Oct. 19, 2004
Below are selected quotes from head coach Jeff Tedford from his Oct. 19 press conference heading into Cal's game against Arizona. The Bears and Wildcats kick off at 4 p.m. Saturday at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz.
They play hard and fast. On defense, they're very athletic and really fly around the ball. They have a very strong secondary, very good tacklers, very sure tacklers. Their two defensive ends are athletic. On offense, it's the same thing, with Mike Bell. Mike Bell's a very explosive guy who can get free, runs hard, can go the distance ... They are very good tacklers. The best tackling team that I think we've faced this far.
On Arizona's season
I think that they've had opportunities to make some big plays that they haven't capitalized on. They've had some receivers behind the defense and they haven't been able to hit them a couple of times, against UCLA, specifically, that I saw. Besides that, I think defensively, they play pretty solid, they don't give up many points. They only gave up nine to Wisconsin. They're plus in the turnover category. Against Washington State, they had that game won, and unfortunately they lost that game in the very end.
On Arizona's quarterback change
I don't know. I haven't seen him (Richard Kovalcheck) enough at this level of play. I know I watched him in high school, he's a very good player. He was highly recruited and a very good player in high school - a big, strong-armed kid. I know he has tremendous talent. It'll be interesting to see him get in there and get his opportunity.
On Cal's offensive efforts against UCLA
We did a couple of things on third down that were kind of unfortunate. We did a side adjustment and got a ball batted down. For the most part, I felt like we ran the ball efficiently, felt like we threw the ball efficiently. We've been catching the ball extremely well for the most part. It's like I told the team last week, when you're quarterback completes 23 straight, guys are catching it, and that's key. Our guys have been doing a nice job of that. And our offensive line is playing very well.
On Cal's special teams
Some of the pooch kicks, we need to a better job of executing and get the ball deeper down there. That's something we need to work on. We need to keep the ball inbounds, not kick it out of bounds. Those are key. The punt return that (UCLA) had, there were three, maybe four blocks in the back. It was disappointing that blocks in the back right out in the open didn't get called. We had guys covering, we had guys out ahead of the coverage, and got blocked in the back. Besides that, I think the things that happen against us are magnified, but the good plays on special teams - like Marcus O'Keith recovering the onside kick and us protecting the punter very well to punt it out of the end zone - those are all key plays in the game. It's the turnovers that we're having on special teams that we need to limit. The game before, we fumbled a punt. This game, we fumbled a kickoff. We have to do a better job of securing the football in special teams because that's where were turning it over right now. Return men are the same. We're going to continue to evaluate our kickoff situation. We can't kick the ball out of bounds, that's a continuum. Those were a matter of poor kicks.
On kicker Anthony Binswanger
Tony's mechanics seem fine. He's within himself. He's just hitting the ball wrong. He's not consistent with how he hits it. We've been placing it in certain areas, and he's been the best at placing it for us. But there are times when he doesn't hit it right, and it goes out of bounds. Consistency is the key there, and we just have to keep working with him.
On Cal's lack of serious injuries
I do think that we are very well conditioned. I think Coach (John) Krasinski, our strength and conditioning coach, does a tremendous job, not only in offseason preparation, but our in-season program is very efficient. Our players do a good job with it. I do think we're in great condition. Injuries are funny, I do think you have to have a little bit of luck to not get banged up like that. We don't spend a lot of time talking about injuries or worrying about them. They're a part of the game and we just move forward. The other guys have to step up and play.
On Cal's recent history against Arizona
Each year is a new year. Now it's a different coach, a different system. Seeing what happened in the past really has no impact on what we're doing this year.
On J.J. Arrington
Coach (Ron) Gould did a nice job of recruiting him. We felt like he had the ability in junior college, could catch a ball, could block, could do a lot of those things. As he has matured and learned the speed of the game at this level, he really plays at a different speed. He's very, very aggressive. and understands angles. He's entrenched in our offense. Last year, I think he was feeling his way through it, because of the learning process. Now that he understands everything that he is doing, he can play unconsciously. There is no question, his ability level is very high.
On keeping Cal's focus against Arizona
That's what we have to make sure our team understands, that these guys have been close to winning quite a few games. These guys are right on the edge. We're going to have to play our best and execute. We can't afford ever to take any time off. We have to execute, or we know that in this conference any team can beat you. I feel confident that our team is mature enough to understand that.
On Geoff McArthur
Geoff has tremendous body control in running routes. He has very good feet, he's very quick, he's strong, he can get guys hands off him, he can move you one way or another on the line of scrimmage. Not very many people are going to get up in his face and jam him, because he does have quickness, he has speed and he has strength. He's precise in his route running; that's key and he understands that. I think one of Geoff's best attributes is that he has tremendous concentration on the long ball. A lot of people, when you're running full speed and you have people draped all over you, can't come up with those catches. Geoff has proven time and time again that he can catch the long ball.
