Oregon held its annual football media day Friday afternoon following its opening practice of fall camp.
Mario Cristobal held a press conference at Autzen Stadium to address the start of camp and look ahead to the 2019 season.
Below is a full transcript from today’s press conference.
Good afternoon. Hope you’re all doing well. I want to thank you first and foremost for being here today. Certainly we’re all excited for the start of the season and appreciate all the coverage and all the stuff you guys do. Great to have you here.
Opening day of practice, it all kind of strings along together rather nicely. We ended up closing out the season with three straight wins and built some momentum that carried over the offseason, the winter conditioning program and certainly led to a great spring practice.
A new scheme on defense, some tweaks in both special teams and on offense. That then led to another great summer conditioning program and the addition of 11 freshmen at the mid year point as well as the rest of the gang, 16 more, that joined us here at the end of June. They’ve had a great summer and certainly they’ve been eager for this day to come. The day has arrived and they got after it.
“Really good first first day. Really pleased with more than anything with the way the culture continues to get stronger and better. That word is not just a tagline here. That everything we do and the way we do things means something. Everything is important. Living a hungry, a humble and a driven life and approaching our opportunity in that way really is important to us and it shows in the way that we do things on a daily basis and we want to continue along those lines. That being said, good first start, very aggressive. We’ve got some things to clean up but all the things in the summer shows in the way guys are bending and the way guys are moving in the physicality of a practice that — we’re in helmets, we’re not in pads yet — got to tone it down a little bit with some of the guys because they want to fight for spots. The best part about it is the feeling is everything is wide open. That’s the way it’s got to be for guys to compete for spots with the organizational chart that we prepare.”
On team health
“We’re really healthy. I believe the only guys that had limited action today due to a twist of an ankle was Cam McCormick. Just about everybody practiced today or limited like Sam Poutasi coming off an ACL during the bowl game. He was full go but we limited some the heavier workloads that he would be doing. Beside from that, Haki Woods, he had a very mild ankle sprain during the summer time and he was good to go and I think he completed every rep. We originally put him on an 80 90 percent plan and he wanted more. He said ‘coach I’m ready’ so he went. We feel good about our health. We feel good about our conditioning.”
On what he was excited to see today
“I think that because we emphasize discipline so much it’s really become a way of life and so had the cultural part. What I’m looking for is the little things. I’m looking for the way we come to meeting.s Are we prepared? Are we coming in there, big ole smile on our face, a lot of juice, our notebook open, prepared, taking notes, asking questions? I look at how early we get to certain meetings and certain parts of practice because it shows an eagerness and a readiness. I look at the way we run on and off the field. I look at the way we secure the football. I look at the way we execute the finer details of what needs to be executed. And we bring it all together in a sense that look, we live a disciplined way and we have discipline standards because it does translate to a disciplined style of play. It doesn’t mean you take away from the aggressiveness. It doesn’t mean you take away from what you want to put in terms of explosiveness behind it. But you can’t be sloppy when you play this game. That’s what I’m looking for. I’m looking for little things. I’m looking for leadership. We have a great leadership council and we have about 18 guys that are candidates to be on that leadership council elected by their peers and by the strength coaches as to the summer workouts and whatnot. Those are important things because now it’s Year 2, there has to be a transfer of ownership so to speak where that locker room really takes it over. I’ve been lucky enough where the best teams I’ve had a chance to play on, that locker room really took ownership of the team. Looking for that. Looking for a lot of things really right? I could’ve kept going on and on.”
On points of emphasis in fall camp
Our principle, our trust, belief and accountability. For us always physicality, making explosive plays, playing disciplined, making sure that we understand that we have to build depth at a lot of positions. To be able to be effective in this sport, especially as the season goes on, the lines of scrimmage on both sides of the ball have to be stout, have to be explosive, have to be athletic with all the movement and stuff that we do. We have to be dynamic enough on the offensive side to run multiple schemes. You just can’t be an inside zone team or an outside zone team. Versatility in how we do things. The tweaks, the wrinkles that come with Year 2. The ability to plug in more talent at certain positions so that we can no just open up both sides of the playbook, the offense, the defense. Looking for our special teams, particularly our kickers, the ball placement. Who does a better job with trajectory? Who puts the ball in the right spot we need it to be? Who’s more accurate from the 45 and in? Who’s more accurate from the 45 and out? The list is pretty long.
“But physicality is never to be compromised. Execution is never to be compromised. Culture, discipline. Love seeing the older guys taking the younger guys and bringing them along as well. Camp really determines what type of start you have to your season. We told our guys for this camp, for us, it’s going to be challenging, it’s going to be difficult but it’s also going to be very productive. We have to elevate the culture and we have to establish our identity of how we prepare, how we practice and of course in turn how we play the game.”
