Oct. 3, 2006
BERKELEY - The University of California football team looks for its fifth straight victory as it returns to Memorial Stadium for Homecoming on Saturday. The 16th-ranked Golden Bears will host No. 10 Oregon at 5 p.m. (Pacific). The game will be televised by ESPN on ABC. Tickets are still available by calling 1-800-GO-BEARS. Cal held its sixth press conference of the 2006 season Tuesday in the Hall of Fame room at the historic Memorial Stadium. Head coach Jeff Tedford and numerous players attended to speak with the press.
On Oregon running back Jonathan Stewart:
"That's a stiff test trying to slow him down. He's such an explosive runner with great balance and great speed. He catches the ball very well. Just an all around very good player, and they do a nice job of using him. He has great vision. He's a guy who can stretch it, and when he puts his foot in the ground he can really hit the seams. He's emerging as one of the top running backs in the conference for sure."
On Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon:
"He's doing an excellent job. It's pretty scary to watch what those guys are doing on offense. He is the key. He's getting rid of the ball so quickly. When you do get after him, he can make you miss and make you pay for it. It looks like a five-yard loss and all of the sudden it's a 10-yard gain and a first down. He does a nice job of getting down, not taking hits. He's so confident right now with what he's doing in that offense. It really fits him well. He's got tremendous weapons around him to utilize and a great offensive line. That's a pretty scary looking offense."
On Oregon's spread offense:
"These guys run it as well as anyone. They have misdirection in it, a very good running back and their offensive line is physical. Their run blocking is excellent, their pass protection is great. If you try to pressure them, they have receivers, and Dennis is getting rid of the ball so quickly to get it out to them. They have some trickery that goes along with it. They have it rolling right now, no question. It's going to be a very difficult test for our defense."
On Nate Longshore:
"People have been (blitzing) a little bit. Nate's done a great job, when people blitzed, of getting the ball out quick to his hot routes. He hung in there last week, took some shots and threw the ball down the field. Being in the shotgun is really helping Nate. It gets him away from the line of scrimmage. He's so tall, can see the field very well and is very tough that I think he's getting a really good feel for the pocket and understands the time that he has. He's holding on to the ball if he needs to for an extra beat, but he's doing a great job of getting the ball out quickly. When they have blitzed, he's done a nice job of making people pay for it."
On the Cal offense:
"We're trying to stay pretty balanced. Coach Dunbar's play calling has been excellent, as far as spreading the ball around to a lot of different guys and keeping people off balanced with the run and the pass. Marshawn's still over 100 yards a game, so we are running the ball effectively. We're probably a little bit more balanced and I think that has a lot to do with Nate doing so well and the fast receivers that we feel like we can mix it up a little bit more."
On the impact of this game:
"Not just because it's Oregon, because it's a huge game to stay in the conference race. They're a great football team and we've always had great games with them. They've been very close games. My time at Oregon, I really enjoyed it, great people there, I have a lot of respect for them and we won a lot of games there. This is a big test for our team. Oregon's one of the finest teams in the nation. Not just because it's Oregon, but more what it does for us and what we need to do to stay in the conference hunt."
On the Oregon defensive line:
"Moving Toeaina inside I think even makes them stronger. That's where he played a lot last year and I thought he did an excellent job in there. They're still very solid in what they do and putting their guys in a position to be successful. They're still a very good unit, now they lead the conference in yards given up in the pass."
On Cal defensive end Nu'u Tafisi:
"That's a product of his hard work, his dedication and his work ethic on a daily basis. He plays with such great energy and a great motor. You have to block him the whole game because there's no quit in him. He's going to just keep bringing it until he's finally going to get there. It's very difficult to leave him one-on-one because he plays so hard."
On the Oregon wide receiver Jaison Williams:
"He had a field day last week. Obviously at that size and the way he runs, it's very hard to bring him down. We're going to have to gang tackle him. They have excellent size across the board. You look at their receivers; they're as big of a group you're going to find anywhere."
On the Oregon secondary:
"They're playing well. They all know where their help is, they're very fast and they're very solid players. It helps when you can run and they both can run. It looks like they're very comfortable with them. They're solid at safety. Both their safeties are experienced and very good. It helps when you're a corner if you know where your help is, because then you can rely on people taking one side for you, and if you can pick a side, then that makes it a little bit easier to defend."