Aug. 26, 2003
Below are selected quotes from head coach Jeff Tedford from his press conference heading into the Cal's game vs. Southern Mississippi. The Bears host the Golden Eagles on Saturday, Aug. 30 in Memorial Stadium.
Would you have done anything differently on the play at the 1-yard-line vs. Kansas State?
Looking back in hindsight, we could have done something different. Most people would say 'why didn't you quarterback sneak the ball?' We thought they were going to be up in the A gaps, which they were. Their guy just made a great play. He could have walked around the corner for a touchdown and that would have been great. We could have run a quarterback sneak and got stuffed on that too. You just don't know. Really, I felt like they were going to be in the gaps, and they were.
Did you ever think about kicking the field goal?
Oh no, we were never going to kick the field goal. You're on someone else's 1-yard-line with half a yard to go for a first down. There were a few different plays we could have run down there. We were never thinking about kicking the field goal.
Ideally, do you want a safety to lead the team in tackles?
Not usually. A lot of people have their safeties as leaders in tackles because you're stacking up in the box so much and they're the free hitter. When you talk about a safety, and he's making tackles 20 yards deep then, that's bad. But our safeties are making tackles somewhere around 5-6 yards. More times than not they're filling gaps for cutback lanes.
When you looked at the game film, was there anything new you saw after the game?
There wasn't a whole lot there. We missed more tackles than we should have. That was a combination of things. Maybe guys trying to do too much, number one and number two playing against two very good runners with the ball in their hands. The one thing I did see was how fast our guys were playing for the whole game. They were running to the football. Our guys were performing and flying. There will be good days for those guys.
What do you know about the Southern Miss offense?
Not much. They have a new offensive coordinator, so we don't know a whole lot about what type of scheme they're going to run. I know their defense is one of the tops in the country. They have a linebacker who is an All-American and one of the best in the country. So back-to-back, we're playing against two teams with two of the linebackers who are top five in the country. And they like to pressure you. They're very unconventional and like to pressure you moving in and out a lot, trying to confuse you and use a lot of press on the receivers. It looks like they want to re-route your receivers long enough so they can get after the quarterback. And they do a very good job of it.
What makes Rod Davis a special linebacker?
He's fast. He has range. He has a great feel for things. If they have a certain blitz on and he has to be in a certain gap, he has a great feel for if that gap is plugged and bouncing around to find a soft spot in protection. And once he decides to go, he goes very fast and puts a lot of hits on the quarterback.
How important is hard play as opposed to skill and schemes?
I have confidence that our schemes are going to be fine. If you're playing hard, you have a lot better chance to come up with more turnovers. We had two balls that were on the ground that we didn't get. Was it because we were hustling to the ball and not running" That wasn't the case. They just had a guy closer to the football. One thing about hustling to the football and running the whole time, more times than not you will be in a position to make plays more times than not.
What positions in your mind is there still competition for the starting job? What positions will you rotate all year long?
Tailback doesn't really matter, they're all going to play. Kicker and punter will be evaluated all year because they are both very close. The linebacking crew will continue to be evaluated to see who our three best guys are. We want to have our three best on the field.
Our new guys know what to expect now. Going into the game they were a little bit nervous, which is to be expected. When you go into a situation like that in a stadium like that, these guys that aren't used to being in the arena at that level are naturally going to be nervous.
What about J.J. Arrington's play?
No, J.J. did not seem nervous. I was very pleased to see how we traveled. J.J. was business all the way. All the JC guys were. I was very happy about that. I thought they were ready to play. Taking the young guys was great. Their eyes were really big, and even though they didn't have pads on and weren't playing, they got to witness what it was like to come down the tunnel. They really enjoyed being there, and I thought it was a good experience.
On wide receiver Geoff McArthur:
He understands what the expectation is for him and he understands that if he doesn't practice hard and do the right thing, it's not going to happen in the game. His practice habits this year in camp were much better than last year. I felt like he was able to push himself more this year. I think he understands that he's not going to get away with anything, that he's going to be expected to perform and practice hard everyday and that's made him a better player.
Kansas State made a number of big plays. What can you do about that?
They hit some big plays. They were running and running, and then they hit us with some big plays. You'll find option teams do that because when you get everyone running to the ball and playing so close, you put some pressure on the corners. One was on a double move were our guy jumped. We have to do better there and give those guys some help. You have to have guys up there with responsibilities for the quarterback and the pitch. They had a guy who could throw well and put the ball on the money. We have to do a better job when we play man. We can't have that type of big play happening.
Do you see any advantages in running the two quarterback system or would you like to have one?
Preferably, I'd like to have one. But with these two guys as close as they are ... Last year, I felt like Kyle (Boller) had a huge advantage and I used to get asked why aren't you playing Reggie (Robertson) so he gets experience. I thought Kyle gave us the best chance to win last year. This year, either one can give us a good chance to win. We brought Aaron (Rodgers) here to compete for that spot, so we won't know what he can do until he plays. Reggie is really solid though and he's really improved this year.
Do you know when you'll name a full-time starter
I don't have a timetable right now, well see how it plays itself out.
How is defensive lineman Lorenzo Alexander doing? Are you happy with what he did at end vs. K-State?
I think playing both could be a disadvantage for him because of different techniques that go on. When you play inside, you have to play a lot lower because you have to take on a lot of double teams. Outside, you have to keep your pad level down, but you have a tendency to play a little higher because you're coming off the end. It could have an effect on him.