On Patrick Herbert
“His brother is lucky that he’s senior. He’d be in the shadow of Patrick in due time. Patrick’s going to be a great football player. He came in I believe at 221 pounds, had been playing basketball. I mess with him all the time, I tell him his basketball team doesn’t really miss him. He was just OK. But he’s about 241 right now and this guy, he’s got all of the tool you want from an inline tight end and off the ball tight end. He can come off the ball, come out of his hips, snap people back. He can work against standup linebackers as well as three point stance defensive ends. He’s great in double teams and he can stretch the field as a tight end. Real big catch radius, sure handed, extremely smart, hard worker. I had the chance to have the tight ends and tackles together today. I coach those guys hard, demand a lot of them and I wanted to see how he responded. My first chance to really kind of get in there with him and he responded great and that’s his DNA. The family DNA, we all know his family. Expecting big things from Patrick and we really think he’s in the mix to play this year.”
On challenge of replacing Ugochukwu Amadi
“Not only Ugo, you got of course a couple of other guys that are pretty good football players. Jalen Jelks, Justin Hollins, these are three NFL players that were on our defense last year. Going back to the question with Ugo, Ugo’s a very difficult guy to replace. ... He did everything. Ugo went form playing corner, understanding an entire scheme, playing safety, playing nickel, playing as a punt returner, every special teams. Those guys are really hard to replace. Love the way that Nick Pickett and Brady Breeze and Kahlef Hailassie , Steve Stephens, all those guys are coming along really well and you’ve got some young guys in the mix as well and some versatility at those guys playing corner that can jump on in and play some nickel and maybe move a Kahlef to corner and do some of those things. Is it a challenge ?I think so. Until we have our first scrimmage and play with a live ball or live tackling or whatnot, I’d hold judgement on how close we are at replacing him, but we do feel we have enough talent to honorably replace him because we do think he is a great football player.”
On what changes were made to offensive playbook
Things that you did well, you want to keep them and expand them and then things that you feel that you could do now better or had held before, you expand on those as well. Out of respect for you and for the team we don’t ever talk schematics in what we do here. the bottom line is on both sides of the ball explosive plays are what are running college football. You have to stop teams from having explosive plays and you have to create explosive plays. In fact if you look at drive charts over the last three years, whenever a team had an explosive play, a run of over 15 yards, a pass of over 20 yards, they scored about 85 percent 90 percent of the time. That’s a huge number. When you start having to go three and four yards a shot that’s different. We had some really good moments and some ones we can improve upon on both sides of the ball.
“That’s part of an offseason study, where we took a really big deep dive into what we’re doing as well as what we think we can continue getting better at and how to expand it. We met with some people but we feel confident about the tweaks, the wrinkles and even more so, the staples that are really good for us, on enhancing those as well.”
On the discussed 9 a.m. kickoffs
“Was it at 9 or 7? Well, I mean it’s a challenge. I think it’s interesting. I don’t judge until it’s done. You might say ‘Hey I’ll play them at home, make somebody come here and we’ll play at 9 a.m.’ It’s very new. It’s uncharted waters. Probably a little bit difficult but I’m no one to judge and I’ll hold judgement on that. That is a 5 a.m. pregame meal now. I’m going to invite all of you for that one. I’m going to make sure you’re all there and then you’re going to write about how you feel about the 9 a.m.”
On whether any freshmen are standing out
“The class is 27 and they’re really talented. A lot of them are positions that are completely open. We’ve talked about Mykael, we’ve talked about Mycah. Today Sean Dollars got a touch and he hit a seam and he was gone. He showed today all the reasons why we recruited a guy like that. You go down the line you saw the range of Trikweze Bridges and how long and athletic he is. We saw DJ James and Jamal Hill, how explosive they are and how well they could cover. These are both track guys that were just extremely successful football players in their respective states and on their respective teams at high levels. A guy that really stood out as well, Kayvon Thibodeaux continues to stand out and really show that he has all the tools to be a really impactful player for us this year. I thought Treven Ma’ae did a really good job today. I thought a guy that hardly gets mentioned, Isacc Townsend, did a really, really good job today as well. Long, athletic, lean. All those big bodies Keyon Ware Huson did a really good job, Brandon Dorlus , Kristian Williams , all those guys are slugging it out in there with the big boys and we got to slow them down, we’re not in pads yet. Mase Funa is a dynamic football player. When we put on these pads, the way we structure practice, the 3s, the young guys, they get the exact amount of reps as the 1s. There is no shortage of reps. We two spot everything; it’s the best way to film everything, to evaluate and assess, and not to mention develop. 29 days — it didn’t always used to be like that. it used to be the 40 units. That’s a whole different animal and really you got to start preparing for your opponent 10 days out. So you’re looking at 19 days to figure out your football team. You can’t pound it out all 19 days either so you got to be good how you assess and evaluate this thing and you’ve got to setup situations in drill work that are going to give these guys a chance to showcase what they can do. We got to see if you can block, tackle, throw and catch, the basic fundamentals of football. Then the rest we’ve got to scheme it up; that part is on us.”
