Nov. 7, 2006
BERKELEY - The No. 8 University of California football team continues Pac-10 play when it travels to Arizona this weekend. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. (Pacific) on Saturday. The game will be televised regionally on ABC. Cal held its 11th weekly press luncheon of the 2006 season Tuesday in the Hall of Fame room at historic Memorial Stadium. Head coach Jeff Tedford and numerous players attended to speak with the press.
Jeff Tedford Quotes
On Arizona quarterback, Willie Tuitama:
"Willie seems very comfortable when he's in there. He's got a very strong arm, very good pocket presence and a very tough guy in the pocket. He really came on strong last year. Obviously having him back there now really makes their offense a lot more potent. They have very good receivers that he can get the ball to. He really brings an added dimension to their team."
On Arizona's performance last week:
"Their defense did a good job of putting them in field position. Willie [Tuitama] was efficient. In previous games, they've turned the football over and really made it hard on themselves because of all the turnovers. I think the key was that they stayed away from turning the football over."
On the Arizona defense:
"They're very good. They are probably one of the more physical defenses in our conference. Their safeties are excellent tacklers, they have good schemes, they're athletic and they can run on defense. They're one of the top scoring defenses in the conference as well. They've been on the field quite a bit so that says a lot for their defense. They're definitely one of the more physical and one of the more productive defenses in our conference."
On focusing on Arizona and not looking ahead to next week's games against USC:
"We always talk about each week and the challenges we have each and every week. It's no different this week. To go to Pullman and beat a good Washington State team, like they (Arizona) did, is very impressive. From watching games from last year, I think UCLA was undefeated, went down there and got beat 52-14. Those are reminders of what can happen if you're not ready to play. I know they'll be fired up after a big win. I know the fans will be fired up. It will be a hostile environment, no question. They always play hard. Coach Stoops has them always playing hard, physical football. There's no question that we're going to get their best effort."
On defensive tackle Brandon Mebane:
"He's having a great year. He's been dominating at times. He really causes people to pay attention and double team him. He's not going to have a lot of sacks or tackles, because of our defensive structure. He's a gap control player. He demands a lot of double teams, which allows other people to make plays. I think the penetration he's had, and being physical up front, has been a huge benefit to our defense. I think he's having an excellent year. I'm sure when the all-conference team comes out, he'll be on it, I would hope."
On the Cal special teams:
"They've been very solid; our coverage teams have been great. I think a lot of it has to do with our punter, with the hang time. He's doing a great job. It all starts with the snapper. Sundberg is so fast with the snap that we haven't had a whole lot of pressure on our punter. He's (Larson) done a nice job of kicking it high, so we can cover it that way. Our coverage teams on kickoff have been great. Guys have really had a passion and been playing with a lot of intensity on kickoffs. Then our punt return team takes a lot of pride in what's going on. They've done a nice job of blocking, and any time you have DeSean (Jackson) who can do the things he can, making people miss and hit things as fast as he does, it creates a huge advantage for you. I'm real pleased with our special teams play."
On the Cal defense against UCLA:
"We could have tackled better. I think you have to give UCLA credit too. They executed extremely well. [Quarterback Patrick] Cowan played a very good game. Their tailback ran very hard. I think you have to give UCLA some credit for executing and doing some good things. The bottom line is when we were able to shrink the field in the red zone, we kept them out of the end zone. We like to get back on the field quicker offensively, but the defense did a nice job of not letting them score and getting some turnovers was key. I think we need to make sure we wrap it up tackling a little bit better. We let some guys slip out of our grasp the other night. A couple times we had some pressure on Cowan and he scrambled away and he either threw the ball away or he found some guys and made some plays with the ball. Again, you have to give UCLA a lot of credit for doing some things."
On defensive back Syd'Quan Thompson:
"Syd's done a great job. He's very talented, he's a very mentally-tough guy. It was important for us to stay behind him after the Tennessee game. He took some chances and if he wasn't as talented as he is, and didn't take risks and challenge himself to go for those balls, he probably would have been in the position to make the play, but he took those chances. They were calculated risks that didn't work out for him that day, but that's part of learning. With the experience that he's gained now at the position, he understands what he's doing. I think experience more than anything has been the key for himself, because it's never been a question of whether or not he's been talented enough."