July 26, 2011
Los Angeles -California head coach Jeff Tedford and senior wide receiver Marvin Jones represented the Golden Bears at Tuesday's Pac-12 Football Media Day in Los Angeles at The Fox Studios Lot. The following are selected comments of what Tedford and Jones had to say during Cal's time at the podium.
Head Coach Jeff Tedford
"This is the greatest time of year right now. The players have been working hard all summer long, and now it's time to get back to work. The first day, when they check in, is just an awesome time to be able to see all the excitement surrounding our program, surrounding the hard work that they've been doing all summer long.
"I'm really excited about this team with the leadership, the work ethic and the team chemistry. I'm really pleased with how they've come together. They're very eager to compete. We have created a standard and expectation at Cal over the last nine years. Last season, we fell short of that, and we're not hiding from that. We understand that there is a very fine line between winning and losing, and we were six points away from being 8-4 last year. We understand that we need to improve and get back to the standard and fulfilling the expectation that our fans and alumni have for our football program.
"There were some coaching staff changes we've had that I feel very good about. I'm very excited to have Jim Michalczik coming back to coach our offensive line, Eric Kiesau to coach our receivers, Ashley Ambrose is our new secondary coach and Marcus Arroyo will coach the quarterbacks. Kiesau and Michalczik get their second stint coming back to Cal, so that provides a great foundation for what we need to do with communication, and some of the history that we've had with our program. They completely understand.
"As far as our team is concerned, besides the leadership, work ethic and chemistry, I feel like we have the opportunity to be very strong on defense. We ranked first in total defense and pass defense last year. Even though we lost some terrific players in Cameron Jordan, Mike Mohamed, Chris Conte, we feel like there are some guys that will step in. I'm really excited about Clancy Pendergast, our defensive coordinator. This is his second year controlling the defense, and I think we'll be much better because of that experience, and his experience in college football, because he came from the NFL.
"I think as you prepare from week to week, there is a challenge when you're used to really just the NFL. So I think he's much more comfortable, and our players are much more comfortable in the defense going into the second season there.
"Offensively, we need to improve. We were not close to the consistency that we need to compete at a high level. That generally starts at the quarterback position, and we weren't consistent enough there last year. When Kevin Riley went down last year, we were averaging 37 points a game, and after that, we averaged 13. You're not going to win many games in the Pac-12 with that type of offensive production. So quarterback is somewhere we really need to pay strong attention to. Zach Maynard has been named the starter after spring football, and he earned it. There will be strong competition with Allan Bridgford and Brock Mansion as the backup.
"One of the other areas to focus on going into camp will be our tailback position. We have been very fortunate over the years to have very productive tailbacks. Typically coming back for their senior season or junior season with Shane Vereen leaving early, we have good backs, but they don't have the experience of the production. So we're eager to see what they can do.
"I think the strength of our offense lies in our offensive line and our wide receiving corps led by Marvin Jones and Keenan Allen. I think those guys are going to provide great leadership and production for the offense.
"I can't wait to get to camp. We have a lot of work to do, but I think our players are completely refocused. I will tell you the last meeting that we had when the season ended after we lost that heartbreaker to Washington and it became a reality we weren't going to a bowl game for the first time in our time there, it hit us all very hard. That's when the focus began, to make sure that we get back and never have that feeling again. I know our players are very excited about it. We're really looking forward to it.
"Our kids are doing a great job academically over the last nine years. We've had 94 Academic All-Americans, which is second in the conference. They continue to perform academically very well. They're doing a great job off the field of representing our institution, their families, themselves, the team and their teammates are making great decisions off the field. I'm really proud of our team for that.
"Marvin Jones has done a phenomenal job. He's coming into his senior year, and I can't believe it's already here. He's doing an excellent job academically, and just providing great leadership. He's become a great representative of our football team and our university."
On doing most, if not all, of the play calling
On the tailback situation
On playing on Thursday night
"We also have a Friday game. At the end of the year, we play Arizona State on a Friday. So two Thursday games and a Friday, but that's kind of going to be what our season's all about. We're in transition anyway, playing all our games at AT&T Park, with our facilities, it's very exciting where our facilities are headed and the progress that's been made with our facilities. We're a little bit disjointed right now on moving around and doing things like that. I think our players will handle it very well though. So whether it be a Thursday game or playing at AT&T Park, we had some practice with it at spring time. We went to many different places to practice in the spring, bussed to every practice we had, so our players handled that really well. The key is to make sure we focus on the job at hand and not get caught you up if it's a Thursday game, a Friday game, at AT&T or Candlestick Park or wherever it may be. We have a job to do, and we're going to focus on wherever those lines are, we're going to focus on what's happening between the lines no matter what day or what venue it's in."
On Colorado and Utah joining the conference
"With Utah, it's no secret how good of a football team and football program that Kyle Whittingham has built there. We played them in a bowl game a couple of years ago, I think we're 5-2 in bowl games over our tenure, and that is one of them that we lost. I think they're going to be very competitive in the conference. I know a little bit more about Utah than Colorado. I just know they're very solid and do a great job of recruiting. I'm sure Coach Embree is going to turn that into a positive at Colorado, as well."
On if he is concerned about his financial relationship with Will Lyles and his recruiting service
On if Cal can win the Pac-12
"I will tell you one of the other key factors is our new strength and conditioning coach who has created a great environment in the weight room. It's the intensity that's there. Now it's just time to get out and put it on the field, and we can't wait to get that done. But absolutely, we feel we can win any game we play."
Wide Receiver Marvin Jones
"It's basically having more leaders that are outspoken like myself that are going to lead the team. One thing Coach Tedford says all the time is we want to keep what happened last year in the back of our minds, but not totally let it bring us down or let us keep thinking about it. We want to have it in the back of our mind so we know we didn't go to a bowl game last year, and we know we have to change that. It starts with me and the other leaders on the team being vocally prepared to approach every game like it's our last."
On Zach Maynard
"But obviously we're going into fall, and whoever the competition, it's still heavy. Whoever makes that transition into being a leader, who can manage the game, that's the guy who is going to be on the field. Basically whoever is on the field, I have to trust everybody, and put all of our trust into that person. We're going to be in a situation to where the best person's going to be on the field, and our team's going to rally behind that guy."
On if Cal can win the Pac-12