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September 21, 2019

Mario Cristobal

Stanford, California

MARIO CRISTOBAL: We able to get a couple wins last year, but this game is conference number one. The reputation of Stanford is as a physical football team. We knew it was going to be a tough and physical came up front.

Just proud of the team all around. Great team win. Tremendous effort by the defense. Obviously the statistic of holding teams from getting to the end zone in three straight games is something else, but obviously lots of good stuff. Lots to work on as well.

That being said, open to questions.

Q. Obviously weren't part of the program during those days, but seven, eight years ago... (indiscernible) What was this road win say about this program?
MARIO CRISTOBAL: Physicality has been a big point of emphasis. When you go on the road, sometimes it's a little bit ugly, but you never wants to apologize for winning on the road. It's tough, especially in conference.

Identity-wise we want to be physical, tough, finish games, and we have been making ground towards that. Sometimes we finish and sometimes we didn't. Certainly this was a game we didn't finish last year. That was heavy on their minds and they wanted to finish this one the right way, and they did.

Q. Is that what you were thinking about when you were running off the field there?

Q. Just the fact that you finished like that.
MARIO CRISTOBAL: No. To me I was grateful that when they got down there and they were kicking a field goal I realized how loud they were. I thought they were incredible the support of our fans and numbers that showed up.

To our players that was a big deal. That's why they ran down there to greet them and thank them. I went down because I was stuck doing some media stuff in the middle of the field and didn't want to leave without thanking them. It was great.

Q. Both quarterbacks were under duress tonight. Initial thoughts on how Justin handled that?
MARIO CRISTOBAL: Yeah, well they stacked the box pretty good. Got us on a couple stunts. They got our tight end on one of our play-action shots down the field as well, around the edge really tight, and Justin was not able to step up. One time they got us on the twist, and one time just really ran at (indiscernible.) I think it was a three-man game.

And then there was some pressure plays as well. We had to move around. That being said, at the same time, it opened up some things in the passing game. Double edge pressure. Certainly is tough to run the ball so we had our issues and we had some better moments at times.

But overall just too inconsistent in the run game. It does open up stuff in the quick game, the screening, and some of the RPOs, and down-the-field shots. So there is a give and a take there, and luckily we got more than was taken from us.

And then our guys on them. I don't know how many pressures we had or how many sacks we had. Five sacks? Thank you. To stop that, not only our straight rush but twists and our stunts, our disguised coverages, just switching the leverages of some of our back end guys really affected the quarterback, and something that, again, great job by our defense.

Q. (No microphone.)
MARIO CRISTOBAL: Yeah, did a lot of open edge running today and kind of a double edged sword. You could find some big wide open looks or you could get yourself some edge pressure and thinned out real quickly. We probably got into that more than we should have.

That being said, I think from the assignment standpoint, on the right guys, but I've got to do a better job coaching those guys.

Q. (No microphone.)
MARIO CRISTOBAL: Oh, you know, I think we'll just play guys as we see fit. Guys that had a good week of practice, guys we feel, if it's a physical game, a more physical guy. (Indiscernible) was certainly banged up. We have complete confidence in Travis, so there is nothing to read into that as well. Travis definitely deserves to play more, and we'll get him in there.

Q. Two touchdowns for Breeland.
MARIO CRISTOBAL: Uh-huh. Well, one of them, you know, he was wide open, and the other one was a contested catch. He's a really good athlete. Went up and got it. He is certainly proving himself to be a real good playmaker for us and really proven himself to a good run blocker as well. He's a guy who has to stay in the game and continue to get him more touches.

Q. Coach, you ran the ball previous times in the past. Were you a little conservative in this game or would you like to throw the ball more given the quarterback you have?
MARIO CRISTOBAL: We would like to get as many points on the board as possible however we can get that. So whatever is called, and sometimes these are throw-run options. The look, the leverage, number of the box count, will determine where the ball goes. Sometimes these numbers do get skewed. If I could guarantee 80 points by throwing the ball, I would, and vice versa. We're just trying to move the ball, score points.

Q. (Regarding three seniors.) Seem to just get better and better. What do you make of those guys?
MARIO CRISTOBAL: A lot of pride. A lot of pride and toughness. Those guys get after it during the course of the week. This week they really stepped up as vocal leaders as well, which was great to see. They made a difference. It's one thing when the coach talks, but when that locker room starts taking ownership, it's a different animal. All those guys, I thought Jordan was awesome. Troy was spectacular in what he did also as a leader and performer. So just awesome to watch those guys play at such a high level.

