Toledo's Comments

Head Football Coach Bob Toledo talks about the Oregon game, answering some questions about many controversial plays and situations in the game...

Exerpts from Head Coach Bob Toledo's press conference:

On the Oregon game overall...

"The Oregon game was like de ja vu all over. Everyone was disappointed and upset. That includes the coaches, players, fans, everyone who cares about UCLA football. But I also want you to know that we're not discouraged. We're doing too many good things to be torn apart by a loss like this. We're going to fight back and bounce back. We're going to get through this thing. We played really hard. I was really pleased with the effort of our football team. We had our chances, against a team that was ranked seventh in the nation, minus three of our very good football players, Rodney Leisle, Ben Emanuel and Manuel White. Both teams made a whole bunch of big plays. You won't see that many big plays in many football games. Obviously when you lose a game you're open to criticism. As the head coach, I'm going to be criticized. As coaches, we're going to be criticized. The players on the team, they're going to be criticized. That's human nature. I understand that. It goes with the territory. I'll handle that. We made some costly mistakes. There's no question about that. There are some things we're going to correct to win football games down the road. Although we are getting better. I would venture to say that the eventual champion will have a loss in this conference. So we're not dead. The Bruins are alive. And we'll fight back.

"We were out of position defensively on three of their touchdowns. We lost contain, we missed tackles, we took the wrong pursuit. We came up a little too quick. We made some mistakes.

"We had three interceptions. The last one just before half with one minute to go, it hurt us in a sense that they kicked a 59-yard field goal.

"We had four sacks. The third was on the +14, Bohlander recovered, but we got a field goal on it. The fourth one was on the +23, we took a sack, minus 11 yards."

On the missed extra point...

"Ngata knocked our guard back. Basically he was flat-footed. And the big guy got his hands up and it hit the tips of his fingers. It was a low kick. And interesting enough, we're supposed to be seven and a half yards back and the ball was placed right on the line, which meant it was seven yards back. So we should have been back a little further. The holder and the kicker should have seen it. We were a little shallow."

On the faked field goal...

"We faked a field goal and unfortunately we only got eight yards on it. It was a 45-yard field goal. By no means a gimme. It was makeable, it wasn't a gimme. It was my decision. I felt that we could make a big play, and interestingly enough, in watching the video, the defensive rush guy would have come through the line of scrimmage Marcedes Lewis would have made a first down, maybe a touchdown. He saw Marcedes leaving and he ran over the top and tackled him for an eight-yard gain. He did a heck of a job. If he would have come up the field like he had been, we would have made a first down and might have scored a touchdown. And I felt that two touchdowns are better than two scores at that point. I subconciously I recalled the field goal blocked a week ago, I recalled the extra point that was blocked. Haloti Ngata, he came across and knocked us back, he's a big old guy and put his hands up and blocked that extra point. All those things we're racing through my mind, and I thought it was an opportunity to make a big play. It didn't work out. It's almost like a punt. The ball was at the 21. They have to go 79 yards to make a touchdown. My decision. I can be like any Monday morning quarterback. It's always easy to second-guess a play after the play. When it works, no problem. When it doesn't work, you should run another play.

"A trick play is really not a trick play unless people aren't expecting it. When it is fourth and five, people expect the fake. I've seen those things work before. I didn't want it to get blocked. I had visions of a week ago. I didn't want that to happen."

On the Oregon punt return for a touchdown...

"We had a punt return for a 79-yard touchdown. One of the things we didn't want to do is punt the ball deep and in between the hashes. We wanted to punt 38 or 39 yards, get it high and keep it outside the numbers. We didn't do that. They did a great job with our headhunters. They did a great job knocking our wings back. We got down the field and they executed pretty well. Hard to blame anybody on that. They did a great job. And Howry is a heck of a punt returner."

On the series of plays surrounding the beginning of the fourth quarter...

"After the fake field goal, this is a tough part. In three plays, they scored a 74-yard touchdown. The third play we thought was incomplete, and we thought the clock had run out. We didn't hear any whistle or anything, but the clock had run out, and we didn't know what the call was by the officials. But they got another chance. On the next play, they were throwing a quick pass. Ricky Manning did a great job of riding the receiver, he wasn't open. The quarterback scrambled to his right, we lost contain, our safeties started to come up, Howry took off. That was a big chain of events. It definitely hurt us."

On the last drive of the game...

"On the last drive, we go 11 plays, from the -20 to the +25, running and passing. Now we get down there, I have to make a decision. We've been running pretty good. My feeling was I wanted to get in better field goal position. So I tried to run the football and we lost a yard. And then we lost three yards. Did I get conservative? You can call it what you want. I thought it was being smart. I didn't want to drop back and get sacked. I didn't want to drop back and throw an interception. We were within field goal range. On third down, I tried to call a high-percentage sprint pass, trying to hit Bragg, let him turn up and make more yards. We've done it in the past where he's turned up and scored on that play. Well, we overthrew it. And we still had a chance to win the football game. With all of those things happening, we're still in a position to win the football game. We missed the field goal."

