September 29, 1998
On Cal's offensive difficulties during the Bears first four games: "The key is to not focus on what has happened, but on what can happen. There are definitely things that, in the two days we have done to try to remedy the (offensive) situation. Instead of making general, sweeping assessments about what we are doing wrong, we have sought to identify some of the things that are happening, specifically about plays, and not so much that we can't run the ball. There are certain things that we can identify as things that we can not do with our personnel. We have to find ways to put our players in positions where they can succeed. This bye couldn't have come at a better time because it gives us two weeks to stand back, self-scout, identify our tendencies and really study and research individual players so that we can break down the films to minute details."
On the week off: "The week off really gives us time to prepare for our next win. We are not at a level now in our program where we can to start looking down the road. I think the good thing about (the bye) is that the biggest game since I've been here is this next week against USC. That is exactly the way we look at it. If we go down to USC and beat the Trojans, people will think of that as a great win. For us to have this time to really prepare for them will be time well. Part of that time is going to be spent on fundamentals. We have to get back to some of the mechanics and fundamentals, and we can do that this week. Our practice plan will be more like training camp, where we will go back to more isolated, physical drills."
On team injuries: "Andre Carter will probably miss practice this week. He could use the time off. It will probably benefit him. Pete Destefano is going to start running today and the likelihood is that he will be ready for USC."
On QB Justin Vedder: "He's got a sore shoulder on his throwing arm, so he'll either be limited in a big way or totally out for today's practice. The doctors are not convinced it is something serious, but it is sore enough so that he can't throw a ball. If he were ready to go to practice today, he would find a way of coming back. He gets himself ready, always. After the game, it was tough on the offense, and on every player, and he takes the brunt of it himself, because he does feel that he is responsible. Those are his feelings, not mine or Doug's (Cosbie), but his feelings."
On preparing backup QB Samuel Clemons: "Sam Clemons will get good reps this week. And maybe that is a good benefit for him, because we have the two weeks and he will be able to get more reps than in a given week, so that might help us feel better about the number of plays we can give him in a game."
On the progress of the offensive line over the first four weeks of the season: "To evaluate the season, the first game was not very good. The second game was better, and the third game was the best. Then last game, against Washington State, they took a few steps backwards."
On Freshmen Langston Walker and Brandon Walker: "He is a redshirt freshman, and he is playing like a good redshirt freshman. We wouldn't put a redshirt freshman in if we didn't think he was good. But he is making freshman mistakes, and so is Brandon Ludwig. Brandon is getting better, but he is still a little rusty and he makes a few mistakes here and there."
On Cal's offensive problems: "The drive-killers and penalties really take the glimmer off of the things that we have done well. I we can just eliminate those mistakes, I think you'll see a marked improvement. Obviously, there is no place else to go but up. We have moved the ball in stretches, but not at the critical times. We have gotten down to the red-zone, but not scored. Our third down percentage is atrocious. If you aren't good on short yardage, red-zone, and third down percentage, then you're not going to score."
On the wide receivers: "I think we need to block better at that position then we have been. If you look at the game, our wide receivers missed some blocks that were not necessarily going to spring guys, but blocks that we should have made. That position is competitive. I guess that is one of the things that is frustrating for me. There is a chance for somebody to go grab the number two spot, and nobody appears to be in a position to do it. It is there, and has been there for three weeks."
On using the offensive safety value: "One of the things that we talked about in the off-season was getting the ball to the backs, to the safety value, and we haven't done that. When we go through the progression, we are not usually getting to two before we have to get out of there, or if we get to two he is covered. Those are areas that we can work on in the two weeks. We need to utilize that position better and it is just a matter of getting them the ball, giving them opportunities, and then having them take advantage."
On the Pac-10 Conference: "There is not a tougher conference in the country. No one can debate it. There are better teams up at the top of some of those other conferences, but team for team, nobody can compare."
Reviewing the offensive struggles to date: "I'm certainly not ready to scrap the offense. We just have to eliminate mistakes. A lot of this stuff is mistakes. Most of the mistakes are missed assignments. Some of the mistakes are just guys not doing it physically."