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Oregon Football

Postgame Quotes: Mario Cristobal

November 17, 2019
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Late Saturday night after a big win over Arizona, Mario Cristobal met with media. The Ducks were able to clinch the Pac-12 North title with last nights win even with two games left to play.

Mycah Pittman left the game early with an arm injury. Mario Cristobal provided a vague update there with the information he had available. 

Additionally it was a big night on the sidelines with Marcus Mariota making a return to Eugene. Coach Cristobal talked about hs relationship with Marcus and what it means to have him and other alumni back for games.


 

OPENING STATEMENT

Certainly a real happy locker room. Hats off to the entire team for playing hard. Thank you to the crowd. Autzen as usual really made it difficult for the opponent to function, consistently gave us a lot of juice and always awesome. Especially when we have so many guests here, so many recruits and whatnot. I thought it was an incredible environment and you know came out, certainly defense stood out holding a team like that, that type of an offense with that type of firepower to six points was really impressive. The way they communicated with passion and flew around, and made some great plays. Justin Herbert, the offense made a lot of big plays mostly in the passing game, running game was inconsistent, but had a lot of bright moments as well and had a chance to take the momentum of the game. We lost it but then they got it back and did their job. So overall, you know, pretty solid performance and looking forward to getting better. 

Updates on Mycah Pittman and CJ Verdell ... 

CRISTOBAL: Well Mycah hurt his arm. Obviously he hurt his arm. The severity of it we’ll know, I mean, but it's a pretty good shot. I saw it on film. He took a pretty good hit there when he had his hand planted in the ground, so we'll know. CJ was more of a stinger. I’ll update you on Mycah as soon as I get it, I just don't have all the info right now. CJ was more you know, he got hyper extended. And so he just wanted to get full strength back in his arm by the end of the game he was back to full strength. I think Bryson got nicked up, but it wasn't too serious towards the end. 

Coach you had six sacks and nine tackles for loss today. Talk about the play of the defensive line and how you're able to put pressure on that team. 

CRISTOBAL: Well it was key. We felt to win this game we're going to have to take control the line of scrimmage and all those guys up front, the defensive line, the outside linebackers. You know, even though we brought some pressure and had some movements a lot of the pressure was caused us by three and four man rushes. So they felt they worked edge as well. And they worked speed of power well, used their hands, like they’ve been doing all week to spend two weeks working on technique and fundamentals. And it showed up and put a lot of pressure on their quarterbacks. And sometimes they scored out of there and got some yards, and other times our guys got him on the ground. And it was one of the biggest determining factors in today's defensive performance.

You mentioned the offensive inconsistencies. How exciting is it knowing that you won the game by 28 points and kind of feel like they could’ve put up three or four more touchdowns? 

CRISTOBAL: We had the one that was disappointing down there in the tight red zone. We had a miscommunication down there tight and then settled for field goal. Thought we could go for if it was fourth and one, it was fourth and three, make it three score game and we missed the field goal as well. So that was disappointing because if they come back and score it's a one score competition and it will give them the momentum back. Excited about the explosive plays, excited about some of the answers you know tha probably played a lot more bear than we expected them too. They covered up the guards and the edges and then putting a guy behind the nose tackle and the zero technique. We felt that short yardage and goal line stuff they jumped into some of their gap based stuff trying to out gap you, outnumber you and when we handled it well it was successful, and when we didn't you know, it showed up as well. There were some inconsistencies but you know, overall putting up close to 500 yards of offense and get now you know, over 50% on third down, there's a lot of bright spots, a lot of stuff to build off. 

Despite the inconsistency there were some really big plays in the passing game in particular. How long have you been waiting to use that flea flicker? 

CRISTOBAL: We worked at the flea flicker in the backyard with those two guys. All the time. I'm glad the old school in here could appreciate the old school flea flicker. It doesn’t show up much anymore in football, but it looked good. It looked good when we practiced, so we've been practicing it for a while and felt that we know our guys were doing a good job, coming off press coverage, and we were starting to get some movement up front and run the ball better. We thought we could capture the eyes of the secondary and get behind them. Tremendous job of executing it, protection was there and great job by Juwan Johnson and Justin Herbert, the throw itself, the route, the catch, everything was just executed at a high level.

