Aug. 31, 2004
Below are selected quotes from head coach Jeff Tedford from his press conference heading into the Cal's game at Air Force. The Bears and Falcons kick off at 9 a.m. PT Saturday in Colorado Springs. The game can be heard on the Cal Radio Network (KGO Radio 810 AM in the Bay Area) and seen throughout most of the country on ESPN2.
On Cal's kicking game
We've made the decision that (Tom) Schneider is going to start being the field goal kicker and (Anthony) Binswanger will be our kickoff guy and (David) Lonie will do our punts. They are, they are very, very close. That's how we'll go into the first game. Schneider has really been impressive throughout camp. He's been a sharpshooter, the guy hardly ever misses. We have to see how he handles the intensity of a game; if he handles that fine, we have no questions in our mind that he is capable of being very solid as our field goal kicker. On Air Force
I think it's a little misleading to say that they only have six starters back. They may not have been six starters, but they played. There's a lot of guys on their list that made tackles last year, so we understand that they have played. Maybe they weren't listed as starters, but they have experience on the field. Don't be misled by saying that they only have six starters returning. You have to prepare for their schemes. It's always a little bit nerve-wracking going into the first game and not knowing what someone's going to do. Maybe they have changed and have some wrinkles here or there, but you know that they're going to run the option. That's what they do and they're great at it. There's really no need for them to change. We have to be very disciplined and prepare for that option. Is it any easier that you've faced them before (in 2002)?
Yes, I'd have to say that to have a little bit of experience with it is good. The tough part about it is that they know what we did with the option as well, so they know how to counter that. They know how we game-planed for them last time, so they can make adjustments there also. So there are pros and cons to that. On Cal's pass rush
We pressure the passer with more than four guys, with backers and safeties. We feel we're a little bit better this year if we do have to rush four. We feel that our defensive ends are a little bit better this year, because they're older now, they're more experienced and mature and physical. I feel that (Ryan) Riddle and (Ray) Tago are guys who can get after the passer, as well as play the run. I feel like with their maturity and their experience, they should be improved this year. As far as the coverage is concerned, the same thing is true in the secondary. Experience in the secondary, with Tim Mixon coming back, with Daymeion Hughes, who was forced to play as a true freshman last year and did a good job. Again, he is much improved because of his experience and knowledge. Harrison Smith improved throughout the season last year. Thomas DeCoud, it'll be his first go-around at it, but he's very gifted. He's one of those guys who's big and fast and can match up with the bigger receivers in our conference. On the offensive line
The offensive line has gelled fairly well over the last week and a half or so. I saw it in the beginning, we had to work some things out there. Offensive line play is so much communication, we had to get that group to gel together. I think in the last week and a half they have done that. I feel good about the chemistry that we have with the top eight guys that can rotate through and switch positions. On the tight ends
Craig Stevens and Garrett Cross are pretty much slash there. Either one could start, and they'll be rotating in and out. Right now, (Eric) Beegun is the third guy, and (John) Rust has been hurt through camp, so we need him to come back. What does Air Force do on defense that makes them so tough?
I think as a whole, because of their personnel, they don't have the typical 315-pound guys. They do have to do a lot of movement. There's a lot of deception that goes on schematically with the way they move their linebackers and stunt every down and cross their linebackers. They don't line up in a tradition 4-3 or 3-4 - they're stacked, which you don't see every week. They're unorthodox on defense, as well, so it causes you some rule changes in your schemes. They do some different things that make you prepare a little differently. Can you articulate the qualities that make your quarterback (Aaron Rodgers) elite?
When you look at the guy who has the intangibles of intelligence, competitiveness, toughness, leadership qualities, those are all the ones that really stand out. I think his physical abilities and physical traits are evident, as are his quick release and accuracy in throwing the ball. I think it's all those other characteristics that make him unique and strong. How much do you envision Marshawn Lynch playing?
He'll play quite a bit. He'll play on special teams quite a bit, and offensively, he'll spill in with J.J. (Arrington) and Terrell (Williams). He's doing very well. He fits as advertised, he's a real player. He's very fast, very strong, physical, very athletic, and could probably play any position on the field. You throw him any ball and he can catch anything. He's tough. But as a young guy, the transition to the mental part of the game, as far as game-planning and things like that, we can ask him to do certain things, but to put a whole game plan on him wouldn't be fair to him. If we don't paralyze him by having him analyzing things too much and just let him play, his physical ability will take over. He's a phenomenal athlete. How has J.J. Arrington looked during this camp?
J.J. is very solid. Yesterday he looked very fresh and was running very hard. He's done a great job. He's provided some leadership, as well. He's a lot like our other junior college players, who have something invested in the program now to where they feel they can take a leadership role. When you look at all those guys from Aaron (Rodgers) to Garret Cross to J.J. to (Joe) Maningo to (Ryan) Riddle to (Matt) Giordano to all those guys, now they really have something invested in the program and feel much more a part of it.