Cal post-game quotes
COACH DYKES: It felt good to win. I thought the way we played today was really indicative of the way we practiced leading up to the game. I was really pleased with the way we focused. We started practicing the week after the Arizona State game. And it's a long way away when you start thinking about practicing. You have about a month between that game and this game.
And we've got to give our guys a lot of credit, because they had the right mentality. They came out and practiced hard every day. They were real focused, and I thought we played that way as a result. So, again, it was nice to see them prepare the way they did.
I was really proud of the way they traveled here to Fort Worth. We had a great experience in the bowl game. The Armed Forces Bowl did a great job taking care of our guys.
And I was really pleased with the maturity that we showed traveling. We only had one player on this team that had ever played in a bowl game prior to this. And I thought our guys showed a lot of maturity and really did a great job of preparing. And they kept in mind that, you know, that our objective was to win the game. And, again, that showed a lot of maturity for a group that hadn't been through that. Really proud of them.
Really proud of our seniors, what they've done for this program, the way they hung in there and kept believing and kept battling when it hasn't always been easy. And really, like I said, could not be more proud of the group of young people than I am those guys. Just loved to be around them. And it's been a fun team to coach. A team I'm going to miss. And a lot of guys that have been really good players for us that I'm going to miss, but I'm happy for them.
Q. Coach, can you make a comment about each of the players and their performance?
COACH DYKES: Yeah, I thought defensively we really played well. They do a great job. They run the triple option as well as anybody. And they have an answer for everything you do.
Stef is our quarterback on defense. He's getting guys in the right place. And, you know, Air Force keeps changing. We're just trying to catch up and thought that, you know, he communicated well, made a bunch of plays. They forced our safeties to really get involved in the run game. And thought really, as a group, they tackled pretty well on the open field. And, you know, he's meant ‑‑ you guys have seen him. One of these days I'll be working for Stef. Stef will be my boss some day. And I just hope he remembers I was real nice to him. He's got an incredibly bright future whatever he wants to do.
Bryce had a good game. He's one of those guys when he's fresh and healthy, which he was today, you know, he can really make plays. And we felt like coming into the game, he was a great matchup for us. And dropped a couple balls early, which is uncharacteristic for him. And then made all the plays down the stretch. And, you know, he's done the same thing. He grew up a Cal fan. His dad was a really good player at Cal. And he's just done everything we've asked him to do to help get this program back on track and where we want it to go. And I thought he really played well today.
And Jared over here, you know, he's grown as we've grown. We've grown as he's grown. He came in as a true freshman. Had to play and took his lumps. We took our lumps. And he's really matured, and we've grown up together.
So really proud of these three guys. Love them. Will always love them. They mean a lot to me personally and mean a lot to Cal football. And they're going to be hard guys to find guys where ‑‑ you know, there's nobody else like these guys. So just really fortunate to work with them.
Q. Bryce, it looked really easy at times, a lot of pitch and catch almost. Can you discuss kind of what you saw in the secondary? And did you know you'd be able to get deep?
BRYCE TREGGS: Watching film on them, we saw that they like to play a lot of man coverage. That's something I can look forward to, because I'm a fast guy. On film I saw them kind of squat and play catch technique. So I told coach that we could just run by them. And that's what happened on those two deep balls we saw in the corner route. We just saw it on film, and we knew that there was going to be shots down the field.
COACH DYKES: That's the goal. It's supposed to look easy. And, when you've worked really hard, it does look easy. That's one of those things that there's a lot of preparation. It's fun when it looks easy. Because sometimes it looks hard. And, when it looks hard, it's usually not very good.
Q. Stef, how much does this game and this win mean for you getting tackled for a loss there and being able to make a mark on this game after going through the four different injuries you've had and lost a year and a half, two years of time?
STEFAN McCLURE: It means a lot to be able to be out there with these guys and play in every game this year and just that whole group of seniors we have and even the juniors on this team. It means a lot for me personally and for this whole team after all we've been through to end the season the right way. We've worked hard, and we've grown. And we've been through our ups and downs, so it feels good as a program to be able to get this win.
Q. Bryce, it was you who was the recipient of the targeting call, wasn't it?
BRYCE TREGGS: Yes.
Q. What was your thought on the play and the call?
BRYCE TREGGS: I'm not a huge fan of the targeting rule. Because it's not like he was literally aiming for my head. It happened to match up like that. I wish he could have finished the game. I'm not sure if he's a senior or not, but that's a bad way to go. I'm not really supportive of that rule.
