Head Coach Karl Dorrell addressed the media Monday.
"Recapping the game, it was a disappointing loss, to say the least about it. We had a little bit of a slow start. We had some inconsistency in executing what we had done the week before with our offense and defense. They made a big play on us on special teams that resulted in a turnover and they scored. They put us in an unfamiliar position right from the beginning of the game. That's something our guys haven't experienced, a start like that. It showed in the first half. The second half, we were able to rebound, and regroup, and do some things to be more productive on both sides of the ball. We made it into a competitive game at the end of the game, and then ran out of time. It's unfortunate, given the circumstances of this week, the ninth week of the season, being in a situation where you have a lot of things on the line, bowl ramifications, climbing up in the standings of your conference, and so on, to have that type of performance. We had a great week of preparation, one of our best week's of preparation leading into the game. Things just didn't turn out the way we wanted them to turn out, unfortunately. Here we are in a familiar position. We were in this position before, at an earlier point in the season. After these types of particular set-backs we've responded. And that's one thing I'm expecting our team to do this week, in the tremendous challenge of going up to Eugene and winning a game in Eugene against the University of Oregon. We have a lot to address this week to get ourselves with the proper mindset to go up there and execute and do what we need to do to come away with a win.
"In terms of our injuries, the only one signifcant injury in the game, which is day-to-day still, is Maurice Drew. He left the game early, in the first half, and was unable to return. His ankle injury is pretty significant. We're listing it as day-to-day. We'll see as the week unfolds what the progress is from a day-to-day basis. The other injury was to Marcedes Lewis. He has a bruised tail bone. We think he'll be just fine and ready to go for Saturday."
Was your team not ready to play and overlooking their opponent?
"I sure don't think so. We put a lot of attention into preparing for Washington State. And I'm not going to discredit what Washington State did coming into this situation last Saturday. They made some plays early in the game and that gave them momentum right from the start. That was something we didn't anticipate, that type of start for them to have. We caught ourselves in an unfamiliar situation. Our players knew the ramifications in terms of that game and the stretch here the last three games of the season. It wasn't a case of overlooked. It was a case of inconsistent execution and not doing the things you need to do right from the start."
With a play like the one that started the game, how do you get your team to be so mentally tough they can overcome it?
"That's a sudden-change situation that can happen in a game. We haven't had a sudden-change situation that happened in that early portion of the game all season long. And for them to score on their very first play offensively, those are sudden-change issues that a young team that's growing, getting better and not being as consistent, this was a learning experience for them to be in that type of situation right from the beginning. Other than that, we have to continue to coach through that. That's what happens in the game of football. Those types of situations happen. In the course of any game. A turnover happens, or an interception. Those types of things happen, almost on a weekly basis. It just didn't happen that early for us in terms of what our guys have experienced this year. We'll have to build from that. It's definitely a disappointing start. The great thing about this team is they've always responded. They've always responded all season long, and fought back themselves into a game and just fell a little bit short."
Why do you think the defense missed so many tackles?
"Just not executing. We're in position to make plays and not executing the plays."
"Robert played okay. He struggled at times, but that was a very good defensive line. They attacked our offense. They attacked certain areas of what we've done to create some inconsistency. We didn't really establish any continuity in the latter half of the first half and into the second half. So that was not necessarily an issue that was Robert Chai's position in terms of being the center point of that. But it was just a number of things as you know from the start of the football game."
What's the word on McCloskey?
"He should be back this week."
Has he been cleared to practice?
"We'll know for sure by tomorrow morning, Tuesday morning."
Jarrad Page said the play calling was getting in late many times. He said there was a possibility that it was caused by Larry Kerr having to make the call from upstairs. Do you think that was a possible reason for the play calls coming in late?
"I don't think so. There are a lot of things that happen in a game like this that you tend to over-analyze certain things. The week before the communication was great. Then all of a sudden we're saying that it's not any good. I don't think that's really the case. I think it's more of an issue we didn't get things done. We didn't execute when we had opportunities to. We weren't playing with the consistent level of play that was needed at the beginning of the football game. By the time we're ready to do it, it was too late. That's really what it comes down to in a nutshell."
Did you have a problem that in your home stadium Drew Olson having problems getting plays off at the line because the scoreboard was asking the fans to do something? And the second thing, what happened to the 22 seconds after Manuel White's touchdown?
"There were some problems that we had with the 25-second clock the whole game. There were some delays during the course of the game. It wasn't a TV game, but for some reason we had some technical difficulties. Those things happen. You're not in any control of that. When you have delays like that, or a lapse of time here or there, I'm sure they're trying to do the best they can to get as accurate a time as they can on the game. From a coaching standpoint, you have to keep working your way through those issues, and not let those be major factors in what happens in the course of the football game."
When you watched the film did you notice that White scored with 1:03 left, and the next time the ball was snapped there was 41 seconds left?
"We did notice that, yes. But what do we do about that? Those are you can't do anything about. If you notice there was a lot of discussion on the two-point play. There wasn't a timeout, even though there seemed like there was a timeout. It really worked in our favor, because it allowed us to try to formulate a play as best we can to execute a two-point conversion. Those things happen. You can't let those things be a factor in the overall results of a football game."
