home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


September 7, 2014

Mark Dantonio

THE MODERATOR:  We have Coach Dantonio here.  He'll start with a statement regarding the game, then we'll take your questions.
COACH DANTONIO:  Good evening.  Basically we just got back in here, meeting with the players.  Tough loss yesterday.  I think we had opportunities to win the football game after watching the film.  Obviously credit Oregon for what they were able to accomplish.
If you look at the football game, a couple wasted opportunities went bad in the first quarter where we came up with zero points.  Big second quarter.  Up by 6 at halftime.  Come out in the third quarter, have an opportunity again when we get down inside their 20, I believe.  But we were not able to score a touchdown, had to kick a field goal, thereabouts, 27 or so.  We end up going up by 9.
Missed opportunity on a blitz.  We have three people miss him.  He gets the dink out to the flat.  Big play for them.  Sort of reignites them.  So credit Oregon at that point.  They started their comeback.
Fourth quarter we have two more opportunities.  Again, I think it's a game of inches.  Obviously very disappointed.  Every now and then when things are going well for you, as they have been this past year, turns on you a little bit, you have to regroup, go back to ground level.  That's where we're at.
We have to understand the frustration, ground ourselves, ask ourselves what we can do better both as coaches and as players.  Continue to teach and learn, evaluate what happened.
Very proud of our football team in terms of how we responded.  Momentum swung their way.  When we had an opportunity to get it back in the fourth quarter, up by 12, we cut it to 5, just weren't able to make that play.  That occurred twice.
Too many big plays, explosive plays, given up by our defense.  Again, credit Oregon, but we could have done something about that as well.  Missed opportunities.
As I said early in the week, Mariota is an outstanding quarterback.  What he does is lead.  What he shows is toughness.  Also what he does is create.  There were numerous times where he created yesterday that really pushed them up, pushed them into the forefront, allowed them to win the football game.
Very impressed with how they play, the environment.  I think they play hard.  I think they play pretty sound, do a lot of different things offensively to make you play honest, then defensively they tackle very well in space in the secondary.  Came away with a couple big plays in the secondary.
Any time you go really minus two in the turnover margin, then don't get a fourth down down there, it's difficult.
I'll take some questions.

Q.  It was uncharacteristic over your tenure here to see the team playing so well, then come out at halftime and be flat.  Have you figured out what happened or what caused it yet?  Too early to tell?
COACH DANTONIO:  Well, really I think we did not come out flat.  We came out the third quarter, if you really look at it, we stopped them immediately, then came down the field and went to their 27 yard line and ended up having to kick a field goal.  We were up by 9 points.
I did not feel we came out flat.  I feel like we stopped them on the first series, stopped them on the second series, had an opportunity to go down and score points.  You need to score touchdowns against Oregon because they can score.  They're a big‑play football team as was indicated yesterday.  Stopped them on the first series, third series, their second series.  Offensively got to score the points.
Then at that point in time things started to happen poorly.  The missed tackles.  Again, we miss‑contained another time on a third down on the next series.  I can't remember what the yardage was.  Mariota scrambled for the first on that one.  Two big plays by the quarterback.  Then a couple blown coverages in the secondary.  All of a sudden they were up.  Then after that, everything went in their direction from an emotional standpoint.
I still thought we continued to play.  Went down the field twice in the fourth quarter with an opportunity to close it to 5.  I guess that's the long answer.

Q.  What did you say to your team on the bus, the plane?  I'm sure you're looking closely to see how some guys were reacting.
COACH DANTONIO:  Sure.  It was very quiet on the bus, very quiet on the plane, very quiet in that locker room.  As I said earlier when I opened this thing up, the expectations, when you have very high expectations, there's going to be disappointment.
We talked about climbing a mountain, all that kind of stuff.  When you get to the top of the mountain, it gets steep.  The competition is very fierce and extremely competitive.
So we need to understand that.  We need to understand that we have come a ways.  People are disappointed we didn't win the game, put ourselves in the national championship hunt after week two.  But our goals and my goal has always been to get that Big Ten championship game and springboard to what we can do from there.
We need to understand that, ground ourselves, regain our composure, which we will.  We'll be with our players today.  Again, when you have disappointment, it grounds you, but it also brings you together.  I said after the game we need to gain something from this experience, and I think we will.  I think we'll get stronger inevitably.
What this program has been able to do consistently I would say, when there have been difficulties or what I call storms, we have been able to push through those storms and come out the back end successfully.  That's what we'll try to accomplish.