COACH DYKES: I wasn't asked a question; but I want to comment on that, too. I think everybody in college football gets the intent. I get it. We want to take care of these guys, first and foremost. But, at the same time, that's tough. You've got a guy just playing football. And it happens fast. I get taking care of the guys. That's the primary concern. But, man, the rules committee has put those officials in a very, very difficult position, just because you're trying to tell intent. You can't tell intent. It's a tough rule. And I hope it's something that gets looked at in the off‑season.
Q. Jared, after that call you went after the backup quite a bit there until they actually removed him. Was that a conscious effort on your part?
JARED GOFF: When you see a two guy come in, you kind of go after him no matter where he is on the field. So, yeah, we consciously did that. And that's kind of strategic. When you see a guy having to leave the game permanently, this guy was going to have to play the whole game and wasn't planning to probably.
Q. Jared, can you reflect on the past three years and how different you feel today from this moment two years ago in the last game of your freshman year?
JARED GOFF: Yeah. This moment two years ago I was probably getting x‑rays on my shoulder. And I had shoulder surgery and came a long way since then. And, like Coach Dykes said, I've kind of grown up with the program and everyone has kind of grown up with me as well. It's been fun, though. It's been a fun ride.
These two guys on my left are two guys I'll never forget. Two of my brothers, two of my teammates. And they went on a ride with me as well. As well as there's 20, 30, 40 guys who have been here for three years or probably even more that have been on the same journey. And it's been a lot of fun. To go from 1‑11 to last year being so close and this year winning eight games and finishing with a bowl victory, it's really as much as you could ask for. And it's been a lot of fun.
Q. Jared, you were 0‑3 on that one drive and then missed Kenny on that first ball of the next drive. And then you got hit pretty good. And then you completed seven straight balls for 145 yards. Did that knock your targeting sensors into alignment, or what did it do? (laughter)
JARED GOFF: No, I think sometimes, you know, they do some stuff that stops you. And you kind of have to fix it quickly. And I was able to kind of adjust to what they were doing. I think on that one drive I just missed three passes by about a yard. And, I mean, that happens sometimes. You try not to let it happen, but it does. And then I just got consistent. The guys got open and made it a lot easier for me. The O‑line started to protect really well. And I'm just sitting back there, like you said, playing pitch and catch. And, when they're that open, I don't want to say it's easy. But it's not as hard as it would be if you had to fit one in there.
Q. Jared, I'm sure you heard the fans at the end chanting "One more year!"
COACH DYKES: I was chanting that, too. (laughter)
Q. What does all that mean to you? And the other part of that is, when you look at someone like Aaron Rogers in the NFL and where he is and what he's doing, do you look at that and say, "Yeah, that's where I'm going. That's where I'm headed"?
JARED GOFF: He's definitely a good guy to idolize. He's done a lot of good stuff in the NFL and was a great player here. But, yeah, it's funny. I was one of those little kids chanting that for Desean Jackson about eight, ten years ago. It's funny. It's come all the way around. It's cool.
I love our fans, and I appreciate all of them and everything they've done for me. And it's been a lot of fun to have them. I've been lucky. They've always had my back pretty much through everything, through the lows, through the highs. And it's been a good experience with them.
Q. Any decision?
JARED GOFF: I'm going to sit down with my parents and discuss it and decide and should know soon.
Q. Jared, you touched a little bit on the highs and lows of going from one win to the depth of where the program could be to eight wins now. Sonny and Stef and Bryce, you guys graduating and, Sonny, you being back for your fourth year, can you talk about what that transformation has meant to you?
JARED GOFF: Like the last three years and everything? Say the question again. I'm a little confused.
COACH DYKES: How were you transformed?
JARED GOFF: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. I mean, yeah. I just spoke about it. Going 1‑11 is pretty much as bad as it can get besides 0‑12, and we almost lost the game to Portland State.
COACH DYKES: Should have lost.
JARED GOFF: It was as low as you can really go. And a lot of, a lot of work, a lot of work in the off‑season. So much work. And I know the staff had the same thing. They're all working in the off‑season. Put in the work and kind of start from the ground up again, right? Had to break everything down and bring it all the way back up. Running, lifting, everything, summer workouts, everything. It all worked into it.
