Bellotti and Fife Post-Game Quotes

Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti and quarterback Jason Fife answered questions after Oregon's 42-34 victory over Mississippi State in Starkville, on Saturday, August 30th.

Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti

Your thoughts on the game, coach?
"Give credit to Mississippi State. They battled back. They are a much better team than last year. They didn't fold their tents. I also think we should give credit to us because we overcame the conditions and the trip. We won a great football game. We made enough mistakes to last a season but they are mistakes that we can learn from.

"I thought that our quarterbacks played well. I thought that Samie Parker and Demetrius Williams made plays. Terrence Whitehead made plays. Our defense rose up when it needed to. It's harder to single out anybody on defense. Igor (Olshansky) took a lot of snaps today. Obviously, with Haloti (Ngata) going down early, I thought there was a lot of pressure on the defensive linemen. This was a long game where conditioning was a factor."

Your third quarter was pretty good once the game closed to seven points?
"Yeah, I think the duration of this game was something that caught us by surprise. You can scrimmage and practice but when you play almost a four-hour game, it really takes it out of you. I was very proud of our guys for sustaining their intensity and finding a way to win. I thought the drive by the offense after they closed it to 28-21 was a huge drive in the game and probably a difference-maker. In fact, the next two scores where we went from 28-21 to 42-21 made it a different ball game."

Talk about the rotation of your quarterbacks. Was it three-in, three-out throughout the game?
"Yeah, approximately. But we did it a little by feel. I don't know what the snaps equaled. We aren't really worried about that. My initial impressions is that they both played really well. At this point, we will look at the film and make some decisions."

All of the running backs made some great plays. How did you rotate them?
"Terrence (Whitehead) was going to play the most, but Chris (Vincent) and Ryan (Shaw) were going to alternate to try and keep everybody fresh. We knew the heat and humidity would be a little bit more than we are used to. I think they each came in and made some plays and really had some efforts where you go wow."

The defense played hard and played really well at times, but gave up a few big plays that let (MSU) get back in the game.
"Give some credit to Mississippi State. I think they had some good things in their game plan. One of the things was we had no idea what to expect from this team. I think that put us at a disadvantage as far as game plan. We did a lot of strategy on the run because we had never seen some of those things from them or from anybody."

What was the difference in this State team compared to last year's team?
"I think this State team had more heart. They played harder. They never let up. I won't say they had more weapons, but they caught the ball and they made some big plays. Last year, when we got off on them, they never came back. This year, they came back. They never gave up. They took advantage of a couple of our mistakes."

Did you attempt to take advantage of their two cornerbacks, neither of whom had started a game in D-I ball?
"We did only to the degree that we didn't know what kind of coverage they were going to play. They played a lot of two-deep to avoid having the corners in deep coverage. That gave us a couple of other things."

Did the heat ever bother your team?
"I don't think it did. I think our kids handled it very, very well. Now, was it warmer and more humid than we were used to? In fact, the most humidity that we had this year was 52%. I think our nutrition plan worked very well."

Would you want to make this an on-going series? The reason I ask that is because the fans of both schools seem to have really grown to like and respect each other.
"I don't know if I would want to make this trip that often. I will say this, I thought the people here were as nice as any people that I have known."


Quarterback Jason Fife

With the quarterback rotation the way it was, was it difficult going in and out throughout the game?
"It was kind of different because you either don't get in the rhythm right away or you end up cold and have to end up warming up again. But we were able to handle it and came away with some good numbers."

How did you think the rotation worked out?
"It worked out pretty good. Neither one of us knew what was going to happen going into the game. Kellen (Clemens) goes in and gets three quick scores and I get a shot and we get a score. The offense moved really well. It didn't seem like we had a problem with the rotation. I think, all in all, it was really positive."

Talk about your running backs and wide receivers.
"They were great. We knew Samie was going to do well tonight and we knew Demetrius was going to show something tonight. We knew the O-line was going to open up holes for the running backs. I knew the running backs were going to step it up tonight. It was great to see everybody get on a roll."

Your team scored 28 points in the first quarter, after that State got back into the game. What was the difference in your offense after that?
"I think their defense had a little spurt there where they had some fire. They also showed us a couple of different looks that we weren't quite ready for. I think once we calmed down and got our bearings back, we were able to get back on track."

State had two starting cornerbacks that had never started. Did you try to take advantage of them?
"We did think of them quite a bit. We tried to get our best matchup, Samie Parker, on them because he is obviously one of our best receivers. Yeah, we were trying to pick on them as much as possible."

What was the difference in this State team compared to last year's team?
"This State team didn't go away at all. We jumped on them very quick, but they didn't let that discourage them at all. They had a lot more fire in them. They were with us the whole way. They made us earn every single yard we got on offense."


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