Below is the transcript from Jon Embree's weekly press conference on Oct. 23, 2012.
"Getting ready for Oregon, obviously we know the challenges they present, especially offensively. They fast break on grass, so to speak, they do a great job of spreading you out and then they hit the seam and they're gone. They have tremendous speed, so again this is as all spread offenses, assignment football is imperative, that we are in the right gaps and then just trust our teammates will be in the gap that they are suppose to be in. But I think the thing that is the most impressive about Oregon, after watching all of their games is their defense. I think their defense is outstanding, they have a tremendous personnel, their linebackers have great size and range, they all can run, they are violent when they tackle you. I told our guys, they tackle through you, their secondary ball hawks, so if you are not accurate, it is going to be an interception. We have to do well as far as protecting the ball, and then special teams, a lot of their guys are starters, and again, they have a lot of speed on special teams. So it is without a doubt going to be a great challenge, but one we are looking forward to."
On Oregon's Spread Offense
"Theirs is just a whole other level, one is the speed that they have at their skill positions, it is unlike other programs that we have seen that run it. The speed at which they go, they run plays. To practice and prepare for them will be in two huddles, so as soon as the next play is done the next team is going out there and getting ready to run the play. We don't normally do that when we play other spread offenses, even though they are no huddle and are caught at the line of scrimmage, they just play at a different tempo."
On If Oregon Is A Passing Or Running Team
"I think of them as running. Their quarterback, very calm, very cool under pressure, he plays real relaxed. If something doesn't go his way, he doesn't really blink, he just gets to the next play. I think it starts with him and then I think it spreads through the rest of the team."
On Oregon's Defense
"I don't know what their numbers were a year a go, but I think their linebackers seem to be playing even better than they were last year. 96 (Jordon Dion), he is a guy that hopefully this is the last time we see him. He is just a guy you have to count for in every play. They seem to be playing better, from the standpoint of better, just feeding off of each other, tackling, getting the ball out. They are opportunistic. I don't know what their numbers were last year, but it just seems like they are playing faster this year."
On If Oregon Coach Chip Kelly's Style Would Work In The NFL
"I don't know if you want to say Chip Kelly's style, but yes, Chip Kelly. Yes, I think he would be a successful coach in the NFL. I am sure he would adapt things to fit with his talent at that level. I doubt they would be running the exact same offense as they run here, I am sure there are components of it that they would do. I know Washington is doing some of that stuff with RG (Robert Griffin III), so yes, Chip would be great in that level."
On The Recipe for Success Against Oregon
"Everybody has the same plan, you want to go in there, you want to control the ball and eat the clock. You say all of that, but it doesn't work out that way. Some of it I think has to be them shooting themselves in the foot, getting some turnovers where you give yourself some chance to score. You are probably going to win the time of possession, but that doesn't matter, but what you have to do is you have to play error free on your side and then you have to force them into some mistakes and hopefully that is enough to be able to win. They go for it on fourth down, they go for two after touchdowns, their mindset that their team plays with is just different than, I don't want to say conventional football, but its just different than the teams that you are playing against. You have to be able to focus on what you need to do and not get caught up in what they are doing or you are done."
On QB Jordan Webb's Problems
"Sometimes it is the receivers, sometimes it is the back. It just depends on what problem we are talking about, so sometimes it is other people. It is part of the deal of being the quarterback, you get all of the credit and all the blame, and all of the time it is a team game. It is that side of the ball, it is that unit that is responsible for your success and you need that side that also can contribute to your failures too, so it is something that we have to keep improving on."
On Having Former Teammate Ed Reinhardt At This Weekend's Game
"It means a lot. Ed, obviously we have an interesting relationship with us going all the way back to high school. Ed's a huge reason huge part of what I am today. He was the guy that always drove me, he was always the guy that I competed against, I knew that if I wanted to be all-league or all-state, that was the guy I was going to have to beat out. So every time, no matter what I did, running in the summer, lifting or whatever, he was the guy I was thinking about. If I did 10, in my mind, Ed probably did 11, so I had to find a way to get 12. So it was that kind of relationship and then obviously getting up here and playing together, it was special. It wasn't a long time, it was really just a year and two games, and so I think we could have done a lot of great things if he wouldn't have been injured. I think at the time, we were both in the top five in the country in receptions, we really fed off of each other and complimented each other so for him to be able to go back to Oregon, that program has always held a unique place in my heart, just because of what they did for him and his family, and it will be good for him to be back there and be around those people. I think they have tremendous fans and that is why I think it is a hard place to play, they are classy, they are respectful, it is just a unique environment, but they have always been like that. It is not just something that happened, that is how their fans have always been. It will be good having him and his father up there."
