Nov. 10, 2009
Press Conference Video: Tedford (subscription)
BERKELEY - California head coach Jeff Tedford addressed the media during the weekly Cal football media luncheon held Tuesday in the Hall of Fame Room at Memorial Stadium prior to the Golden Bears' game vs. Arizona this Saturday, Nov. 14 (4 p.m. PT). Following are selected comments of what he had to say.
HEAD COACH JEFF TEDFORD
On the status of Jahvid Best
"He's still home recovering, said he's feeling a little bit better, so that's encouraging. But he won't be around until he really feels that he's ready to come back to class and all that type of thing, so we're not going to rush him at all."
On whether he has communicated with Jahvid every day
"Yeah. Text messaging, that's the best way to get him. His voicemail is not set up yet and so, text back and forth."
On any trepidations or concerns regarding a timetable for Jahvid's return
"We haven't even discussed that and that's really the furthest thing from our mind, is when he's going to come back to play football. The No. 1 concern is his health and his well being. If he doesn't play again this year, so be it. We haven't even discussed that and will not discuss it until probably much later on. Like I said, the No. 1 thing that we're concerned about is Jahvid's well being. That's going to be completely in the doctors' hands in making sure that he improves and he's back to 100 percent before we ever even talk about returning to the football field."
On what doctors have said about the severity of Jahvid's injury, its prognosis and his health
"We haven't talked about prognosis ... [but about his health,] that's kind of a day-by-day thing on how Jahvid feels. He's got a sore back and his thing, that night even and the next day, was a sore back and a headache. It's completely day to day to see how he feels. And then we'll talk about it from there. But we have not got into any long-term 'what's going to be,' nothing like that. It's just day to day on how is he feeling, and that's the question every day, is, 'How are you feeling?' Making sure that he's stable and there's nothing, no further complications or anything like that."
On his last communication with Best and whether Best offered any specifics on his health
"This morning, actually. We traded texts and he said that he was feeling better. Back was, like I said, his back's a little a stiff. That he's getting better but he still has a little headache, and his back's a little stiff, but he was doing better. That's what he said."
On Best's upcoming schedule for followup medical appointments or tests
"I know our doctors are in contact with him. They're communicating with him to make sure that he's doing okay and all that type of thing. I think he does actually have another appointment soon here, but I don't know. I haven't been in the loop with the doctors exactly when that is."
On whether Best is home with his parents
On whether he is comfortable with the concussion protocol on the team
"Yeah. I have a lot of confidence in our medical team and it's been the protocol here for a long time. We've been fine with it. We don't ever take any chances with that. We're very strict about that and don't even let them come back to practice before they're 24-hour symptom-free. So they don't even practice with that. So yeah, I'd have to say that over the years we've been very careful with that and we'll continue to be."
On the symptoms Best exhibited after the Arizona State game
"They were very minor. They were minor and he had a cold to go along with it. So he was, I think I told you guys this last week, was that they were very minor and he didn't say anything after the game, didn't know anything about it until the next day."
On the subsequent diagnosis of those symptoms as a concussion
"Well, when you say that, it's kind of - his ImPACT test, once they did his ImPACT test, was way ahead of what his Baseline [Concussion Test], his other one, so he was, on Wednesday he was clear. But like I said, he had a cold to go along with it, so he had kind of some flu symptoms. I don't know how you grade concussions. I don't know if there's a scale or anything like that, but like I said, they're in the doctors' hands and they're very careful, and they don't take any chances with that, and so I rely on what the doctor says. I never question, never doubt what the doctors say, because I know we are completely on the side of caution when it comes to that."
On whether Best was cleared on Wednesday to practice Thursday and subsequently play in the Oregon State game
On whether his clearance was in doubt after that point
"No. On Wednesday he had gotten cleared and practiced Thursday."
On whether there is reason to think Best's concussion against OSU was facilitated by his prior concussion the previous week
"Well, again, I'm not a doctor, but I think anybody who does that, how he landed like that, was - I don't know that there's any way around it, a guy falling on his head from 10 feet in the air like that. It was a very hard landing and I think anybody, first time, it was a tough fall, no question about it."
On the role TB Shane Vereen will play in Best's absence and his confidence in him
"We have a great deal of confidence. He's been such an integral part of the offense, so he's very experienced, very knowledgeable about what's going on, so a lot of confidence in him. But we don't want to wear him down so we're still going to make sure that we're substituting people in there - Coavughn [Deboskie-Johnson] and Isi [Sofele] - to make sure that Shane stays fresh."
On the impact Best's injury vs. Oregon State had on the rest of that game, both on the field and in the stands
"I have a hard time gauging what's going on in the stands, but I can tell you it was a very sobering experience for the team. I mean, frightening to see one of your guys there like that. When I finished with [being near] Jahvid [on the field], when I was comfortable with [him] moving everything and he was okay and things, when I told the team, when I went to them to tell them, they all had very big eyes. Told them he was going to be okay, that he had all movement and everything like that, and then you know, you resume with the football game. So the effect it has? I'm not sure the effect it has emotionally on a team or individuals. You hate to, you don't want to go and make excuses about not winning the game, but it was an eye-opener, I'll put it that way."
