I just had a good talk with our football team. Obviously, this was a disappointing end to what was a disappointing season for us. What I told the seniors and what I told the team was thank you for all that they meant to UCLA football. This year has not been a good year, but when you look at the body of work of these young men that will not be playing for us anymore, it's pretty significant what they've been able to accomplish in their four short years. Unfortunately, it's masked by the disappointment of our record this year but I thanked them. We should all be thankful. They showed commitment and they created a standard and a culture around here that we're going to build on and challenge the guys coming back. It'll start with our attitude and how we approach the disappointment of this season. It'll be reflected in the way we talk to each other, in our work ethic and our commitment and attention to the details, and we'll get going in the right direction again. This was a tough one, and hats off to Cal. We'll rise again, we will. We have the right type of young men in the locker room. We just have to make some adjustments and we'll get better.
On the difference late in the game:
I think the big play was obviously when Nate Meadors' interception got called back. That was a big swing that was a significant play. I didn't see the call and my eyes weren't in position to see whether it was a good call or not. I will say this, the official that called it is a really good official. I don't know what the replay showed but regardless, that was a big play. We had many, many opportunities on defense tonight to get the ball in our hands and maybe take it the other way for a touchdown. We have been a shorthanded secondary, we've made plays on the ball. Randall Goforth, through his career, has been a guy that catches the ball. Adarius Pickett has been a guy that catches the ball. Those guys let a couple get away that could've made a significant difference. Early in the game, not being able to get anything going on offense and sending our defense out there again and, again, against a really good offensive football team made it really difficult. Just very disappointed and we have to find some strength to carry on. We're not going to let it break us. We're going to let it help us build back up.
On Mike Fafaul's performance:
Mike didn't seem as loose as he has in the previous games and I'm not exactly sure of the reason. It may have been that he was probably playing his last game – hopefully he gets an opportunity to go play somewhere. You have to give Cal's defense credit. We were running the ball pretty well early on and had trouble throwing it. I think he felt some pressure. We started two new guards tonight, and I think Mike felt some pressure up the middle that caused his throws to be a bit off target. Again, when you look at the big picture with Mike Fafaul, the type of young man he is and the character he displayed all year, not all year but for five years, coming here as a walk-on. Being a third team guy behind Brett (Hundley) and Jerry (Neuheisel) and then we bring in Josh (Rosen) and Josh wins the job then Josh gets hurt and Mike comes in. Since he's taken over, his teammates have voted him captain every single week and when we tallied the votes for our year-end captain, he was also a captain for the year. That says a significant amount about what the team thinks of him. While he struggled tonight, the character he's shown, the class that he's shown is something to really be proud of.
On what needs to happen moving forward:
A complete evaluation of everything we do. You do that every year. You do that if you win 10 games or four games or 12 games. And that's ongoing and then the end of the year, when you have time, you dig in. You evalaute the way you recruit, the way you teach, scheme, meet, practice, the time you devote to each aspect of your program. The way you talk to your palyers, the culture you create and the environment you put them in. It starts right here first. To get back to where we want to be, we have to resist the urge to look somewhere else for the problem and look at ourself first. And if we can do that, we can come up with the solutions necessary.
On the offense:
Not being able to run the ball consistently and then losing our quarterback, that disappointed me. That we couldn't control, what we could control, after the BYU game, not getting a rhythm back. This is a game that you are able to run the football efficiently. In order, in my opinion, to control a football game, you have to be able to run it and we struggled there.
On what he could do to address that:
I think the important thing to do is to step back and really evaluate it and not act irrationally or shoot from the hip. It's important to make good, sound decisions based on the experience I have or we have being in this profession. I've been through a lot of football seasons and its felt awful and you look back and you're closer to what you thought. We're going to get this thing figured out.
On if there is a positive to starting the rebuilding process immediately:
I think it can. If you want to find the silver lining, it gives us a chance to get on recruiting while it's an open period. A lot of time self-evaluating our scheme, our verbage, all the way's we speak. That's what we'll do.
On Josh Rosen's availability in spring:
I don't know the answer to that at this time, I do know he's recovering very nicely. I know that right now, the process for him is to rest, recover and recuperate and when we come back in January, the range and motion and strengthening will begin. But that protocol will be decided by our doctors and Josh will do a good job in that.
On Kennedy Polamalu's first year performance as OC:
I think it's really hard to stand here and say, Once again it's going back and looking at many things the next few weeks and determine what we can do better. I think all of us, every single one of us, is looking at ourselves hard to get better and what can we do for the solution. That's the kind of men we have on this staff and in that locker room.
Our penalties were mostly on defense. The offsides, those bother me. Their center was moving the ball a little but that should never be a reason for us jumping. We got a little antsy. The others were aggressive fouls. The ones that bother me are the non-aggressive penalties, the offsides, those bother me.