Talk about the play of punter Chris Kluwe.
"Kluwe's been great. He's done a great job. He's had great hang time in his kicks. Our gunners have done a great job of covering the kick returners. He's pinned some kicks inside the 20-yard line. He's done some really good things. Our special teams, for the most part, except for the opening play of the game, for the last five weeks has played very well. Those things are being consistent. We just need to do a lot more consistency in other areas of our football team. Offensively we need to be more consistent at the beginning, and having the continuity to keep the momentum going for our offense. And defensively, we have to execute the things we're trying to get our defense to do. We're bits and pieces. Stanford was the first game I mentioned a week ago where we saw three phases work together, really for the first time all season. Unfortunately that didn't happen this past week. We know that it can happen, because it's happened before. And we're going to strive for doing that again this week."
Were there some concussions in the game?
"There were some mild concussions. They're all being cleared today. There were like three or four actually. All of those guys are being expected to play and practice this week."
Who were those players?
"There are four guys. It's not anything significant. They'll be ready to go on Tuesday."
If Olson starts out the Oregon game slow, might there be a chance that David Koral gets a shot?
"There is always an opportunity for that, always. But we're not going into any game thinking that. We're going to try to build on what we've had some success with this year. We've had some success this year. Our offense has done a lot of great things this year, and Drew has done a lot of great things this year. We're counting on those things to continue on that trend. Even though we've had stumbling blocks and some inconsistencies, we're counting on getting those things corrected. We're going to work on them dilligently this week, and making sure our guys are ready to go for Saturday."
How important is the Oregon game in the broad picture?
"This weekend is important because we want to win. We have to get back on the winning track we had. The one thing, the latter part of the season, we know those issues, and the perceptions and all those things that have happened. We had back-to-back losses in the middle of our season with Cal and Arizona State. And this team has shown all the things you need to do to continue to improve. They've had at that time two major setbacks in a row. And they were able get themselves back on the horse, and get themselves into the win column again. And this is another occurence. It's week ten, and we lost a game, and we have two games left and we're going to get ourselves back up on the horse again and put out our best effort again this week in going up to Eugene and playing some excellent football. That's really our mindset. The season is not lost, no. There is still a lot to improve on. There are still a lot of young players that are getting better and better. We need to really harp on the consistency now. That's the thing. We need to be more consistent in our production, more consistent with our execution, and those are the details we're going to focus on."
With USC on the horizon, do you think your team needs to play with a sense of desperation this weekend?
"No. Desperation, that's not a good word. We want to improve this week. From what happened last week, it'd be nice to have a good game of improvement and win a football game. And then the USC game is two or three weeks later. It's almost a month away. Out focus is really on this week. It's getting ourselves back on track to what we've been doing. Unfortuanately, we lost a game that could have done a lot of great things for us. You know what? Sometimes you have a kid who touches a hot oven, and he shouldn't have touched the hot oven because he knew it was hot. It's one of those things. We're going to learn how to deal with these issues and continue to get better. Our approach is this week. It's important for us just to play productive football on both sides of the ball, and in our special teams."
Are you going to bring out the noise this week in practice?
"We sure will, because it's loud up there."
How important is it to establish something early just to take the crowd out?
"That's important. You want to get yourself started with a pretty good start. Whether that's the defense coming out and doing pretty well against their offense, or our offense coming down and moving the football and getting some points generated on the first drive. Those are important things you want your team to do in a type of environment like that, to have that type of momentum built for yourself early in the game. Those are the things we're going to address this week in making sure we have the right mindset. We understand this is tremendous challenge going up to their stadium. It's probably one of the loudest stadiums in our conference. It's difficult to play there. We're going to have to have great concentration and focus for us to execute the things we need to do."
You mentioned you understand that there are perceptions out there with the way the team finished last year, do those perceptions bother you or do they have nothing to do with anything?
"Nothing to do with this team. It's a totally different team. I've mentioned that before. If we were the same team we wouldn't have won against Stanford, for instance. It's a different year, different team. It's a younger team. Ands it's a team that's growing, and going through some tough experiences, and we're going to build from those tough experiences. We're excited about this opportunity. We knew that this was going to be a great challenge all season long. This is another great challenge that we'll face. We're going to put everything out there on the line and compete and do the things we need to do to be competitive and win this football game."
What do you think the public perception is of this year's team at this point in the season?
"I have no idea. I know, though, when things are good, things are good. When things are bad, things are bad. That's nothing different than what most people feel in any major market across the country. We're all disappointed with what happened last week. We're ready to get back on the horse and do what we need to do to get ourselves feeling good about each other again. That's the ebb and flow of football. You see it on the professional level and on the college level. We're going to get ourselves back in the position we need to be."
Do you game plan thinking Maurice will be playing?
"We're game planning with him being in there. That's the mindset we're going to have. He doesn't really change our offense all that much. There's Chris Markey and Manuel White. And if Maurice is unable to play then Derrick Williams comes up and fills the number three role, and we just keep moving. It doesn't really change what we're doing schematically. So we ought to be in pretty good shape regardless."
What's your gut feeling on whether he'll play? Is it up in the air?
"It's up in the air. A lot is going to be determined by his swelling, how
fast his body responds to the treatment. We'll just have to see."