seemed calm after a disappointing game. He gave credit to Cal and mentioned the poor start from his team. After spotting Cal an early touchdown and then failing to convert on fourth down, he said NU was “chasing 14” throughout the game.
— Fitzgerald and his players also explained the difficulty of preparing for the Jared Goff and Luke Rubenzer duo. Obviously, they couldn’t have anticipated the true freshman Rubenzer playing this type of role. Still, they knew that Cal had a “running element” and had prepared for it. It’s tough to adjust to that sort of wrinkle, and Fitz praised the Cal media for not leaking specific information.
— Fitz essentially admitted that Siemian struggled for much of Saturday’s loss. Despite some flashes, he made some rough throws—especially down the stretch. Fitz said he’s never seen so many balls “sail” on Siemian, and Tony Jones said that Siemian will “bounce back” from today’s game. It was disconcerting to watch the passing game, which featured an absolute ton of receivers.
— Fitz also cited his strong record in openers. Some have criticized his — and the medical staff’s — decision to sit a number of key players through stretches of fall camp. He said he wouldn’t “jump off the Ryan Field tower.” It’s hard to come down too hard on coaches, but he seemed awfully unapologetic about losing that game. There are only 12 a year, and his team blew a pretty bad one.
— Fitz said his running back committee would be key moving forward. They’re all fighting for increased reps, and perhaps one or two backs emerge ahead of the others. Everyone was talking about Justin Jackson, but Treyvon Green just didn’t have his best tonight. Solomon Vault was also strong. We’re going to monitor the progress moving forward.
— OTHERS: Fitz called out his veteran group for not playing well. // Traveon Henry said he looked to God after giving up a TD in coverage. // Fitz added that Trevor took too many hits — which seemed evident from watching the game. // Collin Ellis attributed some of the problems to players being a “half step off” and missing the little things.