On Kayvon and DJ Johnson flipping roles at end and Stud.
“They’re both really explosive players. We would like to build versatility. That body type is unique. Anywhere from 6 3 to 6 7 could go from 228 pounds all the way to 275 pounds. We have a couple of those body types now. They were both really effective in the spring, we want to create snap value. Not only competing with, Kayvon just playing the Studs and competing the Studs, we like the Studs and the ends to be able to flop with each other and compete against each other. Who are the best three before https://www.uobasketballjersey.com/casey-benson-jersey-c-2.html, who are the best two studs and who are the best two defensive ends? Then you add the special teams part as well, now you’re really finding out OK, now you’re competing against the Studs, the defensive ends and the second and third team linebacker for that spot on the punt team. That’s what we’re trying to do with that right there and you’ll see them go back and forth throughout camp.”
On Bryan Addison
“He had a really good day today. I think he picked up about where he left off when he got nicked up in the spring time. He had a strong spring early on, was making a lot of big plays, presented some mismatch issue, he’s explosive, he’s fast and he’s a great guy. The guys love him they surely want to see him have success. We all know his story and how he got here. He’s in the mix and he’s in the mix heavy. I think he has a lot of size, a lot of catch radius, a lot of range to the passing game. As does Juwan. those are two different body types than what we’ve had the last couple of years.”
On managing being picked to win the Pac 12 North
“You address it because the worst thing in the world is to shut down awareness. We do it with our own kids, got to make them aware of what the outside world is. What is being said about you, or tour school or the country. We make it very real and very genuine. It’s an honor because the media, you guys study, you guys study teams, you guys study personnel, you study trajectories. Those things, we respect it, but like anything else we never make a prediction part of the process. We all know. I think we’ve all learned the good way and the hard way that when we’re dialed in and focused on what we have to do, we can be a pretty good football team. When we don’t we could go sideways. Part of that lesson was learned it Year 1 and going into Year 2 I think the additional members of the leadership council, the bludgeoning of culture that transpires on a daily basis and creating genuine real deal relationship of no punches pulled, no holds barred, no manipulation od the facts. I think we’re able to talk straight up and never have any issue or confusion or anything cloudy on what the reality is. We have miles to go to where we want to get to and we have a lot of work to do to get there.”
On opening against Auburn
“In about about 10 days out, the focus will turn compete to Auburn we all know it’s an incredible opportunity. any time you have a chance to play one of the best teams in the country on a big stage. We also know you can’t skip steps one, two and three, which is camp, which is Oregon looking at Oregon in the mirror, looking at our faults, things we have to get better at and making sure we improve upon those things. Then we have to get dialed in on our first opponent. All the respect int eh world for them and certainly we recognize the great opportunity that we have.”
On early enrollees being related to early signing period or preexisting trend
“That was a trend that was happening. that was a trend that was already pretty strong. I think the whole calendar has been pushed up. Really it’s the next next is you sign your next three classes in January or February. It’s a great deal now and we have the benefit of the quarter system. Some guys get here in January and some guys get here in April. So if they miss that window, they can still get here, go through spring practice and still have the post spring strength and conditioning program underneath their belt and 12 13 credits. it’s a tremendous benefit.”
On improving the rush offense
“We don’t run the quarterback so numbers and that part might be a little bit different. We want to lead the conference in rushing, we would. That’s always the goal and that’s not going to change. We’ve improved the physicality in things we did up front. We had a couple of really bad games running the football that really skewed some numbers and we can’t have that if we want to be a good football team. In terms of your question, are we concerned about the running game? No, we feel confident that we’re going to continue to improve and get better. What is our goal for the running game? Our goal is to have the best running game in the conference year after year Customize Jersey, wherever that lies. Certainly it’s something that’s at the forefront of everything that we do running the football and stopping the run.”
