For a head coach who just won a game by 44 points at home and saw his starters spend the final 10 minutes of the game enjoying life on the bench, Dan Lanning was in a worse mood than you might have expected on Saturday evening.
His Oregon Ducks just beat the California Golden Bears 63-19, but the litany of mistakes that occurred in the first half, and the first quarter specifically were sticking with the young head coach.
“There are moments in that game that I certainly wish we could have back and execute a little bit better.”
Whether it was turnovers, penalties, or poorly executed plays, the Ducks did not play their best game on Saturday but still managed to blow their opposition out of the water. Ultimately, that should encourage Oregon fans going forward. For Lanning, it only leaves him thinking about the things that need to be fixed.
Here are some of the most notable quotes from Lanning after the game on Saturday:
Lanning: “All right, came away with the win. There are moments in that game that I certainly wish we could have back and execute a little bit better. I think we put ourselves in some tough positions at times and didn’t play to our standard of play certainly in the first half. You know, but I thought our guys overcame and did much better from an execution standpoint and the second half and showed some flashes of what we can really be. I’m really proud of some of the younger players in our program. Some of the players that got opportunities in this game to really highlight their talents. You know, I thought we did well in special teams. Big kick by Ross James to flip the field. Awesome tackle by Zack Grisham. A guy that works so hard in our program to do so much that you guys maybe don’t know as well as we do but the players in our locker room were thrilled to see him have a moment. How impressive was Ty Thompson when he came in the game And operated at a really high level. Certainly don’t want this to go miss but thoughts and prayers for Javian Thomas. He got hurt there. I’m proud that our medical staff and their medical staff was able to give him quick care. And we’re praying for great news for him never want to see anybody get injured in this game but we can open it up.”
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Question: What needs to change to address the penalty issue?
Lanning: “There’s a lot of them. I’ll have to go look at the film and see you know that you’re not always going to be all execute on the second along and third and long when you put yourself in those situations. So we’re gonna coach it, we’re gonna coach it really hard. We’ve had games where we’ve played really clean ball. We’ve had games like this, and certainly disappointing, so we had to figure out different ways to emphasize it. We have to eliminate some selfish play. Some of those are penalties that should never exist. Then we got to just play clean football, but you get what you emphasize. And obviously, we’re not emphasizing that at a high enough level.”
A Tez Bounceback
Question: After the early drop and having a part to play in the fumble, what do you make of Tez Johnson’s ability to bounce back and have a career day?
Lanning: “Tez is a guy who battles every single moment he’s on the field. I know he wants that first play back, just like all of us do. But those moments happen in football when you see adversity hit, you know, seeing guys go out and respond and react to that adversity, I think it’s really important. He certainly wants to be coached hard. He wants, he demands the best of himself. You know, we’ll continue to challenge him and continue to see him grow as a player as well.”
The Next Down
Question: How do you feel like your team did when it came to moving on from a tough start and bouncing back?
Lanning: “I thought our guys responded. Unfortunately, I think we hurt ourselves too much today and that’s something we have to go out and coach. I’ll say this that’s a hungry locker room and they’re certainly not satisfied. So you know, last week has nothing to do with this week. This week has nothing to do with the next week. It’s about what product we put on the field, really through the week, for us to continue to build and grow as a team and I’m anxious to see our guys do that this week.”
Dealing With Emotions
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Question: When you’ve got a scary injury situation like there was in this game, how do you get the players to shake it off and get back out there and play?
Lanning: “Our guys are pros and they understand the dangers of playing football at a high level. Every one of us in our program feel for him and feel for his family and his teammates and I know they’re hurting. But we also know there’s a job to accomplish for us on the field. And I thought our guys did a good job of hitting the reset button, you know, paying respect to him, but going out there ready to execute when they got the opportunity.”
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Question: What was your reaction to the College Football Playoff rankings last week?
Lanning: “No reaction, just win.”
Question: How valuable are these moments for Ty Thompson, getting some game experience?
Lanning: “I think it’s extremely vital to create opportunities for him and when you go out there, to let him go operate. To let him go execute the offense and I thought he did a phenomenal job of protecting the ball. He presented tremendous touch on some of those throws. He put it where our guy could get it no one else could made some checks within the game based on our game plan to so really proud of the way he executed.”
(Photo Courtesy of Ethan Landa)
Question: We didn’t see Matayo Uiagalelei play today, what is his status?
Lanning: “We probably could’ve used him today. But we were, you know, conscientious of him and didn’t want to push you know, he was able to work out with the team pregame. And I think he could have played if we needed him to play but decided to go against that.”
Question: You held Cal to half of their rushing total today, how impressed are you with your defense after that?
Lanning: “I thought we should help them to less. Again, our standard isn’t based on anybody elses. You know, I thought our coaches had a good plan. We thought we didn’t execute it as well as we could have. You know some of the tempo can create that for them when they go fast but we had moments where a great knock back at the line of scrimmage, we had guys separated from blocks and we had moments where we didn’t. So we’re gonna coach those. And again, I’m not a stats guy. I don’t really get hung up on that, you know, some great plays can happen. I want to see us tackle well, I want to see us get off the blocks. That’s our standard.”
Photo Courtesy of Ethan Landa
Question: Can you walk us through that decision to put Camden Lewis out there for a 53-yard FG?
Lanning: “I’d say it’s probably the edge. Just wanted to take a chance. You’re kind of in no man’s land you could go for on fourth. It’s a longer fourth where you’re not going to probably have a ton of success. You could potentially do a pooch punt or do a punt like we’ve done with Bo in the past. But that was a moment we’re like, ‘Hey, let’s see what we can do.’ There was a lot of wind in moments in the stadium today and I think it kind of flipped directions but wanted to give him an opportunity to go put points on the board.”
Weighing Positives and Negatives
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Question: Despite the many mistakes, your offense put up numbers that nobody has ever put up against a Justin Wilcox defense. What does that say about this team?
Lanning: “I think that just speaks to what kind of team we’re capable of being. And even though there were some things that were really positives in this, you know, I think there’s some things that we can certainly get a lot better at. So we’re not going to rest on the results. We’re not a result oriented team. We’re a process oriented team. So I’m going to continue to focus on the process. We did a good job on third down, but you know, what’s better than doing your job on a third down? It’s avoiding third down. And so there’s some things that I think we can really improve on and that we’ll continue to focus on.”
Question: Does Bo Nix do anything that surprises you anymore?
Lanning: “That throw we had to Traeshon surprised me. My heart stopped for a little bit. That was an interesting one where he was able to adlib and create something out of nothing. So I thought that was a big-time play by him. I don’t know what he had today, Six touchdowns? I mean, it’s pretty impressive. I think anybody who’s watching Bo right now knows he’s playing at a really high level. He’s a competitor. He makes us different and certainly makes his team better.”
Dave Wilcox Award
DAVID MAXWELL/AFP via Getty Images)
Question: What went into establishing a new award in honor of Dave Wilcox?
Lanning: “Well, obviously he’s an exceptional player. But the more I’ve learned about Dave, you learn about exceptional human that means a lot to this program. Obviously, his son’s played here as well. It means a lot to them. That family means a lot. Their names out there on our practice field and what he’s given to the game of football, what he’s given to the University of Oregon, you know, it’s something that we really cherish. So it’s something we want to honor in the future.”