Oct. 29, 2002
BERKELEY - Below are selected quotes from head coach Jeff Tedford from his press conference heading into the Bears' bye week. The Bears return to action Nov. 9 when they travel to Arizona State to face the Sun Devils.
Can you talk about the performance of the running game in recent weeks?:
It's something that we are going to have to address. I feel like we need to execute better. Last week, there were a couple of plays that got called wrong in the huddle that didn't give us a chance from the get-go. We are going to have to run harder and expect to make more yards in the run game. We will focus on getting back to basics to where we can execute what we're doing. That might be my fault in having to many run plays in the playbook, to where they don't feel comfortable coming off the ball with exactly what they're doing. I will tell you that playing a team like Oregon State, UCLA and USC has something to do with it ... the fact that they are very physical, moving constantly and are very stingy. But still, we haven't run the ball as effectively as we need to win. It's the line, running backs, tight ends and receivers. The run game takes all 11 guys. You can have an eight-yard run, but if the receivers are blocking down field it can be a 30-yard run. It's important for everyone to do their job in the run game. It's also important for the backs to run hard, have good vision and try to make extra yards.
Is there any correlation between having a 1,000-yard rusher and a winning program?:
My teams have always had a 1,000-yard rusher, so I don't know if there is a direct correlation. We need to produce one here at Cal. You can have a 1,000-yard rusher and not win, as well. There were times in my last years at Fresno State where we had a 1,000-yard rusher and we were sub-.500, so I don't think it's a must. Balance, more than anything, is important. To be able to throw and run, if you're throwing for 3,000 yards and you're rushing for a 1,000 yards then you're fairly balanced and usually successful. Anywhere between 100-150 yards rushing a game is a balanced attack. It's the loss of yardage that hurts you.
Is your offensive line getting worn out?:
Yes, I think they are. All five of them have been playing through injuries and have been sucking it up to get it done. It's the point of the season where we've played nine games and out of those nine games, six of those teams are probably Top 20 teams. I think we are a little beat up right now. I admire our guys playing hard through their injuries, but it catches up with you after a while. This bye week is right on time because we need to get healthy and refreshed. You look at everyone, they are all banged up. We'll let the backups play mostly this week, let the other guys get healthy and kick them into gear on Monday.
On being one of the highest scoring offenses in the conference but last in total offense:
If you look at our red zone production, we've been No. 1 in the conference most of they year. We've played on a lot of short fields, so we haven't had a lot of yardage. There have been a few times in games where we've driven 80 yards. There was one game that we had five scoring drives over 70 yards. We have had some drives, but we've been very fortunate that our defense has caused turnovers down close to the end zone. The special teams have turned the ball over quite a bit down inside the red zone. So, we've had a short field to work with quite a bit. The yardage thing I'm not so concerned about. The last two games, though, I am concerned about only scoring 17 and 13 points. You're not going to win consistently in this conference just scoring that many points. We have to find a way to score more points, but I am not concerned about the total offense. The whole key is putting the ball in the endzone when you have the opportunities.
On the injury situation:
I should've brought the injury list, it's as long as it's ever been ... almost two pages. Our team is banged up, but we've been playing through it.
What impresses you about Arizona State so far?:
The big play ... they are a big play team. Shaun McDonald is a big-play receiver and Andrew Walter is throwing the ball down the field. If you look at the touchdowns, interceptions and yardage, Kyle Boller is just about identical with Walter. They get the ball down the field and make big plays in the passing game. Terrell Suggs has 17.5 sacks, leading the nation, I think. He had 4.5 sacks this last week ... he's a phenomenal player. They play fast on defense, they are explosive and they can get after you. They are playing great right now.
Do you have any history with ASU coach Dirk Koetter?:
I know him because when he left Oregon, that's when I came to Oregon. We had conversations then, but we've always talked offense with one another. Also, we played against him last year ... that's about it.
On the punting game:
It's not consistent enough. Tyler Fredrickson has hit some really good ones and has bailed us out kicking out of the end zone. He's also done a really nice job with our red-zone punting. It would be nice to be a little more consistent, though. He's done a nice job at times of getting us out of the end zone. I don't think you put pressure on him, it's more about talking to him about fundamentals and techniques. Nine times out of 10 with Tyler, it's his drop. His drop becomes inconsistent, the tip of the ball will go down and he doesn't get his foot on the meat of the ball. We need to communicate and coach him, because when he gets it right, he can hit it.
When preparing for ASU, will you sit in with defensive coordinator Bob Gregory because you are familiar with ASU's offense, or do you just let him handle that?:
I will probably watch a little bit more of their offense this week to give Bob an insight into what they are thinking and how they are attacking. A good game to watch would be the Arizona State-Oregon game because everything is so similar. The defense is similar, so you can look at how they attacked Oregon and find out really what their thought process would be with us also.