BROKEN PSYCHE AFTER ARIZONA STATE, NOT SO SAYS CRISTOBAL – “We talked as a team,…and that’s as quiet as a plane ride as I’ve ever been on”

Walking out of Sun Devil Stadium Saturday night, tears flowed, tempers flared and heads hung low.

After winning nine consecutive games, the No. 6 Oregon Ducks ran into a buzz saw in the desert losing a game to a 5 – 5 Arizona State team that each player, to a man, feels it was a game they should have won.

It was a humiliating loss!

And with so much on the line in that single game, and understandably so, it’s a heart breaking loss that could certainly derail what’s been an incredible season so far.

The aftermath could easily effectuate a broken psyche.

And that might be true to a lesser team, but Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal knows his team doesn’t have that type of fragile mindset.

“We continue to elevate our own expectations for ourselves and after a game like that you’re gonna be upset,…you’re not gonna be happy,….you’re going to be down….and it should be that way” explained Cristobal during his Monday media briefing.

“We talked as a team,…and that’s as quiet as a plane ride as I’ve ever been on, and not by a little.  You know what, it should be that way.  If it wasn’t that way I’d be really disappointed and I’d say ‘you know what we’ve got the wrong guys.’

But Cristobal doesn’t have the wrong guys.

His leadership council demands it!    And so does the culture Cristobal has created within the Hatfield Dowlin Complex.

“In terms of understanding you can never allow yourself to get beat twice by the same team and popping right back into what you need to do for the next one” says Cristobal.

“Our leadership council and coaches,..and the team as a whole,…when we meet, we recognize, assess, and understand,… good things, bad things,…things that must improve to go on and get better and we did that.    And immediately, getting right back on,…shaking it off and going on to the next one…and understanding that we’re playing a really good football team,…a really good football team that’s got a lot to play for.”

Of course Cristobal is referring to Oregon State who the Ducks face this Saturday in the 123rd playing of the Civil War.

With the 31-28 loss to the Sun Devils, the Ducks not only gave up hope of reaching the college football playoff, but they also gave up a significant amount of je ne sais quoi.    They also gave up all of their momentum heading into the final game of the season and Pac-12 championship game.

And much like last season after taking a difficult loss to Washington State, the Ducks will have to guard from losing a second straight as they did against Arizona in Tucson.

“I think you spend the entire season on guard against any kind of distraction” said Cristobal.

“I think it’s human nature.  I think the fight against human nature is endless.  I think it’s tireless and non-stop.  I do believe as noise around a program grows you always have to be that much more alert and make sure you’re on the attack and on the defense.  That being said, I think the fact that this is such a huge rivalry,…this is such an important game to our players, our university, our community, the fact that Oregon State is playing really good football and have a really good football team,…it’s the last game for our seniors in Autzen Stadium this is everything you’d want in a college football game.   I feel very confident we’ll be very dialed and focused in.”

And they’ll have to be.

Oregon coach Mario Cristobal discusses Saturday's match-up with Oregon State and the 123rd playing of the Civil War. ( Photo courtesy of ODFN )

Oregon coach Mario Cristobal discusses Saturday’s match-up with Oregon State and the 123rd playing of the Civil War. ( Photo courtesy of ODFN )

Oregon State is also coming off of a difficult ( last second ) loss to Washington State which the Beavers needed to become bowl eligible.   The Beavers now need the Civil War win over the Ducks to make their case for a bowl and 6-6 season.

The Beavers haven’t been to a bowl game since 2013, ( Hawaii Bowl vs Boise St. ) and they’d like nothing more than to get that win over the Ducks in Autzen Stadium.

“I think Jonathan Smith is an excellent coach and person” said Cristobal.

“They’re doing so many good things.  When you watch them on offense they’re probably one of the hottest offenses in the conference,…one of the better ones in the country.  And again their defense matches, in terms of their intensity, passion and the way they’re elevating their processes,…the way they’re having that much productivity.   I just think it’s a really good football team with a lot to play for.  We have a really good football team,…a lot to play for and that’s how rivalry games should be.”

The 123rd Civil War is scheduled to kickoff Saturday at 1:00 pm and will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.





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