Sept. 7, 2004
Below are selected quotes from head coach Jeff Tedford from his press conference heading into Cal's home opener against New Mexico State. The Bears and Aggies kick off at 3:30 p.m. PT Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley.
How is New Mexico State's option different from the option you saw last week?
The option this week is not a triple option, with all the precision and deception that the Air Force option provided. (New Mexico State) is good at what they do, but the deception that is there that comes off the Air Force option creates a lot of problems. If we're disciplined in our lanes, as far as taking the quarterback on the pitch, then we should be fine. Did preparing for Air Force help you for this game?
Oh, I'm sure it did. No question. There are a lot of things about playing Air Force that allows you to go on. They do a lot of cut-blocking, low-blocking, so it really got our guys to play with their pad-level down and get their hands down and shed some blocks. So there are a lot of positives coming away from playing Air Force. What are your priorities this week?
Nothing's changed. The schedule (leading up to the game) is exactly the same. We're going at it in preparation the same way. What we need to do is make sure the guys who do have a couple dings are ready to go. We don't have any serious injuries except for game bumps and bruises. This is a shorter week as far as game-planning is concerned so we're really going to have to focus on our assignments. On Cal's halftime defensive adjustments against Air Force:
To get the whole defensive staff together and draw it up and talk it through is more conducive to do it at halftime. I know some of the guys (defensive line coach Ken Delgado and linebackers coach Justin Wilcox) were on the sidelines trying to communicate with (defensive coordinator Bob Gregory) about what needed to be done. It really just solidified it to take 10 minutes in the locker room at halftime and talk it through. I'm sure that the players understood it all coming from one voice. Once that happened, we were much more efficient at defending the option. On recovery from week-to-week game fatigue:
More than anything, preparation time is shorted. Physically, I think our guys will be recovered in time to play the game. It's the preparation time that really gets narrowed down. Players are ready to play in that amount of time. I think by the third day, physically, they're feeling up to playing again. But if you're practicing hard for three days, you need those extra two to recover. Five days is about right. Seven is optimal but you can get it done with five. On player selection for Saturday:
We will use the guys we need to win this game. We're in no position of having the luxury to say `we're going to hold this person or that person if they're needed to win the football game.' If we're doing fine and the game is going how we hope it goes, then we may save someone to give them time to heal. But it has nothing to do with next week or a short week or whatever. On New Mexico State's season-opening loss to Arkansas:
They're a much better team than they looked last week. Arkansas big-played them last week. They threw some jump balls up in coverage where Arkansas happened to come down with the ball. Arkansas made some big plays on them. But it wasn't because of schematic errors. It was just one of those games where it looked like everything went wrong and Arkansas made all of the plays. (NMSU) was ahead of Oregon State last year 13-0. It just didn't work out for them this week. I understand the suspensions happened late in the week and that probably had an effect on them. Not to mention that Arkansas is a pretty good football team. On freshman TB Justin Forsett:
He's very talented, no question. His first experience at game-time, I think, was a little rushed. Normally there's some cutback lanes that he sees in practice and he was maybe a little anxious in his first game. But as he gets a feel and speed for the game he has tremendous vision and balance. The more he plays the better he'll get. On playing time at the back positions:
Those guys are helping us on special teams: covering kicks, being gunners on the punt team, being hawks on the punt return team where they're blocking outside. Marshawn did an excellent job on blocking for (Tim Mixon's) punt returns. He's strong, physical and can run. And he enjoys doing it. That's a good sign. On safety Ryan Gutierrez:
0 He's a guy who's competitive and tough. Understands the game. Good tackler. Plays injured. I can't say enough good things about Ryan. He's without question one of the keys leaders on our defense. He sets a tone with how he plays the game, his physical aspect, how he hits people. He's definitely an asset on defense. On tone-setting plays:
Any physical play that you can have in a game sets the tone. If a receiver comes across the middle and he gets lit up, that sets a tone. It sets a tone for the next time he comes across the middle because he may think twice about it. I think Gutierrez, Matt Giordano and Donnie McCleskey - when you come across the middle, you need to be aware of where they're at because they'll put a lick on you. If a quarterback is going to throw you into coverage, they're going to feel it. On New Mexico State's defense:
They play hard. They're multiple - they do quite a few things. They have probably five-to-six schemes that look similar to each other, so they disguise things very well. They do a lot of movement up front and when they bring the blitz, they come really hard. The thing about their defense that gives it the potential to be good is the way they can do all their different things from the same look. Will you have a good, physical advantage on the lines this weekend?
(NMSU) isn't really big up front defensively, but they are big and they do move a lot. Teams like Air Force, maybe they don't have the physical stature that some of the people in our conference have but they make it up for it with their quickness and their movement. On Chase Lyman's play:
Chase is a difficult guy to cover. He catches everything, he does have great size and great speed. He has a great understanding of the offense where we can put him in any position on the field. He's a good blocker, excellent receiver, he has the speed to get behind people and catch the underneath thing and make it go the distance. It's nice to have guys like Chase and Geoff and Jonathan and Burl. All those guys are very solid and it makes it difficult to load up on any one of them. But Chase is our fastest wide receiver. Impression of kicker David Lonie:
Lonie did a nice job in the game. He didn't get a chance to punt very much, but did a nice job of punting the ball inside the 10-yard line twice. I think the one coming out of our end zone, he didn't hit it like he can. But I thought he handled things very well considering it was his first game. On the player's choices of road-game uniform combinations:
I love it. Our players voted on it. They feel good about themselves. You know the saying, `you look good, you play good.' They like having the ability to mix and match, which we can with our away uniforms. We can wear gold pants and white jerseys or white pants and white jerseys. We give the players the option of what they want to wear. I think for them to have an investment in the program and some of the control and ownership goes a long way with how they feel going into the game.