Kyle Whittingham Weekly Press Conference

News and notes from the head coach about the Cal game and the upcoming battle with OSU

Opening statement:
It's safe to say that was our poorest performance of the year against Cal. We didn't do too much on offense, and we reverted back to turning the ball over, which was a big disappointment. I thought we had gotten past that, but it reared its ugly head again. Cal got 17 points directly off those turnovers. We couldn't make first downs, we couldn't run the ball, we couldn't throw the ball. There were no redeeming qualities and we've got to get that fixed. We've got our work cut out for us. Special teams played well. Sean Sellwood punted well, and the first down on a fake punt was well executed. The defense was not bad. When you are put in the situation they were in and on the field as long as they were, it makes it difficult, but there are no excuses. The bottom line is that we have got to play better on defense.

Oregon State is coming off a big win over Washington State. Their quarterback is throwing the ball well, their receivers are very good and very talented, just like every weekend. That's the nature of this league. We've got them at our place, so that's a positive. We're excited to get back home. We've got to play much better in a lot of areas, particularly on offense. If we could not turn the ball over and score in the red zone, I think we're good enough to win every game, but we've got to get that done.

On Jon Hays' play against Cal:
The first thing is that we turned the ball over four times, all from the quarterback position. That's a big downer. On the positive side, we threw the deep ball well. I think we threw four deep balls and three had a positive result. That was good, but one of his interceptions he was hit as he threw, and the fumble was ball security. The question is how to generate more competition at quarterback. Griff Robles and Hays have a walk-on behind them. Tyler Shreve was really the three going into this week. It made more sense to stick with the redshirt plan. We've got to figure out a way to get better. We feel Hays at quarterback gives us the best chance to win, and we still feel that way. If the practice week dictates otherwise, we'll adjust accordingly.

Injury Report:
Devonte Christopher (ankle) should be back. It was close last week, and the medical staff made the decision it was best to sit him out one more game rather than risk a setback. He should be ready. Eric Rowe sprained his knee, but we think he's going to be ok. We lost Boo Andersen for the year (knee).

On allowing sacks:
It's a combination of the offensive line, the quarterback, and blocking. At times Hays held the ball too long, at times the offensive line had breakdowns, at times it's been the blocking. It's been the running backs missing blitz pickups. The tight ends are also involved, and the receivers are also involved if they run incorrect routs and there is no one open, that can be a factor. We don't pin it on any one area, but you're right that we've been nowhere near as good as years past. We've got to get that corrected.

On going forward:
If you have to worry about the team getting up, you've got the wrong guys in the program. I'm hoping our leaders can step up and the competitive nature of everyone will come forward. There are a lot of positives that can still take place, but nothing is more important than this Saturday. We have to be ready to play and have the right mentality.

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