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What Dan Lanning Said After Beating BYU Cougars

The Ducks head up to Pullman, WA next weekend to start Pac-12 play against Washington State

Dan Lanning spoke with reporters after a big 41-20 win over the NO. 12 BYU Cougars in Autzen Stadium.

Below is a transcript of his press conference.

Opening statement: "Well that was fun. I appreciate you guys, that was a lot of fun. A special, special crowd. Knew that they were gonna come out there and be there for us. You know, I'll say this, it's hard to coach in the third quarter during "Shout". So I gotta figure that out, you know, I thought we stumbled a little bit in the fourth. That being said, we came up with this game and said, 'We want to be the more physical team,' I think we were that. You know, we wanted to win critical situations. We were good on fourth down, able to stop them and and get ours whenever we had, you know, opportunities to go for it. We wanted to out-rush our opponent. I think that's a brand of physicality that we were able to show. And then establish an identity. I think everybody in the stadium at some point probably realized what we were doing when we ran Josh Conerly out there, a big group out there with, three tight ends in the back and we were about to get big and go play ball. And we didn't really care if you knew what we were gonna do. You had to stop us. And I thought that our offense did a great job of that and had some big defensive stops as well, you know, play contested ball as well. I thought this was our cleanest game from a special teams standpoint. That all being said, there's so much that we can improve on. And we played BYU today, but we also played Oregon. We want to finish games, we want to be able to capitalize at the end. I don't know that we did as well there at the end as we want to do. So we'll continue to look to go grow. We're about to go play a really good Washington State team. So gotta get ready for them. All that being said, appreciate Duck Nation for the job they did today."

Question: "Coach, Jordan James played a really big role for you guys, especially on third and fourth down. What have you seen from him in fall camp and kind of leading up to this that really lets you be confident going to him in those situations?"

Lanning: "We make a lot of those decisions going into the game based on situations and I think a lot of the situations you saw Jordan in were third and short, fourth and short. He's a big back that runs physical, is able to get tough yards and we had some tough yards situations today where Jordan was able to go have some success."

Question: "I want to speak also about the offensive line, but the confidence to go for it there I think fourth down the first half on your own 30. Talk me through that decision. It seemed like it was a quick one but why the confidence to go there?"

Lanning: "It was a lot of fun for me during this game, we talk about certain situations as a team, in front of the entire team. So those decisions are made far away from the field before we ever get out there. There was one point in the game where Noah Sewell comes up to me and we're on offense and he says 'Coach, why didn't we go for it there? I thought we would go for it.' And I said, 'No, we're taking the points here.' So our guys understand our mentality and what we're gonna do. A lot of those decisions are made before we ever get there. That happens in our staff meeting and a pregame meeting before we ever arrive at that moment. So every one of our coaches had confidence in our players to go execute and every one of our players had confidence in the plan."

Question: "Dan, how have you seen Bo grow, especially in these last two weeks. I mean, the numbers have been there. He's done it in different ways. How has he kind of grown into this role?"

Lanning: "You talk about quarterback and you talk about decision maker. And obviously, we gotta go back and watch the film, but I thought Bo made great decisions today. Again, each week he gets more and more confident in what we're trying to accomplish. He understands it's the small things that you guys don't see that make him a special quarterback. The letting the play clock run at the end of the game there when a lot of people would go and just hike the ball. Being able to check us into a certain call based on certain looks they're in. But he did a really good job of operating and handling what was out there for him today."

Question: "Dan, can you just speak on the sequence of events in the first half? They missed a field goal, you guys milked the clock pretty well, score a touchdown, get the ball in the second half, go right back down and score. Was that kind of the pivotal moment, you feel like, of that game?

Lanning: "I don't know about pivotal. But that's what you hope might play out that way whenever you defer in the first. Where you might get to steal an extra possession in the first, and then turn around and get one to start off the second half. I know we wanted to come out strong there at the beginning of the second, and did a good job there really early in the third quarter going to move the ball and punch it in."

Question: "There's been a lot of pressure on Bo after that first game, and for him to come in today and take it himself to the first touchdown leading you guys into a great half. Do you feel like he maybe had a chip on his shoulder coming into this game? Or do you just feel like maybe like he hit the field today and things were just clicking for him?"

Lanning: "I think our team is really good at ignoring the outside noise. We only worry about the opinions in our room. And there's nobody that's ever lost confidence in this building and Bo, including Bo and his ability to go play for us."

Question: "I think you said last week, 'I don't know if we know where we are yet.' Obviously conference play coming up, there's a lot to prove. But do you feel like you have a better sense now just to you guys are as a group?

