Dec. 1, 2003
Below are selected quotes from head coach Jeff Tedford's press conference announcing that Cal had accepted a bid to play in the Insight Bowl Dec. 26 in Phoenix.
On receiving a bid to the Insight Bowl
"I am very honored to participate in such a great game like the Insight Bowl. It is such a great opportunity for our program. It gives us a tremendous opportunity to play against an established program like Virginia Tech. I know our players are excited about it. They went through a lot to accomplish this, so I know in the coming weeks, they'll be very focused on the task at hand."
On the possibility of 2002's success carrying over to 2003
"It was a whole new team this year. As you know, we lost a lot of lettermen. So coming into the season we had to start over. And I am so proud of the way the team responded. Over the season, we have had a lot of setbacks, but we were able to endure and win four of five down the stretch."
On the chances of playing in the Insight Bowl
"We had a pretty good feeling that this was going to take place, but there were a few things that needed to happen to make it official. For instance, the BCS had to release Washington State from BCS Bowl contention. There was a press conference over at the Pac-10 office this morning. After that, Tom Hansen was able to tell us it was official, then we were cleared to except the invitation."
On team's consistency
"From time to time, I feel we play to our full potential. If you take the Washington game, that was the most consistent we played over a whole 60 minutes. The first half of the Stanford game was about as lackluster of a half that we've played, but we were able to come out in the second half and be really strong down the stretch. I think our defense has been really consistent toward the end of the season, and the offense has been consistent - outside of the fumbles in the first half of the Stanford game. But overall, I feel throughout the season the team has been maturing, and it showed in the second half of the Big Game. They did not panic and were able to rebound and win the game."
On the team's approach to the success
"We never really talked about it as a team. We just play one game at a time. But toward the end, what we needed to do to get to a bowl game began to get more and more publicized. It became evident to our players, especially after the loss to Oregon, that we needed the last two games, and that is when our leaders began speaking up at meetings and at practice."
On what a bowl means to the program
"I think it is great exposure for the program to play in a bowl like this. It is going to be clear to our team that they should not be happy to just be in a bowl game, but to prepare fully to have an opportunity to win the game."
On QB Aaron Rodgers
"I think his biggest attributes are his maturity and understanding of the game. He has grown so much and has become accustom to the game. I have spoken many times about how tremendous his maturity level is, and at times I lose sight of the fact he is only 19, because he handles himself so well, because he is like another coach on the field. The way he came in and ingested the offense the way he did, especially in the amount of time he did, it was unreal. I think his physical traits speak for themselves. He has an amazing quick release, strong arm and good escape ability, but I think his leadership, knowledge and command of the game puts him head and shoulders above any young quarterback I have ever been around."
On WR Geoff McArthur receiving second team all-conference
"I was surprised that Geoff was second team. He is 16 yards away from setting the all-time conference record, he leads the conference in yards per catch, and is second in the country in total receiving yards. I don't think you can do much more than that. But he played in a conference that has great receivers that had great years and get a lot of publicity. But I felt that if you were going off of production from this year only, Geoff should have been on the first team."
On Virginia Tech
"I haven't been able to see any Virginia Tech games this year, but I know they are a very good team, that have been to 11 bowl games in a row. They were ranked as high as third in the country this year, and are very well known for their explosive running game and great special teams play."
On the future of the Cal program, compared to Virginia Tech's recent success
"Our goal is to put Cal in the position to compete on the national level every year, and to be in a bowl game every season. I know it is a pretty gratifying feeling to Coach Beamer that he has had a hand in turning the Virginia Tech program around and making it into a national power."