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What Mario Cristobal said after Oregon Ducks beat Stony Brook

OregonLive.com logo OregonLive.com 9/19/2021 James Crepea, oregonlive.com
a group of people watching a football ball: Head coach Mario Cristobal (left). The No. 4 Oregon Ducks hosted the Stony Brook Seawolves in a nonconference college football game played at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon, on Saturday, September 18, 2021. Photo by Serena Morones, for The Oregonian/OregonLive © Serena Morones, for/The Oregonian/OregonLive Head coach Mario Cristobal (left). The No. 4 Oregon Ducks hosted the Stony Brook Seawolves in a nonconference college football game played at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon, on Saturday, September 18, 2021. Photo by Serena Morones, for The Oregonian/OregonLive

EUGENE — No. 4 Oregon pulled away against Stony Brook, 48-7, Saturday afternoon at Autzen Stadium.

Mario Cristobal recapped the Ducks’ third win of the season.

Below is a transcript from Cristobal’s postgame press conference.

MARIO CRISTOBAL

Q. You had a little trouble in the first half getting some rhythm going but in the second half you really picked it up….

CRISTOBAL: We had a 17-7 first half and 31-0 second half. Inconsistent in the first half. Opportunities there to be had. The sloppy one was really at the end of the first half, we gave up a couple of sacks. There were protection challenges with some of the movement and stunts and the extra guys being brought, but we got to be better at that obviously. I thought we firmed it up later as the game went on. There were some bright spots in the first half but not nearly enough. We need to take more control of a game like that early on but I am encouraged by the second half and the ability to dial in and focus to finish the game.

Q. I thought your defense really controlled the ballgame…

CRISTOBAL: Yeah, that first half: 33 plays for 191 yards, second half: 29 plays for 80 yards. We played 80 guys tonight. A lot of guys saw significant playing time and a lot of them saw their first playing time. We weren’t trying to rest guys; we were just banged up at certain positions so guys had to play and they did. I think as the game went on they started getting in the right type of groove and understanding how to get a signal and apply it on a play by play basis to play very physical. We played much better football in the second half.

Q. The defense was very opportunistic. Noah Sewell and Verone McKinley are really leaders on that defense…

CRISTOBAL: Without a doubt. Verone, what a great leader. What a great player. He epitomizes the culture. He just doesn’t stop. All he wanted to talk about in (the locker room) was next week and 1-0, getting in bed, eating the right stuff, waking up and getting on that film early. Guys like that, they drive a locker room. Noah is really kicking that to another level as well and is feeling more comfortable leading. I can’t say enough great things about Verone. He is different and he is special. We’re very blessed to have him.

Q. What’s the status of Anthony Brown?

CRISTOBAL: He took a pretty good shot there at the end of the half. They were just making sure he was okay. We expect him to be okay and he looks good. So we expect him to be healthy for the week.

Q. What’s your evaluation of Ty Thompson?

CRISTOBAL: He did a nice job. He got the ball out, was accurate with the ball and made the right decisions in the run game. He was playing during some real, relevant time as well. I’m proud of him. I’m proud of (Jay Butterfield) getting in there as well. Both of those guys looked really sharp. They looked like what they look in practice on a daily basis. So we’re not surprised that they were able to execute and run the offense like they did. I’m fired up about those guys and looking forward to seeing all these guys in practice tomorrow.

Q. Do you start to develop more depth in a game like tonight?

CRISTOBAL: No. 1, tremendous amount of respect to our opponent. They have a really good football team, good football players and they compete really well. When the game reaches a stage where some of the other guys are playing, those guys have to get reps. We were calling the game like we needed to and we felt like those guys performed nicely. Offensive linemen fit double teams really well and got their man blocks done. Receivers ran good routes and caught the ball well for the most part, I think had two drops. They were functioning like we expect them to and like they have in practice. So it was very valuable time for a lot of guys. And a lot of guys are seeing action on (special) teams as well. Special teams has been loaded up with a lot of guys that have really been spending their first year on campus. And not just because they’re freshmen, we’re trying to give other guys rest. They’re on there because they’ve been very productive. They’re fast, athletic and explosive players and we got to get them on the field. And we continue to get better on our coverage teams and we continue to get better in the kicking game. And those things are things we are really enthused about.


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Q. How did you feel like you guys did on the lines?

CRISTOBAL: Below average. I thought there were moments where we’re playing well - and then in the second half I thought we really picked it up - but not up to the standard. I think we know that. Opponents change, but the standards don’t. They had some challenging movements and stunts, when you bring ocrner fire and you start long-sticking from the C to the A, I get it, but we got to be able to adjust. I think our guys did. I thought our effort was good. I didn’t see a lapse in effort. I didn’t see anything but guys dialed in and being intense in terms of their approach, in the huddle, and during timeouts. They were locked in. We all got a little bit frustrated, butjust kept going. We didn’t talk about we should’ve done this or should’ve scored there or should’ve had a better play. Just kept talking about this play right now, the next play, do it as best we can. We’re learning and we’re growing. It was good to see us being able to turn that mentality into one that goes forward when things weren’t going so well.

Q. What play Anthony suffered the injury?

CRISTOBAL: I don’t know the exact play. Those things sometimes they get evaluated and you get information than what you thought so I’d rather hold on that.

