California Head Coach Sonny Dykes
“I want to start by giving Washington State credit. Coach (Mike) Leach has done a nice job with their program. They are very much improved. They are a tough football team, and they play hard. I like the way they play. They have made big strides since he took over the team last year, and I think they will continue to make big strides. This was obviously not a good performance by us; we turned it over five times, including fumbling inside their five-yard-line twice. You are not going to win if you do that, no matter who you play. Right now we are having a very difficult time running the football, which is putting a lot of pressure on our offensive line. We are not good enough up front to pass protect. Jared (Goff) had pressure on him all day and got a little rattled because of it. I don’t know what to say about the injuries, I’ve never seen anything like it. We lose at least five or six guys every game; another five or six today. That isn’t something we can control; we need to play better. It was a pretty disappointing day.”
On Cal’s opening possession fumble:
“It is hard to say (how much that affected the game). When you are very fragile team without a lot of confidence it probably has a big impact on you; that is what we are. The disappointing thing is that if you look at our team against Northwestern and our team now, we haven’t played as good as we have in that game since then. Obviously, we have had a lot of personnel injured. I think we had seven guys on defense who started that game who don’t start anymore due to injury. We have several more on offense; our center and right guard are both out. We have no confidence right now, and we are a fragile football team. When you are a fragile football team and you fumble your first possession of the game after putting a decent drive together it takes its toll on you. If you are a seasoned football team with guys who have been through a lot of battles together it is no big deal. But with our group it is a big deal.”
On the penalties:
“I think we had some penalties that were a lack of discipline. We had some personal foul penalties that there is no excuse for that. That falls on coaching. It was an unusual football game with a lot of strange plays. We just have to play more disciplined football.”
On playing WR Chris Harper in the slot:
“I thought he played good; obviously, he was productive with over 200 yards receiving. We are trying to get our best guys on the field. We are struggling at running back, so it is important to make some plays with inside receivers. We thought we were not getting the production out of that group that we needed, and we thought we could get some more production if we moved Chris inside. I thought he played well. For his first time inside, he did really well. He will need to improve, but he was very productive.
On Cal’s defense:
“We thought we played good enough defense to probably win the game. We just gave them a bunch of short fields offensively and had five turnovers. I didn’t see anything that wasn’t familiar to us. They just did a good job executing their offense. You could tell they threw the ball well and caught it well. I thought we had a good game plan. Credit Washington State, they made some nice adjustments.”
Michael Lowe, S
On team injuries:
“It’s frustrating, but as a team we need to stay positive and dismiss everything that’s going on. Our DB’s that are down, we can use them [in the games], but it gives other guys the opportunity to make plays.”
On the mentality of the defense:
“We’re still working hard every day. Things don’t go your way all the time. We know that, and we just put that behind us and keep looking forward. It’s never in our mind that we’ll go out and something bad will happen. We work day in and day out to do our best.”
Jared Goff, QB
On not cashing in on drives:
“It’s something we need to start doing. We haven’t done a good job of scoring points in the red zone. We need to get better at it this week. We need to eliminate the turnovers and get better. We need to put this behind us and just keep getting better.”
On the touchdown pass to Chris Harper:
“It was the same play I overthrew him on early in the game. I just didn’t want that to happen again. He made a great route and was wide open.”
On team goals at this point in the season:
“Continuing to get better every week is what we need to do. Right now our goal is to beat UCLA. We need to keep getting better, fix the things we’re not very good at and continue to do the things we are good at.”
On team confidence:
“After a game like this our confidence is going to be low. That’s just how it works. A turnover in the red zone will hurt any team. We had two today. It hurt not only our confidence but our rhythm at the time. It’s something we need to eliminate.”
Chris Harper, WR
On playing in the slot:
“It wasn’t much different. I’m used to playing the slot because last year that was my position. I just try to get back to my old ways and do what I can to help us move the ball.”
On his touchdown catch:
“I was just trying to do my job and run my route as quickly as I could. I was hoping the ball would get there, and it did. I was just trying to get the ball and put points on the board.”
Washington State Head Coach Mike Leach
On QB Connor Halliday’s play:
“I thought he did really well. I thought he did a really good job managing the unit and had a good week of practice. Since it was a back-and-forth game and there were a lot of drives, and even though I thought it was kind of sloppy on both sides, I thought he did a really good job managing our offensive unit.”
On how his team responded to Cal’s three straight scores:
“I thought our defense came together and rallied. Rather than just spiraling down, they rallied well. Our offense kept responding until the defense got synced, and then the defense got some key turnovers, which was good.”
On Cal’s safety:
“We didn’t block well. I think it was two things – it wasn’t a great call, but we didn’t block well either. We had leverage for it but we didn’t finish the blocks. By the same token, it was probably not the best play to call down there.”
On offense’s improvement in quick drives and explosive plays:
“I think we took a step forward and got a week better. I don’t know how big (a step) but we’ll find out. We need to steadily improve and we don’t have anything to be satisfied with.”
On difference in team’s play from last year with bulk of same players:
“We’re a tighter team and we play harder.”
On if Leach sees similarities to his offense in his former assistant Dykes’ offense:
“There are some similarities for sure. They’re a little more in to tempo and they’ve been pretty into the quick game, but then they went further down field against us than they’ve done consistently in video.”
Washington State Players
Marcus Mason, RB
On his 68-yard touchdown:
Just got out, checked and caught the ball. I looked and saw three defenders, and I was trying to get the first down so I cut across the field a little bit. I was trying to get straight up field but I saw that there was more out there so I took it all the way. I turned on the speed, tried to get down field.
On preparation for the game:
Just cleaning up mistakes. We made sure we were doing everything routinely, like catching the ball, getting up field and the fundamentals.
On the current state of the team halfway through the season:
It’s kind of where we want to be. We’d like to have won all the games. We should’ve beat Auburn. We should be 5-1, and if we hadn’t made some mistakes we could have won last week. It’s not where we want to be, but it’s ok for right now. We want to get towards the top.
Connor Halliday, QB
On the amount of points WSU scored:
We left a lot of points out there. Really big win, but really frustrating.
On his fast start to the game:
They were pressing us on the outside so we had some chances to take some shots. Then I kind of got out of rhythm, kind of let our offense struggle a little. That’s on me to find completions and get the ball out there.
On the offensive line’s performance:
The offensive line played unreal. That was huge. Those guys really got in a rhythm up front and dominated the game. I think I got hit twice. That’s a lot of fun back there when you have all that time to get rid of the ball.
On 500 yards passing:
I’ve had a couple [500 yard passing games] here and there. We were 10 yards off the WSU record so that’s a little frustrating stat there. We left a lot of points out there. We left 10 yards out there. Good win, but frustrating.