Lanning: "I know this: I know we'll work. Right? And where we're at as a team, I still think there's something to be decided. You're only as good as your last game. And you're only as good as your last play. We got to live in the moment. We're not resting on our laurels. We got a lot of other things that we can go work on. But we have a team that will work, right? I told the guys in the locker room the more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war. And that's because of what you do between Monday through Friday in practice, right? We've got to go work on the practice field to be able to achieve in the game. And what you saw on the field today was a result of the hard work that happens Sunday to Friday."

Question: "Dan, as a defensive coach, what would be your words for an offense that is capable of six passes of 20 plus, including a 50-yarder over the top? And also to go with six o-linemen and 13 personnel in first down and have a five and a half minute drive end of the half?"

Lanning: "“Ecstatic. I asked our group [the OL] if they could have a 14 minute drive there at the end of the quarter, we didn't, in fact we actually had a turnover. But that being said, I’m really proud of us. We wanted to walk away and create an identity and we’re certainly not satisfied, but we want to find a way to create explosive plays and I think we found some of those today. I think when we go back and look at the film I think you’re going to see some explosive plays, not because the plays were outstanding but because of the outstanding effort. That’s what we’re really looking for: outstanding effort from our players.”

Question: "Dan, the tempo just seemed at a different level today. What do you attribute that to? Was that kind of a better understanding of the offense now? Was that an emphasis in practice? What do you attribute that to today?"

Lanning: "“We want to dictate the tempo, we don’t want the people to dictate the tempo to us. Part of that is based off success, when you have successful plays you can go fast, but I think you also can see we have the ability as an offense to slow it down at times and that keeps a defense guessing, makes it really hard for the other team to prepare. We want to be able to play fast when we want to play fast and we want to be able to slow it down when we want to. I thought Kenny (Dillingham) and the offensive staff did a really great job of that today.”

Question: "Did you feel confident putting Ty (Thompson) in towards the middle of that third quarter and what went into the decision to take him out after a couple drives?"

Lanning: "Absolutely and Ty didn’t do anything wrong, other than I thought we were in a position as a team that we needed to buckle up, and knuckle up, put our first group back on defense, put our first group back on offense and it was time to make a stand. You want to get an opportunity to get other guys opportunities. Ty absolutely didn’t do anything wrong, I have the utmost confidence in him but that was a decision for our entire team there as a unit to go put our ones in, to set the standard, and set the model for how we finish the game.”

Question: "61 yards rushing for BYU, I think that's a stat you're pretty thrilled with. Just overall, the front seven, what was working today and especially on a couple of those third and fourth downs that were so pivotal?"

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Lanning: "“The most physical team is going to win, right? I think we’ve all heard they play a physical brand of football, that a good football team, they’ve beat good teams, they’ve played in tough environments, we knew it was going to take our best. Ultimately, if you can protect yourself against shots against that team, shots down the field, and you can stop the run, you’re going to have the chance to be successful so those were our two goals going in.”

Question: "Coach, do you have any updates on guys like Byron Cardwell, Justin Flowe, Seven McGee? I don't think any of them saw the field today."

Lanning: "A couple of them did. But really Byron (Cardwell) was day-to-day throughout practice this past week and he tested himself wanting to be able to push on Thursday, he’s a warrior wanting to go to work. Came out wanting to go through warm-ups and I think it was still lingering, you could see he still wasn’t kind of 100%, didn’t want to jeopardize his health. In that situation if we ask Bryon to, I promise you he would’ve and that is a great example of his character and what he is willing to do for this team. With that being said, we don’t want to put our guys in a position where they are not going to be healthy. Really the same thing for Justin (Flowe), if we had to push Justin and he was able to go through warm-ups today, he could’ve definitely contributed for us today and helped us. With that being said, the next guy up in both those situations, those guys prepare really hard, they earn their moments in practice, you earn the right to go play football with the way you practice and the next guy up in both those positions did a really good job. Seven [McGee] was able to go for us at times but we were in a lot of personnel groups that didn’t always put him on the field, and I think his unselfishness is a great example of Seven saying, ‘I don't care how we do it, I just want to win the game.'"

Question: "Dan, dating back to last week against Eastern (Washington), your first team offense has scored 13 straight times. 12 of those were touchdowns. Just what do you attribute to the efficiency of doing that over a two-game stretch?"

Lanning: "It goes back again to the way you work in practice, having a really good detailed plan. We identified some things that we thought we could have success on earlier on the week, I give credit to our offensive staff for finding some stuff and we said if they don't adjust to this in certain ways, then it’s going to be successful and we’re going to do it until they stop us and I think that’s what you saw today. We were going to run some stuff and do some things until we weren’t able to. That’s two game plans put together when it goes the way you think it's going to go, what we have to figure out now is when it doesn't look the right way, are we able to adapt and grow.”