Q. What impressed you most about Ty’s second half?CRISTOBAL: I thought Ty was very cool. He didn’t flinch at all. I’ve seen sometimes quarterbacks you tap them on the shoulder and say it’s your turn and their eyes get about yay big. That wasn’t the case with him at all. There was no flinching. He knows the offense. He is very composed. He’s very confident. He did a really nice job.

Q. How did the secondary help you tonight by making those big plays, and what can you say about Verone’s knack to cause interceptions?

CRISTOBAL: Well, this guy is a student of the game now - he understands it inside and out. Not only what we are doing on defense, but what the offense is doing. He understands formations. He understands route running. He studies receivers really well, formations really well, splits. This guy has a different level football IQ, and then you see the way he has worked on his body. He is fast, he’s explosive, he’s a ballhawk, got great ball skills. I kid with him every now and then get him on offense for a play or two. He has been a game-changer for us, and the best part about that is that he is not satisfied. He is hungry and he wants more. He wants to take on more and that leadership role is strong. I can’t say enough good things about Verone McKinley.

Q. How hard is it to come back down to work and stay focused after a big win like last week?

CRISTOBAL: I was pretty fired up about the way we approached everything, from practice on Sunday to the end. When you leave a game like that last week, when you go in the locker room, you can have fun and celebrate a little bit, but before you leave that locker room, No. 1 you respect the place and the second part is, you make sure you get the guys to start generating thoughts about moving forward. That showed up in practice the next day. I thought guys were focused and I thought the week was physical. I thought guys that had to play tonight - that were forced into starting roles or having to play significant playing time - I thought that they invested the right type of reps and the right type of mentality throughout the course of the week. It showed up in a lot of their plays – inconsistent albeit – but there were also some really bright moments and I think a lot of stuff that we can build off of.

Q. How do you feel about the overall health of your team going into conference play and how beneficial was it to rest some key starters tonight?

CRISTOBAL: I’d like to be healthier, I think we all know that, with some pieces. But it’s football and we’re going.

Q. What exactly did Ty Thompson do to earn the backup QB job when he is competing with some really good guys in Jay and Robby?

CRISTOBAL: It is a very close competition. When you are in the season, you have got to go with certain guys because there are only a certain amount of reps, and that’s what practice is. You can’t divvy it up in a three or four-way pie, it just doesn’t work. So, it was really, really close. That is the best way to put it. I can’t say that anyone did anything poorly, all the guys did really, really well. It was very tight and he got the nod.

Q. Brandon Buckner really helped you guys ramp it up. What did you see from him out there tonight that allowed him to be effective?

CRISTOBAL: Well, it is hard to tell without the film when you study the line play unless they’re on your side. You can tell when you hear the call and whether it’s a B or C gap play and the B gap’s been shut down or if it bounced outside, did you loss of contain or peaking inside and getting nosy. For the most part, when he was in there it felt like he set the edge fairly well. I thought he did a fairly good job in pass rush as well. He competed the entire evening. I will look at the film tonight and grade it to assess it, but from what I saw out there, it looks like a solid job and I am sure there is room for improvement.

Q. How much better have you seen defensive backs seem to get under the tutelage of Coach Marcel Yates?

CRISTOBAL: Coach Yates is a special one. His ability to progression teach, to have a tremendous presence in the room. I had heard so many things about him as a person and as a coach. When the players send you messages of how thankful they are that they have a guy like him leading that room, that speaks volumes. He is a difference-maker and certainly it has paid off for us here in the first three games.

Q. Was Anthony available in the second half if you wanted him to play? Will he be available against Arizona?

CRISTOBAL: I think he may have been available. But when a guy gets injured and we don’t play him, we reserve comment until a little bit later on int he week so I can give you accurate information. We’ll certainly get that to you as soon as we do.

Q. What is the status of other injured players?

CRISTOBAL: Steven (Jones) looked good in the locker room. So did Troy (Franklin). I don’t suspect any issues there. Treven (Ma’ae) got banged up last week. He played tonight and didn’t seem to have any issues. We held Bradyn (Swinson). Bradyn got a little bit nicked up last week. Kieth Brown was available in case of emergency. What I mean by that is he was healthy enough to play, but it would be best for him going forward if we were able to get a little more rest and continue his process to being 100%. He’s right about there. Mase (Funa) is looking like he’s good to go, him and Adrian (Jackson Jr.). We held a lot of guys but it wasn’t just to hold guys. We felt it was best for them, for their health and going into Pac-12 play now where every week is a playoff game. We felt to get to them to them to the level that we need to that it was best to rest them tonight.

Q. What’s your comfort zone with Camden Lewis?

CRISTOBAL: If there’s a 50-yarder, we’ll attempt it. We had mentioned his stats earlier in one of these conferences about what he had done throughout the course of the summer. Very few kickers I’ve ever met are as resilient as him. He completely attacked the process to make himself better. He didn’t say a word, just went into camp and competed. And look what he’s done. He’s kicking most of his balls into the end zone causing touchbacks. I know one went out of bounds today. He went 2-for-2 on field goals. They were great shots with great trajectory. The timing on them was great. He’s focused and he has been a difference-maker for us both on field goals and on kickoffs.

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