Sept. 11, 2007
BERKELEY - After emerging with its first road win of the 2007 campaign at Colorado State last weekend, the University of California football team returns home to play its last nonconference game against Louisiana Tech on Saturday. Tickets for the game are available by visiting www.Calbears.com or by calling 1-800-GO-BEARS. The Golden Bears hosted their third weekly press conference on Tuesday at the Hall of Fame Room at historic Memorial Stadium. Saturday's game will be televised live by Comcast Sports Net beginning at 3:30 p.m. (PST).
Head coach Jeff Tedford and numerous players attended to speak with the press. Here are Tedford's comments:
On Louisiana Tech:
A lot [of they're pass rushing success] was the blitzing they brought against Hawaii. They're a very talented group; they have speed; they're talented up front. They do a nice job when they're going to come after you, they going to out-man you and blitz you. When they do do that, they're coming hard. They do a real nice job with their athletes. They're running the ball very well, I think 200 yards a game and they have two running backs. They have physical guys, great balance and speed. That's definitely a key for us in this game is to try to stop the run or at least to control the run a little bit.
On how the team is feeling:
We'll know more today when we go out to the field to practice. I know that in our meeting on Sunday that they heeded the warning of "you can't let down anything" and we need to make sure that we play better and don't commit penalties and things like that because anything can happen in a game. It was quite evident last Saturday that even if you're up by three touchdowns, the game's not over until it's over.
On playing backups late in games:
We always have to wonder when the right time is to [substitute players]. But we talked to the team about when they do go in, they take the same passion and same execution with them because you'd like to them to gain some experience there. We had everyone warming up to go into the game to gain some experience and all of a sudden, before you know it, it's a six-point game. It was unfortunate that we couldn't get some other guys in but circumstances said that we had to put the starters back on the field.
On having three talented running backs:
That's why it's important to have depth at that position, it's a physical position and there's time where you're going to need to draw on three to four running backs and it's nice to be able to have that luxury, to have quality depth at that position.
On DeSean Jackson's quick touchdown making the defense go right back onto the field:
They were right back out there on the field and they had been on the field for a long time and that's when we really needed to call on some of our young guys, they got in on the defensive line they got some quality minutes there and gained some experience. We would have liked to take a couple minutes off the clock and let the defense rest but it just didn't happen. That's where we have to make sure we're in shape and make sure that we can rely on our depth at certain positions.
On the health of the team:
There are definitely bumps and bruises, no question about it, but that's football, it's going to be that way all year long. We just have to make sure we practice smart and that the guys do a good job of getting in and getting rehab and getting treatment and sure that they're ready, so that their bodies are physically ready to play.
On selecting running back playing time:
It's more of a feel, Coach [Ron] Gould, our running back coach, he has a gauge and a pulse of what's going on there - seeing how they're feeling, talking with them and communicating with them, so he takes care of that.
On Louisiana Tech:
They're explosive, there's no question about it. We're going to have to hopefully hold them down a little bit, we can't let them get in here and go up and down the field. They're very talented. Hopefully our home-field advantage with our crowd will help us a little bit and make it a hostile environment for them to play in. They're a talented group and we'll have to be very disciplined and on top of our game to try and control them.
On the Cal linebackers:
[Junior linebacker Anthony] Felder had a great game, somewhere around 15 tackles, so he did a nice job of hustling on the field. Then when [senior linebacker Justin] Moye comes in, Moye can play any of the linebacker positions, he really is a very valuable guy to us in our defense because of his experience and his knack of play-making, he really does a nice job that way. We typically get pressure with our linebackers, when we blitz our linebackers and things like that. It's been two games in a row when we've had linebackers come free off the edge and make big plays for us. When they blitz, they blitz hard, if you leave them one-one-one protection with a running back, they normally will win that battle.
On balancing practices with down time in between games:
There's definitely a balance there. Last week, on Tuesday, we didn't go in full pads, we just went in shells because we were kind of beat up. Today we're going in full pads and tomorrow we're going to go in full pads so we're going to get some speed and cross over offense and defense on both days. Again, try not to beat guys up in individual drills and things like that.
On sophomore defensive tackle Tyson Alualu:
He did a nice job at that defensive end spot. He hustles, he plays really hard, it's nice when your d-line can, when you're just bringing four, can get some pressure and win some match-ups. I thought he did a nice job there, not only in pass rushes but did a nice job in the run game of holding his gap and securing his gap so he's playing real solid.
On junior linebacker Anthony Felder:
He was really something special as a freshman. He's been kind of hampered with the injury bug though [last year]. When he's healthy, he's a very, very good player so it's nice to see him contributing to the team because I know he's worked very, very hard through the summer in preparing himself so that he hopefully does not continue to be injured. Sometimes it's something you can't help but he definitely brings some talent to that position when he's healthy.
On freshman defensive lineman Derrick Hill:
I think he understands a little bit better what kind big-time football's all about, that you don't just show up, that there's a lot of work and preparation that goes into it, both mentally and physically and I think that he's probably taken that lesson. It was unfortunate that he wasn't able to play in camp but now I think he realizes the preparation, being in shape and those type of things are very critical to what he's doing.
On competition within positions:
It makes sure that everybody doesn't fall into the comfort zone on a low performance level. We want to make sure that they're pushed every day and that they're practicing well because then those habits will carry over into the game so it's nice to have competition at those positions.
If rankings influence Cal's practice/strategy:
No, we never talk about anything like that. We're not going to change anything that we're doing. If we change now, we should have been doing it all the time so it really doesn't matter what we're ranked because our preparation needs to be at the same level every week so we'll continue to prepare the way we've prepared for five years.
Cal Player Quotes
Senior OL Mike Gibson
(On Louisiana Tech) They're a well-disciplined team; they're really good. They're a traditional style team and they play hard and physical. They are a bit bigger than Colorado State. They are a lot like Tennessee, in terms of being bigger and more physical, which as an offensive line, we like.
(On finishing games) That's the big part about this year - last year we had a letdown against Arizona we don't want any letdowns this year, no matter who we are playing, what time of the year it is, what team it is, we just have to keep playing hard, play our type of game and worry just about us.
Senior WR Lavelle Hawkins
(Afterthoughts on Colorado State) I think this last weekend showed that it can happen to us [a lower-ranked team defeating a ranked team]. It was just one of those days [referring to sluggish offensive output]. The balls were missing by just a little bit.
Senior LB Justin Moye
(General) The last couple of games we haven't tackled as well as we should have. This game is going to be really tough because their running back [Patrick Jackson] is a hard runner. He is not big, but he reminds me a lot of [Justin] Forsett because of the style he runs. So we have to make sure we tackle, or he'll run all over us.