UCLA Post-Game Interviews

The Cardinal came up short against a quality UCLA team Saturday, losing 45-17, causing disappointment and frustration, but hardly despair. Immediately afterward, players in the locker room were accountable for the results, but already focused on improvement and preparing for San Jose State. Read on for thoughts from Ben Ladner, Clinton Snyder, James Dray, T.C. Ostrander & Richard Sherman.

Tight End Ben Ladner (#45)

The Bootleg: "Ben, your first time out there on offense, as a meaningful part of our offense – how did it feel to get your feet wet, get some good balls?"

Ben Ladner: "It felt great. I was nervous coming in, my only experience being on special teams last year. Anxious to see what it's like out there. TC was able to get us some good balls. Should've had that last one, though."

The Bootleg: "What happened on that one, did it just come loose on the ground, what was that ruling?"

Ladner: "I had it as I came down. Me and the guy that tackled me, we were kind of rolling around. It slipped out a little bit. I don't know exactly what the rule is, to be honest. I had it when I went down – but I gotta "keep it" though, know what I mean? [not question the officials]."

The Bootleg: "Did you see anything unusual from the Bruin defense?  They seemed to be really tight on our wides, but how about how they played you?"

Ladner: "They are a really good defense, they re-route the tight ends off the line. Those D-ends come up the field hard. They've got guys that ‘speed' rush, they've got guys that ‘bull' rush. They're a good defense. They are a good team!"

The Bootleg: "But you've got to be a little bit encouraged. We did throw for over 300 yards, had Jimmy [Dray] get open for a score. That's got to be encouraging to have the offense producing a little better, putting us in the game…"

Ladner: "There are some positive things we can take, but the bottom line is that we wanted to win this game! We thought we could have won this game. We are disappointed in that. We are going to come back and it's all about San Jose State right now."

The Bootleg: "OK, so you're feelin' good? No dings?"

Ladner: "No, no, I'm ready to go!"

Strong-side LB Clinton Snyder (#20)

The Bootleg: "Nice to get in for that sack. What was it that opened up that play for you?"

Clinton Snyder: "Well, it looked like it might have been a screen for them, and I got in there too quick, but no one blocked me, so I'm not going to take too much credit for that!"

The Bootleg: "You'll take it right? You broke through three blocks at least – by next year that'll be the story, right? Was that the first sack of the season?"

Snyder: "I think so. I think so."

The Bootleg: "It has to be at least a little satisfying, at least keep them honest back there?"

Snyder: "We'd like to have a lot more of those. They'll be comin' though, they'll be comin'!"

The Bootleg: "This is not the first ‘stinger' kind of deal for you – To what would you attribute that?"

Snyder: "Yeah, well I had a problem with that in the spring. It is kind of like a pinched nerve-type thing. I have been working to strengthen it, but I guess I'm still getting' them."

The Bootleg: "Go get your treatment, get healed up!"

Snyder: "Yes, sir!"

Tight End James Dray (#83)

The Bootleg: "Obviously you got your first touchdown of the year and we've got to take some positives out of this game. Does it feel good to get back out there, to play somebody with a different colored jersey?"

Jim Dray: "Yeah, it definitely felt better to get out and hit someone else other than your teammates, which we do during spring ball and fall camp, but we're all disappointed."

The Bootleg: "Understand. You've all got a high standard now and we want to go after every game, but talk a little about your touchdown – what play was that, what were you supposed to go and why did it work? Looks like you had a little extra effort to make sure you got in there?"

Dray: "It was just a ‘stick' concept, which is a 5-yard, 6-yard out by the tight end and the guy in the backfield, in the flat – to try and draw the ‘Sam' defender [strong-side linebacker] out and make the ‘Mike' [middle linebacker] cover the stick or the flat. The line did a great job of protecting, the guy got fast enough into the flat where it opened up and I just happened to be at the right place at the right time and luckily T.C. put it right on me."

The Bootleg: "Were you aware where you were, as far as the goal line and all? Hey, here comes the smile..."

Dray: "Yeah, I mean, you always know when you are within the 20, you always know where the end zone is, you're always trying to make that extra effort to get in the end zone…"

The Bootleg: "So, the tight ends, used pretty well today, with you and Ben. T.C. seemed to be getting the ball to you guys. How did you feel about what the Bruins were trying to give you vs. what you were taking from them?

Dray: "The Bruins' defense is very good. They are really good at re-routing off the ball, getting in your face. They get out on routes.  Got a lot of respect for them – they're fast; they're physical. They're very good, but, you know, sometimes we executed today and sometimes we didn't. We've just got to make sure in the future, that we execute more than we don't."

