What Dan Lanning said after Oregon Ducks beat Utah

No. 12 Oregon defeated No. 10 Utah 20-17 Saturday at Autzen Stadium.

Dan Lanning recapped the Ducks’ ninth win of the season.

Below is a transcript from Lanning’s postgame press conference.


Opening Statement

“That was a lot of fun and man we made some mistakes, but we competed until the very end. Offense, defense, special teams, it was really a complete team win. Certainly there are moments in that game that I’d like to have back. We knew going into it that it would come down to takeaways, I didn’t realize it was going to go both ways. There were three on both sides, you’ve got to take care of the ball in games like that, but that being said, we just felt like every time we took the field offensively, all we needed was one more play, one more opportunity. Defense had their back against the wall a couple times and came up big, made some great plays. I can’t say enough about our quarterback. To play in this game after being banged up, having limited practice reps; for him to go out there and have a gusty performance was really important and special for this team. I’m excited for our win, there’s a lot of love in that locker room. That’s a good team we just played. I’ve got more respect for Coach Whittingham than anybody else in this conference, he’s won a lot of ball games and that’s a good team. For our team to win a game like that was a lot of fun.”

On Bo Nix and him converting the first down on the ground

“It certainly was a different game, I don’t think there’s any secret. We asked Bo right before that play if we could run the play knowing that the two options were to hand it off or for him to keep it and he said ‘absolutely.’ That guy’s got heart, he cares about the game, he cares about this team and I think it shows in the way he plays.”

On Bo Nix’s week of practice and rehabilitation

“He was an aggressive rehab specialist, that’s how we like to term it. He was attacking rehab religiously. I know he would sit here and credit our training staff, we’ve got a great medical staff and sports science group. The first priority was always his health. Early in the week, I didn’t know that he would be able to go. He was aggressive, he continued to work at it. Our medical group did a phenomenal job of assessing where he was at. Later in the week we became more and more aware that we felt like hey this might be a possibility, let’s just see where it goes. This is one of those times where Pac-12 after dark was a good thing, it gave us a little bit more time for rehab, all the way up until the game.”

On Bennett Williams

“Bennett Williams is a tough kid, man. He’s a tough kid that has high expectations for himself and when his best was needed. He did a great job, always competes, and I was glad he was able to makes some plays for this team.”

On how satisfying it was to get the win

“We talked about playing this game with an uncommon purpose. We wanted to play this game for something bigger than just us. This game was about the seniors taking the field for the last time, this game was about Spencer Webb. This game was about getting the ultimate team win and really not worrying about the opinions of others. Sometimes I think our best shows up when everyone else doubts us, which we certainly take note.”

On Dont’e Thornton’s performance

“He made a great adjustment on that last big ball there at the end. He’s a guy that’s got dominate traits. He can run, he’s big, he’s got size, he’s a phenomenal kid and to see him have some big moments, especially after he had the fumble, was huge.”

On the energy from the defense

“All we saw tonight was the standard they want to uphold and play to. It’s that small. I know it doesn’t always look that small. We’re this close to playing at an elite level and that showed up more tonight. We’ve got to do that more consistently, but those guys came to work. They have high expectations for themselves and it was good to see them go out there and perform.”

On the defensive line

“We talked about how this team likes to run a lot of outside zone stretch plays. The way you win that is to knock back at the line of scrimmage, reestablish the line of scrimmage. I thought that showed up in a lot of the negative plays we were able to create. Several of those incomplete passes and interceptions were because of tipped balls or guys in throwing windows. It’s something we didn’t do very well last week and those guys knew it was something we had to improve on. It showed up and made a big impact on this game.

On thinking about a potential conference title and Rose Bowl appearance

“There’s an awareness obviously of what exists in front of us. We’ve played our best when we’ve focused on what’s next. That was an elite game, all of our focus and attention was on that game. Now it’s going to be on the next one and you worry about the things you can control and what we can control is how we go perform against a really good Oregon State team. We’re going to enjoy this one tonight and tomorrow we’ll be hard at work for that.”

On putting a value on this response to a loss

“I don’t know that you do. The reality is you played a really good team there and that’s a game that can go either way, it got tighter than it needed to. For our guys to fight and be as resilient as the were at the end, that result, I’m really proud they were able to come out on the right end of that. Regardless of result, that was a tough-fought game for our guys and I’m glad they were able to be on the right side of it.”

On Bennett Williams resiliency

“He’s tough, he knows what’s required. He’s not going to sit here and say poor me. Sometimes you learn the most through adversity and he learned through some adversity. Our entire team learned through some adversity. That game last week wasn’t Bennett’s fault, it was our team, it was my fault. He took an opportunity to make a play in this game and execute several plays this game at a high level and I’m proud that he was able to do that.”

On the offensive line protecting Nix

“It was super important. Important to throw the ball on time, important for those guys to keep him clean and for the most part they were able to do that. He was able to make elite decisions and get the ball out and those guys protecting him certainly helped.”

On Ryan Walk and Alex Forsyth’s health

“Alex is tough, everyone in this room knows that if he could’ve been out there, he would’ve been to help this team. We’ve got a lot of guys banged up and that’s called vitamin T, a little bit of toughness. Ryan Walk’s got toughness, Box Nix has toughness, a lot of our guys are banged up and they’re playing and performing at a high level. That’s what it takes, that’s what it requires. It was good to see him (Ryan Walk) go out there and perform.”

On the little things adding up

“We talk about how you play when you don’t have the ball. That’s something that we did after last week, we challenged ourselves to play better without the ball, it’s something that happened earlier in the season. So to see guys strain like that to make a block that makes a difference is huge.”

On the mood of the defense after last week

“They were hungry and disappointed. I think I told the team after that game that I was angry and embarrassed for myself. A lot of the players shared the same sentiment but instead of sitting there and crying over spilled milk, we said let’s just get to work and see how we can get better. Those guys are resilient, they do a good job.”

On what the next 48 hours looks like for Nix

“I’ll let Kris Hutson answer that. Just get back to work man, keep attacking it.”

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