Sept. 14, 2004
Below are selected quotes from Cal head coach Jeff Tedford from his Pac-10 media teleconference call on Sept. 14. The Golden Bears' scheduled game against Southern Mississippi on Thursday has been postponed due to concerns with Hurricane Ivan.
How big a deal is it for the Bears to be ranked in the Top 10? Did you think you'd do it this quickly at Cal?
To tell you the truth, we haven't paid much attention to it. I know a reporter brought it to my attention yesterday. It's not really something we've been looking at. I think it's nice for the fans and for the alumni and student body. But as a program and as a team, we don't really focus on it.
You've worked with some pretty outstanding offensive units. What would you compare this year's Cal team to?
I think it has a lot of similarities to our team in Oregon the year we went to the Fiesta Bowl (2001 season). We had a very good quarterback in (Joey) Harrington and two very good running backs in Maurice Morris and Onterrio Smith. We had a solid offensive line and a solid tight end and a nice core of receivers. I would say that group is the closest one I can compare (this year's Cal team) to.
On instant replay potentially coming to the Pac-10:
I would be for it. If, economically, we could get that done, I'd definitely be for it. If it didn't delay the game and a system was put in place where we could do it efficiently. I think there's a lot riding on these games and you'd hate to see the outcome of a game be swayed by an official or an official's calls. Not to say they're at fault, but they're human. Sometimes things happen that they can't see. I don't think that's the reason we lost that game at USC (in 2002), but it has a little bit to do with the momentum of the game.
On the rescheduling of Thursday's postponed game:
The game definitely is postponed. We'll be in discussions on how we can possibly have the game played. I think the most logical time will be that first weekend in December. We have had some conversations with ESPN on what may be a good date, because this game was going to be on ESPN - which may be a good day for (ESPN) and Southern Miss. Right now, there isn't a concrete date on when we're going to make it up. Saturday is ruled out. We spent most of yesterday trying to find bus companies, charted flights, hotels - there weren't any. Plus the uncertainty of what the damage is going to be there, if it gets to that point. To try to take the team across country with so many uncertainties was not very logical.
Is it problematic not to have a game until Oct. 2?
The way we need to look at it is like preparing for a bowl game. Typically, when you prepare for a bowl game, you have this type of situation. We'll look at it that way. Of course, our guys were prepared to play and wanted to play and very eager to go play a very good Southern Miss football team. But it wasn't in it. We will treat it like a bowl game and go at it that way.
On how the Bears will practice until then:
Especially for the first week here, we'll go back to playing against each other like in camp to make sure we're sharp and getting the speed of the game. We'll do the same all through next week until maybe breaking up into scouts to get ready for Oregon State.
Is the postponement breaking up a pretty nice rhythm you guys had to start the season?
Yes and no. We had some experience and some nice leadership on the team. If you look at it like it was bowl game preparation, it would very similar. Last year, our preparation going into the bowl game I was very pleased with, so I'm confident that the leadership and the experience of the team will be fine.
About how conversations progressed between Cal and Southern Miss regarding the game's postponement:
It was very hectic yesterday. We were tracking the hurricane, we had a lot of calls from concerned parents. We have a whole sheet of about 15 parents who called with concerns. We were tracking it, we were calling people in Hattiesburg (Miss.), we were calling the hotel, the bus company, our charter flight company to see if we could get a date on the weekend. There's an expert on campus in regards to hurricanes. I called him at home to ask his opinion on it. He said it would be poor for us to take our team into this situation. We had to make a decision. We tried to communicate with Southern Miss and put our heads together to figure something out. At this end, as far as logistically trying to make all the plans and doing everything, we were running into roadblocks right and left, not to mention very concerned parents.
On Saturday possibly being an option to play the game:
That's not an option. We have no idea what the aftermath is going to be. If we were the home team in this, we could say, 'Yeah, come on,' but we're trying to get a lot of things done and it just wasn't coming together. We exhausted all of our efforts here. We wouldn't have a hotel there. (Southern Miss) said they would put us up at their team hotel, but they only had 55 rooms and we need 100. There were just a lot of things - the bus company said they weren't having buses because they were booked and trying to bus people out of the area.
Will the nature of the Big Game change with possibly having another game following it?
I don't believe so. I think the Big Game is the Big Game, and there's typically a lot of excitement for it. It is what it is. I don't think it will have any effect on that.
Did you think J.J. Arrington would come along this quickly?
I had high hopes for J.J. He really matured late in the season last year and did a nice job protecting the football. He got in the doghouse a little early (last season) for coughing up the ball, but as the season went on, he was very productive for us. He had a great spring and great summer and a nice fall camp. He doing what we thought he was capable of doing.
Is there anything surprising about the way your team has played so far this season?
It's still early. Early in the first quarter last week, we got behind 7-6. At Air Force, we couldn't get off the field defensively for the first half. We did have some setbacks there and I know they'll be a lot more. I was happy the way our team responded the past two weeks when we did have those. But, really, not I'm surprised by what has happened yet.