Nov. 14, 2006
BERKELEY - The No. 17 University of California football team continues Pac-10 play when it travels to USC this Saturday. With a win on Saturday, the Golden bears will earn their first Rose Bowl bid since the 1958 season. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. (Pacific) and the game will be televised throughout the nation on ESPN on ABC. Cal held its 12th press conference of the 2006 season on Tuesday in the Hall of Fame room at historic Memorial Stadium. Head coach Jeff Tedford and numerous players attended to speak with the press.
On USC's running game:
"They're offensive line is doing an excellent job, and their back's [Chauncey Washington] running hard. He's a very physical guy, great speed. You can tell that he's really comfortable and running very well. They're doing a great job in all things. [Quarterback John David] Booty's throwing the ball well, and the receivers are great. They're very balanced."
On USC quarterback John David Booty:
"He's done a great job. He's very comfortable in the pocket. He's accurate with the ball. He's got zip on the ball when he needs to, and he can throw the touch ball. He's put some balls this year in places that only the receivers can catch it. He's very accurate throwing the football."
On the loss to Arizona:
"It just goes to show that you can't turn the football over and you have to take advantage of your opportunities against whoever you're playing. That's what happened to us last week. It was probably the first time we lost the turnover battle in a long time. To have one go back for a touchdown obviously hurts. But we didn't take advantage of our opportunities. We had the ball on the one yard line and didn't score a touchdown. It definitely reaffirms what the game's all about, turnovers and field position. Our field position was terrible. We were inside the 15 yard line, I think, six or seven times. Field position and turnovers are such a critical part of the game."
On preparing for the USC game:
"There doesn't have to be any extra motivation in this week's game, our players know what's at stake. It's important that they relax and execute. We can't go in there with so much weight on our shoulders and thinking about what it's all about. It's just about going out and executing the game plan against a great football team. USC's a great football team, there's no question about it. It's not going to be easy. It's going to be a battle, but our guys will be ready emotionally to play the game. It's not something you need to get them up for. I feel like our kids are "business as usual" every week. If we prepared any differently this week than we do any other week, then we should be doing that every week. I hope when we get to practice today, the focus is just like it is every week."
On preparing to go into the L.A. Coliseum:
"Just focus on what happens between the lines. It's about us as we go into the stadium; we're the ones on the field. It's about staying together as a team. What happens between the lines is what's important. Of course it's going to be a hostile environment. Last time we played there, it was a pretty wild scene and I'm sure it's going to be the same way. It's very important that we go in there as a family, understand that it's us against everybody else there and stay between the lines. That's where it needs to takes place."
On how big the Cal-USC game has become in recent years:
"They have been the elite team in the conference over the past few years and rightfully so. They're a great football team; we have a lot of respect for them. They're very talented and well-coached in all phases of the game. To win this conference, you have to go through them. That's not as easy as just saying it. They're a great football team. When we beat them in 2003, it was a huge win for this program. It's very difficult to beat these guys because they are so talented and so well-coached."
On the USC wide receivers:
"Steve Smith is so fast and he has great hands. He lays out and makes all the catches. Dwayne Jarrett is a physical specimen. As big as he is, he can run, get up, challenge for the football and make great catches. They're probably two of the best receivers, the best tandem, that we've played against."
On the Cal cornerbacks:
"Daymeion Hughes has played very solid. He's got great instincts out there and made a lot of plays on the football. Syd'Quan Thompson has done well for a first-year player. Syd continues to improve each and every week and has played very solid for us. It's going to be challenging for them, because those [the USC receivers] are two good players. It's going to be a major challenge for our corners. I don't think Syd's going to be intimidated, he's looking forward to the challenge."
On the USC defense:
"They're very physical, fast, athletic and active. They're the No.1 defensive team in the conference for a lot of reasons. They have a lot of talent, not only up front, but at linebacker and their secondary. They do a lot of nice things on defense. They run very well to the ball, all of them do. Their defensive speed is very impressive to watch on tape. They don't give up very many big plays. You don't see any really long touchdown passes or any big plays. They're very good at what they do."
On the Cal offense:
"We're playing fine. Last week we didn't play to our potential, but the week before I thought we played pretty well. Last week we didn't play as well as we're capable of, but it doesn't change my mind about our offense. I still think our offensive line is playing well. I have a lot of confidence in our running back, our quarterback and our receivers. Sometimes it has to do with what people do against you as well. You have to give other teams credit for things that they do. You have to give Arizona credit. They're one of the best defenses in the conference. Arizona is a great defensive football team."
On Nate Longshore:
"Nate's a first-year player and he's done a fabulous job, no question about it. Every week out is a learning experience, it always is for a quarterback. It's another game to him. Nate can't go into this game thinking it's any different than any other game that he's played. It's the things they do on defense and the speed of the game that they play with that he's going to learn from. It's not so much the experience of the game, it's what happens on the field that he gains experience by."
On DeSean Jackson:
"He's very talented and has made plays on offense and special teams. He's definitely an explosive guy and a great player and we're happy he's on our team. He chose to come to Cal and we're very happy about that. Very rarely do we get a guy that USC has really gone after. It's nice to have him here."