Nov. 21, 2009
CALIFORNIA HEAD COACH JEFF TEDFORD
On how he felt after the victory
"Feel great. Feel great. That's a big one right there. Stanford's got a great football team. Like I said earlier in the week, they're the hottest team in the country right now. I'm really proud of our kids, our staff, the preparation that we put in the week."
On taking the knee on third down late in the fourth quarter ...
"I wanted to make sure they were going to use all of their time outs. I didn't want to risk anything. I wanted to make sure it was a touchdown game. I didn't want to risk anything. I wanted to make sure that the ball was in the middle of the field. That was the only guarantees. They had to score a touchdown. I didn't want anything to happen that would have them put the ball in the middle of the field."
On TB Shane Vereen, who ran for 193 yards on 42 carries ...
"I didn't even realize he had 42 carries. He's a great kid. He deserves a lot of credit ... The way that he's performed the past two weeks, it's been awesome."
On the physicality of Stanford ...
"All week long, the talk was about how physical they are, how they were going to run the ball on us, things like that. Our motto all week was, 'we're going to find out on the field.'"
On the moment it turned for Cal ...
[After that first interception,] I thought we had a lot of momentum going into halftime ... We had a lot of confidence going into halftime about how we were playing
On frustrating Stanford QB Andrew Luck ...
"I thought we covered well. I thought we did well on the secondary. We were running with their guys. He pulled off some great plays with his legs. He's a great quarterback. The poise he has for a young guy is so impressive. He can throw it, he can run it, he can make them miss. He's a really, really good player."
On the short kick after the last field goal in the fourth quarter ...
"I didn't want to kick it deep and give them a chance to return it on us."
On coming back after being down 14 ...
"This team has confidence in themselves. They believe in themselves. You know, when we lost those two games early, the people we could depend on were ourselves. The kids in the locker room, the coaches, that's who we really are. That's the way they've been all year long. In a couple of weeks, they found a way to win."
On where this Big Game ranks for Coach Tedford ...
"It ranks right up there at the top. I'm proud of every team that we've had that has maintained the Axe ... For our kids to rise up to the occasion and do this at their place is a huge victory."
QUARTERBACK KEVIN RILEY
On Cal proving itself with Stanford being the favorite in the game
"Yeah, that's all you've been hearing all week. Stanford's going to the Rose Bowl, they're going to beat us. Everybody was talking about how they were going to win. We knew we were a good team, and we knew we could take it to them. Throwing the ball and running the ball we did a good job tonight. We just did a good job."
On Cal's time of possession advantage
"It's just how it [the offense] was working. We're doing a good job getting chunk yards in the run game. I think this definitely was probably our best job on third-down conversions all seasons. It makes your drives a lot longer and keeps their offense off the field, which has been doing a good job. I think it kind of took them out of their rhythm."
On whether he felt like he was in a zone tonight, especially with big third-down throws
"A little bit, but not more than anything else. I think people were making plays tonight. I had great protection up front and that helped its own. I was seeing the field well, delivering and they were making plays."
On having Anthony Miller back
"You saw it. He was catching the ball. The kid just doesn't go down. It takes three guys to take him down."
TAILBACK SHANE VEREEN
On whether he had ever carried the ball 42 times on any level "I never carried that many times. I never thought I ever would carry that many times."
On whether he thought he would be that much of a workhorse in the game
"I came into the game prepared for anything. I just wanted to do whatever I could to help my team win."
On whether that included carrying 42 times
"Never, I was taking it play by play."
On whether this was the best game of his career
"I'll call it the best team win of my career. That's about it. I never really have had the numbers that I had, but this was a team win. It wasn't just about me at all."
On Cal's offensive line
"They were amazing. Each play they got off the ball. They did their jobs. They gave Kevin [Riley] some time. They opened up nice holes for me. They played their butts off tonight."
On Cal's offensive improvement after a difficult first couple of drives
"We stopped ourselves in the first couple of drives. Once we calmed down, we relaxed. We knew what we needed to do, and we just executed."
On what he thought about others saying Cal was not supposed to win this game
"By thinking just that. Nobody thought that we could do it. Everyone voted against us. They thought that we were the underdogs, and we played with a chip on our shoulder. We knew that coming in, and we knew that throughout the whole week of practice. That lit a little fire under us. It gave us a little extra edge."
