Sept. 27, 2005
Below are quotes from head coach Jeff Tedford from his weekly press conference Sept. 27. The Golden Bears host Arizona Saturday, with kickoff set for 4 p.m. The game will be televised nationally by TBS and can be heard on the Cal Football Radio Network (Flagship: KGO AM 810, San Francisco).
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On Arizona's improvement this year:
"Great progress. They are much improved, and it comes as no surprise. I knew that coach Stoops would get those guys playing hard together, and they really do play with the passion. They fly around and they are doing better on offense. Their defense is always physical and very well coached. In both those games that they lost, they could very well be 3-0 right now. They are a very good football team, and we are going to have to play our best to have a chance to compete and win."
On Arizona's offense being better this year compared to last year:
"I think they are. (Quarterback) Richard Kovalcheck is more experienced now. Mike Bell has always been one of the premier backs in the conference. They have had a chance to work for a year under the same system, and any time you can do that and gain experience in a system you are going to be better. He was a young quarterback a year ago, and now he has more experience, so he is going to be better. They normally have speed outside, I know that (wide receiver) Syndric Steptoe is very fast and is a big-play guy; they have the capability to make plays on you."
On Arizona's defense:
"Two of the teams they have played this year have been shotgun option-type teams - Utah and Purdue. I think Utah had two 60-yard runs against them. They've got people out in space where they have really made some plays. But they are very physical, you are not going to stand there and pound guys all day long because they are a very physical group. It was just a matter of Utah and Purdue making some big plays with the option."
On Cal's defense giving up so many yards last weekend:
"I definitely think it seemed that way because of ball control. They (New Mexico State) made a lot of little first downs on third and three and third and one, those types of things. They did a pretty good job of keeping themselves out of real long-yardage situations. It seemed like they controlled the clock a little bit. If you would have asked me after the game, I would have totally been wrong because I was so upside down with them. I thought they probably had a lot of passing yards, time of possession, first downs. We had many more than they did in all of those things, but for some reason it didn't feel that way. It felt that they were on the field a long time. When you get teams that are so spread out like that, you have to mix things up with coverage, with pressure, with disguising three-man fronts, four-man fronts. You can't just give them one thing or they will get you."
On the schedule becoming more competitive now:
"There's no question that the conference is very competitive. It will be much more competitive, much more physical. Pac-10 play is just always that way. Each and every week is a dog fight out there. Our players know, not that they went into the first four games feeling like they weren't going to be competitive, but Pac-10 brings a little something extra."
On designed running plays for quarterback Joe Ayoob:
"I think he would be able to do that. He ran for three touchdowns last week. One of them was a quarterback sneak, one of them was on a quarterback draw and one of them was on a bootleg. In the Washington game, he did a nice job of breaking big plays. I think we were third-and-20 or 17, and he broke out of there and ran for a first down in that game. He has done a couple things running, but right now, we don't have a lot of designed runs for him in the game."
On the team not reaching full potential yet:
"I feel like our players have played really hard. The effort has been great through the first four games. Being a young football team, there is bound to be some adversity here and there. The key is how they handle the adversity and keep playing. They have proven that they will do that. I know that we all look for perfect games, but I haven't been around one yet. There are going to be times when things happen, and it's how we bounce back from it. I have been pleased with the way we have done that so far."
On the mistakes that special teams made last week:
"We tried to avoid and we got knocked out of a lane on the kickoff cover. They ran a little deception play, so they have you spread out all over the field. If one guy gets knocked out of a lane, we got knocked wide there. On the extra point and the field goal, they stressed us in a certain spot, that is something we need to do a better job of coaching and going over. That is something new that they hadn't done before to stress a certain area."
On tailback Marshawn Lynch:
"Marshawn will play, he absolutely will play. How much I don't know. It is still early in the week, we will see how he practices throughout the week. He looked fairly fresh yesterday. It is nice to see him running around out there again. I think the finger will be fine, I don't think that is going to be an issue."
On offensive tackle Ryan O'Callaghan:
"I think Ryan has gained a lot of confidence in his ability and because of his knowledge of the offense. There is no question about his athletic ability and his physical nature. I think he is finishing better this year, he is finishing blocks better this year, which makes him a real dominant player."
On O'Callaghan being the best offensive linemen in the league:
"I think he is one of the best offensive linemen in the league, there is no question about it."