Oct. 12, 2004
BERKELEY - Below are selected quotes from head coach Jeff Tedford from his Oct. 12 press conference heading into Cal's game against UCLA. The Bears and Bruins kick off at 4 p.m. PT Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley.
On corrections in the Bears' special teams game:
A couple of the mistakes in the (USC) game happened with very dependable people. These are people where you can go out and watch 100 snaps a day and not see one low. You can go out there and watch (cornerback) Tim Mixon catch a ball one-handed, if he wants to. Those are things that just happened. It was unfortunate but it's not something we're going to press the panic button about at all. We have very capable people in those positions. It's not a question of desire, effort, scheme, anything like that. It was unfortunate, but I look for those guys to bounce back and do a great job as they always have.
On how the Bears have responded to the hype thrust upon them this season:
I've been proud with the way they've handled themselves. Going into last week's game, they were very well prepared and played very hard. I look for the leadership to again surface this week and get us back. Yeah, I'm very proud with the way they've handled themselves.
On losing receiver Chase Lyman for the season to knee surgery:
We'll have someone else step up, but I feel bad for Chase. The guy just can't get a break. He's been injured just about his whole career here. He's invested so much time and energy to become a great player, not only a great player but a tremendous leader for this team. It's very unfortunate that Chase is out.
There's a lot of guys on this team, that, when they touch the ball, they have a chance to score a touchdown. Chase was one of them. Can you talk about some other guys?
Our backfield - any time the ball's in J.J.'s (Arrington) hands or Marshawn's (Lynch) hands or any of those tailbacks, we feel like they're capable of being explosive, being very productive. Any time the receivers get their hands on the ball, whether it be something deep, they can make something happen. Chase provided a little bit of spark because he had great speed. We have some other guys that have very good speed - the younger guys who will have to step up now and hopefully provide that same spark for us.
Does Lyman's absence change your play-calling at all?
Not at all. We have guys who are plenty fast to get where they need to be.
After last year's win over USC, Cal lost to Oregon State. Do you worry about any emotional carry-over this week?
It's something we discussed, no question about it. We have to move on now. It's great that sometimes the players are more resilient than the coach. Sometimes, they teach me lessons. They practiced very well (Monday). (Monday) was the first time that we talked since the game. After the team meeting, everyone was great on the field, practiced very well. I think they understand we still have a lot of opportunity left ahead of us. I expect that today (Tuesday) will be a very high-spirited practice and very good preparation.
How hard is it for you to come off any loss, especially one of this magnitude? Does it stay with you for years and years?
No, it doesn't stay for years and years. It takes a few days though, that's for sure. The best thing to do is to jump right into the next game plan and go hard at it. When something like (the USC loss) happens, you have the tendency to look in the mirror and think, `What could we have done different?', `What could I have done different?' to help these guys. If you didn't think about those things, then history will repeat itself over and over and over again. So you will take some of that with you. Now we're on to UCLA. (The USC game) is over. We'll take the lessons learned from (USC), move forward and hopefully it makes us better.
How are Marshawn Lynch and J.J. Arrington different from former Oregon running backs Onterrio Smith and Maurice Morris?
Not much. All very explosive players. Probably the difference was the youth of Marshawn, but, physically, there's not a lot of difference there. Onterrio was a very physical back. J.J. has a form of that physical play to him. Onterrio was probably more physical than any one of them. There are a lot of similarities in having two backs like.
A number of teams that lost their first games dropped sizably in the polls. You only went down one or two places. What does it say about this program, at least from a national perspective?
I don't know. I guess it probably says (the voters) felt it was a very evenly-matched game. We came out on the short end of it. I think we proved that we can play at that level. So maybe that's what they saw - a team that played very well against the No. 1 team in the nation in their stadium with 92,000 people. Maybe that was it.
What concerns you the most about UCLA?
They run the ball very well. They're starting to throw it more and more efficiently. They bring a package of talented players with them on offense. Defensively, they can cause a lot of problems with their blitz packages and can get after you pretty good that way. While they're giving up some yards rushing, they're not giving up very many points. Right now, they're in a bend but don't break type of thing. They have the ability to put a lot of points on the board and the ability to limit you. So they're a very good football team, no question about it.
How do you deal with a breakaway threat like UCLA tailback Maurice Drew?
Same as we did last week with some of (USC's) guys. You have to gang-tackle him. You have to put a few hats on him or else he's going to break a tackle. If it's one-on-one with him, he will break a tackle and go the distance. He has the speed to go the distance. He has the strength and balance to bounce off people inside. He's a tremendous player. We have to gang-tackle.
As a coach, do you have to have patience when dealing with a young player like Marshawn Lynch?
I don't know if its patience, we just have to make sure we don't give him too much. I think it can go the other way if we put him in positions not to be successful. We're not frustrated that he can't do more or anything like that. We're very happy with his production and what he's done and how he's learning the offense and the role he's played so far. I'm sure as we continue, he will get more comfortable. I asked Marshawn a couple of weeks ago, `what's the biggest difference between high school football and college football?' He said `the speed.' I asked him what else. He said, `each week, the game plan changes. You don't run the same plays over and over again.' One week we could be this grouping and next week we could be that grouping. There's a lot of learning and preparation that goes on from week. Sometimes, young kids don't understand that. I truly think he understands that as we get going and that's experience.
On the possibility of playing freshman WR Robert Jordan:
He's been doing a great job. In one-on-ones and in practice, he really has tremendous speed, he's making a lot of big plays, catching the ball great. With Chase going down, we need to bring someone else into the rotation. It's time for him to move up and start helping us a little bit. I don't want to wait until mid-season or three-quarters of the way through the season when something else happens and now, all of a sudden, he has to start learning the offense at that time. He's going to be available to us and used in certain capacities.
Can you talk about what Bob Gregory has done with this defense?
You can't say enough about what coach Gregory and his staff have done in putting our players in position to be successful, especially with guys having to change positions. (Defensive tackle) Tom Sverchek last week had to move out mid-week and play defensive end. There's a lot of preparation that goes into that. We're very, very sound on defense. We're doing a great job of pressuring the passer. That all comes from hard work and coach Gregory putting these guys into position. The players are getting it done, no question about it. He does a tremendous job of taking things away and putting our players in the right position.
The UCLA players were saying this week that you really don't have any stars on defense, but that your whole defense moves like one to the ball.
That's key. They work on that. You've seen at practice where they do pursuit drills, and they get 11 hats to the ball. They really have a passion to play. They have a belief and a trust in what they're doing. They've become very disciplined. I think they understand the schemes now. We had so many junior college players playing last year that I think our experience in trusting the schemes and understanding the different responsibilities in the defense has paid off. Again, coach Gregory and his staff have done a great job with it. They all have a passion and a belief, and they play very, very hard.