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Oregon Football

Tuesday Presser: Mario Cristobal

April 6, 2021

Oregon has concluded practice No. 3 of the Spring this Tuesday. Following the closed practice, Mario Cristobal, Kayvon Thibodeaux and Verone McKinley met with media. 

There are a number of highlights from Tuesday’s media session. Here are the top responses from questions posed by media via Zoom. 

Oregon will return to the practice field Thursday. They are expected to meet with media roughly at Noon PST again on Thursday.


Mario Cristobal

Opening Statement:

“Appreciate your patience. Want to start off by wishing all of our sports teams, we’ve got some big games this week and this weekend. For us today. Got in the pads for the first time. And it was awesome. Creating competitions. Creating battles.”

On Learning from Former HC’s (Moorhead/DeRuyter)

“Without a doubt and you have Bobby Williams too. We have a really good think tank. I learn a lot from all those guys. Those guys have been in the trenches. They’ve seen a lot. There’s a lot of bouncing ideas off each other. They’re invaluable.”

On OL Rotation/Development:

“Big bodies that move really fast. Coach Mirabal is a phenomenal teacher. You’ve got a big chunk of guys earning playing opportunities. The older guys are doing a good job with the younger guys. They have invested time and the results are there. Jonathan Denis, Marcus Harper are progressing. Logan Sagapolu and Ope (Faaope) have trimmed themselves down. It’s been a great 3 working days with those guys.”

On Competition/Development:

“Verone has taken his play up a notch. The way he’s pushing himself and others, it’s contagious. When you go out and build your roster you want to bring those guys in and push your guys. But you want to do it the right way. Competition is a welcome thing. We’re here to maximize our ability to get the best out of each other. It’s the DNA of the entire program.” 

On Kayvon/Heisman

“I think it’s very possible for a defensive player. The thing about KT is he’s a high achiever. The sky’s the limit for him. His best football is still ahead of him. His body is continuing to grow. The combination of all those things with a guy that wants to win championships. He’s pushing himself. He’s pushing others.” 

On Defensive Leadership/Standouts:

“You had a couple of them on earlier (Verone/Kayvon). I think Mase Funa is starting to show. I think Brandon Dorlus is. Isaac Slade and Noah. On the back end I can’t say enough about DJ James. My man Happle. Mykael Wright is really working on transforming his body. I love seeing Jackson LaDuke out there ready to go.”

On KT Standing Up More:

“There’s a lot of things he’s going to be doing. Spring time is a time for us to experiment. I wouldn’t worry about that too much.”

On QB Rotation/Scrimmages:

“On Saturday we’re going to have a normal practice, we’ll end it with some live football. In terms of quarterbacks, Robby is splitting time. Tons of credit to him. On weekends he will be playing baseball, he has even had to split the days. It’s quite a challenge, Robby has done really well. Right now with the 1’s, Anthony has taken every rep right now. We’ve been working around the guys with the 2’s.”

Kayvon Thibodeaux

On Defensive Transition:

“First I think I’ve transitioned to an outside linebacker. No one is putting their hand in the dirt anymore. We’re all standing up, wide 9’s. It’s more about getting the job done. We get a little more freedom on how we can play certain techniques. A little more breathing room.”

On Von Miller Comparison:

“Honestly I think it was great, once I really took pride in pass-rushing, he’s a technician. Even before I met coach DeRuyter I was watching Von Miller. I’ve been working on standing up, working on get offs.”

On DeRuyter Utilizing him:

“One of my goals is to try and win the Heisman. He does a good job of putting me in a position to make plays. With all of us, not just me. Now he’s putting me in a position to maybe make a pic. That time is coming. Really I’m like a bigger Jamal Hill honestly.”

On Other (potential) Pass Rushers on Team:

“The whole D-Line, Brandon Dorlus, to Kristian Williams. Everyone is firing on all cylinders. A lot of guys are filling in and stepping up. If I could bet on it, I would say we’ll have several guys in the running for conference awards.”

On Ohio State Matchup:

“Once you watch enough football you’ll learn, the line of scrimmage wins the game. That’s my take on it. It’s marked down on my calendar too. But we gotta start with game one. Really we gotta start with practice tomorrow.”

Verone McKinley

On New Terminology:

“There’s definitely some different terminology. It hasn’t been too hard. We’ve enjoyed it so far. Our guys are locked in. I think the transition has been pretty smooth.”

On Having ‘Normal’ Spring:

“Definitely. We’re kind of used to everything. Things are getting better. It’s been pretty back to normal. We’re excited, things have been going normal. We’re having fun with it.”

On DeRuyter/Yates:

“That’s the nature of college football. There’s always movement. I feel like we’re all good with them. Coach Yates recruited me when I was a freshman, so I’ve known him for a while. He’s the same coach that recruited me at Arizona. I feel like we’ve been learning quick from him.”

On What to Improve in DB Group:

“I’d say everything. From tackling, sticking to your coverage, communicating. This group is special. We’ve got a lot of young guys stepping up.”

On Defense Improving:

“I would think it’s our mental side. With so much going on, this year we’ve had the mindset, we haven’t had any issues with Covid or anything. Our bodies are right. Our minds are right.” 

On Practice Being ‘Fun’ Today:

“We got our hands on a lot of balls today. A lot of interceptions today. The offense got some wins too. Just competing today. It’s really competitive. It’s one of the more competitive Spring balls we’ve had since I’ve been here.”

On Jamal Hill/Depth:

“Jamal is more comfortable now. Now it’s taking that next step to being dominate. He looks like a vet out there. Bennett can do a great job there. And Jeff Bassa, we have a three-deep of guys now.”

Tags: Football, Oregon
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