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Mario Cristobal Comments following 70-13 opening win

2022 Spring Game – Coach Cristobal addresses team

Coach Cristobal’s Opening Statement…

“Good evening, everybody. I appreciate you being here and sticking around. Obviously, the goal overall was to be 1-0 by 7:15 tonight and that was achieved. There were a lot of bright spots. Certainly, things showed up in a positive way in terms of physicality and conditioning and execution in particular on the offensive side of the ball. Overall, I thought we played relatively hard. Things that stand out that we have to work on that showed up in not such a positive way are a couple penalties that need to be avoided that we can’t waste. Tackling was up and down; we had some good moments and bad moments. But on third down, pass rush discipline, lanes and contain, things of that nature that allow for big plays to bust out the door are things that we have got to get better on. On first and goal, obviously we fumbled the ball there and that’s inexcusable. We went under center and that didn’t work out with a new center. I should’ve done a better job coaching that. There were a couple substitution errors. Aside from that, there was a lot of balance and big plays on both sies of the ball. We took control of the game early and I am really proud of the second and third team guys who went in there and executed at a high level and sustained the momentum to close out the football game. We’re 1-0 and there were some good things and some stuff to work on. We’re looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow.”

The great thing about blowouts is that you can get plenty of players down the depth chart reps. Mario took advantage of that and spoke about the number of players who saw action…

“The valuable part is the validation of, if you work hard enough and earn playing time, you are going to play at some point in time, whether you’ve earned first team reps or second and third team reps. And then, what is also validated is the fact that when they did get in there, they executed. You know, they moved the ball down the field and got after the quarterback on the other side and covered down pretty well. It’s positive and it’s progress and the best part about it is that we are going to get in there tomorrow and start really highlighting the things that aren’t good enough. You don’t want to feel your consequences, right? You want to learn your lessons along the way and film like this is a good opportunity.”

Let’s start with the running game as pretty much everyone was happy with what they saw out of new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis’ offense…

“The offensive line took control of the line of scrimmage and the backs ran hard. We got downhill in the form of power. We train these elements all day long and that was like a very nice day for us out there compared to what we’ve been practicing. I thought the line of scrimmage was handled very well by the offensive line. I don’t think they allowed any sacks and maybe one pressure and there’s plenty of leverage instances that we can work on to be a really good offensive line.”

The quarterbacks…

“They performed really well. I thought Jake [Garcia] played great and Tyler [Van Dyke] was exceptional. I mean both of these guys have proven once again that they play winning football.”

He also spoke of TVD’s leadership…

“The one word that stands out is ownership. He had ownership of the offense. He took ownership at the line of scrimmage and that transcends over to the sideline and the locker room. He’s just all-in-all a guy who continues to grow and lead this football team.”

As you can guess, Mario is not a fan of penalties. If you missed it, he had quite the reaction after the defense got flagged for 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct following an interception…

“You have to knock that out. Rules are rules. We don’t play football on our own terms. We play football on the rules terms. Kam Kinchens is a great human being, a great player and a great team leader. He was excited and caught up in the moment, but we have to conduct ourselves in a manner where we are used to doing that, where we expect to do that. And now, you know what we need to do? We need to get our teammates and the rest of that stadium rocking and fired up. The self-glorification stuff, he’s not that. He’s a really good guy. But you know what? It’s all about the teaching moments and that’s what we’re here for. We’ll learn and move forward.”

Overall, going to the Rock is a business trip. He thought they did well…

 “I takeaway that we did what we had to do. We did what we planned. We executed at the level that we expected to execute against a team that we have a lot of respect for that has a lot of good players and that plays hard. But we also had a personnel advantage. When you play any opponent, you have to make sure that the complete and utter focus is on you. You have to do what you’re supposed to do. Both of those guys ran hard. We like to be a balanced offense and we want to score as many points as we possibly can, while having control of the game, which I think is really important. You have to play this thing as a team. Sometimes, you go light it up and go tempo and light that thing up for a bunch of points. And sometimes, you have to play to the strength of your team, which might be helping the defense out some. Today was a good example of having a balanced offense and just continuing to keep our foot on the gas.”

He also provided some personnel updates…

“Jacolby George is serving a two-game suspension, Isaiah Horton a one-game suspension and Jalen Harrell a two-game suspension. Jaylan Knighton, his was a soft-tissue injury. We expected him back and he was really close, but we chose not to because it was too close to feel good about it. Leonard Taylor was a stinger, but all indications in the locker room are that he is going to be good to go as is Jakai Clark.”

Obviously, this was the first win for Mario at his alma mater. Not sure he was thinking about that.

“Some people say things to sound cool during a press conference, but I don’t. The last thing on the world on my mind is me. I’m talking about the very last thing on my mind. When there is change, change is difficult and especially a blueprint like this which demands a lot. They’ve done a really good job of taking it on and they want to see the results as much as anyone else, but we need to stay process oriented. There were a couple times where we got a little whack – we had a substitution error, and we had a busted coverage on a touchdown. They broke containment but getting back to the process got us a little bit better and more towards what we wanted to do. In terms of me getting stuff out of the way, nah brother. I’m sure a lot of our guys would’ve liked to keep playing. They did a good job tonight.”

One Comment

  1. Andy Adames September 3, 2022 at 9:56 pm

    Overall I think they look good as a team, things to improve. Very happy with the Dan turnout. GO CANES – Next week at 0900 for a noon game

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