Dec. 2, 2008
Below are quotes from Cal football coach Jeff Tedford and several players from Cal's weekly press conference with Bay Area media. The Bears conclude the regular season when they host Washington at 12 noon Saturday in Memorial Stadium.
Head coach Jeff Tedford
Can you talk about Washington's motivations coming into Saturday's game?
They will be very motivated. There are a lot of reasons for them to come motivated to play. Obviously, it is their seniors' last game, their last opportunity to get a victory. It is their coach's last game. All those things. They will be very hungry and very motivated. It is important that we understand that they have a lot of potential and a lot of ability to make things happen. It is going to be important that we have a great week of practice and preparation. The last time we played these guys, they embarrassed us. It is the only time that a team has run the ball like that against us in our time here. They ran for 360 yards and did it with ease. There is going to be a lot of motivation there for us, as well, to redeem ourselves because of last year's game.
After last year's performance at Washington, does it make it easier to motivate the team for this year's game?
It helps. It is our seniors' last game, their last time at Memorial Stadium. We also have a chance to go through the season undefeated at home, which is something that we talk a lot about - owning our house. It is a great opportunity to reach a goal that way. With all that being said, it is really important to prepare very well through the week. We are not going to just flip on the switch and expect that to happen. We have to practice hard and prepare well.
Jahvid Best still has a chance to win the Pac-10 rushing title, what would it mean to the line and team?
I think that would be great. Everyone would take pride in that. Not just the line, not just Jahvid, but the fullback, the tight end and the receivers. A lot of his long runs this year have been made possible by the receivers. Not only to get it started at the point of attack but downfield, the receivers have done a nice job blocking at the second and third levels. I think everybody can take great pride in that.
Can you talk about the type of offense Washington runs?
They run a multiple offense. They run a little bit of everything. They can get in two-back. They have a physical fullback. They can run the ball downhill. They can spread you out and throw it. They do a lot of things on offense. They have a physical offensive line. They are not just a two-back team. They can get in two-back but they can go two tight ends or four wide receivers as well. They can do a lot of different things on offense.
What is the strength of Washington's offense?
I think their offensive line is probably their strength. They can be physical up front.
From what you have seen on tape, do they look like an 0-11 team?
Not at all. You watch them on tape and you think that these guys do a lot of good things. They have the capability of putting it all together. I think their receivers can make plays. I think their quarterback is athletic and can make the throws. They can strike pretty quick on you.
Why do you think Washington has struggled so much this year?
I think they have been out scored a little bit in some games. When their offense has been going is some games, they have just been outscored. They can move the ball.
Why was Washington able to run the ball so well last year?
Going into that game we had quite a few injuries. But they knocked us off the ball in that game. They were more physical than we were in that game.
How important is the travel experience to a bowl game for the team?
If we do stay home [for the Emerald Bowl], I know we will make it a good experience for them. They will stay in the city. They will stay at the hotel. It will feel like a bowl game to them. They won't stay in their house, apartment, the dorms or whatever. They will be away from here and will go through the activities. I know that our administration and the bowl will do a nice job of making it nice for them. The convenience of practicing at home obviously is something that is kind of nice. It will feel like they are away because they will be out of their place.
Can you talk about the value of the potentially long practice period?
I don't know that we are going to have a long period. From my understanding right now, it is the Las Vegas Bowl or the Emerald Bowl. If it is the Las Vegas Bowl, which happens on December 20, it is like having a bye week and then you are playing again. It is on top of us right now. The Emerald Bowl, which is on December 27, obviously gives you more time to practice. But we are going to do what it takes to win this game; we are not looking forward to anything but doing our best to win this football game. Plain and simple - that is where our focus is, 100 percent.
This is one of the longest seasons in Cal's history from start to finish, has it been hard to hold the team's attention?
No, not really. You look back on it and is seems like it has gone by pretty fast. I know on the calendar it has been lengthy. No, I don't think that we have had any trouble with holding our team's attention, with motivation playing games or anything like that.
Do you still think it was a good decision to reschedule the Washington game to create and extra bye during the season?
I think so. I can't remember all the specifics, but I think we would have played 8 or 9 games in a row, something like that. That probably would have taken its toll. I think we are fine with this and there is nothing wrong the situation. The decision was made with the thought to give us a break and not have to play so many games in a row. I think that was a good decision.
Senior FB Will Ta'ufo'ou
On Washington: It's hard to say, but every year they play us tough. No matter what their record is, they're going to come out and fight. It's crucial for us to prepare, not for a Washington team but for a USC-type team.
On motivation: The seniors need to step up and make sure we don't get trapped. I think that's what happened last year. We went in there, thinking we were going to win. Hopefully, we're more mature and we've learned a lot.
Senior LB Anthony Felder
On Washington: I would assume that they're going to be pretty charged up. It's the seniors' last games, and I don't think they want to go out with a 0-12 record. It's [coach] Willingham's last game, so I'm sure there's some loyalty there and they're going to be playing their hearts out.
On Last year: I remember the defense getting beat up pretty much the whole game. It's really unfortunate because that's the only time I've been able to go back to Seattle and really play. I was sick that game. To lose in the fashion that we did was pretty embarrassing for us as a team and for me, in particular. I left that as the lasting impression of me at home.
Sophomore QB Kevin Riley
On goals for Saturday: We just want to put a solid game together. We really haven't done that completely. I want to go out there run the offense and do a solid job, hit the throws and make all of the right reads.
On the seniors' legacy: This group is more tight-knit and family-oriented. The senior class is a strong reason that we've come together. When things went wrong, they didn't let it get worse.
Senior OG Noris Malele
On Washington: I don't think anyone in the Pac-10 is going to come out and just go through the motions. It's just not the nature of this conference or this team. There is a lot of pride and tradition in that program.
On the possibility of going undefeated at home: We take a lot of pride in playing in front of our home crowd and protecting this house. In honor of the guys who came before us, we want to defend this place.
On soaking up atmosphere: I try to take in every minute. Now that I'm going into my last game at home, you really look back at your career. You think about the guys who paved the way for us.
Sophomore WR Jeremy Ross
On Washington: If we had a 0-11 record, I know our seniors would want to go out with a bang. They're going to have nothing-to-lose attitudes.