Nov. 1, 2005
BERKELEY - Below are quotes from head coach Jeff Tedford's weekly news conference on Tuesday, Nov. 1. The Golden Bears travel to Oregon Saturday with kickoff set for 12:30 p.m. at Autzen Stadium. The game will be televised by ABC and can be heard on the Cal Football Radio Network (Flagship: KGO AM 810, San Francisco).
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On Oregon's offense and how Dennis Dixon will fit into it:
"He has some experience on offense. He is well-equipped physically to run that offense. He throws the ball very well, he is very athletic, he can run the football, and that is really what that offense is built around. He poses a lot of the same issues that Kellen Clemens would pose, the only difference is the experience. There is a huge experience difference in Kellen and him. Any time there is a new guy in there, there is going to be a transition period. It may not be as much for him because he has played in games. It's not like it's his first time behind a center."
What do you like about Dixon as an athlete?
"He's very elusive, fast, has good speed, very athletic, throws the ball well - whether it be in the pocket or on the run. He's got tremendous tools."
You haven't won at Oregon since 1987, do you take a different approach or use that to motivate your team?
"No, it is what it is, and we are very familiar with it. We have been there one time and are familiar with the setting and the noise. There are great fans there; they make it very hard on the visiting team. Weather should be a factor. The approach is not something just because history said something in 1987. What matters is how we prepare to go play this Cal team against that Oregon team right now. But it is a very difficult place to play. There is no question about that."
Was the bye week an advantage for you?
"I don't know if it was an advantage for us over them. I think we've played three teams that have had byes before they played us. When we get our bye the other team had a bye, as well. I don't know if there is an advantage there. It was an advantage for us because we had the chance to get fresh, healthy, things like that."
On the similarities between the Cal and Oregon defenses?
"The defense is so diverse, there is familiarity there, there's no question about it, but it's very diverse to where they have different packages. They don't line up the same thing all the time; they have different ways to get after you. The familiarity doesn't give you an advantage, but some background into what is going on. It's multiple enough to where you just can't hone in on certain phase."
Is this the toughest stretch for the team, the next three games?
"I would say that is fair to say. Oregon is a Top 20 team, and obviously USC is the defending national champions, and Stanford is a very good football team. So, I think it definitely is. But it's one at a time. It doesn't matter who we play after Oregon. Oregon is our focus 100 percent. We are going to have to play our best, absolute best, to be competitive and have a chance to win the game."
Are you happy with where Joe Ayoob is at right now in the season?
"I think the main thing for Joe is consistency. He has really done a nice job of running our team. He has had some rough times, there is no question about that. But I thought last game he threw the ball with a lot of authority, with a lot of intention. It was great to see him down the stretch in the last two drives make some big plays and pull the game out. I thought he played with a lot more confidence in the last game. I admire him a great deal for all the things - for his perseverance through tough times, the way he competes, his mental and physical toughness. I just have great admiration for him. He is still learning. Any first-year quarterback is going to continue to learn. Each week out is a new adventure. I am really happy and pleased with his mental make up, his toughness and his competitiveness. This next game hopefully he comes out and is throwing the ball with authority and he feels good about what he is doing. All indication is that he is growing towards that."
Will you be doing a lot of wet ball stuff?
"Today we will. We'll dump balls in buckets of water today. We'll have trash cans full of water and we'll just dump the balls in there and let the quarterbacks throw them. Its not just about the quarterbacks, it's about the center, the running backs. Wet-ball mechanics is about the whole team being very heads up, that at any time that ball could come out. You should always keep your head on a swivel because the ball could come out at any time. It is really important that we are heads up to wet ball mechanics, offensively and defensively. In the kicking game, the punter securing the ball, just a little extra focus on catching the football."
On special teams' improvement:
"I think David Lonie has been punting the ball pretty well. Our cover units have covered a little bit better, or at least they did against Washington State for the most part. I think we are playing very hard there, we are punting the ball well. We haven't had any big returns lately with Tim (Mixon). We are getting average returns, we are still probably still in the top three in the conference in punt returns. We haven't given up any big plays, we haven't turned the football over, we have been solid."
On Oregon's wide receivers, Demetrius Williams and Cameron Colvin, and what makes them so special?
"Demetrius and Colvin are both very tall, very fast, athletic, rangy guys that can really get down the field and catch the football. Not only can they get down the field and catch it, after they catch it, they can run with it. They are two of the most talented receivers in our conference. They definitely cause some concern."
Will this week be a test for the defensive backs after a shaky game against WSU?
"Washington State hit some long balls over us. I am sure Oregon will take their shots with that. Our secondary will be anxious to get back on the field and play again and get that bad taste out of their mouth."
On rotating Harrison Smith in, and do you know what percentages of plays he will be in?
"No, not at all, we haven't really discussed that yet. We are just getting him ready to play corner so that he can go in. I don't know if there are a set amount of plays that we are going to have him in for yet."