And then last year, like I said, being so close was tough as well. And we kind of knew we were taking a step in the right correction, though. And this off‑season, again, work and work and work and work. And every single day, I was trying to get better and better. And coming to this year ‑‑ we kind of knew coming into this year, we had a chance to do something special and now sitting here with eight wins, I think we're pretty happy about it.
COACH DYKES: Yeah, for me, I think as coaches we get to teach these guys football. But the biggest thing we do is we teach them life. And I think everybody in life goes through ups and downs. Sometimes you don't get the breaks. Bad things happen to you. And it all ‑‑ your success and what's going to happen to you, your future is really determined by how you handle it.
And that's kind of been our message from day one is, Look, you know, it wasn't good. We understand it. Let's do things the right way. Let's keep ‑‑ enjoy the process, embrace the process. Handle your business the way you're supposed to do it. Do the little things right, and it will all pay off for you.
And I think these guys got to see it firsthand, got to see it on the field. But just the way we've grown as a program and, again, the way these young people conduct themselves, I just couldn't be more proud of it.
Our job is to teach them, teach them about life and the importance of perseverance. And these guys are sitting up here today, we're all sitting up here today because of that. They just kept believing, and we had to stay consistent in our message and what we did. And you got to give them credit. They jumped in with both feet when it wasn't always easy to do. So I'll always be appreciative of them for doing that.
BRYCE TREGGS: Definitely, it's a great honor to get Cal back on the right path. Came in with high expectations.
My dad won the Citrus Bowl, and they were ranked top ten in the country. So I sort of wanted to do that same thing. Didn't get a chance to do that. So I definitely wanted to come in here and win. And to finish like this, it sort of sets the path for the younger guys because they have a bar to reach. And, hopefully, they can surpass what we've done here. And, I mean, from going 1‑11, they stripped all our Cal gear away from us. We worked out in straight gray clothes. We had not one single thing with the Cal logo on our locker.
STEFAN McCLURE: Or Nike.
BRYCE TREGGS: It was ridiculous. But to be here with a hat that says "Armed Forces Bowl champions," it's a great deal.
STEFAN McCLURE: We were at the lows of lows. So we really got to see who was here to work for the long haul and who was really committed to the program. And we lost a few guys. And it was really just a rebuilding thing.
Credit to these coaches for really just instilling a belief and holding everyone accountable. And it showed with the improvements over the each of the past two seasons. So just a great honor to really be a part of this team and just show how much hard work really pays off. And now we're sitting here with eight wins, and the program is in great hands and looking forward to see what these guys are going to do next year.
Q. Jared, you've been a career quarterback. That's the only position you've played. Can you talk about the role your family played in your growth? And can you talk about your journey being the quarterback from the first game that you can remember to this point?
JARED GOFF: My first game, I was seven years old. I probably threw the ball once. And now I think we threw it 40‑something times. So it's been a long way.
But, yeah, my parents have been great, my sister and my whole family, extended family. They've been very supportive. I think at the home games, I'll get 50, 60 people out there that are friends or family. And I had probably 20, 30, 40 here today. And it's awesome. I'm very thankful for it, very grateful for what they've done. And the support they've given me through the years has been great.
And then my dad's helped me a lot with just ‑‑ he's been through it, so it's been great to be able to talk to him about stuff that maybe not everyone knows about that athletes go through. And he's been there for me at every time.
Same thing with the highs and lows, they've been there since we were 1‑11. And they're here now, and it's great.
Q. What's your role in these conversations that you're having with Jared?
COACH DYKES: Yeah, Jared's ‑‑ none of these decisions these young guys have to make are easy decisions. I'll give my two cents and just try to advise him, Look, the way I see this thing is if he's got an opportunity to be one of the top draft picks or the first quarterback taken in the draft, then I don't think there's much of a decision to make, quite frankly. And I'll be incredibly supportive of him.
Whatever he decides, he'll make the decision for the right reasons. I think I have complete confidence in that. And I think that ultimately is my job, is to give him my advice and tell him what I think and how I feel. And he's got to sit down with his family and decide what's best. As I said, I have no doubt he'll make the right decision.
And then once he makes it, he's got to go make it right. That's the way it goes with all decisions.
Q. Sonny, there was one senior who wasn't out there. Jalen Jefferson, personal reasons. Are you going to say anything?
COACH DYKES: I'm not going to say anything, no.
Q. Any update on Steven Moore?
COACH DYKES: Yeah, luckily was not a broken bone or anything. So he got X‑rayed. X‑rays came back negative. And so I think he's just got a sprained ankle, so that's a positive.
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