Dan Lanning talks Heisman Trophy, frustrating penalties, and room for improvement after win over USC

At this point in the season, we pretty much know what we’re going to get when it comes to post-game press conferences from Oregon Ducks head coach Dan Lanning.

Most of the time, his answers hardly scratch the surface of details, with mentions of needing to “watch the tape” often curbing an answer from getting too in the weeds.

On Saturday night, though, we got a little bit more detail from Lanning, who opened up by declaring that QB Bo Nix just had a Heisman-worthy performance before diving into where Oregon can improve going forward, what needs to change when it comes to penalties, and how good the defense was again on Saturday night.

Here are some of the most notable quotes from his presser on Saturday night:

Opening Statement

Lanning: “All right, how about that crowd? Absolutely electric group, made that really special. It’s fun to sit up there and watch two elite quarterbacks battle it out. Obviously we’ve got a really special one on our sideline. I think that’s a Heisman-worthy performance from Bo and fun to do it in front of the fifth-largest crowd ever here in Autzen Stadium. So we knew that it was a talented team. We knew they were dangerous and they had the ability to come back, so I don’t know that anybody ever felt relaxed. Disappointed a little bit with our finish because I think we’re a much better team than what we showed down the stretch. But we got some good experience for some guys as we got dinged up a little bit. The penalties are something that you guys don’t want to ask questions about, and we’ve got to address it for us to be the team that we want to be. We have to become more disciplined. I’m not sure that I agree with every single one of them. But that being said, it’s something that we can certainly fix, and some of those are are ones that we can attack. You know, I thought we were physical tonight. Felt that showed up consistently. And we knew we had to eliminate some explosive plays, but we gave them life with a couple of those explosive plays that they hit late. So that being said, we can open it up.”

D-Line Play

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Question: The defensive line had a big night, getting after Caleb Williams early and often. How do you assess their performance tonight?

Lanning: “I thought there were some really great moments. You know, I think we’ll go back and look at some of these explosive plays and say how we gave him a little bit more opportunity than he needed. But we have a defensive line that can create havoc. We got some guys that are talented players. They were going against — that was a good front. They have a good offensive line and I thought our guys were able to create some havoc and mess up some of the timing there in the back end because they have some really talented wideouts. So good job. We gotta eliminate the explosive plays, though.”


Question: You mentioned the penalties, which part of those frustrated you the most?

Lanning: “I couldn’t go through every single one of them right now and part of it is you need to watch the film before you can have a really a great assessment of exactly what happened. At the end of the day, the amount of penalties we have is too much and we’ve talked about it a couple times up here before. We do different things in practice to try to attack it but we have to make a decision on how good do we really want to be and it hurts us and it didn’t you know, kill us tonight. But there were some critical ones in there that certainly didn’t help.”

Jordan Burch

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Question: How have you seen Jordan Burch develop as both a pass-rusher and run-stopper this season?

Lanning: “Week in and week out, I think Jordan has gotten better and better and better. I think the sky’s the absolute limit for this guy. He’s a really, really talented player. He comes in he takes great notes. He works really hard to be a good player for his teammates and the people around him, and he takes advantage of the plays that he gets an opportunity to make. So I know that being said that Jordan is gonna see some plays that he wishes he could have made, but he’s been really good for us.”

Getting Ahead

Question: How much of a benefit is it to your defense to have the offense get out to a big lead early?

Lanning: “I mean it’s hard when you play a team like USC where you know they can score quick. So I don’t know if you ever feel comfortable. But there is a difference. You know, there is a difference in the game when you’re having some success on offense. We certainly had some success on offense. I don’t think we punted in the first half. You know when you’re able to move the ball and especially move the ball in the running game. I think that really opens up some opportunities for us. I thought defensively, we did a good job stopping the run at times for a team that we thought was a really good back. So overall, us being ahead of the chains, it certainly helped. You know, I think we’ve got to work on having that killer instinct to finish down the stretch.”


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Question: What kind of toughness did it show for both Bucky Irving and Jackson Powers-Johnson to come back from injury and continue to play?

Lanning: “Yeah, tough guys. And this is the time of year where a lot of people are dinged up, you know, but we gotta go attack the training room and get healthy and put ourselves in a position where we can finish this thing the way we want to.”

The Difference

Question: What do you think was the ultimate difference in this game for you guys?

Lanning: “I think our team just really, our DNA traits is something we thought was going to show up in this game. And I think they did. And there was never any panic, there was never any relax in our guys. When they are able to execute at the level that we’re able to perform at, I think we have a really, really special team. So I think all those things showed up. It’s not about want to, it’s really about who’s willing to do more. I thought our guys were willing to do that little bit extra against a team that’s really talented.”

Milking the Clock

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Question: How do you assess the late-game drives for your offense where the goal was to drain the clock as much as you could?

Lanning: “I think, honestly, we can do a better job of that at times. There were some drives where we kind of stalled out, and we didn’t use as much of the clock as we should have, you know in the situation. So that’s something that we’ll you know, critique ourselves with on managing that a little bit better. But we knew once we got to 2:10 seconds that put us in the position to be able to kneel it out, and that’s kind of what we were working to do. Wish we could have done a little bit better job of that the series before.”

Rodrick Pleasant

Question: Rodrick Pleasant had a big tackle there in the 4th quarter, what do you make of his performance and his development so far this year?

Lanning: “Well, I’ll say this, the guy takes a lot of pride in what he does and everything he does. It means a lot to him, and I love coaching guys it means a lot to. I have to go back and watch you know he had a select snaps didn’t have a ton of snaps or go back and watch the snaps that he did have. I thought he got out there and got involved but want to go back and watch that and I know he cares. I know it’s important. It was good to see him go out there and execute.”

Caleb Williams

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Question: What do you make of Caleb Williams after now having seen him on the field?

Lanning: “He’s special, man. He’s special. He’s a really talented guy. Obviously never out of a fight when you have a guy like that, you know, battling for you and he’s got a bright future ahead of him.”

The Message

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Question: What’s the message to your team right now after this win and going forward?

Lanning: “We’re always gonna celebrate wins here and especially against wins against teams that we know have great talent like USC does. They’re well coached, they do some things really well. That being said, we’re always gonna look for opportunities to grow. If you’re not growing, something’s wrong with you. So I’m excited that our guys went out and performed but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna change the standard for where I expect us to perform and what I expect us to do moving forward. So, the guys in the locker room know that. We got a mature group. They don’t let their highs get too high. They don’t let their lows get too low. I think it’s pretty clear we have a really good team but we can be even better. So I’m excited to see where we’re headed.”

Punter Rotation

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Question: We saw Luke Dunne punt instead of Ross James today, was that about schematics for you guys?

Lanning: “We felt like Luke is a good hangtime punter. And this was a game where hangtime mattered. You know, we talked about, we kind of had a plan based on where we’re at location-wise on the field, hash, what kind of kicks we wanted to use, what kind of formation we’re going to use. So, it’s strategic you know, we have some games still available for Luke based on red shirt. Ross has done a phenomenal job, but you know, Luke certainly deserved the opportunity because of what we’ve done in practice.”

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire