Pat Fitzgerald was joined by Hunter Johnson and three of the Wildcats’ veteran leaders after the game. Here’s what they had to say:
On T.J. Green’s Injury: He is at the hospital with a foot injury that will require surgery.
On Hunter Johnson’s performance: I think he did everything in his power to get ready to play, and for his first experience he’s going to continue to learn and grow. He’s gonna get better, he’s gonna work at it, he’s got a great attitude, but I’ve got great confidence in him.
On if the team was tired: I don’t think our defense looked tired, it seemed like they were out there for six and a half hours, those guys rose to the occasion, they kept swinging, even though we missed some tackles down the stretch, but credit Stanford.
On the injuries: I think for sure Rashawn will be fine, but [Bowser] went out with a lower body injury. It is what it is, next guy up.
On T.J. Green’s final play: I hate to have that play be a defining moment in his career. Here’s a guy that has worked relentlessly to get in this position, I would have thought we could execute a bit better, but credit Stanford. We did better in the second half, we were right there in the scoring zone but it didn’t happen.
On Earnest Brown’s play at the end of the first half: I would trust that the replay showed it wasn’t targeting, but I don’t know if it was targeting, I trust that the replay would have showed that. It’s a young player, [I told him] he has to be smarter, it’s a play that can’t happen. Earnest owned it and it was a teachable moment.
On the team’s tackling: I think it’s a lost art in football. Did we tackle to the ground every day, no, but we practice really hard without going live. It’s a long season, you gotta maximize every day and keep the team healthy. But as a former defensive player, there’s an old saying that, “if you can’t make a tackle unblocked,” you’re really hurting the defense. We’ll coach from it and get better.
On the team’s penalty issues: Not acceptable, it’s really disappointing, we’re typically pretty disciplined. I thought the PI call was tough but it can go either way, I get it. We get called for the personal foul, at the end of the day we have to be a lot more disciplined. We have a ton of work to do as a staff. You coach every inch of every moment of every play, for some guys it’s their first experience and they’re gonna work. Really disappointing loss, but credit to Coach Shaw and his team, they made the plays they needed to make.
On how the game went: Obviously we came into this game expecting to play better. It was a tough day but we’ll pick it up and get right back into it. Just good things to learn from today, just gotta be better.
On his performance: A lot of things to learn from, that’s what being a quarterback is all about. Learning and correcting those mistakes.
On what is going through his mind in his first start: I was just trying to help put points on the board, we know our defense was playing the way we thought they would. They worked their butts off and we need to be better, that starts with me.
On the level of sophistication with the offense: Kinda having this be my first year in it, I’ve been able to learn a lot this far. With Clayton and T.J. as well, having those guys to help me out has been huge.
On the T.J. Green news: I called him right after I found out. We were in tears, I know how hard he worked to get where he was. My heart breaks for him, how hard he’s worked and everything he’s done. I know he’s going to fight through this and come back. That’s all really, I’m heartbroken.
On if they got what they expected from Stanford: They played their base defense against us, but we made adjustments to what they did and they didn’t throw anything special at us.
On the quarterbacks: They’re both a similar feel, it was Hunter’s first start and I’m proud of how he played. We’re gonna come back and respond, I promise you guys that.
On how the team will move forward: I don’t think we need to dwell on it. We need to learn from these mistakes, but it’s one game and we’re gonna come back strong. I’m excited to get back to work.
On if Stanford did anything that surprised them: We got what we expected, we just need to make the plays to get our offense back on the field and putting up points for us.
On a play that they wish could be changed: I know for me I was coming in on a safety blitz and I missed a tackle, they get into short distance on third down and I missed the tackle. It’s on me, I need to go back and see what I can do. I know I’m really excited to get back.
On the defense’s performance: I think we still have more to do. We didn’t win the takeaway battle, there were some drives where we were on the field too long. We didn’t pressure the quarterback, there’s a lot to do on our end.
On the tackling: I just thought that we could do better. We missed a few critical tackles that resulted in big plays. I expected to fly around and have fun, but I thought we came in and trusted ourselves and played to the best of our ability but there’s still more work to be done, especially on the tackling side.
On being without Jordan Thompson: You know Jordan was a critical piece but like I said earlier this is a new team with a new defensive line. I think we’re handling that well. Coming together and trusting each other is key and he was there to reassure us and make sure we follow our fundamentals.