What does it mean to be North Division champions? 

CRISTOBAL: It's something that we recognize in there. We know where we were three years ago upon arrival, this great privilege and opportunity that we've had. We knew the work that it was going to take to progress and we're progressing. And the biggest goal of the week was to be 1-0 and it happened to coincide with the Pac-12 North. The best part about our guys and it sounds like a broken record every time I come here and see you guys after a game, our guys feel like we still haven't played our best football and that's, that's awesome to hear. And that's why we look forward to getting on that film. 

Marcus Mariota was on the sideline tonight, as well as a few of the other former ducks. How cool was it for you, and for the team, to have some of those guys come back and watch you guys clinch the Pac- 12 North? 

Cristobal: I can always tell when he's in town because it's the loudest the crowd ever gets. More than any touchdown, any sack, I mean, there you go. So when the crowd goes nuts, I know he's there. I think that's the best thing that we can have happened for the program. I think it's the best thing that could happen for alumni. There is nothing, I mean nothing, like being a player and seeing, not only all the greats, but seeing just family members, former Oregon Ducks, coming back and being around. Just as a player, I loved that. To have those guys sitting, know right there, just looking right over your shoulder. And you understanding and realizing that those jerseys that we're using, we're borrowing those things, right? We're upholding the legacy of those that came before us. I want to continue to invite them and see it much more. You want to talk about priorities that we have, that's one of the top priorities that we have as a program. To keep bringing these men of Oregon, and the women of Oregon as well that play other sports, to just keep coming back and being around and make this thing stronger and tighter. 

What’s the relationship you have with Marcus? And you know, you've been here for a few years now and he's come back several times, but just what’s that kind of relationship do you have with him? 

Cristobal: I’m kind of a big fan of the guy. I love ball. I saw him play from afar and had the opportunity to meet him a couple times. I respect people's privacy. I don't like to crowd them or whatnot. It’s been a privilege to have gotten to know him a little bit and had the chance to speak with him a couple times. It's what everybody in here knows, he’s a first-class guy, an absolute just tremendous ambassador for this university, for the community, for the program, for his family. 

You guys once again get stuck with those unsportsmanlike and personal foul late hit penalties. What are you guys doing to clean that up? Or is that just so much passion now in play this this game? 

CRISTOBAL: You always assess each one and look at it, subjectively right. We got one on a kickoff return, which is hard to tell when it's full speed because the guy's tumbling, he's close to being down, or he is down our guy continues. It’s judgment thing. The one that we had later on, on special teams, that's the stuff that's inexcusable and that can't happen. Even though we've cut them down, you know, we got five penalties today total as opposed to what we had last week, which is inexcusable. Five is still at least four too many so there is some room for improvement. We’ve got to get that down even further. 

Today I thought Bryson Young really stood out. Talk about his game and his progression to get to this level he's at right now. 

CRISTOBAL: I wish you could see Bryson Young's development over the past couple of years because this guy's special now. You know, he just goes like 100 miles per hour. His heart is enormous. His passion for the game, for his brothers, for this place is off the charts. He’s explosive and he uses his hands really well. And that's what you saw tonight. He was able to get separation and shed blockers. He was able to get penetration on some of the stunts. He was able to work short edges in the passing game as well. He was all over the field and then he's got a relentless motor. Everybody, I mean everybody in that locker room is a big fan of Bryson, because of what he stands for and the way he plays the game. 

Johnny Johnson hadn’t scored a touchdown since Montana. How big was that for him? 

CRISTOBAL: Number one for Johnny (Johnson III), awesome. He’s another one of those guys who his teammates love and respect him. He’s a great football player and a relentless worker. I think when you hit a play like that early on it makes the defense backup and you create a little bit more of a cushion. Now they were still pressing and doing a bunch of stuff but we were still able to find some cushion there and on (Jaylen) Redd’s screen pass. Due to a play like that, it’s kind of like a warning shot across the mouth when you go right away and you take a shot deep and hit it. I’m very happy for him, and it really got the momentum going in our direction.

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