Oct. 28, 2003
BERKELEY - Below are selected quotes from head coach Jeff Tedford from his press conference heading into Cal's game at Arizona State. The Bears visit the Sun Devils on Saturday, Nov. 1 at 12:30 p.m. Pacific Time. The contest can be heard on KGO Radio (810 AM).
On trick plays
We haven't run very many. We had a lot of confidence running them last year. We had some guys that could throw the ball. We had one called last week, and we didn't throw it. We always go into games with four to five special plays. We just haven't had the opportunity to use them.
Comparing Arizona State and Arizona
They (ASU) have been playing in a system they're familiar with and their personnel is built on it. Where Arizona is a little bit in transition with their personnel. When you're going to change defensive philosophies as drastic as Arizona changed philosophies, sometimes your personnel doesn't match it, and it takes some time to catch up. I think Arizona was playing some guys out of position, guys who were defensive ends who were linebackers, playing guys at linebacker who are safeties. Arizona State doesn't have that issue. They have a lot of guys that have been playing a long time on that defense. They are comfortable with it and have recruited for it.
Will it be a lot different whether QB Andrew Walters plays Saturday?
Not really. We have to prepare for their offense no matter who's behind the center. We have to prepare for their formations, the route concepts, the running schemes. You have to make sure you're ready for all that.
On impressions of QB Sam Keller
I was impressed. He seemed to be very poised and confident with what he was doing. I'm sure this week he'll have a lot more practice time where he will be that much more comfortable with what they are doing. A backup doesn't always get very many reps in practice.
But obviously Andrew Walter is a great quarterback. He came into the season as a Heisman candidate and throws a tremendous long ball. But the thing about Sam Keller is that he has a lot of arm strength. I think he has the potential to throw the long ball, and anytime you have receivers running open, you have to prepare for the ball. That's why we have to prepare for their route schemes because no matter who it is, they can hurt you.
On not committing a turnover in the last two games
It's something we always strive to do. Our running backs are doing a good job of holding on to the ball, and Aaron hasn't forced anything.
What statistics besides turnovers is most important?
I'd probably say red zone conversions. I think we were pretty good last year at that. I know we can't be as good this year. We've turned the ball over a lot in there and missed some field goals. You have to come away with points.
On Tyler Fredrickson and the kicking game
We will continue to compete in practice, but Tyler's our kicker. All our extra points last week were pretty true. He hit the ball solid. I think that was good for him to tell you the truth, just to stroke some extra points and put the UCLA game behind him and continue to practice through this week.
On the role strength and conditioning is playing
I think coach K (John Krasinski) is doing a tremendous job with them. They continue to lift hard through the season and we run. We make sure were in good physical shape. The players work hard. It's not something they take lightly. They push one another and they understand the importance of it. We've played a lot of four-quarter games where it's very physical and demanding, and we've played in some hot weather. I'm pleased the way our players have responded. I think they do a great job of conditioning themselves and coach K does a great job of pushing them.
Is that something you personally put a high priority on?
Definitely. We talk about it and try and gauge where they are and how they're doing. Because there's a certain part where you need to back off and make sure they're fresh. You don't just run them into the ground. At this part of the year, we've already played nine games and normally there's only two games left and normally you start to back off them a little bit because they just get worn down. But they are continuing to lift very hard. We have guys through the season who set personal records in the weight room. So I think they're strength is as important as they're conditioning.
What can you expect from your team going down the stretch?
You expect that they understand situations because we've been through some, as far as situational and the game. Our team has done a great job all year long of not taking penalties and understanding how to play hard within the rules of the game. So that's something I think will continue. They know what it takes now. - the way we practice, the way we play, the way we prepare for games, from the hotel through the week. The expectations are that we're more comfortable with that. Our seniors have done a nice job of showing the young guys the way.