Sept. 25, 2002
Below are selected quotes from head coach Jeff Tedford from his press conference heading into the Bears' next game against Washington State. Cal will host the Cougars at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28 in Memorial Stadium.
Can you look back and tell us if you found anything wrong with those dropped balls vs. Air Force?
I think sometimes are guys were a little anxious looking to run with the ball before they caught it. There where quite a few of them, there where eleven of them, and that is going to mess up, damper your offensive flow a little bit and the first half we couldn't get anything going. The first couple of series we dropped some balls and the interception, that was unfortunate because that was a very good throw also. We just need to concentrate a little bit more on the ball.
Are you going to make any changes on the guys?
No the same guys will play, I have confidence in their ability, we are not going to panic about it. We are going to just work hard this week. We just talk to them about going out and having a great week in practice and rededicating themselves. We'll focus on catching balls, catch extra balls and get their confidence back. We trust them.
On the differences between WSU QB Jason Gesser and back-up Matt Kegel
Well I don't think it really matters because they run the same offense with both guys. With Gesser he is a little more slippery where he can get out of the pocket and make some things happen, Kegel is very athletic also, but Gesser is the type of guy who can break some tackles and get out in the open. They run the same offense though, it's not like they switch to a different offense when the other guy comes in.
What is Matt Nixon's status?
Day to day right now, he didn't practice yesterday, we will see how it looks today, and continue through the week. He said the exercise he did yesterday he felt fine, there where no ill effects afterward. So we will see. I don't know today yet, I will get the report after practice to find out how he did in his treatment today, to see if he had any swelling or anything after yesterday's workout.
How about anymore injuries?
Junior (Brignac) practiced yesterday. He is coming along. Chase (Lyman) is still a week away. Junior still has a little bit of a gimp, but he is getting closer. He is working very hard, the trainers have worked him very hard and increased his running and his rehab. He could be just around the corner to help us.
What's going on with David Grey? Is that a new injury?
No. Grey has had a shoulder problem since camp, and we've come to find out it was a problem that he had in high school. He had a banged up shoulder all through camp, he practiced in camp with both shoulders taped. We have to watch out for that thing, as it's not responding very well. I think it's a situation of an old injury that might need some kind of repair.
Has Grey played more then 20% as a red shirt?
No, he has not and he may be eligible to red shirt.
What is Junior's (Brignac) stance on red shirting? Is he up against an NCAA age limit?
No, I don't think so because he came in fine, he is ok, but we wouldn't red shirt him unless he just could absolutely not play. He is anxious to play, because he is an older guy and red shirting is problem not an option for him.
How close is your team to where you expected or want them to be to start the conference at this point?
We've made a lot of strides. We played in all types of games now-we've played in games where we have been way ahead, we've played in games where we have had some adversity at halftimes, we've played some games where it has been back and forth a little bit. I think we have experienced all of it. I feel good that we have been in all the situations you can be in. I feel good about our team's attitude, their enthusiasm, their preparation. I think they work very hard during the week andI look for that to continue. I think we are where we need to be right now, and the mental make up of our team has been positive.
Along those lines, You have three solid weeks where everything went well, now how do you deal with adversity?
Yesterday they were upbeat. When we talked yesterday, we were definitely upset about the lost, but it was a situation where our team realizes what it takes to win. They realize that they have to prepare and they have to focus and you have to make plays. I have no doubt that they will have a great attitude through practice this week. They did yesterday and worked hard and they were enthusiastic. They realize now that we are going into league play and we have to be prepared. I don't think the loss last week dampered their confidence or their attitude, they just realized what it takes to win, and we didn't quite get it done.
Do you think it is easier or harder to not look ahead?
There is no way we can ever look ahead, we didn't look ahead last week, we understood what was in front of us. I think we are very good at worrying about one thing at a time, that's really our staff's attitude, and I think that has really has rubbed off on our team. They think about one week at a time, one day at a time.
Has playing Air Force helped you at all in preparing for Washington State?
They really don't help you schematically. They may help in situational type things. Schematically they are so different they anyone else we'll play. In all three phases of the game they really try to be unorthodox in what they do. I think it shows us that you can game plan each week against something different. Which you have to do anyway because each team you play will be different. You have to game plan differently against each opponent. It was just kind of to an extreme with Air Force.
Did you think your guys did a good job in protecting Kyle during a blitz?
No I thought besides the very first series where they twisted and we didn't pick up the twist, we had enough guys, but we didn't recognized and didn't pick up the twist. Besides that I thought our guys did a nice job in protection for the most part. Air force plays very hard. If you watch how those guys come at you they are relentless. They play very hard-they don't stay blocked, they don't stay on the ground-and Washington State is very similar to that.
While no one on the Air force team played collectively very, very well or very hard, the two defensive ends for Washington State are very fast. As I was telling someone when you get the defensive ends with the single digits on their jerseys, you better watch out. That normally means that they were a running back somewhere done the line. Those guys can really rush off the edge. They are very fast and they are very physical inside and quick. Their team is built on speed, and defensively they have always done a very nice job with the speed and getting after the quarterback. Schematically I don't know if they would cause as many problems as maybe Air force would, because of the unorthodox style of Air Force.
On whether he would prefer to play a team like Air Force every year?
Air Force has always demanded a lot of respect. They can beat anyone on any day. But they are so different than anyone else. I don't know about the rest of the military schools, but even if you had all of camp to prepare for it, it's not something you'd like to play against every week.
What's the key to stopping WSU's offense?
Pressure on the passer. Watch the screen, stop the screen, watch the draw-all those things the defensive line is supposed to do. You have to press him, you can't let him sit back there because those receivers will get open sooner or later. They are very rangy and sometimes even when you have them covered they are going to make plays.
Do you use any of last year's games as preparation for now?
Everybody who prepares for us offensively are not watching Cal's last year offense, they are watching Oregon's offense. They are totally different. Defensively the schemes are totally different than the schemes are this year. It really does no good to watch anything from last year.