Q. You mentioned touchdown streak. Do you guys talk about that? What did you learn?
MARIO CRISTOBAL: You know, we really don't. I think once you really start talking about it and focusing on it you start forgetting what gets you to that. We're just focusing on each play at a time and finish it and then onto the next one. Works for them.

Just the detail of communication, detail of assignment, is really just improving week in and week out. Playing a lot of young guys now, too. Had a few guys banged up the last few weeks. Bryson Young, (indiscernible) has been out for a little bit as well. Thomas Graham went down last week. All these guys got healthy and went in there and played a really good game.

Q. (Regarding Breeland. )
MARIO CRISTOBAL: Looked pretty impressive. Yeah, it was certainly -- sometimes you have a matchup that you like. I know that Justin, besides him wanting to be aggressive, he has the green light to be aggressive. When he seeings that he likes from a matchup standpoint, whether it be man coverage, a soft zone, some space of green grass in there, he's going to take it. He saw it, liked it, took it, converted.

Q. (No microphone.)
MARIO CRISTOBAL: Well, first thing with Blake, Blake has been for the most part really consistent all year. He flipped the field for us like you said. Extremely effective. Just yardage, 80 yards is like having an extra six, seven points, and he did that for us today. Made it difficult for them to sustain drives. Ten, 12 plays in a row. Really valuable guy. Playing at a high level.

Then you had another question.

Q. (No microphone.)
MARIO CRISTOBAL: Well, that guy is a great player. I don't know if you ever eliminate him completely, but the way that Jayvaun and Thomas, all had their turns at him, every guy. He's a spectacular player. His range and his physicality is what makes him really effective. Our guys were just as physical. Got up there and pressed and got hands on him and ran with him. Contested those balls and got up there and was able to deflect them.

I just can't say enough. Can't wait to watch the tape to actually grade the technicality, fundamentals used and the success rate of our defensive backfield on their tight ends.

Q. Another strong game for Herbert and Breeland. How do you think that helps them?
MARIO CRISTOBAL: A lot of trust. I think couple things have happened. No. 1, got to give credit to Coach Arroyo. He's found way to use the tight ends a lot more in the offense this year than we did last year.

No. 2, in the absence of some of our wide receivers due to injury, just have to keep finding ways to get the ball out and make explosive plays.

Aside from that, just credit to Breeland. A lot of credit to him. He's determined to be an excellent football player and he's worked at that and been extremely productive. Listening to him open up and leading that locker room was another step for him and our football team.

Really fired up about him.

Q. What's your biggest takeaway after today's game heading into the next game?
MARIO CRISTOBAL: Today, excellent football team playing at a high level. What I take away from our team was today was a big goal for us. We felt that we could be a really good road team and took a step in that direction today. We improved in the way we performed on the road. Getting more physical. Obviously the run game we got to get better at. That showed up today a little bit.

We should get a couple guys back from injury. That's okay. That's exciting. But I'm just as excited about the guys that have stepped up in the absences of the guys that were injured. These guys deserve a lot of credit as well. I look forward to the competitiveness of this week. I'm excited to see them approach this week and get after each other, excited to see them get involved in the community since we have some extra time and have them go out and give back to a community that supports us so well.

There are a lot of things to be excited about, and I'm excited to get on that plane. Those guys were pretty happy in the locker room. Threw a lot of the water on me in there, so...

Q. Team has been able to get over tough losses. (Indiscernible.)
MARIO CRISTOBAL: No, it's a great question. I think we walked in that locker room in Dallas and, yeah, we were heart broken. Let's call if what it is. You have a chance to win a game a couple different ways and you don't. One thing that really stood out was that as opposed to a year ago is that there was overwhelming feeling in conversation where our guys -- where they all said and felt we could have a really good football team. We have the pieces. We have the makeup. We have the DNA. We've got to put it together and let actions speak louder than words.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
MARIO CRISTOBAL: Well, they're having fun now. They're having fun but having fun because they're executing. That's part of it. They're having fun with their performance, their intensity, but having fun because they're having a lot of success.

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