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What Head Coach Kalani Sitake Said After Oregon's 41-20 Win Over BYU

Sitake and the Cougars face a difficult schedule ahead, with matchups looming against Arkansas and Notre Dame throughout the season.
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The Oregon Ducks earned a big win on Saturday, taking down the No. 12 BYU Cougars at home in front of 54, 463 fans. 

Saturday's contest was a huge game for both teams, as they fight to assert themselves as one of the best teams out west. Following a 41-20 loss to Oregon, BYU head coach Kalani Sitake met with reporters.

Below is a transcript of his press conference, courtesy of Oregon Athletics.

Opening Statement

“Obviously not the result we were looking for, but you have to give a lot of credit to Oregon. They showed up ready to play, more than we did, especially at the beginning. I did not have this team ready, so that is on me. We have to figure out ways to start better, start faster. We dug ourselves too much in a hole to climb out of, and the momentum, all of that stuff that is on me and the staff. We will get things right. But the players, they played their hearts out; they played with great effort. We got to find ways to take advantage of mismatches on our end and find ways to have better production on the field, and that is in all three phases. Looking forward to getting better and working from it. We’ll find out a lot about our team in the next week. It’s time to basically play like we can play and be consistent. Just not really happy with the result, but more than anything, there is just a lapse in some of the mistakes that we made, and that is not characteristic of our team. We made a lot of mistakes, but I do not want to take anything away from Oregon. They played a great game. They played exactly like we thought they could. They have tons of athleticism and speed on their team, and they are a great team. They are ranked for a reason, and they definitely should climb up the rankings. We even saw that. I mentioned this before; we saw some of the things that were working well against them in the Georgia game. It, for some reason, did not work out their way. For us, it did not work out our way a lot of ways here, but I am proud of the guys; I am proud of the way they played, and we will respond and be better from this.”

On the BYU defense and Oregon’s offense

“We just could not get off the field. We could not do much to them in terms of stopping the run. You know, we were down a couple of guys on defense, but that is all right. We feel like we have some great depth. They just could not settle in. The guys made a lot of mistakes. You have to give credit to Oregon because they did some things differently on offense utilizing personnel. They utilized a lot of empty sets; they went big and went a lot of spread sets. We were ready for that in practice, but it seems like whenever we made a mistake, Bo Nix and the offense capitalized on it. When you are just looking at scheme, that is how it works, but we were just missing tackles, and that is honestly just not our type of play. We had a lot of players that were missing tackles from top to bottom, and it was not one person or position that did it. That is my fault; I have to get these guys better and make sure we focus on the fundamentals of the game. I keep mentioning the fundamentals, and they play a big part in the success for us, and we just did not do it well enough on defense.”

On inability to establish the run game…

“That was a concern for me; you mentioned it. I do not know what the issue is. We will have to keep watching film. We thought that defensive front from Baylor did a good job, and we thought we could find some spots against Oregon. Obviously, they did a good job shutting down the run, so it made us one-dimensional and put us in some tough situations on third down, even on fourth down. We could not even capitalize and make those plays. I think at the beginning, we could not punch it in, we could not finish drives, and we will get that fixed. At the end of the game, we were just trying to get the train back on the tracks, you know, and try and do whatever we can to get some positivity from this and show we are capable of doing things differently. We are going to have to look at this entire game and get better from it. There is no running from it.”

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On the talent discrepancy impact on the loss…

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“They have great talent. I think we have talent as well, but talent does no good if you make mistakes. And I say that we made mistakes, but it is also coaching. Overall, we did not do a good enough job winning that game. That is from the players to the coaching and everyone involved, including myself as a head coach. We did not seem like we were ready to go from the get-go, and that is something I have to evaluate and something I have to improve on. I have to do a better job; I have to as a head coach.”

On the halftime conversation…

”I think the goal is to come out and play great fundamentals on defense and even on offense. You have to finish blocks and block well on offense and take care of the football. Defensively, it just seemed like it took us a while to get that going. I think they have a lot of speed, talent, and athleticism at the skill positions, and they made us miss a lot of tackles. That is uncharacteristic of our defense and our players. Credit to them, they utilized their skill really, really well. I thought we could handle the skill and athleticism, but obviously, we need to go back and figure some things out and put ourselves in better position to make plays.”

On considering the onside kick…

“It was three scores, two if you talk about the two-point conversion, and we thought about it, and we thought we can get a stop here. We wanted to see if we would have to use the onside later. They just grinded out the clock. It is what we did a lot last year. They were able to run the clock out and not really have to throw the ball much. I thought we could switch some things and maybe get a spark going but towards the end of the game, it just seemed like we were doing anything we can to salvage the guys playing assignment-sound football on defense and offense trying to get some positivity but we could not even generate a great run game in that part of the game. I told Coach [Dan] Lanning at the end, I apologize for us taking the timeouts even when the game was out of reach, but we were trying to get our things back on track, getting the team, getting the momentum back on our side. That is more looking forward to next week more than anything else.”

On the impact of early penalties…

“I cannot remember. Penalties always hurt. I think when you have a big play, and there is a holding call that brings you back, or you have an issue with offside penalties and giving free plays. There are a lot of issues, but I thought for the most part the refs did a good job. They communicated really well to us on everything that was happening, so there are no excuses with the refs; everything is fine there. Maybe just more disappointed on our end.”

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