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Golden Nuggets: Hear From the Bears After a Glorious Upset!

Men’s Basketball also did a press conference recently before their upcoming exhibition games.

Washington v California Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Football

On today’s win:

”They’re all big, I mean it’s huge. It gives guys validation. It gives them confidence and we’ve got to build on it, that’s what’s most important. I think everyone is really excited and it’s a great environment in the locker room as you would expect, but I also don’t think anyone is surprised. It’s tough to win and our guys competed extremely hard and battled [with] toughness out there but we weren’t perfect. But we found a way to win the game and that’s what we are most proud of.”

As a coach with a defensive background, his feeling about the game:

”I loved it. Obviously, we want to go out there and score every time, but we knew that would be hard with Washington’s defense. There’s going to be a time where two or three yards are good. We also knew that punting the ball and field position would be huge in this game and it was. It was a total team win and I have a ton of respect for their program. They’re a heck of a team, great players, and really well coached. We knew it would be a tough and grimy and gritty game and we found a way. I think you can point to a number of plays and players that just had critical plays. You never know when they’re coming but we made enough of them and that was huge.”

On Evan Weaver’s interception return for a touchdown:

”Evan has played really well all year. That guy is just a football player through and through – a true competitor. He (UW wide receiver) ran a little jig and he played underneath it with some good depth and jumped up and caught it and ran it in. It was a heck of a play. You can look at a lot of statistics and think what you want, but the turnovers with taking the ball away twice is critical.”

On running out the clock on the final drive:

”All of the plays are critical because the first down sets up the second. I know the easy one to look at is the third down completion to Pat Laird when we get it by just enough. And then Pat has some big runs to seal it, and then they use a timeout and then we were able to finish it. Everyone’s involved in that. Running the ball and winning the game that way, that was huge and there were a lot of guys that contributed to that.”

On the defense’s effort:

”Competing and playing really hard. They weren’t perfect. They ran extremely hard, they were communicating really well but not perfect again but I think they just played with an edge. They played confident, they expected us to make good plays and we didn’t look surprised when we made them.”

Patrick Laird:

On the win for the program:

”It validates what we were doing the last couple of weeks. We went through a tough stretch and we made a decision as a team. Sometimes teams, players, and organizations just say things and don’t follow through. I think that we proved to ourselves that we can follow through with what we were saying among our team.”

Offense feeding off the defense:

”The mutual energy was there tonight. The defense had a really stout game. The feeling for the offense, right before every drive, right before the defense got a turnover, a fourth down stop or forced a punt – we were like, let’s go, let’s do something, let’s put something together for the defensive guys. Chase [Garbers] and I were talking before this about how we have to finish better in the red zone. Tonight, we let the defense down a little bit in that regard. They set us up with a lot of stuff so I think the focus is that if we move the ball a little, we can definitely finish a lot better as an offense.”

On Evan Weaver’s touchdown:

”I wasn’t surprised. If you know the type of guy that Weaver is then you know that if he has a chance to score he is going to do everything he can… That was exactly what our team needed and that got us the lead and we were able to hold it. It was awesome.”

Evan Weaver:

On winning for the program:

”It’s always good to get a win, especially in front of our Cal fans. This was a great culture win, it really shows where we are headed as a team.”

On his interception return for a touchdown:

”I dropped back, he threw me the ball and I caught it. I just didn’t want to fall down. I was thinking two or three more yards and I was going to run out of steam. They didn’t get me this time, that’s about that.”

Getting into the end zone:

”I went back to the running back days there. I was trying to extend, hold on to the ball. Fumbling would have been really bad. We didn’t do that, so it’s all right. The rest is history.”

On practicing finishing plays on defense:

”We go through a turnover circuit almost every practice. Punching the ball out, catching the ball, it’s all about finding the ball after that. The key part is blocking the person nearest to you after an interception. That’s the dude who will give you the tackle. Today, we did a great job getting turnovers. Cam Bynum had an awesome pick on the sidelines. One foot tiptoe over there, that was nice. Just getting turnovers and outplaying the opposing defense is what we try to do.”

On the postgame celebration in the locker room:

”It was awesome. This is a huge win for us as a program and for the Cal fans, especially. Just to experience this with all of our guys, all of our coaches and all the hard work we’ve put in. This whole week, the preparation, just being able to bring it home and close out the game. The best part of the game was watching the offense take down that clock at the end. Nothing better than that, watching them punch the ball, punch the ball, punch the ball right down at them and they couldn’t do anything to stop them.”

  • The Pac-12 continues to eat itself, while Cal is back in bowl contention. Wilner’s thoughts.
  • Bears’ notes from the game. A couple firsts (Evan Weaver’s INT and TD) and some notable-not firsts (3 Pick-sixes for the Bears this year!).
  • Instant reaction from the Daily Cal’s Josh Yuen.
  • Cal’s big win over Washington was aided by the offense committing zero turnovers. Plus, when was the last time Cal won a game where they didn’t score an offensive touchdown? Find out on Cal Bears Maven.
  • Although the offense didn’t do a whole lot, they came through in the clutch with two game winning first downs in the final minutes. Find out what was going through the offensive line’s minds from Cal Bears Maven and also the SF Chronicle. (A lot of this could also be learned from watching Laird’s press conference above)
  • What did Cal players, former players, fans, and national writers say after Cal’s big win? Trace Travers compiles the best ones here. I think there’s even at least one tweet from an incoming Cal player for next year.

Pre-game Articles

Of course, many great spotlight articles are posted between Gameday and my Thursday Golden Nuggets. This is especially true with home games. I didn’t post the UCLA ones because who was in the mood to read them? (I certainly wasn’t in any mood to find them) But after a day like yesterday, let’s look back at some of the great journalism that celebrates our great players.

  • In his first collegiate start against Grambling State, Jaylinn Hawkins sustained a shoulder injury that cost him his season. Three years later, he is now one of the leaders of Cal’s resurgent secondary (called one of the best in the nation by the Fox Sports 1 announcer cast yesterday). Hopefully he spends his fifth year of eligibility with us next year!
  • Ashtyn Davis received no offers out of high school, and his path to becoming one of Cal’s greatest weapons was quite the lonely one.
  • Although Cal does not look so sharp on offense this year, after the Oregon State game the Bears actually led the Pac-12 in average rushing yards per game. Find out how they are so successful here.

Basketball

  • Earlier this week Wyking Jones and Darrius McNeill held a press conference where they talked about their team. Here’s a transcript from Rivals, plus video from Cal Athletics.
  • Rich Cellini will take over play-by-play duties for Cal MBB starting this season. Previous play-by-play guy Todd McKim will return to his duties as color commentator/analyst that he had during the Roxy Bernstein era.
  • Kristine Anigwe was placed on the watchlist for the Lisa Leslie Award, in the Division-1 category, which awards the best athlete in the Center position.

Volleyball

  • The volleyball team is starting to get it together and still has a decent chance of finishing the year above .500 (which would almost certainly mean post-season). Mima Mirkovic is a huge part of that. Find out about her life story, from fleeing Serbia as a baby during the Kosovo War to star Cal indoor and beach volleyball player. Also, she’s really funny!

Speaking of VB... beat the Trojans!