On What Was Going Through His Head When Reinhardt Collapsed During The Game
"I didn't know the issues until we came off of the field, because we were in the process of driving down and trying to win the game. When we turned it over on downs, i went over and that is when he collapsed and that is when I knew something was bad. I went through a lot of different thoughts, over the next really month, so it was obviously a difficult time."
On Colorado's Offense
"Some of it is youth, and some of it is the guy was better than him on that play. We played a very good team, we played against a lot of future NFL players, so it was great competition. I thought our offensive line had their best game of the year. They set a standard of how they need to play consistently, if they can play like that consistently, we will continue to move the ball and have the opportunity to have success on that side of the football. Sometimes the issues were the other guy was just, better than them on that play."
On USC Disrupting Colorado's Offense
"Different things affecting their route depth, affecting them getting out of their break, forcing the quarterback to hold it longer. There are a lot of things that go into passing the football when it is not a quick passing game, and sometimes when it is a quick pass that can also affect it too."
On What He Tells His Secondary This Week
"Tackle. We have to do a great job of tackling, and so we will continue to do that. We have done, really since the UCLA game, we do a lot of tackling in practice. We didn't have Yuri Wright because he got a concussion tackling in practice, so we didn't have him in the last game. He is back this game. We have had some guys maybe not make it to the game because of the tackling in practice, but as you can see, we still have to keep doing it. You keep your fingers crossed a little bit but at the end of the day, we will be better for it. So that is the first thing, and then the safeties have to do a great job with their eyes, everybody does have to when you are on defense. When you are playing assignment football, your eyes need to be in the right spot; if you are looking over there and you are suppose to be looking the other way, because of their speed, by the time it isn't on the left but is on the right, by the time you get back over there, he has probably run by you, you can probably feel the breeze as they run by you at that point. So you have to be great with your eyes, that is probably the number one thing especially in the back end, because you are in a position where you have vision. The defensive line it is a lot harder because you have a lot of guys in front of you, but when you are in the secondary you always have to make sure you always have great vision, and you have to see where the ball is, you have to be able to understand what the formations is, all of those different things, motions. That will help you know what play is possibly coming."
"Interceptions, there is generally not a theme with those. Sometimes it is the guy trying to make a play and he forces it, sometimes with quarterback interceptions, like when you have a three-point shooter; you don't want him shooting it, but if he makes it you are happy. Sometimes as a quarterback you have to play with a little reckless abandoned, but it can come back and get you at times. Because of the way we are right now, the offense right now is not having that dynamic playmaker, sometimes the quarterback tries to help the offense make the play and it doesn't work out that way. The fumbles, the fumble center-to-quarterback exchange, there is no excuse for that, we do that everyday before practice for five minutes everyday so that there is no excuse for that. Christian [Powell] has to hold onto the football, so we have those two fumbles, and the interceptions; one was taken away from a receiver, the other two he was trying to make a play and he should have thrown one away. But to say you can work on it is to try and keep harping on him (Jordan Webb) about his decisions."
On QB Connor Wood In Practice
"Connor has to keep coming, keep improving. He has to keep getting consistency, I am not going to be specific, but there are some things he needs to get better at and improve to keep getting more playing time."
On Team's Morale
"After the team meeting I feel like that, I don't know what the comments were because I never have done that since probably my second year in the league; reading the papers. So I don't know what the comments were, but I feel good about where they are considering the circumstances, how we practiced yesterday and what we will do today, we will see what the energy and the tempo is. I know the team understands that if you are not all in, then I will go with the guys that are as we keep building it. If you are not all in, if you have had enough for the season we will just put the next guy in."
On QB Jordan Webb's Mental Toughness
"No, he is pretty good. I think a lot of guys who play quarterback at this level, that is part of that reason you are that guy, is because of your mental toughness, your ability to try and forget mistakes. What, he threw three interceptions, and so part of that is just mental toughness, and if it really bothered him he really would have gone in the tank and so the fact that he kept firing bullets, he kept being aggressive and that says something about it. Obviously, you don't want a guy out there that consistently does it, but I know he was trying to fit one into [Nick] Kasa on the one over a back, and it was a tough throw and he is trying to make plays and I understand that to a certain extent. We did a lot in that game to make plays, we did double passes, we did throwbacks, we did other trick plays, trust me we are trying offensively to create it because we don't have a Paul Richardson. We don't have anyone like that on that side of the ball, that can be as explosive, and I'm not slamming the guys or anything like that, we just don't and that is okay. That is why we need to keep doing those things to help create plays for those guys."
On WR Gerald Thomas Being A Playmaker
"Yeah, I think he will be eventually. I thought that was a nice catch he had in the end zone, and how he runs around at his speed, it does lend itself for the future of him being a playmaker."
