Oct. 31, 2011
It was good to get our first Pac-12 win. It took a little longer than we had hoped, but we got it. I thought we played well from start to finish. I thought our defensive effort was outstanding. We held a good quarterback to not a lot of production and really got after the quarterback. Takeaways were really huge for our football team. I thought we played exceptionally well on offense in the first half. We slowed down in the second half, particularly the third quarter, but we're making progress. We took care of the football and scored enough to win the game. The special teams were solid as well; Coleman Petersen made a few more field goals and kickoff coverage continues to be a positive.
Moving on to Arizona, they are coming off a loss to the Huskies. The offense has been moving the ball and scoring points, so we've got our work cut out for us defensively. Their quarterback is exceptional and Criner is an outstanding receiver, just like we face every week in this league. Our offense needs to continue taking care of the football. John White was really the majority of our offense on Saturday. As White goes, so goes the offense, that's how it seems to be this season. When he has a big game, we typically win. That needs to happen again this week. White is the featured back in our offense. He has been more than willing to do what he has been asked.
On the progress of Jon Hays:
He did make progress in the way that he managed the offense and made decisions. He took care of the football, which is job number one on offense. His numbers were very modest. We didn't throw a whole bunch and when White is ripping off runs you don't need to. We play to our strengths and understand who we are and we need to follow our blueprint for victory. That's great defense and solid special teams and to take care of the football on offense.
On John White nearing 1,000 yards rushing:
He's still early in his career, but so far he's off to a great start, closing in on the milestone. Time will tell if he is in the same category as others who have reached 1,000 yards. We've had some good running backs come through here. He's off to a great start and he has the right mentality and all the tools. I don't see why he wouldn't be in the conversation when all is said and done. Right now he is working hard and trying to find a way to help us win.
On the offensive line:
I've said that the Cal game was our worst game of the year by far, and this was a night and day difference. We regrouped as a team and came back, and give our players all the credit. We had a great week of practice and great passion and energy during the game and that was showing in our play. The offensive line did an outstanding job. When a running back runs for over 200 yards, there is great blocking going on. We need to continue that trend and do the things that we did against Oregon State and build rather than take a step back.
On getting through difficult spots in the year:
I think the key is to keep the players up and confident, and a lot of positive energy from the coaching staff. The staff has to set the tone. That is a big key and then you have to have great senior leadership. Tony Bergstrom and the other seniors have done a good job making sure we don't get in a situation where we don't throw in the towel. Stay positive, have a lot of energy, and continue the work ethic and keeping things intact.
On Tevita Finau:
He got here last year after the season had started. He was one of the really late arrivals. He didn't get here in time to have an impact and had to work to get into our deep defensive line. He's been getting better and better. He's very versatile, he's been spending most of his time at tackle. The stats had him for three sacks, we had him for four, and he made a very big impact on the game. He is totally unselfish, never complains, is talented and works hard. I wish we could have gotten him sooner, but I'm glad we have him now and hopefully he will be a factor in our next few ball games.