Editor's note: Todd is out for a few days, I'll try and fill in as best I can.
It was a pretty quiet Monday press conference. With a bye week before the Apple Cup, it was mostly rehashing the OSU debacle. Head coach Steve Sarkisian was asked about Jake Locker and the NFL yet again, and I'll post some of those comments in a separate blog post.
One injury to discuss is Nate Felner, who suffered a partially torn biceps. He is having an MRI today.
Let's get to the rest of the presser.
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Here's some highlights from his opening statement ...
It was probably our most disappointing ballgame of the year in all three phases. I’m going to touch on all three here.
Offensively, we came out timid, did not play fast, did not play physical, in turn ran into a defense that was not hesitant, to say the least, that was playing fast, physical football, and I think we all saw the discrepancy there, especially early in the game, where we were getting knocked back. In turn, I think it created more hesitation on our end, where we started to take penalties that we hadn’t been taking all year. We dug ourselves a huge hole.
Defensively, our kids played pretty hard, especially early on. They got put in some really difficult situations from a field-position standpoint, but played pretty hard and had opportunities there to create turnovers. There were four fumbles by Oregon State. We were unable to capitalize on them when the ball was on the ground, to maybe swing the momentum. It wasn’t able to happen.
And then on special teams, we didn’t kick the ball very well, whether it was on kickoffs or punt. For what reason, I don’t know. We’ve been pretty solid in that area all year. It’s been a situation where I love what Mahan’s done for us, what Erik Folk’s done for us. But we didn’t strike the ball well, and in turn, it caused us to not cover as good as we would’ve liked. And we’ve got to find a way to get the returns. It’s just not … You get that many kickoff returns, sooner or later you’re supposed to hit something by executing, and we’re not.And then he summed it up with this ...
It’s disappointing, from the head coach standpoint, that we didn’t look like a team that was prepared to play – mentally or physically. We got knocked off the football. It looked and appeared that Oregon State was playing harder than us, which, in my opinion, they were. So we have to address that. That’s not acceptable and that’s not OK.
That’s the hard part is for us. I thought we practiced really well. I thought we were really locked in to the game plan and what we wanted to do. If you were in our locker room before the game, you wouldn’t have thought they would have come out and played that way. I thought they were into it, they were excited. But it goes to show you that it’s not always what’s on the exterior of what your team looks like. You’ve got to find a way to get inside of them to see what they’re really feeling.Sarkisian wishes this weren't a bye week so the team could try and rid themselves of that effort as soon as possible.
Any time you get your butt kicked the way we did last week, you wish you could jump right back on the horse and play to be honest with you. I wish we were playing on Saturday. But we’ve got a bye and will take advantage of it and use it to our advantage the best we can.Ah yes, the bye week. It will be very similar to the last bye week with several of the older players getting a rest physically. EJ Savannah will be limited as he comes back. A few of the offensive linemen will get a break and the hardest running tail back in the conference - Chris Polk - will be allowed to rest up a little this week.
We will emphasize the young guys again for three days, really try to continue to get them better, get them the work that they deserve and need. We'll have an emphasis on a few special situations within the game for us, most notably the red zone on offense. We will spend some more time there, but then Thursday and Friday and into the weekend will be huge recruiting days for us again.''