On If Playing Man Coverage Would Help Against Oregon
"You can't play too much man because then they get you out of whack; you have to account for the quarterback. If you're in man, then who has the quarterback? You have to mix that in. You have to do your thing in zone. Also in man, it takes your eyes away; you have to look at your man when you are in man. It doesn't allow you to help in the run game like you need to because you are covering your man or looking at your man. You can't just sit there and say, 'Okay, let's play them in man.' That is one of the unique things about that offense. You have to pick your spots or you have to mix man-zone kind of principles, just so that you have the vision of how to stop the run."
On The Percentage Of Man And Zone Coverage Used In The USC Game
"I don't know what the percentage was. The first touchdown was zone, the second touchdown I think was zone. I think the first three were zone. Then we were in man the two going west way, because they are an east-west field, going to the closed end of the Coliseum, the go-route. If Kenneth [Crawley] finds the ball, I think he makes the play, the next step, he was running stride-for-stride with the guy. He got his hand on the ball, but if he looks sooner, he can make a better play on the ball. The other one, they ran a little double-move post on him."
On Continuing To Run Man-to-Man Coverage With The Young Corners
"I'll keep doing it. Same with Yuri [Wright] when he comes back healthy too. I pulled Kenneth aside afterwards in the parking lot, I had a great conversation with him. I told him that, 'If you want to play in the NFL, you just got a dose served to you. You are going against a top-10 pick at receiver and maybe the top pick in the draft at quarterback.' That is what it looks like. So you have two choices, you can mope and feel sorry for yourself, which no one else will, or that can be the emphasis that makes you come out and work that much harder, continue to work on your technique, continue to improve and understand eventually that you are going to be that guy. And I mean by 'that guy,' eventually you are going to be that guy where they won't throw your way because every time they come over there, you are intercepting it, you are knocking it down, you got the guy blanketed, your making the quarterback hold it so we sack him. And Yuri Wright has that capability also. I knew; you put them out there, a little baptism by fire. That is Okay. I look at the strides that Greg Henderson made. Last year, he had some moments that affected us and some outcomes in games. I look at him now this year and when he has been in there, the guy has played really well. He is a lot better tackler. His tackling skills were similar to what 2 (Kenneth Crawley) and 5 (Yuri Wright) were this year. I look at his aggression as far as trying to break up passes, aggression in his bump coverage, and it is night and day. But he had 845 snaps to get to it. I'm sure that Crawley is on that pace and now that Yuri is back, he'll be on that pace. That is part of the deal. They are going to make some plays, and they are going to have days like that. It is what it is, and they'll be better for it and we'll be better for it."
On Knowing Before The Season That The Freshmen Would Make Mistakes
"Yeah, to a certain extent. I don't know how many we are playing. I don't know what the deal i, as far as numbers. It would have been nice to have had [Ray] Polk the whole time. A few others guys that have been dinged, it would have been nice to have them, but I just look at it from the standpoint of these younger guys, like a Marques Mosley, getting to play - I think he is going to be a fantastic player. He's learning. Jeff Hall does some good things for us back there too. On the offensive side, getting Gerald [Thomas] going; and Christian Powell, finding what he is all about; Vincent Hobbs, he is a guy that is making plays for us. I'm proud of him. He fumbled, whatever game that was, got an earful, and he was in traffic in three of his four catches and it wasn't an issue. And they were going after the ball with him. I see a lot of improvement in a lot of places and in a lot of our players. That is my mindset and focus, is to continue that improvement so when you ask about disappointment and discouragement, I'm focused on the guys that are continuing to improve, that want to improve, and keep working hard, keep showing up, and keep doing it. That by far outnumbers anyone who that maybe is discouraged. The guys that are traveling, that are playing, they've been awesome. I thought our practice yesterday was really good, and it is translating over to a certain extent to games in bits and pieces. It is getting to now where it's who we are all the time. That is that consistency that we just don't have. Part of it is that you got to have a guy, like a Paul Richardson, that when you hit a lull, can make a play and get you back on track. Part of it is growing up. When you are older as a player, when you are not a freshman; you know, games are long, so sometimes it is hard for guys to focus every play or understand the importance of that particular play. We had a chance for a touchdown, we showed the tape, we had a chance maybe for a touchdown on the screen, and two guys on the back side of the screen, 45 yards away from the play don't give it their all. And low and behold, that guy made the tackle. If just one of them had given great effort, that's the difference. That is also to, 'I'm tired, it's the 58th play of the game, this play doesn't really matter because it is over there,' and that is all part of the maturation process. It is all part of understanding what your role is and controlling your effort and doing those things. It kind of goes hand-in-hand and when you play a team like a USC, like an Oregon, those issues magnify themselves if you don't play like that."