Well that was a tough one. After falling to Arizona 42-16, we can just call it what it was: A nightmare. After exiting the field with the team and hearing the horrible ZonaZoo heckling while Oregon players were trying to shake hands with young Duck fans on the way out, I may or may not have yelled “I hate this stadium!” when I got to my car. Luckily for all of you, I’ve decided to put on my big girl panties and recap what the Ducks had to say at post game interviews. (I’m not going to lie, sitting in the tiny room about 4 feet from Marcus Mariota after a loss was tough and I hope it never happens again).
Coach Helfrich addressed the media and essentially took full responsibility for the loss. After giving credit to the Arizona Wildcats, he described the team as being sluggish, despite the fact they were hyped up before the game. He added that the fact they were sluggish was on him and he was determined to figure out why and “which levels to pull and what buttons to push” going forward. He acknowledged the loss hurt a great deal and it was the coaches’ job to rally the team back. When asked if he was worried about the team’s identity moving forward, Helfrich pointedly responded,
“No. Everyone makes these broad-based statements of whether it’s the game of the century or these guys have to blow up their program because they lost a game. No.”
Marcus Mariota was somber, as expected, but gracious as he seemed to fight through tears while answering questions. Marcus was immediately asked about his head and if he had a concussion. He stated “I’m not to sure, I’m going to have to talk to the training staff afterwards. “He went on to say “It hurts, I’ve never been blown out like this in my life.” While starting for his high school team, Mariota led his team to an 11-1 record and while at Oregon, he’s now lost just three in two years- obviously the other two losses were to Stanford who only won each by under a touchdown.
Despite being baited to talk about the failures of his teammates, Mariota in typical fashion blamed himself saying “I could have thrown [the ball] different places. He also gave “the ball” to Arizona, crediting their play. He again said his knee wasn’t an excuse and it was feeling better.
I asked Marcus who he would lean on as he tried to flush this loss. He again talked about his family. He said he had family in Arizona he’d be talking to and would be seeing his parents, who would be flying to Eugene, tomorrow.
Daryle Hawkins, senior receiver, was also pretty somber after the game, but was able to crack a smile for me, when answering some of my questions. When asked how he was doing he stated,
“It definitely hurts, especially when a lot of it comes down to being undisciplined. The whole team was very undisciplined, myself included, I mean I got a false start and when you don’t play up to your potential, it definitely hurts.”
Like Helfrich and Mariota, Hawkins also gave Arizona credit, saying they were a great team that played up to their potential. “It was disappointing we didn’t match that,” he added.
It’s time to dig deep Duck fans. If we want the team to, we have to as well. I guess this is the price of being at the top. Oregon’s has a winning record of 9-2 and we’re all in tears. Some call that spoiled. I prefer to call it pride and passion.