On whether he is comfortable with his players trying to hurdle defenders or if it's something he prefers them not to do
"We don't tell them yes or no to hurdle players. There's been people [who] jump over people and things like that all the time. I think it was a fluke. He jumped over [one defender] and here came another guy that kind of catapulted him even more, and I don't think he ever saw that guy. So I don't think it was necessarily the jump, it was the push that got him going and got him off balance. So, very unfortunate."
On whether that "push" on the play that ended with Best's injury points to anything that is needed from a rules standpoint to address that type of play
"I don't think so. I think it was an accident. I think it was a freak deal. I don't think the guy intended for Jahvid to land that way, so there's no animosity at all toward their player. It wasn't a dirty play at all. It's an unfortunate play that happened on the field. You get up in the air and you get tipped and you get upside down. I don't think there's - you can't blame anybody for it, it's just an unfortunate play."
On whether he agrees that Best's injury and subsequent pause as he was attended to lost the momentum the Bears created in their effort to overtake Oregon State's lead
"I would probably agree with that, yeah, because you know, when he went in [the end zone] everybody was - there was a lot of emotion at the time when you saw [the referees'] touchdown [signal] go up. Everybody was fired up, everybody was into it, and then all of a sudden, it goes very somber. So, was there a difference? Absolutely, without a doubt."
On the offensive line and how it is playing compared to his preseason expectations
"I think one of the things that we need to improve in is just finishing blocks. We get on guys and we need to finish blocks up there. Actually, I thought they protected the passer pretty well the other day. With all the things that Oregon State does, I actually thought they handled that fairly well for most of the game. But again, very important that we're able to finish things, sustain blocks, so that the backs have time to get through and make their plays. That's one area where I believe we can improve."
On whether the offensive linemen are going through a growth process to gain more experience and become more effective
"I don't know about that. I think a couple of them are young and the internal guys are pretty young. It's guys that - [Mike] Tepper's playing a little bit with a sore foot and things like that. And it's not everybody at once, it's here and there with different guys. And it's not just the line. When it comes to the running game, it's the tight end, it's the fullback, it's the receivers, it's everybody. We need to sustain blocks better."
On how to succeed at defending against Arizona's passing attack
"We have to make some plays on the ball. I think that's one of the things. I think our guys are competing for the ball but [the opposition is] coming up with them. And I thought [OSU QB Sean] Canfield did an excellent job of putting the ball where it needed to be to be caught. It's, again, defensively as far as throwing the football or [rather] defending the pass, it comes down to pressuring the passer, re-routing receivers, not letting guys run free, and then making plays when you're in position to make plays. So it's an accumulation of everything, it's not just one thing."
On how to pressure Arizona's quarterback against a line that has only yielded four sacks so far this season and whether that is a concern
"There's no question. I don't know that you're [going to get to Wildcats QB Nick Foles]. You can try to get to him, but they get the ball out so fast, that I don't know. [Even] if they just let a guy run free off the edge, they probably get the ball off. So there's a lot of times where they get the ball out very quickly. But that doesn't mean you just abandon the rush. There's going to have to be times that we mix it up and we pressure and we cover. So that's how we're going to have to go into it."
On whether the Wildcats get the ball out quickly by design, in part because Foles is a redshirt sophomore
"No, I think it's their offense, actually. It's what they do. They spread you and it's - they don't make their living off of throwing the ball down the field a lot. There's a lot of real short passes in there but it doesn't mean they can't throw it and they won't throw it down the field, because they will. But it's just what they do."
On what impresses him most about the Wildcats this year
"They have a lot of team speed. You look at them offensively, they have a lot of team speed offensively. They can run the ball downhill and so they can play the power game with you. Defensively, again, they're very quick. Their defensive line can run. They're not overly big but they are very athletic and they can run and make a lot of plays from sideline to sideline. Their backers run, good cover guys in the secondary, good special teams. They're just a very athletic team."
On whether Arizona's success this year is at all surprising
"No, they've been doing a nice job. Each year they've been very competitive. We've always had a hard time with them and so I just think they're improving each and every year. They've recruited well. They have a lot of team speed, they've recruited around speed and it's very obvious. They have a lot of playmakers."
On the skills and style DeBoskie-Johnson brings to the running backs mix
"Covaughn is obviously young but I think he's come a long way. I think in the time that he's played, he's shown that he can be physical. He has very, very good speed and he catches the ball well, so he's a good running back, there's no question about it. But he's young, and so every rep for him is going to be a learning experience."
On what will be missing in the Bears' attack without Jahvid Best
"You lost the leading touchdown producer in the conference. We all know what Jahvid brings to the table, but it is what it is. We're going to go on and we're going to play and we're going to utilize the rest of our players and we have other good players, but I think everybody understands what Jahvid brings to the table. He's one of the better players in the country."
On whether home field advantage means a lot this weekend against Arizona, with the Wildcats 1-2 on the road so far this season
"Yeah, I think it does ... When you play at Arizona, I know that's a hostile environment, and so when they come here, you leave the confines of your own stadium, you have to deal with crowd noise and so on and so forth, so I'm hoping. This is the last game of the year at home for us, the last game for our seniors to walk down that tunnel, and so I hope that the fans come out and pay tribute to our seniors and make it a home field advantage for us. A lot of that has to do with the fans, and so I'm hoping that they'll come out and give the team full support this week."