From the locker room: UCLA at Houston

HOUSTON -- UCLA’s locker room was expectedly somber after Saturday’s season-opening 38-34 loss to Houston. Most players sat in stunned silence trying to process what went wrong. There were also some positives to think about, but a loss almost always forces you to dwell on the negative. Here is a sampling of what the players and coaches had to say:

“It’s a bitter pill, but this is the first game. We can’t look at it like the season is lost. We have to look at it like a great lesson and play our tails off next week.”

--Coach Rick Neuheisel

“These guys in here are hurting. Physically, mentally, everything. It hurts deep down, but I’m really excited to see everyone answer back -- defense, offense and special teams.”

--Tight end Joe Fauria

“We’ve just got to work harder and get better and be consistent as a team. Defense has to pick it up and offense has to pick it up as well. We made a lot of mistakes as far as penalties, missing blocks, me missing holes. We have to be perfect. We have to strive for perfection.”

--Running back Johnathan Franklin

“I’m not a numbers guy. I’m a guy who is into victories. I’ll look at the deal and I’m sure from the numbers we did some things well. I don’t think they stopped us at all today. I don’t think they did anything that prevented us from scoring and we have to continue to grow as an offensive football team and do enough to get the victory. In a game like this you had to score so it was one of those deals where we didn’t get enough points.”

--Offensive coordinator Mike Johnson on losing despite putting up 34 points and 554 yards in offense

“It’s hard. You have to go back, look at the tape and find out what answers you should have had and try to figure out those answers and make sure you have them if it happens again.”

--Defensive coordinator Joe Tresey on the defense giving up 38 points and 469 yards in offense

“It’s definitely disappointing because everybody expected the other way around. But at the same time, it’s a different feeling. We came in the locker room and it’s not the ‘here we go again feeling.’ Everybody knows that second half, the way the defense played, that’s how we’re going to play from now on. We did it, we have it in us and that’s how we’re going to play no matter what.”

--Safety Tony Dye on the poor defensive effort when the offense had a big game

“It’s a team game. I still believe wholly in our defense. And I know that we’ve got to come together and play it better. That’s what it comes down to.”


“This is an interesting game. You have to tackle and you have to tackle well, but when you tackle in practice and you scrimmage a lot, you put your players at risk. So you try to find a happy medium between tackling and tackling in practice, but also trying to keep them safe. The live stuff you limit because that’s where bodies are flying around. Clearly we have to tackle better.”

--Neuheisel on the numerous missed tackles that plagued the defense

“I’ve watched these kids tackle in the spring game. They can tackle. For whatever reason we got on the back of our heels today and when you get on the back of your heels, you get in scramble mode and things get separated, thoughts. Everybody gets a little bit of headlights in the deer or whatever you want to call it.”

--Tresey on the poor tackling

“We did a lot of great things on offense. Houston didn’t beat us, we beat ourselves this game. What we were able to do offensively, the points we were able to put up, I expect us to do every game. I thought we had a chance for many more points, but we beat ourselves today. The stupid penalties. That one turnover. Just things like that, we can’t have that happen.”

--Quarterback Richard Brehaut

"There’s lots of positives. Unfortunately when you lose a game and you put this much time and effort into preparing to win it, it’s a disappointment. But over the long haul we’ve got to learn from it and we’ve got to rally psychologically so that we come back and play and be excited about playing just as we were excited about playing today."


“We’ve got 11 games, man. We’ve got 11 games to play. We’re going to get better. These kids, they bust their rear ends. We’re going to get better. We’ve got 11 games to play. It’s time to go, man. We’re going to come back. We’ve got a 24-hour window, we’ll come back tomorrow and we’ll start on San Jose State. I mean, what do you do? We’re going to get better. There’s no question. No question."


“Hope is not lost. This is a disappointment, but what you do when you are disappointed is you rise up and you’re accountable and you tell by your actions and by the way you carry yourself that you are in the duration.”