Oct. 18, 1999
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First of all let me cover the Cal game. There are no excuses, we got manhandled. Plain and simple. Man on man, they beat us. Obviously I'm going to react to that game, but I think it's important that I don't over react. Some things we were doing good. I have to try and remain positive. Try to be upbeat and try and keep this team headed down the road. Again, I am going to react and I'm going to say some things, but I'm not going to over react. You know, a lot of people are going to be critical of what we did defensively. Those guys were on the field for 38 minutes and I really believe that they did some good things. Unfortunately, and this has kind of been our makeup, we gave up five big plays which totaled 184 yards. And again we missed some tackles in critical situations that gave them the big plays. We've been doing a good job getting turnovers. We're averaging three turnovers a game. I think right now we are just one shy of what we were all of last year so we're creating some turnovers. Offensively, there is no question we have to block better. You have to block for the run, you have to block for the pass and then when you block for the pass your quarterback has to throw the ball better. Cory did not throw the ball well. I went back and looked at some of the stats from when Cade played and it would be interesting for some of you to go back and do the same thing and see some of the performances from when he was a freshman and when he was a sophomore. See how many passes he completed in some games. It's important that we come up and start making some routine plays. When guys are there we have to hit them. We can't throw the ball in the dirt. They (Cal) posed some problems just like Oregon and Arizona State did. When you have nine guys on the line of scrimmage it's hard to run the football and when they do that, we have to be able to throw it. Against Arizona State we didn't throw it as well as we needed to, although we had over 400 yards. Against Oregon we threw it very well, we threw for over 300 yards. This week we struggled. We struggled last year with an experienced football team so obviously Cal has done a great job denfensively. They have a great scheme. They coach it very well. Lyle Setencich did a heck of a job getting his kids ready to play against us. The last three weeks - this is a concern of mine - in the fourth quarter, the score has been 43-3. Offensively, we've turned the ball over five times and had two blocked kicks and defensively we had only one turnover. So we got to look at what we're doing in the fourth quarter and we have to make that an emphasis and get better at it. I'm a big believer that what you emphasize, you get better at. Anyway, that's all I can say about the Cal game. They beat Arizona State, they're gonna win some more games down the road and they did a nice job. When you play defense and when you punt the football the way they punt the football, you're going to win a lot of football games.
Oregon State coming up obviously, they're 3-3. They've lost their last three, but they're very competitive. They're very dangerous. They have an excellent running back. They have an outstanding quarterback. They spread you out all over the field. They're No. 1 in pass offense and No. 1 in total offense. The quarterback threw the heck out of it against us last year, so it's going to be a real challenge for us. I think offensively they are like second in the nation or something. We need to play very good on defense and we need to be able to move the ball and score some points on offense. They can score a lot of points. They had Stanford beaten and lost that game so they are capable of beating anybody they play at this point. We need to learn to run on the road. It's tough to win on the road as I've mention many times. We had a very difficult road experience with them last year. We won it in the last 30 seconds so our work is cut out for us and we know that. We're obviously not as good as we think we are, but we're probably not as bad as people think we are either. Every game is very tough for us and I think the remainder of the schedule will continue to be tough. We've had a lot of things happen to us - the suspensions and the illnesses and the young football team - those are excuses but they're facts. You miss a guy like DeShaun Foster, you have one of your best offensive lineman hurting with a bad knee, you get a freshman tackle that has pink eye. I can go on and on, we've just had a lot of problems and again, those are my problems and not yours. But they are legitimate excuses and we just have to get better.
As far as an injury update, Foster is still out. I'm not gonna take him up there and play him on the turf. (Ali Abdul) Azziz has a shoulder sprain and is questionable. (Danny) Farmer sprained his thumb and has a groin strain and is questionable. Brian Fletcher re-injured his groin on a kicking play. Brian Polak has a bad left knee, he also has two bad achilles tendons. He doesn't practice much and it shows up in games. (Durell) Price has an abdominal strain. (Mike) Seidman has a shoulder sprain. As far as depth chart, we are going to have a little competition at the safety position. We're gonna let Lovell Houston run a little bit this week and see what he can do. If he can do well, he will start in place of Eric Whitfield. Marcus Reese is going to compete at inside linebacker with Ryan Nece. Those are two positions that we're looking at quite a bit and we'll make a decision later on in the week after we see practice. Obviously we're going to have to play some nickel-dime type packages against their guys so more DB's will probably end up playing and less linebackers. I'm not gonna pick captains right now either, I'm gonna wait through the week and probably just before the game I'll announce two game captains. It will be a physical week of practice. We need to fundamentally get better. We need to execute. We need to stay together and not pull apart. We still have a lot of football left, although we are running out of time a little bit too.