Sept. 4, 2007
BERKELEY - Following a key victory over Tennessee in its season-opener on Saturday, the University of California football team has now turned its attention to Colorado State, this Saturday's opponent. The Golden Bears hosted their second weekly press conference on Tuesday at the Hall of Fame Room at historic Memorial Stadium. Saturday's game will be televised live by CSTV beginning at 11 a.m. (PST).
Head coach Jeff Tedford and numerous players attended to speak with the press. Here are Tedford's comments:
On improvements going into week two:
There are a few things I think that we can get better at, we had a couple penalties on offense that hopefully we can resolve, and defensively, I think the natural thing from week one to week two is to improve your tackling. I thought in the open field, we missed a couple times and that's really hard to simulate because you don't practice live enough because there's always that fear of getting injured before the first game. I would hope going into our second game that we would improve in tackling.
On being ranked in the top 10:
It does nothing for the team as far as I'm concerned, we'll practice the same way, we'll prepare the same way. We've already had that talk about what's going to be the biggest question. I asked everybody on the team, "Guys, what do you think the big question is going to be exactly?" They all said "Letdown." There's enough leadership that this team understands last week's over and this is a whole new week. Colorado State is a football team that came here and beat us a few years ago on our home field so they're a good football team and we're going to have to play our best to be successful.
On what stands out about Colorado State:
They play really hard, real hard, pretty good tacklers, pretty physical guys. They always have the reputation of being tough, tough guys and that stands out.
On preparing for the altitude:
The only thing I can say is that there's enough guys on our team now, that when we went to Air Force a couple years ago and we took the team to Tahoe to practice, they remember the lessons that were learned then in that you feel gassed a little bit but don't worry, don't panic, because you will recover and that's something we've already talked about in camp, about that type of thing, about recovery and we will make sure and cover it again.
On DeSean Jackson getting the ball more:
There were probably 12 or 15 plays that could have easily gone to him. You're always trying to find ways to get all of them [receivers] the ball, to keep them all involved. You have plays that you think, "Ok this is going to go to Rob or to LaVelle or to DeSean or to Jahvid or to Justin or to the tight ends," so there's only one ball, that's the way it goes. You just try to get him involved in the game. I thought last game, they all had great attitudes, they were great at the end of the game. They all really made contributions to the game, and each week it may be different. I think [Lavelle Hawkins] Hawk had seven catches and DeSean had four. This week, DeSean may have seven and Hawk have four, but who knows? Nate does such a great job with those guys, of keeping them going, keeping them focused on what the job is and not worried so much about individual stats and thinking more about winning the game.
On if he prepares differently during the week when going on the road:
No, not really, the only thing is that this is going to be an early game. So, we've acclimated our bodies through camp with 6:30 wake-up so it's really important that through this week, the players continue to wake up early so that their body chemistry and their clock stays the same because our wake-up call is going to be somewhere, 6:45, 7 o'clock when we get there. So it's important this week that they don't sleep in, if they don't have class, to [not] sleep in until 11. They need to get up and keep that same thing going as we did in camp because it is an early start.
On Jahvid Best's playing time/performance:
He will continue to contribute in certain ways, and James Montgomery, as well, to get him involved in what's going on. We're playing Jahvid this year, so he's not just going to play on special teams; he needs to contribute on offense so there are things that he will do on offense as well to give Justin a break. The three-back rotation, it's a little bit difficult to get all three backs in there but Jahvid will definitely make a contribution on offense as well as special teams. I still think that James would be the every-down-back; I don't know that Jahvid's ready to be the every-down-back and that would be the big difference right now.
On the knot in Tedford's stomach mentioned in last week's luncheon:
I sure do [have a knot]. It's about making sure that we play to our potential, what are we going to do to make first downs; that's where we're at today. What are we doing on first and second down and start looking at third downs and how we're going to convert third downs. It never changes, each and every week and I have the same feeling in my stomach at the same time, trying to find answers to put the players in a position to be successful because that's our job as coaches. We have tremendous confidence that if we can put our players in position and they have the answers to the test, that they will execute and do just fine. I've never not had [the knot].
On Nate Longshore greatest strengths:
I'd say leadership, decision making, accuracy with the football, the things he's doing with our offense right now, the handle he has on our offense is excellent. He felt the timing of the game very, very well. If you look at the biggest difference in this year and last year, he's so comfortable back there and our offensive line played so well to give him that luxury. He's just so comfortable right now with what's going on with our offense.
On the strong Cal offense:
I was very pleased with the execution. There's little things we can get better with. I think if one thing stood out to me, it was the play of our offensive line. I thought our offensive line, not only were they physical, they pass protected very well, they hustled down field. If you watch things, like on reverses and such, our offensive line is 25-yard downfield, still blocking people. When you have a quality line like we have, it can afford you a lot of opportunity to do things. It starts with them. I think our 2004 team was pretty explosive as far as the same type of thing--tight end, receivers, running backs, two running backs--so we're pretty similar to that team. The difference between last year's team and this year's team is probably the maturity of our receivers. I think our team speed is better than , with all three of our receivers range from 4.2 something to 4.4 and that's legitimate speed. Everybody says they run 4.4, but they really do.
