Nov. 13, 2007
BERKELEY - After dropping a close Pac-10 game to visiting USC in its final home game of the year, the University of California football team travels to Seattle to play the University of Washington on Saturday. The Bears have won their past five meetings with the Huskies and with a win, would secure their sixth consecutive winning season under head coach Jeff Tedford. Cal hosted its 12th weekly press conference Tuesday at the Hall of Fame Room at historic Memorial Stadium.
Head coach Jeff Tedford and numerous players attended to speak with the press. Here are Tedford's comments:
On UW's Jake Locker:
He obviously brings a dimension to the game with his running ability and the option, and things like that, that they do, which is very dangerous. He's a big, fast guy, a very physical guy, so that brings a dimension to the offense. I'm sure that the other guy can do some of it but Locker is definitely a guy who does it very, very well. We have to prepare for that. The passing game probably is what it is, whichever guy is in there, so we have to prepare for both.
On Nate Longshore taking responsibility for the loss to USC:
I thought that was pretty big of Nate to take responsibility for that. It's not just Nate. I think the very obvious thing to do is to pile on the quarterback. Nobody sees missed gap responsibilities. Nobody sees missed blocking assignments. Nobody sees that. It's very evident to the eye because it's all focused on what the quarterback does. Nate has done a lot of really great things for us. For anybody to pile on Nate, I think is very unfair. He just happens to be the focal point. The other day, to play against USC's defense and to be as efficient as our offense was for most of the game against that defense, that's doing something. He did do a lot of good things in a very tough day weather wise. Sure, the last ball, does he wish he could have thrown a little bit further? Yes. But he was trying to be a little bit too perfect and not let the safety come over and get it and get it right over the corner's head. The guy made a play on it. He's the same guy that threw the touchdown pass to Lavelle Hawkins, too, down the middle of the field when the ball was soaking wet. The same guy that led the team 90 yards in 17 plays. I think it's really unfair to pile on a college quarterback who is competing as hard as Nate's competing and has done so much and still does do a lot for us. I thought it was very big of Nate to shoulder the responsibility of it. But by no way shape or form is it all on Nate's shoulders.
On Longshore paying attention to media/critics:
I don't think you can escape it. I think it's impossible to escape it, no matter what. I'm sure that out there on campus or in public or whatever, you hear things. I don't know if he reads the paper or whatever. I don't think there's any way around it. Part of it comes with the territory. The good times, there's a lot of praise that comes with that position, and the bad times, there's a lot of criticism that comes with that position. It's just the way it is. When I talked to Nate, I said, I don't know a quarterback yet, be it Kyle Boller, be it Joey Harrington, be it Aaron Rogers, whomever, there's a lot of first-round draft picks who have gone through tough times and have had to shoulder some criticism for things. It does come with the territory. But it still doesn't mean that it's right to pile on a college quarterback. He's not getting paid a million dollars to play this game. He's a college athlete who goes to school and does everything just like everybody else and lays it on the line every week. I just think it's unfair to pile it all on Nate. It's not right.
On the team's support of Nate:
I didn't notice one way or another, to tell you the truth. I hope that they're very supportive of him, I think they are. I would be shocked if there was any dissention that way. I think Nate's very well-respected for his work ethic, for what he goes through: in practice through pain through the week, his preparation both mentally and physically, in what he does as a leader for the this team throughout the summer, throughout the spring, and through the whole time. I think he's very well respected on this team.
On UW's defense:
They're an experience group. They have quite a few seniors on the team. They play very, very hard. They're very well coached. They play really hard. They mix things up enough to keep you off balance. We're getting into game planning now. They're a good group. Last year, they gave us problems. We were fortunate to win last year. I'm sure it's going to be a hostile environment up there. Probably a lot of the weather we got last week, we got enough practice last week to last us a career, I think, it never let up. I think it's 40 percent chance of rain there. It'll be a hostile place to play, no question. They always play hard. They'll be ready to play.
CAL PLAYER QUOTES:
Junior OL Mike Tepper
[On supporting Nate Longshore] It's funny how everybody points the finger to him [on the USC loss]. We had a third-and-goal from the six-yard line in the first quarter. If you go back and look at the film, the right tackle [himself] missed a block. But nobody remembers that. Nate made mistakes, I made mistakes, we all made mistakes. Those could have changed the outcome game. We should have never been in those positions. It's kind of upsetting that everyone is putting this loss on his shoulders - we are all supportive of him. We're a really close knit and mature group, nobody points fingers ... this is a team sport, you can't point the finger at [just one person].
Senior RB Justin Forsett
[On Nate Longshore] It's not all on him; we're family and we win as a team and lose as a team. We all make mistakes, but we're all here for him, and he's going to prove a lot of people wrong. He's a competitor and he's going to come out and do his best.
[On the closeness of the team] We're a close knit group. This is one of the closest since I've been here. We stick together through the good and the bad.
Junior LB Anthony Felder [Seattle product]
[On going back to Seattle] It means something to play in front of your friends and family, but this game carries the same weight as any other game would this season. We have to prepare as a team the same way week in and week out -- we have to be ready to play.
[On his success vs. the success of the team] It's definitely more important for the team to be successful rather to have personal success. I would trade that in any day for this team to have more success.
R-Freshman DB Brandon Jones [Seattle product]
[On going back to Seattle] I'm so excited, I can't wait. I haven't been home in six months. I'm on the hunt to get more tickets. We get two tickets for every away game - I need 30-40 more.
Senior S Thomas DeCoud
[On Nate Longshore] You have to have a strong supportive group around you if you're the leader of the team. We have full confidence in Nate to get the job done. This team has a lot of chemistry and we have gelled very well together.
[On Husky Stadium] It's quite an experience. It's like Oregon, where the fans there can get really loud -- they know when to yell and when to get loud.