Q.  Talk a little bit about what this bye week means coming off this game.  Can you go back maybe to after the Notre Dame game last year and what kind of parallels and dissimilarities there are between the two.
COACH DANTONIO:  Well, I think last year, very similar situation in the fact that we were undefeated, went away to play.  Not similar in terms of I think even though the score might not indicate it, I think we played pretty well in this game from an offensive standpoint.  Just didn't get the points at the end of the game, turned the ball over twice.  I think we were ahead by 9 in this game at one point.  That wasn't the case last year.
What we can take away that is similar is we have a bye week.  Whether we win or lose, we're going to have to deal with the consequences, whether it's being too overconfident or whether it's regrouping after a loss.  We understood that.
We'll go in this direction, let our people settle a little bit, let things settle in on them, let them be a student a little bit this week, but also practice some, get back to the task at hand.

Q.  I wanted to ask you about Oregon's ability to run the ball.  Why were they so much more successful in the second half than the first half?
COACH DANTONIO:  I think a couple things happened.  When you look at the film, there were a number of missed communications because of the crowd noise, whatever the case.  When we're checking things, getting in and out of different defenses, there were certain gaps.  We were misaligned a couple times.  We had some mistakes in that respect.
But also they have big‑play capability.  Conceptually they put you in a lot of run‑pass conflicts, where is it run, is it pass, and you have to play the pass, then react to the run.  You may get caught short with a person or something of that nature.
We had some missed tackles.  They ran for 127 yards.  They have two big plays at the end of the game in the fourth quarter where they run the ball probably for a total of about 50 yards or so.
So we had seven times three‑and‑out.  I think we did play pretty well that first half.  I think after three quarters, I'm not sure, we might have had 25 yards rushing.  I can't be sure on that.
Big plays.  We gave up seven explosive plays.  The history here has been when you give up four or more, you're not successful.  Four or less, you're successful.
Too many got out the gate.  Again, there were a couple of them that were made by inches, and a couple of them, whether it's a missed tackle or slight misalignment, a guy gets knocked down in coverage, that type of thing.

Q.  Your thoughts on the state of your offensive line right now coming out of Oregon and how you feel about the depth there?
COACH DANTONIO:  Feel good about our offensive line.  I thought we protected the quarterback pretty well for most of the game, although they got some coverage sacks.  They were coverage sacks, not so much that the pass protection broke down.
Incidentally, they had 56 yards rushing after three quarters.
But state of the team right now, like I said earlier, disappointed.  We're two games into the season.  There's a lot of people around the country that are disappointed right now.  The key to being successful is how you handle the disappointment, all those different things that go along with it.
We got good chemistry here.  We got good young men.  They'll work hard.  We'll bounce back.

Q.  You mentioned some of the misalignments on defense.  Was there an abnormally large amount of those in comparison to last year?  Is it the case of Oregon is the type of team that will make you pay for it more?
COACH DANTONIO:  I think a little bit of a combination of both.  Oregon is the type of team, there's no question, they are fundamentally sound, conceptually tied together very well, innovative, very well‑coached, and they have explosive players.
Again, it starts with the quarterback.  There's one time where they do not block the nose, which is a nose read.  We got three guys on the quarterback, three, staring right at him.  I don't know whether he pulled a rabbit out of his hat, but all of a sudden the defensive tackle takes off to chasing the runningback when he clearly sees the ball in front of him.
So don't ask me why.  Then he avoids two other guys.  Then another time he avoids three.  He made plays.  He created.  You have to respect that.  I said that going into the football game, we had to take that aspect away from him, keep him in the box, keep him contained.
Beyond that, they break a tackle there in the secondary.  You got to get him down.  Couple of those things occurred versus on runs in the second half in the fourth quarter.
Again, proud of our football team.  We rallied and came back from 9.  Came back after being down 11.  It is what it is as you move through this.  But thought we came out in the third quarter and started to reestablish ourself, but didn't get the touchdown.  So we're up by 9, then everything else we've already talked about.

Q.  After watching the tape, obviously there's disappointment with the loss, but can you give us the names of a couple guys you thought played well?
COACH DANTONIO:  I thought R.J. Shelton had some big plays, big kickoff return, big run on a sweep.  I think two big plays on receiving the football.
Lippett obviously played very well.  I thought Connor Cook played extremely well early on, probably through the first two and a half to three quarters.  After that, they sort of blanketed us up a little bit.
I'm trying to think off the top of my head here.

Q.  What about Riley?
COACH DANTONIO:  Riley missed a tackle on the one sack.  Riley Bullough, you're talking about?

Q.  Yes.
COACH DANTONIO:  He plays with a lot of effort.  He does not quit.  He plays with a lot of effort.  He's a young player.  He played about 18 plays, I think.  But he shows up out there.
Not disappointed in Riley Bullough.
Marcus Rush played pretty well.  Had some effort plays out there.
When you look across the board, got all these different things in front of me, Kurtis Drummond played pretty well.  I think Davis and Taiwan didn't play too poorly.
I mean, you know, it's tough to gauge it right now.  Looking at the film for one time, looking at the grades.  Sit and talk with our coaches, as well.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you for your time.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297