Post-Game Interviews: UO, Part I

From the thrill of victory last week came the agony of defeat. It was a somewhat somber setting after a game that got away from Stanford following a rather heroic effort in a turnover-forcing 28-point second quarter. Here are a couple of modest locker room quotes Ben Ladner & Alex Fletcher following a game in which the Cardinal showed tremendous resilience and less than optimal finishing power.

Bootleg Post-Game Interviews: Oregon 

There is nothing as much fun as interviewing players when the best you can offer is "Hey, that was an outstanding second quarter of football!". Nevertheless, we made our way in despite the clear challenge of finding participants who appeared al least reasonably unlikely to crush our microphone with their bare hands...

Tight End Ben Ladner (#45):

The Bootleg: "Ben, you got a nice touchdown as part of our little 'momentum swing' there, can you talk about that play call  - you seemed almost surprised there in the last six or seven yards that no one had come up... 

Ladner: "Yeah, I though that safety had seen me and was coming out. I was expecting to be hit when I got the ball, that's why I kind of tripped over myself for a second.

The Bootleg: What was the play call?

Ladner: "It was a simple rail route by the tight end, nothing big. We had the post drawing the corner and the safety inside. They got sucked inside and I just had it all by myself. " 

Right Guard Alex Fletcher (#60): 

First off, let us note that "Fletch" manned up to speak to The Bootleg in a very frustrated Stanford locker room... 

The Bootleg: "So obviously, kind of a tough second half, but it did seem like there was a period there where we were really moving the ball, Alex, it seemed like you and the offensive line were really feelin' it in the second quarter, you helped Anthony [Kimble] get a hundred-plus yards in the first half, what was happening in the second quarter and how would you characterize the change in the second half?" 

Fletch: "Well, we had the momentum in the second quarter, we had forced a bunch of turnovers - I think we forced three turnovers and we scored off of all three of them - so when you get the momentum on your side like that... One of the hardest things in football is to play against the momentum, and to have it, you can do a lot with that. Coming out in the second half when we had good field position after Anthony's kick-off return, that is just inexcusable. On fourth down, no matter what happens, we have to get a yard and we didn't get a yard." 

The Bootleg: "These things are going to happen, but it seemed like we just couldn't really get any rhythm going in the second half..." 

Fletch: "It was tough. When you go 'three-and-out' the first two series, that's never a good thing. We really struggled to regain our momentum. That Oregon team obviously was a good team. Are they that much better than we are? No. Could we have done a lot of things to change the outcome of the game? Yes.  And that's what a more mature team that has been in situations like that would learn to respond to. Right now we have been in very few situations like that and really when it comes down to it, in those pressure-packed situations, your good players have to make big plays and we need to strive to get to that.

The Bootleg: "Of course, we were up against a 13th-ranked team, the fact that we got down, 21-3, and the team did not quit, can you talk about the Cardinal's resilience?" 

Fletch: "You know what, when we started off and we got down early - [starting left tackle] Allen Smith went out the third or fourth play of the game, we were kind of scrambling - Benny [back-up tackle Ben Muth] was just getting used to getting in and Benny just settled down and played a good game. Things went bad and they went badly really quickly. We really fought our asses back, to 31-21. You know at 31-21 you've got to keep fighting. I don't really think it was a 'fight' issue, it is just our needing to be poised on third down and not going 'three-and-out'. Because against that offense, you can't go 'three-and-out', you are just giving the ball right back to them and that's a little too much" 

The Bootleg: "It seemed like, when we got the momentum going, that there was a surprising amount of crowd support, especially from the student section..." 

Fletch: (Perking up) "Yeah, you know what, that was just unbelievable!" 

The Bootleg: "Could you feel it out there?" 

Fletch: "Yeah, I really could. They were just really, really into it and that helps so, so much. Especially going into the locker room, and feeling that way. But we let them down, especially during the second half."

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