The Bootleg: "Let's get San Jose State in a couple of weeks!"

Dray: "Thanks."

Wide Receiver Richard Sherman (#9)

Richard Sherman: "We had a lot of great opportunities for touchdowns, we were just a little bit off. So, like Mark Bradford in the end zone, that was just a couple of little inches off and that would've been a touchdown. So I think that we're going to be strong, this season.…"

Daniel Novinson: "Seems like the whole offense has a lot more confidence…"

Sherman: "We know the offense works, coming into this game. You see it for yourself – we have a lot more yards, a lot more catches for the wide-outs, so I feel like we're a lot stronger. And with Mark, Evan and I all on the field at the same time, that's definitely a strong wide-out group."

Daniel Novinson: "You talk about making a little bit of adjustment for San Jose State. What are the things that you as a receiver are going to work on?"

Sherman: "Definitely have to work on the things I messed up on, like in this game, I gotta get on a couple more blocks, got to do things like that, to get better at that. And just routes, not giving away routes, not running sloppy routes, just things like that, the little things."

The Bootleg: "On the big play, the touchdown play, at what point in in that play did you know that it was a done deal, that you were going to be getting separation there? I know the cutback was ‘improv', but at what point in that play did you think, ‘OK, here we come'?"

Sherman: "Probably around at the cut back... like when I cut back, when I saw #14 in front of me, I was like, ‘This is a score!'"

The Bootleg: "Did your heart get about triple size at that point?"

Sherman: (Getting excited) "Yeah, definitely, definitely. It started beating a lot harder. Adrenaline started rushing and it was over from there. It was just excitement!"

The Bootleg: "Is that a just glimpse of things to come?"

Sherman: "Definitely a glimpse, just a glimpse. It is gonna be there all year, I feel that people keep calling me a ‘possession receiver' and I definitely feel like I am more of a ‘speed receiver', but I definitely gotta ‘show', can't ‘talk.'"

The Bootleg: "So obviously frustrating for the team, but some signs of future greatness, for the offense being able to stretch it a little deep?"

Sherman: "Yes, sir!"

The Bootleg: "Good for you and good luck with the rest of the season."

Sherman: "Thank you very much!"

Quarterback T.C. Ostrander (#13)

On not having Toby Gerhart available..

T.C. Ostrander: "It's kind of a toss up. [Anthony Kimble's] a very explosive athlete.  I try not to think too much about who's not there, and who's not with us. I thought the guys we had today gave a really good effort."

On whether the offense working…

Ostrander: "Yeah, I mean, I see what's there. Even the stuff we didn't do well. I see the potential that's there and it's all in our control to fix that. And the encouraging part is that we've got two weeks to practice and just fine-tune what we're doing right now. Because today could have been a lot better if I had played better and if we had been on the same page more as a team… I felt like I could have been more accurate on a couple of balls. I felt like maybe the timing was just a little off. This offense is built a lot on timing, you can feel it, you don't want to fall into a rut. Where it's boom-boom-boom – we never really got in that rhythm today, but once we get there, I think we are going to be a pretty tough to beat."

On whether Coach Harbaugh thought the effort was better than the scoreboard indicated…

Ostrander: "His message was – We did some good things today. We didn't do some things very well, but…We gave great effort. We have the ability, we have the potential to be a really good team. Just need to fine-tune a couple things. That's why we are all looking forward to this ‘bye' in our schedule. We have twice as many practices. That's going to make a difference."

The Bootleg: "TC, you busted a big run-and-catch for Dray. What was the play called and why do you think you caught UCLA off guard?"

Ostrander: "We were trying to put it in the flat. Is that the one you are talking about? That was a ‘check', they were bringing a blitz. What they had been doing all day, they'd been sitting all over our slant routes and we tried to throw a couple of slants early – We weren't successful at it at all because either the corner would jump inside or the safety would come down and get out, get in the throwing lane."

The Bootleg: "So it was a conscious effort to pop him outside?"

Ostrander: "Well, that was the play call. It was a corner/flat combination I went to that side, based on the coverage. The slant ended up picking the safety who was coming down to cover the flat and he [Dray] took it a long way."

The Bootleg: "So, did your eyes get wide when Sherman was looking like he was going to get open there?"

Ostrander: "Uh yeah, Sherman, obviously, any point in the game, has a chance to break a big one. When we draw one up for him, it's pretty exciting, I know I have to get my 'A-game'!"

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