On Cal's passing distribution
Coverages are what dictates where you go with the ball. If we're throwing the ball underneath to him, it probably means that whoever was over the top was covered. We're throwing the ball where the defense dictates.
On J.J. Arrington's demeanor and how it has affected Cal's success
He has not been a guy who has been too high or too low ever. Even last year, the way he handled the little bit of adversity when we sat him down after a couple of the fumbles, he continued to work hard, he didn't go in the tank. The same thing is happening now that he's having a little success. He's the hardest working guy on the practice field. You watch him touch a ball on the practice field, he takes it the distance every play and hits it hard. It's very rare to even get a smile out of J.J. J.J.'s very calm and collected and not emotional one way or another.
On Aaron Rodgers
I think his preparation is great. He's a student of the game and he's very intelligent - that's key in our offense. He's doing a great job of that. He's very efficient throwing the ball, making great decisions. I think he's as good as any of them (other quarterbacks Tedford has coached). As many things as we do on offense, as many concepts as we do, you have to have a guy back there that can handle all that. That's what I was so amazed with last year, the amount of time, or the lack of time, that it took him to pick that up. He is a very smart guy. Aaron always had a very efficient throwing motion. We had to work a little bit on his shoulder placement, his ball placement, his feet, as far as his drop was concerned, and his throwing motion as far his follow through a little bit. Besides that, Aaron is very natural as a thrower.
On backup QB Nathan Longshore
He's another one who's very intelligent and done a great job of picking things up. We wouldn't want to play Nate - hopefully can redshirt - but he's there in case of an emergency. He's picked up enough of it (the offense) and his skills are getting better and better everyday, and he's a very hard worker - very consciences, really coachable, I think Nate's going to be fine. If you mention something to him that he needs to work, he'll take it upon himself to work on that.
On J.J. Arrington playing at the next level
He's very physical, he has tremendous balance and vision and speed. He can cut. In a hole, he's got it all. He's powerful enough, he can run through tackles. He catches the ball very well. He's a very good blocker. He's an all-around very good back.
On Marshawn Lynch
He's a special guy - not only in his physical skills, just his mental make-up of the confidence level that he brings. He's a breath of fresh air to be around, there's no question about it. He is very well liked on this team - a great team player and just a tremendous competitor. It's hard for me to believe it, when he has the ball in his hands, that it's the same guy that you're laughing and smiling and joking with, because the guy is a fierce competitor. I don't think he realizes what he's doing or where he's at, which is a good thing. He doesn't see any pressure. Maybe it just comes from being so confident with his abilities. Going to the game, he's not one of those young freshmen sitting in the back of the bus biting their nails; he's laughing and shaking everybody's hands. And he's done a great job of preparation for the games, mentally, to pick things up the way he has, which again is a tribute to him and Coach Gould, because they have spent a lot of time together.
On Lorenzo Alexander
He's a phenomenal leader, he really is. Again, he has a lot invested in this program. He's a guy that you can't get off the field. If he were hurt, you would have to actually tell him to get off the field or he would condition everyday. That's just the kind of guy that he is. He leads by example. In the last year, he's been a little more vocal in his leadership, which is very much welcome. He's a tremendous young man who's a great football player. If I'm an offensive coach, game-planning for our defense, he's the guy that's going to stick out, there is no question about that. You have to make considerations for him. When you have guys like him and (Brandon ) Mebane and Tom (Sverchek) in there, those guys are doing a really good job in there. Coach (Ken) Delgado has done a great job with the defensive line. They're very well coached, they play very hard, disciplined, use their techniques, tremendous guys to have on the field.
On Chase Lyman
After Chase's surgery, he said, "Coach, I'm going to go home for two days, and then I'll be back." He comes rolling down the ramp in his wheel chair the day after surgery. He does not want to be away from here. I had dinner with him the next night, he asked how practice was. I said, "Not good enough." The next night, we ate dinner again together, and he said, "Was it better today?" I said, "Yeah." He looked at me and kind of smiled and shook his head - like the message got from him to the team that we needed to practice better. For him to have a concern about how were practicing, when he just ended his career two or three days earlier with the surgery, is the type of guy Chase is. The sacrifices that he's made. I saw (Kyle) Boller in Hawaii this past summer. He said that he called Chase and asked Chase to come, an all-expense paid trip to Hawaii. Chase said, "No, I have a commitment to my team I need to take care of." Chase said, "No, my team is more important." It's easy to see why Chase still has the attitude he has towards this team.