Oct. 10, 2006
BERKELEY - The No. 10 University of California football team continues Pac-10 play this Saturday when it travels to Washington State, with kick off set for 2 p.m. (PST). Cal held its seventh press conference of the 2006 season Tuesday in the Hall of Fame room at the historic Memorial Stadium. Head coach Jeff Tedford and numerous players attended to speak with the press.
On the Washington State defensive line:
"It's excellent. You're not going to find a more physical front than these guys. [Senior defensive end Mkristo] Bruce, he's an all-around complete player. They do a really nice job of being relentless and getting after you. They do a nice job of making you hold the ball a little bit so the pass rushers can get to you. They're a very dangerous group that way. They can really pass rush. It all starts with the passion and the intensity they play with. They don't ever stop coming at you. The two inside guys are big and physical. Their linebackers are good, they play downhill at you. The inside guys aren't their big pass rushers, but they're the pluggers who can really plug up the middle and are hard to move. Their linebackers are able to flow and make a lot of plays in the run game. It's very solid, they're very well coached. They know what they're doing and they understand their schemes. It's a good group, one of the top defenses in the conference."
On the Cal offensive line:
"Our offensive line has been playing very well, in pass play protection schemes, but also blocking very physical for the run. We're in for a big challenge this week. This is the biggest defensive line that we've seen and it's probably the fastest defensive ends that we've played against. Not only Bruce on one side, who's big and fast, but the other guy on the other side, who's not quite as big at 220 pounds, but he is very quick and very fast off the edge. We're going to have our hands full this week with a very aggressive defensive front."
On playing in Pullman:
"I haven't been there in a really long time. I know it's a hostile environment; I've already warned our kids about that. There are a lot of things said to them that aren't very nice. We have to make sure not to get into a sparring match that way. They have it going there. Their students really get involved and it's a loud place to play. I just have my fingers crossed that a storm doesn't blow in. Hopefully we'll catch them early enough in the year that we won't have to deal with snow."
On WSU receiver Jason Hill:
"He's their go-to-guy no question about it. He can get deep on you and he catches the ball very well. He's a very dangerous guy. Brink does a nice job of getting him the football. He throws the ball where it's easy to catch, but he'll make the tough catches too. He'll dive for balls and he's a strong competitor. He's a guy that we have to keep our eye on because he can hurt you, as you saw last year, he went wild on us last year in the second half."
On Cal quarterback Nate Longshore:
"His decision making has been very good. He's done a great job of being smart with the football. It's easy to see going into the game that he has a good control of the game plan, and knowing where he's going with the football. He's made good decisions on where to throw it and when to throw it away. He's throwing the ball with a lot of authority. When he makes a decision, the authority and the confidence that he throws it with has been very impressive. I've always thought he was capable of it because he is a student of the game. He understands things very well. He's had the luxury of being on the board and being in game plan meetings since he was a freshman with Aaron (Rodgers) and Reggie (Robertson). All three of those guys really took the mental part of the game very seriously. If Nate makes a mistake in practice, in the game, he doesn't make the same mistake. He's throwing the ball about as accurately as you could throw a football. He slings the ball in places, not that he's forcing balls, but even if somebody is covering where he's supposed to be throwing the ball, he's putting it in places where guys can catch it."
On the Cal defense:
"We talked about playing physical on both sides of the football up front. The people who got our game balls this week were the front seven on offense and defense. The thing that stood out the most was how physical we played, how the defensive line got off the ball and got underneath their pad levels. There weren't any seams to really run in. Coach Gregory and his staff put together a great game plan that the players had a lot of confidence in. I thought it was about playing fast and physical and that's what they did."
On Cal linebacker Zack Follett:
"He's playing very well. He's a physical guy who can run. He has great instincts to the football and a very hard guy to block, especially if they try to put backs on him. He's really brought a great dimension. Our depth at linebacker has really helped us this year, at keeping people fresh and getting them involved in the game. He's played well. He's becoming a great leader for this football team. He knows when to be serious and having people do the right things."
On Cal running back Marshawn Lynch:
"It's nice to have Marshawn at full strength; hopefully he's feeling better today. I saw him walking and he doesn't have a limp. It's got to be frustrating for anybody when you have to play with a nagging injury every day. Hopefully he recover from this. I thought he was doing really well last week. I thought he had pretty much recovered because he practiced really well, but he reinjured it the other day when he got it caught underneath him. The x-rays were negative and we'll see how he does on the practice field. He's a premier player. The threat of the run game and being able to throw the ball to the guys with the speed on the outside is a nice combination. We're fortunate to have guys like (Justin) Forsett and Marcus (O'Keith). If Marshawn isn't 100 percent, they can go in and pick up some of the slack."