Dorrell's Post-Game Comments

Karl Dorrell addressed the media after the game and provided his thoughts on the 6-3 win over Illinois at the Rose Bowl Saturday. He praises the defense and said he sees signs in the offense...

Head Coach Karl Dorrell addressed the media Saturday after UCLA's 6-3 win over Illinois:

"What a blowout, huh? Obviously we're very excited about our win, mine as a head coach in a new era. It was a hard-fought win with a good Illinois team. Their defense came out and did some things that caused a lot of issues for us again for a second straight week but our defense played lights-out and gave a great effort. As a matter of fact, our whole team has given a great effort, and we know we have some work to do, but the direction we're going is positive and it was nice to see in a game like that. It was nice to see in a game like that when you're up against it for us to find a way to win a game, and I think that will provide some benefit for us down the line. We're excited bout our win. It's short-lived since we have a great opponent next week, but nonetheless we're going to enjoy the win and get ready for Oklahoma next week."

On the ending of the game:

"It was a great test for us to be up against it like that, to try to just hang on. I think a lot of teams can learn, when put in a situation like that, when things aren't going quite right on one side of the ball, and the other side has played very well. And for them to pull a big stop for us and then obviously be enough of a distraction on a field goal that's a great testimony to our defense. Our defense has done a great job two weeks in a row and right now they're carrying our flagship."

On special teams performance:

"It's been very crucial. We had a couple of big punt returns that gave the offense some good positions on the field. Unfortunately we didn't capitalize on that, but I think we will when we get things in gear. I think our kick-off return team, Maurice Drew, did a nice job for us. He has his cobwebs out of the way from last week. I think our punt coverage teams and kick-off coverage teams did as well as expected. Our special teams are solid. We're hoping to keep improving, but our performance was solid."

On the running game and the impact of Manuel White:

"Manuel White is big in that. We've given him more reps this past week playing tailback. The last couple of drives we featured him as our tailback and obviously he gave us some production. Are we close to where we need to be? Probably not. But it was at least a positive step. There were some times when we needed to take some time off the clock and we had to run the football and I was encouraged that our offense was generating movement toward the end of the game. That's a stepping stone, hopefully a step in the right direction."

On the receivers dropping passes:

"The drops are hard to explain. There were a lot. We as coaches have to continue to put these kids in maybe more ball drills. Whatever we have to do to give them more plays in practice in catching the ball. Hopefully those issues can clean those things up. Right now we're pressing. They want so badly to make a play that it's working against them right now. We have to settle them down and get them to understand that plays will be made if they focus and do the plays correctly in practice and things will start clicking."

On the improvement in penalties and getting plays called in time:

"Those were issues we wanted to address and we improved in those particular issues. That's improvement from week one. Obviously we have more work to do and clean up some other areas in our team. And we'll get those things addressed as well. Today's win was a big win for us. It wasn't a pretty win, but sometimes wins, the magnitude of what it was at the end, really benefits a team in terms of its growth. I'm happy where we are right now, but I'm not satisfied. I'm happy in terms of our progress as a team. We do fight. We do play with an attitude of putting everything on the line and those are things to build from."

On how good the defense is:

"The defense is good, but it still could be a lot better. It's good to know that they have room to improve and they know they have room to improve. So I'm very pleased with where they are at this point, because they've kept us in games. At some point our offense will start clicking and be able to hold their own as well. Right now I'm pleased with our defense but I know they can be better."

On Illinois' missed field goal:

"I couldn't see it. On the sideline, you kind of listen to the crowd. It was too close for me to tell. To be honest with you, I thought it was good. Apparently it missed just left. We had a plan to ice the kicker and it ended up being beneficial for us."

Bruin Report Online Top Stories