Nov. 15, 2004
Below are selected quotes from head coach Jeff Tedford from his press conference heading into No. 4 Cal's match-up with Stanford in the 107th Big Game. The Bears and Cardinal kick off at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley.
On this year's Big Game
This is special, this has a different flavor, a healthy environment that a lot of people get very, very excited about - this fall especially, having a full house of 74,000 fans and the excitement just becomes along with that. It is just a tremendous game. It always has been a great game and very, very close game, so I think that it is probably going to be a very, very close game again.
How is this game to the Civil War between Oregon State and Oregon?
It has a similar flavor, as far as rivalry is concerned. The Civil War between Oregon and Oregon State is kind of a massive game, and they get after each other a little bit. I don't see that as much here. I think both teams have tremendous respect for each other, and the alumni have tremendous respect for each other.
On the Washington game
I think you have to give credit to Washington. It was a home game and very emotional for Washington. Their seniors came out very hard and did a nice job. I don't want to take anything away from Washington. I mean I attribute a lot of that to the way that they played. The atmosphere was a little bit more quiet than normal up there, and I felt like those guys did a nice job of rebounding and coming back in the second half. You have to give them credit for the way they played. They played a good game.
On Geoff McArthur's 16-catch, 245-yard performance in last year's Big Game
There is no question, we needed that performance at that time. Geoff is that type of player who can make things happen. He is pretty reliable, as he always has been. So there is no question about his performance that day.
On this year's Cal team compared to Tedford's past teams
The year that we went to Fiesta Bowl at Oregon I think is very similar. Joey Harrington was the quarterback and we had Maurice Morris and Ontario Smith at running back. They both rushed for 1,000 yards apiece and there was tremendous balance that year in the offense, as well.
On ranking/postseasons distractions for the team
I don't think it is an obsession at all. I think we are very committed to what we are doing. Right now, we have tremendous respect and trust from the seniors and we really haven't talked about that.
On BCS rankings relation to the Big Game
We try to maintain a level of focus of about one week at a time in our preparation, and that has been the message to the team all year long. And it will continue to be the message - the BCS has nothing to do with this game. Stanford is a good football team. I know they'll be well-prepared and ready to play. And we're going to have to play our best to compete with Stanford. We don't talk about (the BCS) as a team. I'm not naive. I know our guys see that on TV, but I have tremendous trust that our team realizes what's important and that's preparation and focus one week at a time.
On Cal's seniors, who were freshman during the Bears' 1-10 season in 2001
The seniors now have been through a lot. A lot of the guys here today were part of that 1-10 season, so they've kind of seen it come full circle. I know they're tremendously proud and they should be because of their hard work and dedication and trust in one another. One thing about our team that I'm really proud of is the belief and trust the kids have in one another. That's what I've seen that has been the difference in these three years. You could ask our seniors and they could tell you a bit better, but that's the biggest difference I've seen since I first got here until today.
On team expectations when Tedford game to Cal
Coming in, we talked about competing for a Pac-10 championship and then at a national level. We're very fortunate. We have a great coaching staff - they're very dedicated and they've done a great job with the kids. We have tremendous character on our team. It's a pleasure coming to work every day. We're just really proud of what our kids have done. It's a tribute to them, to their hard work and dedication.
On coping with injuries I think that overcoming injury is a part of our character. I think every team goes through it, I'm sure Buddy (Teevens) and his team have guys who have had to play through an injury, as well. We have our share (of injuries), there's no doubt about it. I think that that is part of the game. Great teams are able to play through some of that (injuries). I have tremendous respect and admiration for a guy who has done that.