Oct. 22, 2002
Below are selected quotes from head coach Jeff Tedford from his press conference heading into the Bears' next game at Oregon State. The game kicks off at 1 p.m. and can be heard on KGO Radio (810 AM).
On whether the 'blocked punts' puzzle has been solved:
It wasn't so much a puzzle as we had someone go the wrong direction and leave a gap open, and with the other one, we just got beat physically. We drilled it yesterday, as we do every Monday, on the fundamentals of what it takes to make sure that we get that protected well. It is something that we will continue to work on. Coach (Dave) Ungerer took that very, very hard. He takes a lot of pride with his special teams and does an excellent job with them. Immediately after the game, he came in to watch the tape and see what happened. It's nothing to panic about; it was just miscommunication.
Are there any concerns about the offense? Is it just a matter of being healthy?
I would agree with the fact that in the second half of the USC game, we weren't real efficient, and in the second half of the UCLA game, we weren't real efficient. I think we've had our moments in between there. The biggest thing is converting third downs, and we need to do a better job at that. Even though, we're third or second in the conference in third down percentage, that really does you no good when you're having to get off the field.
We didn't do a good enough job of that the other day. We tried to stay in third-and-short as much as possible, and we got to third-and-three and third-and-four a few times in the second half. I think maybe the play selection wasn't as good as it could have been on my part. We had one-on-one with a linebacker and a tight end, and their guy got his hand on the ball a few times. Those are key situations that we have to convert on third down to keep the drive alive. I'm not concerned about our ability or anything like that. In the game before in the second half, we hurt ourselves with penalties, and this last week, we didn't come up with plays and weren't able to separate and get open on things. I probably could have done a better job to put our guys in a position to be more open then they were.
On whether TB Terrell Williams will play more:
He did a nice job. I think he is back healthy now with his ankle. I think you'll see Terrell probably play a bit more, as you saw him play more last week.
Do you adjust the play calling for when Williams is in there?:
Not really. They (Williams and Joe Igber) are both similar backs in that they can both catch the ball. They both are good receivers and can run any of the plays that we run. They are very similar in speed, so there is not much difference really. They both are about the same speed in how they were timed in the 40.
On the two personal foul calls in the UCLA game:
The thing I am most concerned about was the two personal fouls. That should never happen again, and I made sure to let the team know that no one on this team is above a team where they can afford to give a personal foul because they lose their cool.
There are times where guys are playing hard and they might hit somebody because they are playing hard and they can't stop themselves. But there is absolutely no reason to lose your cool and do something stupid. Those were two critical plays. On one, we were on third down and we're off the field, and the other one we were third-and-two and down inside the red zone. That should not happen.
On whether Tom Canada's improved play is a result of having a deep defensive line:
I really believe that the depth that we have at defensive line is helping tremendously, in the fact that we can keep them fresh. They play hard and it's really fun to watch those guys and how they play on tape-how they come off the ball-and they are relentless. It is because they are fresh all the time.
Tom has always been a great player. We are very fortunate to have great depth, almost to the point to where it can be a hindrance. When you have five defensive ends, it's very hard to get them all in the game and into the rotation. Monte Parsons is one of those who is good enough to play right now, but it's tough to get five guys in the rotation.
On what Canada is like to coach:
He is pretty upbeat and enthusiastic. He is probably the most emotional guy on our team, as far as leadership is concerned. To be able to carry some enthusiasm into practice and get people going, I'd say he is the most emotional on the team.
On whether QB Kyle Boller's zero interceptions were encouraging:
There were a couple of lessons to be learned in that game and that is that turnovers have been so critical to any success that we have had, our lack of turnovers and our defense's ability to create turnovers. When it was third-and-15 (in the fourth quarter) and he is scrambling and could be sacked, instead of just giving up one, he threw the ball away-and then the punt was blocked. If he hadn't thrown that ball away, the punt block goes into the end zone, instead of out of the field of play.
He has been making very good decisions with the ball. He is playing very unselfishly, he is throwing the ball away, and he is being smart. I think he has really taken pride in understanding how to play quarterback and that there are times when you need to make a play and times when it's okay to punt. You don't force things, you don't turn the football over. I think this whole team is seeing the importance of ball security and the ability to get takeaways and the direct correlation it has between winning and losing.
I do need to retract something from last week from when I made a comment about Chase Lyman that I felt was ready to play, but I couldn't force him to play. That is not absolutely accurate. I felt like Chase looked like he was ready to go during the practice I saw before I talked to you (at last Tuesday's press luncheon). But after talking to him later on that afternoon, he couldn't burst and it (hamstring) did flare up again. My apologies to Chase for saying publicly that I couldn't force him to play and that he was ready to go, because he is not and it is still bothering him. There is concern there that we need to take care of that and make sure that he is 100 percent.
On Oregon State's defense:
They are great on defense. They have great corners, who get up in your face and re-route you and can run with you and cover you very well all over the field. They have two of the best linebackers, probably a guy who is comparable to being the best defensive players in the league. I would say (OSU's Richard) Seigler and (USC's) Troy Polamalu are the two best defensive players I've seen. He is phenomenal. They are so fast and physical inside. Eric Manning is a guy that I've watched on tape and he looks like Warren Sapp sometimes.
They are very hard to move the ball on. There are a few stats in the conference where they are right on top. They are just very stingy.
On whether Oregon State's three straight losses will be a factor:
I don't think by any means that we would ever come close to thinking about overlooking Oregon State. They have had some close games. Their game against Arizona State was 13-9, and to hold Arizona State to 13 points is unreal because they are very explosive. We have great respect for Oregon State. We understand that they've played some close games and anything can happen. They are a great football team.
On whether any adjustments on defense will be made for the Oregon State game:
No. We will continue to play the way that we play. We'll stack the box and do our best to slow them down. There were some pretty physical offensive lines that we've played against and some pretty good running backs that we've played against. As long as we keep them out of the end zone, that's all that matters.
On how he feels about the bye week being so late in the season:
Having it somewhere in the middle would be the best, but it will definitely come at a much needed time for us after this game. I think our players will be able to use it as a time to get healthy, to get mentally refreshed, to catch up academically. They have played a lot of physical, tough games in a row-as they all are, it's no different from anyone else. But they've done a nice job of battling through injuries, so a bye is always nice to get a little refreshed and healthy.