Sept. 10, 2002
Below are selected quotes from head coach Jeff Tedford from his press conference heading into the Bears' next game against Michigan State. Cal will travel to East Lansing, Mich., to face the Spartans at 9 a.m. Pacific Time on Saturday, Sept. 14.
On playing at Michigan State when you were offensive coordinator at Oregon
It was a very loud atmosphere, especially in the endzones ... a great college atmosphere. Last week, they had 74,000 fans there, and their stadium is listed at 72,000. So, they are bulging at the seams, and they're very excited about their football program this year. The game itself, we had a chance to win. I think we were tied at the time, and we were driving down the field when we fumbled the ball on the 15-yard line. They picked the ball up and ran 85 yards for the touchdown, which changed the game. We ended up losing the game 27-20. It's a great place to play, but it's very loud there.
On last week's Michigan State-Rice game
Watching the Rice game offensively, it doesn't really help you because of all the formations that Rice runs are not the conventional formations that most teams run. There are different things that they do in the game plan for Rice, so I didn't really get a lot out of watching that game. I am sure that Coach (Bob) Gregory has studied that game very well. We understand that we need to stop the run, because they like to hammer it at you.
On Michigan State wide receiver Charles Rogers
He's a big-time player. He is your typical big-play guy. He has great size (6-4, 205) and he can run. He's got a lot of range, can get up and make plays on the ball, and that's the challenge that they pose to us - not only stopping their physical running game, but he's a guy that can beat you. We're going to have to do some things to slow him down ... I don't know that you're ever going to stop him, but to slow him down is what we need to try and do. There are comparable receivers in the Pac-10, but Charles is a great receiver himself. There are quality receivers throughout the Pac-10 that we will have to face week in and week out. So this will be our first real test against a big-time receiver.
On Kyle Boller's development over the first two games
I thought Kyle played a lot better in the New Mexico State game than in the Baylor game. I felt like he made some great decisions. He had some dropped passes that he threw right on the button that could've been big plays for us. He made great decisions in throwing the ball away. That is progress, and I am very pleased that he understands that throwing the ball away is part of being a quarterback. When he ran with the ball, he ran and got down, he didn't try to run anyone over. I really believe that he was very efficient with what he did and he seems to be more comfortable in the pocket with the protection schemes. I think he'll improve every week. This week will be a situation where these guys are very multiple on defense, they create a lot of problems for you, and I am sure that there will be a little bit more pressure on Kyle this week than there has been in the past two weeks. I am very pleased with his progress.
On the Cal home attendance
It looked to me like there were more people in the stands for the New Mexico State game than the Baylor game. I was a little surprised when they announced that there were fewer people than the week before. I would like to see, for our players sake, more support. I think the product is there and the players are playing hard. To come out and support the players is advantageous. I hope that we can win some support back from the fans every week, and that we can create a home-field advantage with 50,000 fans in the seats. We just have to keep doing our jobs and hopefully, we can win the trust and support of the fans and get them back.
About going on the road for the first time
The philosophy of our road trips is going to be business. We're not going to do a lot of sitting around at the hotel. It's not a vacation. I don't have any concerns about our team because we've stayed at a hotel the last two weekends, and I've been very pleased with the team's preparation at the hotel. They're focused and they haven't been too tight. They've known when to get serious and gear it up. I have no doubt that our team is going to travel well, be respectful and be class people on the trip.
On Defensive Coordinator Bob Gregory
I know the type of work ethic that he has. I know the type of person that he is - he's a great person with great character. Him and Coach (Bob) Foster have a great understanding of the defense that they run. They create an excitement with the defense that makes them fly around. The attitude of the defense and the positive energy that they give off is great. When you work with someone for a few years day in and day out, you really come to respect what they are all about. Not just the X's and O's, but the type of person he is, the type of family man he is, and the type of recruiter he is ... everything about him. He's a first-class person. The rest of that defensive staff is the same way. I have 100 percent trust in him that he is going to prepare and not leave any stone unturned, because I've had to play against him in practice. I know what they do on defense and the problems that they can cause. We have as fine of a defensive staff as you'll find anywhere.
On the turnover ratio this year compared to last year
Without a doubt, the turnover ration is one of the most important stats. There is a direct correlation between wins and losses and the turnover ratio. We've been fortunate so far, our defense has created a lot of turnovers and given the offense a lot of great field position. The offense has been opportunistic to capitalize on those turnovers. Our offense has been fortunate to not turn the ball over very much. That's something that we work very hard on, both the defense taking the ball away and the offense securing it. The players really understand the importance of it, and Kyle (Boller) has been very smart with the football.
On the time of possession disparity
It's because of the turnovers. When you get a turnover down in the red zone and you score in two plays, you don't have the ball very often. We let a fake punt get by us last week that kept our offense off the field. Even though our defense did a nice job of stopping them, we had the ball only one series in the third quarter. New Mexico State has the grinding style of offense that is meant to keep the ball away from the opposing offenses. Turnovers have been the key to the time of possession.