Question: "Early on, they were picking on Trikweze (Bridges) a good bit. You guys turned to Jahlil (Florence) and Dontae (Manning) more in the second half. Just what your thoughts were on how Jahlil and Dontae played in particular."

Lanning: "I’ll have to go back again and watch the film. You know we always see those guys and if you’re able to touch the field for us, we see you as a starter. I know Dontae was able to break up some contested balls there at the end, but I want to go back and evaluate the film and see where we’re at. I know that there were some times where we had some good coverage throughout and we gave up late, so we’ve got to figure out how to work those finishes better.”

Question: "Dan, back to 'Shout' for a second. Going forward, how do you think you'll balance that? Letting the guys celebrate but also kind of keeping them focused is kinda something unique to Oregon. How do you think you'll handle that going forward?"

Lanning: "Well, does anybody remember the next play after ‘Shout’? We gave up a third down for a first down, so I don’t know, I’ve got to figure that out. We talked through what we were going to see, what we were going to play, we didn’t finish on the sack, lost contain of the quarterback so I’ve got to get better on coaching in that situation. We got some really good dancers on this team, right? That’s apparent but I hope we can figure out a score margin or rule that you can dance on ‘Shout’ based on what the score is. I love that our players have energy and passion for this game, this game is meant to be fun and our guys had fun out there today but we’ve got to be detailed and finish and that next play we didn’t finish.”

Question: "You've mentioned wanting to establish the identity or the identity you're trying to establish a couple of times. How do you sum it up? What what do you call the identity or what do you want it to be?"

Lanning: "We want to be the team that you don’t want to play again, we want to be the team that when you walk out onto the field you are sore and you’re feeling it, felt physical, we are relentless, and we just continue to nag at you. There were certainly some moments where I saw today where we showed that and there certainly were some moments where we could have finished, and we didn’t. So, looking for moments of growth but relentless is biggest word I would look to use.”

Question: "Are there things that you picked up on, even before Bo got here, in the last couple of weeks, about basically eliminating, like Kenny talked about in the preseason, eliminate the bad plays that ended up on Sports Center. Were there certain routes or certain concepts that you were able to identify that if you could eliminate those from the thought process that he is capable of five touchdowns both on the ground in the air?"

Lanning: "I think Bo is proving he can do whatever we need him to within a game. That means still operating within the system, but I think every offensive coach would tell you that there’s certain plays that have elements of risk or more risks than others. I think at times we want to take the ball down the field like we did today and at times we want to be able to let our playmakers make plays in space and get the ball out quick. There’s certainly some plays that are going to be more risk-oriented than others and games like today where you get an early lead, you don’t necessarily have to work those risks.”

Question: "Coach Lanning, the connection between Bo and Terrance Ferguson has been stellar this year so far. Terrance has four touchdowns and no other receiver has more than one. Was that a connection that you saw during camp that you thought was going to be really amazing, or has that just kind of progressed over this season?

Lanning: "I think it’s really shown up in the last two games. Terrance is a really talented tight end and I think the other tight ends in that room are very talented as well. He’s been on the right end of the right call and the right coverage to allow him to go make a play. But obviously there’s a level of trust there for Bo and the rest of those guys that he’s throwing to.”

Question: "Dan, you've wrapped up non-conference play. Your thoughts on where this team is at heading into Pac-12 play, and some early thoughts of Washington State? They got a big win last week against Wisconsin, they're up 31-0 right now. Pullman can be a tough place despite its size."

Lanning: "I’ve got a lot of respect for their head coach and I think what they do, they’ve proven to be a tough team that can go win tough games. I know they had a battle with Wisconsin, I know they had a battle with Idaho and were able to go out there and compete and do a really good job. They present some different stuff, especially offensively. I’m anxious to get into the film, I’ve been able to glance at them a little bit already, but I’m looking forward to touching base on them even more.”

Question: "Defensively, Dan, since they didn't throw as much at you by way of multiple running backs and receivers, you guys want a bit more of a traditional four three. Mase (Funa) was out there that way, Bennett (Williams) was more than deep safety, (Jackson) LaDuke played a lot. Your thoughts on those three in particular, how Jackson played how Mase played and Bennett in just a different kind of capacity. This was not the defensive scheme you've been running the past few weeks."

Lanning: "Ultimately, we’re going to match personnel with personnel and what they do. They’re a 12 team that lines up in 12 formation, so we’re going to play with our bigger people in that scenario. To speak on how we played, I’ve got to go back and watch the film, I know there’s some plays I want back that weren’t right. We lost leverage a couple of times and want to do a better job there. We weren’t able to finish the quarterback as much as I’d like, and that’s also a part of how they play the game, they don’t allow you to. We’ll go back and evaluate it, but we want to match our personnel up with their personnel.”

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