On hanging the loss on one play...

"Now, my feeling is that one play does not make a game. One person is not responsible for the loss. There is a lot that goes into the football game. There is at least a handful of plays that contribute to the loss. I thought we did an awful lot of good things. Offensively we had 377 yards passing with three touchdowns. We had two receivers, 126 and 230 yards. We had a tailback rush for 125 yards. They had been giving up 79 rushing a game. We scored 30 points. Defensively they had 14 possession, and 11 of them we're really good ones for us. They had to punt nine times. Unfortunately, they had three possessions that broke us down. All three resulted in touchdowns. I thought our punt returners and kick returners did probably the best job since I've been here. Ebell, Perry, Bragg and Harrison did an outstanding job.

On the possible strategy on Oregon's last possession of allowing them to score and then getting the ball back....

"I would have really been criticized then. It is a legitimate thing to do. I've seen it happen in pro football. I have a hard time with it. I'd rather make them fumble, do something else. I have a hard time with letting them score. If we could have stopped them and not let them get a first down we might have gotten the ball back."

On why he chose to run the ball on that last drive...

"We felt comfortable that we could move the football. We had to make key third down plays. And that's execution. We wanted to take as much time off that clock as we could. To get down in field goal range. If you look at it, the script was perfect, except for the end result. We were taking time off the clock , we were making good runs, we were completing passes, we were making first downs. So, everything was going according to plan. Unfortunately it didn't work out. I didn't feel that we had to pass. I felt there were some runs. We were doing some things run-wise that they hadn't seen. We had some new blocking schemes. That really hurt them. We were running the ball well.

"Once we got down there, people said I got conservative. Again, that's everybody's opinion. If I had dropped back and got sacked and threw an interception, everyone would have asked why I wasn't more conservative. I can't win, guys. You know that. So I do what I do and hope it works out.

"We had three interceptions and four sacks during the course of the game. I didn't want to put Cory in that position again. Whether that's on him or our team. I still have confidence that he can do some good things. Because he did. But I didn't want to put that on him. I didn't feel it was right to say, ‘Hey, go get us farther down the field or get us a touchdown.' We didn't need a touchdown. We needed a field goal to win. I thought he did what he had to do. He got us down there. He did a nice job of directing us down the field. And I didn't want to put him in a bad position. We didn't need to do that. We needed to kick a field goal to win. We missed it by a few feet."

On tight end Mike Seidman not getting a catch in the game...

"With Seidman, first of all, we attempted some passes in his direction. There were other times when he was open where we didn't throw him the ball. One was on the first play. But Cory threw the long one. I was saying, ‘Oh, throw it to Seidman', and then all of a sudden the official goes like that (raises arm for a touchdown). So what do you do? ‘Great pass, Seidman's open, too.' One of the things Oregon does is take away the tight end pretty good, scheme-wise. So the wide receivers would be on an island all day. That was our plan. To get the ball to those guys. So now we threw some at Seidman that weren't caught. We didn't throw some where he was open. And there was some times we looked at him and he was covered. There were sometimes in some formations where he had three people looking at him. A backer, a corner and a safety. There's no way he's going to get open. Their plan was to take him away. Our plan was to get it to our receivers. We did enough to win the football game with the other guys. Seidman is a great football player. If we have the opportunity to get him the ball we'll get it to him. But there are times when they're going to take him away, and they'll give us something else. The advantage is we have two guys at receiver, one at tight end, and now one at tailback, they can't take it all away. We can be hard-headed and say we're going to throw the ball to Seidman come hell or high water. But it doesn't make sense. We should take what they give you. That's what we did. Because we didn't throw to Seidman, that's not why we lost the game. Against Cal, they'll do some things that we think we can get him the ball a few more times."

On Paus's decision-making...

"He does like to throw the ball deep. He's had a lot of success doing it. If there's one thing that he and I have batted heads about is throwing the high-percentage pass. He says, ‘Yeah, yeah,' and (makes sound and gesture like a ball being thrown deep). I say, ‘Great touchdown, please throw the high-percentage pass.' He's had a lot of success doing that. There's a reason why he's second in school history.

"The problem is, you can't get sacked. You have to get rid of the football. You can't have an intentional grounding. You have to throw it at the receiver's feet."

On Paus getting sacked, which moved the offense out of field goal position...

"There was an injured player right before, so Paus came to the sideline. I talked to him. I said, ‘Cory, you're going to look at Harrison, you're going to look at Bragg, if it's not there, throw it away. Got it?' ‘Got it.' John Pearce says to him as he's going back out, ‘Cory, make sure to throw it away.' He goes back, he fakes to Perry, looks at Harrison, not there. Looks at Bragg. Not there. Starts to run and he's sacked. He had time. All he had to do is, not there, not there, boom. The guy is a competitor, too. I've played quarterback. When you're a good quarterback, you have so much confidence you feel like you're going to find a way to get it done. That is the toughest thing to teach a quarterback. To throw it away. They have a hard time doing that."


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