On process of determining specialists
We really struggled in the kicking game and a lot of it was due to actually kicking and punting the football. That’s no secret. The trajectory of the punts were low and they weren’t very far and in the kicking game our range was very limited and we had some injuries. Today, what we did is from a field goal standpoint we almost rapid fire on the right hash one group, left hash another group, try to get 10 kicks off in about two minutes and chart them on a daily basis with live rushes. We’ve got to find out who is our best field goal kicker.
“Then we go of course to our kickoff team, our coverage teams and of course we have those guys rep in order to see who our best guy is. Who’s the best distance? Who’s got the best hang time and who has the best ball placement? Ball placement on the kickoffs just as important as the distance and the height. It really affects your coverage teams. On the punt team, it’s the same thing. They’re all wide open, they really are, and we’re repping it like a wide open battle position. Those guys know it, they’re fully aware of it and they’ve attacked it. They did a good job competing today. It was good to see Adam Stack back today. He looked like the guy we saw a couple of years ago before he got tweaked up. Emerson and certainly Cam Lewis, all of those guys are competing hard and they’ve all got an opportunity.”
On Justin Herbert’s next step in progression and who was consulted in offseason abotu offense
I can’t give you all of that stuff. Every offseason we always travel and we bring people in. We like to keep that in house as much as possible because if not you’re telling people exactly what you’re looking at. That’s something that doesn’t change year in and year out. We feel like we have some really good things and we feel like there’s some other things we feel we could be really good at. We visited the teams that do those things well, both at the college level and at the pro level and we bring them in as well in pretty good numbers because you have that time during the spring. That’s in every phase offense, defense, special teams. We travel a little bit too and that was documented and that was helpful as well.
“That kind of leads to Justin as well, Justin did a great job at the manning camp, just like Calvin Throckmorton did well as the O line mastermind camp. We’re always developing and growing https://www.uobasketballjersey.com/roman-sorkin-jersey-c-14.html, we pride ourselves on that. A guy like that, his next step is continuing to take control of the entire offense. The great quarterbacks understand A to Z, with their eyes closed, like the back of their hand. They understand that the protections really make a huge difference in what we’re throwing and where we’re throwing it. If we’re throwing the ball down the field and we’re in empty protection and if that sixth pressure comes https://www.uobasketballjersey.com/jordan-bell-jersey-c-1.html, he’s got to handle him. He’s got to hop throw connected to it, he’s got to get out of the ball, he’s got to create a half roll. If we’re running the ball and we’ve got disadvantaged numbers and we’re running into corner fire, the quarterback to take that next step he’s got to be able to get you out of that play, either spin it, take another play, put a fullback in motion, have an X come and block that guy because he understands the number count. The third part is you’ve got to now, and I think he has and he will continue to get better at it, there’s going to be some times this year where a guy is like is going to have to take over a football game. We’ve all seen it and he’s already done it a number of times. It’s the next natural part of his growth just like he has done as a leader. He’s done a great job as leader. Great job being able to communicate with the football team, get in front of them, lead by example but also be able to voice his reasons, his concerns or what he feels is important. When your quarterback does that I think it gives you a tremendous advantage.”
On his biggest concern
“Concern is a strong word. I don’t, it’s almost a way we operate that that word doesn’t appear much. I’m not trying to cliche it in any way shape or form. I feel good about the fact that the culture is strong. So any deficiencies in personnel, any catch up in scheme, any I just think that culture and people will always trump scheme any day of the week. That part’s getting strong and I believe with the investment that our coaches have made in attention to detail and making sure the finer points of teaching and of mentoring, and coaching at the level that they’re bring it to the table and the level that our players are digesting it, I feel strong. I feel strong about the direction. I feel strong about the approach, the way we attack the opportunity. We like to enter camp and leave camp aggressive and confident. I have no idea if I answered your question.”
On creating competition
“I think it’s being manufactured by talent acquisition. If there is no competition I think you have a legitimate problem on your team. Your team will never be great unless you have competition across the board. A lot of times people say ‘winning fixes everything.’ Competition fixes everything first; that leads to winning. I think it’s manufacturing itself and I think people also looking in the mirror and challenging themselves to truly be the best they can be. One of the biggest things is guys understand is how do you prepare? Being tough is more than just kind of throwing it in there and making a really strong tackle or making a really strong block. being tough is being to shut off your TV and putting your head down at 9 30. being tough is being able to get up earlier so you can go get the right kind of food in your body and the right treatment and the right tape job so you can have a successful practice. Being tough is investing more time int eh film room while an opponent you might be playing down t he road is taking time off or sleeping. That’s toughness Doing the things that you really don’t feel like doing but you know are going to make you better and doing them on a consistent basis. I think those are critical things that are continuing to show up more and more and more. It’s got to become a permanent part of the DNA.”