Nov. 6, 2007
BERKELEY - Coming off a key Pac-10 victory over Washington State on Saturday, the University of California football team will close its 2007 home schedule this Saturday, hosting USC in another crucial match-up at Memorial Stadium. The team will honors its seniors prior to the game and at halftime, the 2007 California Hall of Fame inductees will be recognized. Cal hosted its 11th 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 the win over Washington State:
There is no question that if felt good to get a victory. It took a little bit of the pain away. With that being said, that was last week and this is this week. We're playing a great USC team that doesn't have many holes, it any. It's nice that the guys were able to enjoy a victory but it's right back to work versus probably the best team that we've played for sure.
On if USC is better with John David Booty at quarterback:
I haven't studied their offense enough to know the difference. Coach Gregory would probably be better suited to answer that question. He [Booty] has experience. That's the one thing that the guys who have been in battle can bring to the table is the experience and the knowledge of things. I haven't seen both of them enough to compare them.
On Nate Longshore's health after Saturday's game:
Nate was okay. Nate wasn't any worse on Sunday than he was going into the game. He came out of it okay. I think it's something that probably going to stick with him from here. It's very difficult to let something completely heal like that. Maybe in a couple of weeks from now when we get a bye, maybe he'll be able to recover a little bit. I don't see him recovering much in the next couple of weeks. I would say that if he continues to look like he does in pre-game, he will continue to start. Unless something happens through the week that he has a setback or that something gets worse with him then that would change. If he stays the way he was this past week then he would be the starter [against USC] obviously.
On Longshore running a couple of option plays:
Well I asked him before the game, "Can you run that?" He said yes. I was basing the decision off of that because we had a couple of times when we felt like we needed to that. So yes, he did fine with it. Unfortunately, we didn't block it down on the goal line so we had no chance. He moved the pocket, he did some boots, he did some things. He's well enough to do what he would normally do. He's not fleet of foot anyway.
On how the Cal-USC game affects potential recruiting:
I think a lot of recruits look at it, there's no question about it. There's a lot of eyes on it. As far as getting recruits or not getting recruits as far as USC is concerned...USC wins most of the recruiting battles. That's just the way it goes. We've had a couple. I'm sure that there will be eyes on that game. Any time that you can win a big game, for us, it always opens recruits' eyes.
On the Cal-USC rivalry:
We've been competitive. There have been competitive games for the most part. I don't know about "rivalry." I know that they're a great football team. They're one of the top teams in the nation. You always have to play your best to be successful. I don't really know what "rivalry" means because you need to prepare to play the same for every game in my opinion.
On the Pac-10 Conference:
Every week is a battle. Nothing is easy. To go undefeated in this conference would be very difficult just because there is so much parity in the conference. You factor in injuries throughout the year. We've probably had more injuries this year than we've had in the past and other teams seem like they've been banged up as well. All those things kind of go into it. The difference between nine wins and six wins is very minimal in this conference. Every week, the turnovers, the breaks, it's just really, really competitive every single week here.
On the Cal-USC game losing national attention since four or five weeks ago:
At the time, I remember saying, when everybody was getting carried with all that, that there was a lot of football to be played, and rankings meant nothing and so on and so forth. It was very, very early in the season. Are we disappointed that we're not undefeated? Of course. Reality says that we haven't played well enough and haven't put ourselves in the position to make this that national game that everyone was talking about weeks ago. I'm still proud of this team. Our team plays hard. We play our hearts out every week so I'm still proud of this team even though we've stumbled a few times. This is still a big conference game for us, maybe it doesn't have the national attention or the weight. If we would have played it four weeks ago, it probably would have had a lot more weight of course but that's the national thing. It still carries a lot of weight to us and it still, I'm sure, carries a lot of weight to USC.
On a team's success affecting recruits:
I think that any team that has success, that always helps them a little bit each year in recruiting. Does it help to be consistently good? Yes, I think it does. But I think even if one year a team plays really, really well and does some special things, I think they're going to reap the benefits of that a little bit. How much I don't know. SC is always going to get their share of their guys, that's the way it is.
On the long drives against Washington State:
Well we're trying to stay out of long-yard situations. I said before the game that we were going to need to be patient with the run game because they do such a good job of bringing everybody through the gaps and that type of thing. We ended up being in a lot of third and fours. We were pretty efficient on third downs, I thought, especially in the first quarter and really throughout the game, I think we were 12 and 19. We probably dropped three or four balls on third down, too, that could have kept that going as well. Those were long drives, I think one drive was a 17-play drive and one was a 20-play drive. We were backed up, they kept rugby-punting down inside there so we were backed up. It was nice to see us not only put some drives together and have some consistency there, but it always helps to keep the defense off the field, no question about it.
On doing anything to fire the team up for USC:
You don't really need to, in my experience with these guys, you don't really need to go overboard with any rah-rah stuff because they understand who we're playing. This is traditionally the best team in our conference and very well could be again this year. They're an awesome, awesome defense. I know they've had their struggles with some turnovers but they're the best defense in the conference, the best defense I've seen. I think our team will be ready, they don't need a lot of pep talk to know who we're playing.
CAL PLAYER QUOTES:
Junior LB Zack Follett
[On getting back to form] Yeah, it finally felt good [to have a full game vs. Washington State]. Coach [Jeff Tedford] let the leash go and called eight blitzes [for me]. I've been working lot of pass rush moves and a lot of film study which has really been paying off. Coach has also been on me to win the one-on-one battles, because that's what it comes down to. If I don't make the big play, then they [opposition] can get a big play and score.
[On USC] They have a great offensive line, probably the best we are going to be facing all season, and their tackle sure is good, so I know I'm going to have to give it my all. Their running backs also know how to block as well.
Junior LB Worrell Williams
[On USC] This is a great test for us. We came off a win and now we have to prepare for a team that is well coached and that has a lot of great players. We're trying to get a good game plan for them. This is still a big game for us. I haven't beaten them before, so I'm going to do what I can to help my team win.
Senior RB Justin Forsett
[On his final home game] It took a while for me to get back to100 percent. This is a big game for us this week, so I want to be more productive. It's going to be an emotional moment for me to come out of the tunnel one last time. Itwould mean a lot to beat USC. I'm going to give it my all on Saturday. They [USC] play fast, they have a lot of heart and they play very physical and very aggressive. It's going to be a good challenge.
Junior OL Noris Malele
[On USC] This is another big game for us and another big week. We had a chance to get back on track last week with a win. Their front four, and the rest of their defense for that matter, are very active. They have a lot of returning starters. Again, they are very active and have great speed. Having a lot of veteran guys they know the system and schemes very well.
Freshman CB Chris Conte
[On getting his first start against Washington State] I was really excited to get a chance to start as freshman. I never really anticipated it; I certainly hoped for it; it was a great opportunity. [Looking at film of myself] I see a lot of things to work on. There is always something to fix and always something to improve on.