Oct. 31, 2006
BERKELEY - The No. 10 University of California football team continues Pac-10 play when it hosts UCLA Saturday at 5 p.m. (PST) following its first bye week of the season. The game will be broadcast live on ABC. Cal, which has won seven straight games and currently sits atop the Pac-10, held its 10th press conference of the 2006 season Tuesday in the Hall of Fame room at the historic Memorial Stadium. Head coach Jeff Tedford and numerous players attended to speak with the press.
On the unpredictable Pac-10:
"There's a lot of football to be played and every team in our conference is playing well. It's one game at a time. UCLA's a good football team, and they're coming in here anxious to get a win. You know you're going to get everybody's "A" game. It's really important that we stay focused on one day at a time, one play at a time. I'm not surprised with anything in this conference. Anything can happen any week in this conference. There are a lot of good teams and a lot of guys are playing well.
On last year's UCLA game:
"I reminded the team about how we felt last year after that game. We felt like we let that one slip away, although UCLA made some nice plays down the stretch to win the game. We felt like we let that one slip away last year. We had a bad feeling in our stomach after that game. I just wanted to reminded them what that felt like, and to know that UCLA is a very good football team. Defensively, they're one of the top teams in the conference. It's going to be very important to come ready to play."
On the bye week:
"I thought our guys really took advantage of the time to get healthy. We came out and practiced a little bit more on Sunday than we normally do, just to kind of get back into the swing of things. Guys are fresher now. We're going to continue throughout the week to do crossovers to make sure we're used to the speed of the game. I like consistency, but you do need byes from time to time. I'm not sure about two of them, but you do need a bye somewhere. The best thing would be if it was right in the middle of the season. Ours came at a perfect time. The one we're going to have three weeks from now, who knows where we'll be at that point as far as health is concerned."
On the UCLA rush defense:
"They're pretty physical up front. They're very fast on defense. Their linebackers come downhill very well and they move quite a bit. The two inside guys, Harwell and Kevin Brown are physical guys inside. They're defensive ends are fast. They have two different kinds of guys at defensive end with Davis being very quick off the edge and they move him a lot, and Hickman is physical and fast. They have good players and they get after you pretty well."
On the Cal turnover ratio:
"Any time you can win the turnover battle, you're going to have a chance to win more games than not. That's definitely a factor. The defense has been taking the ball away and we really haven't given the ball up much. That plays a huge role in field position, and there are so many things that spin off of the turnover battle. I think it's one of the reasons why we're having some success."
On freshman defensive back Syd'Quan Thompson:
"He's got a lot of confidence and we have a lot of trust and belief in him. He's a great tactician. He's very disciplined in what he's doing and he understands what he's doing. He's got a lot of abilities and he's a very good tackler as well. It's a matter of a young guy making a transition to the speed of the game and he's done it pretty quickly."
On running back Marshawn Lynch:
"He ran well on Sunday. I'm not sure he's going to be completely healthy this year. Those ankle sprains seem to linger a little bit. He still has a minor limp, but when he turns it on he can go. I know there's going to be times when it's irritated a little bit and he has to come out. I don't think it's going to get 100 percent throughout the season. I think it is better; we rested him quite a bit last week. We forced him to rest. He wanted to practice, but we forced him to rest. As hard as he cuts sometimes, it puts a lot of strain and stress on his ankles. He's been doing a good job of rehabilitating, spending a lot of time in the training room."
On the UCLA offense:
"They have good receivers and they're pretty physical up front. Drew Olsen had one of the better years of any Pac-10 quarterback last year. He had a lot of experience coming in. Cowan, now he's learning under fire, and I'm sure he's going to continue to get better and better each week. He throws the ball very well. They still have plenty of talent around on that offense to make plays, but when you lose Marcedes Lewis and Maurice Drew, that's a lot of fire power."
On the Cal special teams:
"Our punter [Andrew Larson] has done a nice job with hang time. He gets great air on the ball and allows our team to get down field. We have athleticism on the special teams and they're doing a nice job of getting down and covering. With kickoff coverage, we're putting the ball where we need to put it. Guys are taking a lot of pride in what they're doing on special teams in going down and really giving great efforts on the cover teams."
On wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins:
"Lavelle has grown quite a bit in a lot of different ways. I think high school football came so easy for him because he was more athletic than anyone else on the field. I think he's learned a lot of lessons about the speed of football at this level. People at this level are just as good as he is. It's really important to pay attention to fundamentals and to detail. I think he's learned quite a bit that way and he continues to learn."