On assessing his play calling:
I don't know, I guess average, I don't really look at that. I think we were six-of-13 on third down. I think we had chances to make plays. It was fine. The players that are doing it, I didn't have a lot to do with the plays, it's the players that are executing the plays and they work very hard in preparation to be able to execute those things. You can call whatever play you want but if they're making mistakes and not executing, it's not going to work, it comes down to the players.
On having too many offensive weapons:
The thing is our reads are going to take it to different places, but it's nice to know that if the read does take you some place that the chances of that guy winning are pretty good. Very few of our plays, very few, are saying this ball's definitely going to this guy, it's all depending on read, recognition, route diversion, so on and so forth. That's where the ball's in Nate's hands as far as making reads and going to the right place with the football. It's almost impossible to say, "This ball's going to that guy on this play," because they could do something to take it away.
On Justin Forsett's rushing performance:
It's nothing really new. A lot of people have asked about Justin fitting in the place of Marshawn, but that's never even been a thought. Justin was a 1,000-yard rusher two years ago, he's as solid as they come, he's a great back, and he's physical. I think a lot people had questions, "How physical is Justin?" because he's short but Justin's very physical, he has great balance, he runs hard so he's a great, great tailback. We've never had a doubt, a thought, nothing about Justin being our tailback.
On lingering injuries:
It was very, very physical last week and thankfully, we don't have any major injuries. But it was a heavyweight fight last week and we have some guys that are banged up; there's no question about it, it was a very physical football game. We need to recover from that, we need to practice smart so that we can recover from that. Again, I have great confidence in the leadership in this team that if we practice smart that they will still be focused on what's going on without having to beat them up. Last week was a true test on how physical and fast something could be and I thought our guys handled the test very well. But it's important that we're fresh going into this game, we cannot be battered and beat up.
Target on Jackson's back as a Heisman Trophy candidate:
He really hasn't talked about that, we don't talk about that at all. DeSean was great last game, had great attitude, hustled, played hard, and he was as happy as anybody, he loved to see the ball being spread around all the weapons and things like that. He's handling it really, really well.
On over-confidence after beating UT:
I don't think so. There's one thing that I've always been impressed with our team, and that is whether we're successful or not, they always take the field the next day with the same workmanship. They don't get giddy with wins and they don't get overly down when we don't win. I think we'll be fine. I think our guys will take confidence out of it, which is a good thing, but I don't think they'll be over-confident.
On sophomore tight-end Cameron Morrah:
He's had a great camp, he's a guy who's really improved with his blocking skills so now he can stay in there for run plays and still get down the field, he's a big target, he's got great range and he can run. To match him up with linebackers is a pretty good thing and he's got great hands. He's got a great understanding of our offense now, he doesn't make mental mistakes. When you have two tight ends like that, if you go to a two-tight-end package, with Craig [Stevens] and him, gives you a lot of options. I've been very impressed with his development. I think as we went through bowl preparation last year that he just got better and better. I think it's a maturity level to understand what it takes to play that position, the investment that needs to be made, both mentally and physically for him to be a blocker, for him to understand everything we ask the tight ends to do, which is a lot. It may be the second-most demanding position on our offense because protection, route conversions, run-blocking schemes, all those types of things, route running, it may be the second-most complex position on the offense.
Senior C Alex Mack
On offensive improvements:
We can't be content with just one game [Tennessee] and stop right there. From there we have to improve and learn from our mistakes and hopefully every week get better. As an offensive line we just want to get our blocks better, use our hands better, move our feet better ... I just enter practice with the mindset of, "what mistakes have I made [in the game] and how can we improve?" I don't think you can have a perfect game, and we haven't done that yet, so there is always room for improvement. We have a really good offensive line and we work really well together, and each week we hope to get better.
Senior WR Robert Jordan
On Cal offense vs. Tennessee:
We were taking care of the little things, it's all technical. If everyone's doing they're part, then we will be successful like that every week."
On traveling to Colorado State:
We will probably get over the elevation [factor] after the first drive. I haven't seen them on film yet, but I'm sure that they will be pumped up on Saturday to play us. We will approach this game the same way [we did Tennessee].
Senior S Brandon Hampton
Afterthoughts from Tennessee game:
That first game, you don't really know how things are going to go [from a defensive perspective]. From there you see what happens with the people you have in there and you adapt as the game progresses.
On preparing for Colorado State:
When you have a national championship on your mind, you have to compete and win every week. Saturday [against Tennessee] was great, and we were happy about that, but now we have to prepare for the Rams now. We have a new task at hand.