Oct. 30, 2007
BERKELEY - After a loss on the road to undefeated Arizona State, the University of California football team returns to Memorial Stadium this weekend against Washington State. The Golden Bears (5-3, 2-3 Pac-10) are looking to win their 11th victory in their past 12 home games. Cal hosted its 10th weekly press conference Tuesday at the Hall of Fame Room at historic Memorial Stadium.
Head coach Jeff Tedford and numerous players attended to speak with the press. Here are Tedford's comments:
On Nate Longshore's ankle:
We don't know, we'll see today. He was pretty stiff on Sunday. Again, it'll be a day to day thing to see how it responds throughout the week. He'll get a lot of treatment and see how it works out for him. In our situation, Nate brings so much leadership and experience to what's going on. We watched him very closely and thought he moved fine in the pocket. He was taking a lot of hits though, they were getting to him and hitting him low and things like that last week really for the first time so I think he was hurrying a couple of things there. But he was moving fine in the pocket. We'll see again this week how he's progressing and how he's moving. That's what generally the decision is based on: can he run the offense, can he protect himself, and can he run the offense and still do the things we need him to do? He was moving fine and protection is the key; that we make sure that he can set his feet to throw the ball and that people aren't at him all the time. In a couple plays that weren't his best plays, it was because of pressure. He can do a better job of stepping in the pocket, as well, and utilizing the pocket.
On UCLA taking heat over its loss to Washington State:
UCLA got a couple key injuries, [Khalil] Bell got hurt and [Brandon] Breazell got hurt early in the game. The other thing is Washington State's defense played very, very well; they only gave up 267 yards against UCLA and a 50-yard run was one of the plays. You have to give Washington State a lot of credit. Washington State is always explosive offensively, their receivers and their running backs are very good. They played excellent defense [against UCLA] and they played excellent defense against Arizona State, as well, that was a very close game. Washington State's a good football team. They've changed their scheme a little bit, gone to a 3-4 scheme and that's really helped them.
On WSU quarterback Alex Brink being under-rated:
Yes, he's under the radar, I think probably because he's not a flashy guy. You talk about efficiency and what he does with that offense. He's a guy that does a lot at the line of scrimmage, checks in and out of plays, can scramble a lot like [ASU quarterback Rudy] Carpenter. Carpenter pulls it down, runs around and makes plays and Brink will do that too. He's mobile, he's very accurate, the throws the deep ball extremely well and does a nice job with the packaging of plays to get them in and out of plays. Plus, the experience he has, he's been starting there ever since I can remember.
On team confidence:
It's something that we've definitely had to talk about because I think I'd be naïve to say that it hasn't been a pretty heavy hit from being where we were a few weeks ago to the three losses weighing on you. To say that those have no effect on us, that would be very naïve. The thing that we have to do is talk about the pride, playing for the love of the game. We're 5-3 and there's still a lot of football to play to have a successful season. But there's no question, to go from the race that we were in to three losses can take an effect emotionally and mentally, and it is something that we have to talk about and it something that we have to address.
On three straight losses:
It causes you to reflect and look in the mirror and say, `Are we doing the right things?' I don't think it would be fair as a coach and as a coaching staff that you don't evaluate and say, `Is there anything that we can be doing differently?' That type of thing, no question about it. As I go back and look at it and wonder if we should be doing something different in practice, we've been very successful here for a long time with this stuff. We have things to hang our hat on here. Just because we're stumbling, I don't think that's reason to panic and start changing everything. If you start doing that, then what's next? You start changing your beliefs about things we've been doing. It's about staying focused on the details, the discipline and the passion that we need to have for the game. I think our guys practice well and they have good focus. We've played three close games, that's maybe the hardest thing about it. It's not that we're getting blown out 45-10, these are emotional, tough, hard losses. They're very close games. When you play very close games, they're very emotional and they're draining. It's been three weeks in a row of that. It does wear on you a little bit.
On the focus of practice this week:
Just really be focused on discipline and making sure that we're taking care of the little things. As a coaching staff, just really make sure that we're focused on taking care of any minor detail that can possibly make a difference. We've hurt ourselves with penalties and so if there's something we can correct, hopefully it's that with correcting some of the penalties.
On the Pac-10 Conference being strong top-to-bottom:
There's no question about it. Anybody can win on any given weekend. It comes down to all the things you talk about, the differences in winning and losing. Every team has good players and every team is well-coached. It comes down to the people who make the least amount of mistakes and the most big plays. Any team can do it, no question about it. No weeks off.
On freshman defensive end Cameron Jordan:
Cameron Jordan is doing a good job. For a young guy, to do some of things he's doing, he's competing very, very hard. He brings a little bit of speed and energy to the defensive line so he's playing very, very well.
CAL PLAYER QUOTES:
Senior DT John Allen
[General] There are just a few things we need to fix and get better at. If we can get back on track and if we can come out and beat Washington State, then we can get that pride back as a team.
[On defensive line] We're a tough defensive line -- we have a lot of playmakers on the line I don't think we've had that consistent sack leader, but we've played well and we made some great plays. I think we're a great group, and we've had more depth at defensive line than any other year.
Senior WR Lavelle Hawkins
[On the mood of the team] Everyone is still little hurt, but we need to move on. There's nothing else to do but win these next four games. We have to focus on Washington State, we can't lose another one. We have to stop beating ourselves and make the plays we need to make
Senior LB Justin Moye
[On the mood of the team] We were right there. Things were going great for us. But that's just the way it is sometimes; things haven't been going our way. I think it will make us tougher as a team. Were going to try and get rid of this three-game skid. Coach [Tedford] has told us to take one thing at a time.
Senior S Thomas DeCoud
[On moving on from three straight losses] I think after three losses you are gong to be under the weather, but you have to stay focused and move on. There is a lot of character on this team and there is no quit from anybody. This is part of the growing process as a football player and human being. It will all make us better in the end. It is a gut check week -- we were at the top, now we are in the middle. But this season is far from over, we have four games left and we are going to keep our heads up and keep chipping away.