Dec. 18, 2006
BERKELEY - The No. 20 California football team will play Texas A&M in the 29th annual Pacific Life Holiday Bowl on Thursday, Dec. 28 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. The Golden Bears, who set a school record for average home attendance this year, have posted a 9-3 record thus far this season. It is just the 15th time that the Golden Bears have won nine or more games in program history. This marks the first time in school history that Cal has advanced to bowl games in four consecutive years. Kickoff for the Holiday Bowl is scheduled for 5 p.m. (Pacific). Tickets remain available by calling 1-800-GO-BEARS or by visiting www.CalBears.com.
Cal held its 14th press conference of the 2006 season Tuesday in the Hall of Fame room at the historic Memorial Stadium. Head coach Jeff Tedford and attended to speak with the press.
On preparing for the Holiday Bowl:
"We've had great practices. It's like another spring practice for us. The young guys get a chance to really get back in the flow of what we're doing offensively, defensively and special teams. It creates a lot of energy and excitement to let the young guys get out there and scrimmage. The older guys take a lot of pride in watching them and coaching them. We used the first part of preparation really to work against ourselves. We did a little bit of Texas A&M two days ago, today was all A&M and tomorrow will be all A&M. The guys are getting the feel for what the game plan's all about now and getting excited about playing A&M."
On his first recruiting class's final game at Cal:
"At the Stanford game, the last time they [the seniors] were coming down the tunnel, it was very emotional. This is the class that came in when we first got here and has really done a great job of laying a foundation. They have won a lot of games here and been to a lot of bowl games. I'm sure they're going to go into this one with the attitude of let's go, prepare our best and work our hardest to get a victory."
On Texas A&M:
"They're a very good football team. They're very physical on defense up front. They have linebackers who run very well and they have a very solid secondary. They really make you earn everything that you get. Offensively, they have a big tailback and a very good offensive line, but they really have a strong competitor at quarterback. It's really key to stop him because he's such a strong competitor, running the option and throwing the ball very efficiently. They have a big tailback; he weighs 274 lbs, so you're not going to bring him down with just one guy. You're going to have to get the ball and gang tackle him. They're a quality team, very well-coached and diverse on offense and defense. They do a real nice job."
On the Aggie defensive line:
"They're very strong at the tackle position. Their two ends are quick. Bennett is a guy who can really move and run, and he's very athletic. No. 92 on the other side is a guy who's not only quick, but he's very physical. You can tell they're a very physical football team, and their backers are very physical. They can rush the passer, they can play the run. They're just a real solid defense."
On Cal running back Marshawn Lynch:
"Marshawn has made huge progress, he runs a lot more physical now than he did two years ago. I think he's matured as a player, but I think any player, not just Marshawn, but any player, gets better every time they go on the field because there's always something you can learn."
On the Aggie special teams:
"They take a lot of pride in what they do. They have good schemes, but they have good athletes doing it as well. You give them a lot of space to run if you kick the ball down the middle. They'll make you pay for it. We're going to have to play very well on special teams, especially on kickoff coverage."
On the last time Cal was in the Holiday Bowl, in 2004:
"Last time we played in the Holiday Bowl, we didn't play up to our potential. I'll never forget looking up in the stands and seeing the crowd that we had there and the support we had and feeling very disappointed that all the support is here and we didn't play as well as we can. I'm really hoping that this year we're able to play to our potential. Whatever the potential does for us, so be it, but I don't think we played to our potential the last time we were there."
On senior fullback Byron Storer possibly missing the bowl game after breaking his arm on Saturday:
"He's been a great player for us on special teams and offense. He's been very reliable. One of the guys that makes this team tick is him. His passion for the game and his passion for Cal football is one of the best that we have. He's really dedicated. It's disappointing not to have him on the offense and the special teams, but more than anything for him, not to be able to play in one final game because it does mean so much to him."
"We have some quality recruits and we're very happy with that. We hope to be getting more commitments shortly, but we are pleased with the way recruiting is going. We have needs everywhere, but we lose a lot of defensive linemen. Both lines are a high priority."