On the mindset on the sideline during Stanford's last drive that ended with a Mike Mohamed intereception on the Cal 3
"You get a little nervous, but I had complete confidence in our defense. If Stanford was to go in and score, I had complete confidence that our offense would go on the field and march right back down the field."
On whether Stanford's defense wore down being on the field so long
"Everyone gets tired during a long game, a very physical game that just happened. Run after run after run; long drive after long drive after long drive, it starts to wear any defense down."
On Cal's offense being able to move down the field consistently
"It's fun. It makes playing a whole lot of fun. It's great to see us click."
On running the Wildcat a lot
"I think it was partly something that we saw as the game was going. But like I said, any time they called my number, anything that they needed for this team to win, I was more than willing to do."
On whether he would have wanted to be on the field for the game-winning play instead of the defense
"Yeah, definitely, but I think the defense knew that everybody on the sideline was with them at every play, every step. We had their backs cheering them on and when Mikey Mo [Mike Mohamed] got that interception it was amazing."
STANFORD HEAD COACH JIM HARBAUGH
On the last play ...
"It was a big play. It was designed to go to [Coby] Fleener. There are a lot of should'ves ... he should've thrown it higher. We should've given him a better play at the time, a better play on the 4th and 9. A lot of should'ves offensively and defensively. It was a team loss, players coaches everyone
Cal did an outstanding job. They deserved the credit. They controlled the line of scrimmage most of the game especially in the 3rd and 4th quarter. It wasn't just that one play. To win a game you have to win the phases: offense, defense. I thought we won special teams, but that's only one.
On QB Andrew Luck ...
He missed a couple of throws. You get so used to Andrew painting every throw on the money every time. And that's not realistic. That's not the game of football. But he's been that way most of the year. When the coverage was really good he did a good job of bringing the run down and running it. I thought he played really well.
What did Cal do that Oregon and USC didn't do?
They did a nice job controlling the line of scrimmage and defending the pass at the same time. They did the same thing offensively. You look at the 2nd and 3rd quarter especially - we only had the ball one possession in the 3rd quarter. It was the drives: the 90-yard drives - when you are driving the ball of that variety, getting open guys at the sticks keeping the drives alive. We didn't get them stopped enough and they stopped us.
You have to get them stopped. Our offense had chances to answer and didn't, and our defense had chances to get off the field and didn't. They won both phases: offense and defense.
When it doesn't work out you should have or should not have... I thought we were going to go down swinging. We had that shot and then our defense did get them stopped but then they came back. We should have run the ball a couple of times when we got the ball inside the 15.
On mistakes and fumbled snaps
We were having difficulty in the shotgun snaps. Self-inflicted wounds are hurtful. The snaps weren't over (Andrew Luck's) head, but they weren't where you want them.
Vibe in the locker room:
It's a tough loss. Guys are disappointed.
QB Andrew Luck
On the last play ...
I just didn't put enough air on it. The way their defense was pre-aligned, I thought we had a shot with Coby (Fleener) in the end zone. (I) didn't put enough air on it, didn't make a good enough throw
What defensive adjustments did you see them make after the first scoring drives?
I don't know if they adjusted that much. I felt like they were playing the same defense pretty much the whole game. We just lost a bit of our edge. All the credit goes to them. They played their butts off. They are a very good defensive team so I don't think it was something completely different.
Did you feel in synch today? Could you describe your play?
Subpar and not very good. I know we had a chance at the end but didn't make the play when it counted.
On fumbled snaps:
Blame falls on me as well as the center. It was a little off center but nothing that I shouldn't have caught.
They are a good defense. They are a physical line, they played well and they made the plays when they needed to be played.
RB Toby Gerhart
After you ran the ball to the 13-yard line late in the game, were you surprised you didn't carry it again?
No, I would've liked to have it. We had some time, it was second down, it would have been nice but that's the way the game goes they made a good play and things turned out the wrong way.
Did Cal's long drives hurt the offense by keeping Stanford off the field for long stretches?
A lot of credit to their offense. They sustained long drives and that kept us off the field and didn't allow us to get into a rhythm. We'd have a couple of 3 and outs, and they'd get it back and have another long drive . We have to take credit for not allowing our defense time to rest and making plays when we had the chance.