Cristobal stresses ‘shake-off’ mentality at Monday’s press conference

With Saturday’s loss still casting a shadow, head coach Mario Cristobal has turned the team’s focus to this weekend’s first road game of the season.

“Our guys understand that improvement is great, but cutting it close is not going to cut it,” Cristobal said at Monday’s press conference. “Got to go the full way, got to go 100% in terms of our preparation and make sure our preparation comes from our motivation.”

Last season, the Ducks lost four road games, with the lone victory coming against Wyoming in September. This season, Cristobal is preaching, “preparation through motivation.”

“We have a lot to prove to ourselves as a football team,” Cristobal said. “We haven’t played our best football yet. We haven’t played our full and complete game yet. Going on the road is something that requires a different mentality. It qualifies and unifies a team more than anything else.”

With classes starting this week, Cristobal said he wants players to treat road games as “business trips,” and be just as focused on the field as they are in the classroom.

“Going on the road requires a special type of discipline and focus,” Cristobal said. “It starts with really, today. Going to school, getting to class early, being respectful, making sure you have all your materials. Having a mindset that puts you in that business mode and understand that it’s got to be like that throughout the entire week. …”

“There should be absolutely no difference with the way you approach your football life as you do your academic life.”

Oregon moved up a spot to No. 19 in the AP poll this week despite the dramatic 38-31 loss in overtime to Stanford on Saturday.

As cliché as it is, Cristobal said he’s preaching to the team to “shake-off” the loss and use it to learn from instead of dwelling on.

“I think we’ve all heard that a million times from a coach,” Cristobal said. “Don’t allow yourself to get beat twice by the same opponent. In other words don’t let that game linger in your mind and in your mood and in your attitude for an extra week, therefore affecting your next game. The best thing about something like this is that there is a lesson, and a lesson wasted, if you don’t learn from it.”

While there were a handful of miscues in Saturday’s loss, Cristobal voiced that he wants the team to approach every conference game with the same level of intensity and motivation.

“When you look at it, we played the type of football we want to get to, playing on a consistent basis for about 90 percent of the game,” Cristobal said. “The biggest thing is understanding that these games, especially conference games, are just like playoff games. … You learn a painful lesson, in a painful manner that should not only motivate you but also just really bring out the best in you as a true competitor.”

Cristobal also confirmed that running back Taj Griffin’s decision to transfer was centered around his projected playing-time this season.

Oregon will travel to Berkeley, California, to play the No. 24 California Bears, Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Follow Maggie Vanoni on Twitter: @maggie_vanoni

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Maggie Vanoni

Maggie Vanoni

Maggie is a senior sports reporter for the Emerald covering football, volleyball, men's basketball, men's tennis, track and field and softball. She is a lover of adventures, the Oregon Coast, writing and Ben and Jerry's. Follow her on Twitter at @maggie_vanoni and reach her at [email protected]