It was good to get the first Pac-12 road victory of the year. I thought we played fairly well in all three phases. We had a good performance on offense. John White went over 100 yards and Hays threw very efficiently and made good decisions, and I thought the line played well. The defense was a little soft – it wasn't their best performance. They were softer than usual in the run game. The last drive was disappointing. Their final touchdown was inconsequential to the outcome, but we still should have found a way out of the drive. We had a couple of ignorant penalties. Overall against a high-powered offense I think we faired ok. Special teams blocked two punts and had some nice returns and stopped a fake field goal. The only downside is that we were 2-for-4 in field goals. We missed a couple of 40-plus yarders. We really needed one of those in the second half to make it a three-score differential, but we couldn't do it.
UCLA is a hot team right now. They are in the thick of the race at 4-2 and tied for first. They are coming off a nice win against Arizona State. They're starting to play well and gaining confidence, so it will be a good test for our football team when the Bruins come to town on Saturday.
On Norm Chow's familiarity with UCLA: We are obviously pleased to have him on our staff; we hired him for what he brings to the table. I think the advantage or disadvantage is a wash. There's no advantage to either team with Norm having insight and knowledge into their program, but them also knowing Norm. I don't think that will play into it at all. I think they've changed both coordinators, so I don't see that as an advantage one way or another.
On Conroy Black's pass interference against Arizona: It could have gone either way. I never want to complain about the refs, but I see where they could have called it. I wouldn't have. I'm a defensive guy at heart so I'm a little biased, but it was nice to see him come back and make the play of the game. Conroy intercepts it and we end up scoring on that drive to put the game away. That was the biggest single play of the game.
On John White reaching 1,000 yards rushing: He's been a big part of our success. When he goes over 100 yards, we win, and when he doesn't, we've lost. Reaching 1,000 yards is a milestone and a benchmark, and to be a 1,000-yard back is a great honor, particularly in a conference like the Pac-12. There are a lot of reasons for him and the football team to be proud of what he's accomplished.
On the offensive line: They deserve a lot of credit. It's a cliché that everyone says they never get enough respect, and that's true. They've done a nice job, particularly the last few weeks protecting Hays and opening holes for John White. That's a credit to Tony Bergstrom and John Cullen, who are the senior leaders of the group, and the guys inside – Tevita Stevens, Sam Brenner and Miles Mason. Give credit to what they're doing with their work ethic and prep and all that goes into it.
On the team's energy and passion: A lack of that showed up in the Cal game, and it had not shown up in previous games. We have gotten beat, but it hasn't been for a lack of passion. Coming off the Pitt win that had a lot of passion, the lack of it just showed up at Cal. I met with seniors and juniors and that was a common thread. We were flat and not in the right frame of mind and that's something we can fix. We made a commitment to play with a great deal of passion and energy and we did that against Oregon State and Arizona. It was missing in the Cal game, which was our poorest game of the year.
Kyle Whittingham Weekly Press Conference
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