Comments from the Locker Room

Bruin Report Online talked with some players in the locker room after Saturday's game against Illinois. Craig Bragg, Manuel White and Mat Ball provided some of their observations, with Bragg addressing the dropped ball issue...

Drew Olson on the offense...

"I think this is a good week to support the defense. They've supported us and kept us alive. It was just a matter (the Illinois game) that we couldn't get anything going. We knew we could, it just wasn't happening. It's our whole offense. But we feel we can get it going and be a good offense this season. We have what it takes to do it."

Manuel White...

...On the combination of him and Tyler Ebell:

"We have two different styles of running and if we both get in there and do what we can do, we can keep the defense off-balance. He's more of a speedy guy who makes you miss and I'm more of a punisher. That's a nice combination."

...On not touching the ball in the Colorado game:

"I didn't get disappointed. I kept my head up. I want to win, that's all. Wherever and however they play me, that's fine. I did do some blocking in that game."

...On being comfortable at the tailback position:

"At the beginning of the game, I wasn't too used to it. But I got comfortable as the game went on. I was a little tired, but I felt pretty good. I felt a lot more comfortable running the ball at the end."

...On jumping between fullback and tailback:

"Actually I was getting a lot more comfortable at fullback. I was taking most of my reps there. I was focusing a lot more on fullback. I guess right now I have to balance the two."

...On breaking a big run:

"The more I get the ball, the more comfortable I'll be. And I think the big runs will come. I'm not too concerned about it."

...On he and Pat Norton making up a 500-lb. backfield:

"We've been waiting for that for a long time. Two Santa Clarita boys out there. I guess it's Big Ten style. Two big backs. We've been looking forward to that."

...On Oklahoma:

"I haven't looked at them yet. I'll worry about them come Monday. I want to celebrate this win and then we'll start game planning and that's when I'll focus on Oklahoma. They're the best in the country. Who wouldn't want to play them? It's a big week for us."

Mat Bal...

...On the scheme of the defense:

"It's the style of the Tampa Bay defense. They do simple things, they just do them really well and nobody can stop them. It's a simple system and we can just cut loose."

...On whether he's surprised at how improved the defense is:

"I'm very surprised. It's like a surprise package you get on your doorstep. You take it and it feels good."

...On how much better the defense could be:

"I think we have the possibility of maintaining this kind of dominance throughout the season. We still have a lot of work to do. These were two close games and we have some bigger, better competition on the way. So it's too early to say how good we can be really."

Craig Bragg...

...On the dropped balls by the receivers:

"We all made some mistakes on offense and we have to get those things fixed. Illinois didn't do anything that we didn't practice against. We just didn't execute. We had some of that last week, but this game the first half was really rough on all of us. But the defense stepped up and played great for us. Hopefully they'll keep that trend going, but the offense has to pick it up.

"You can't explain the drops. We're all concentrating hard, because this is a big-time game. We practiced hard all week. We all made mistakes. We just have to focus a little harder and do what we have to do to make that catch.

"We're definitely pressing a little. We're all out there trying to be the best that we can be. We have to go out there and take a more relaxed approach. In practice, we catch every ball. I don't know why we're doing this in the game right now. But I think it's something we'll have cleared up for the game next week."

...On facing Oklahoma:

"We have to play great to beat Oklahoma. We know that. They're the top team in the country. We just have to go out there and execute. To beat Oklahoma, we know we have to play our best game. They're a great defense. I don't really know about their offense, but they have to go against our defense, too. We have a big-time opponent next week and six points is not going to get the job done. We have to go out there and focus and do what we have to do in order to win."

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