July 30, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - Head coach Jeff Tedford, junior wide receiver Keenan Allen and senior defensive back Josh Hill represented Cal on Monday atn the fifth annual Bay Area College Football Media Day that also featured head coaches and student-athletes from Stanford and San Jose State on Monday at Hotel Nikko. The three also participated in the Bay Area College Football Kickoff Luncheon immediately following the press conference.
Much of the talk throughout the day focused on Cal's return home to a renovated Memorial Stadium in 2012.
"We're excited to get back home," Tedford said. "I know there's been a lot made of us getting back into the stadium, and we're excited about that. AT&T [Park] did a great job of hosting us last year, but it just didn't have the same feel that Memorial Stadium has. There's nothing like running through the North tunnel. Our players are really fired up about getting back home, and really excited to start the season."
Allen and Hill echoed Tedford's feelings.
"We're ready to get back in front of our fans and have that 12th man back on the field with us, and win some ballgames," Allen said.
"I couldn't have it any other way for my last year," Hill added. "It's going to be very exciting. We have seven home games. That's going to be so great for us; we're always great at home. We need to keep that trend going of winning at home."
Cal had a 37-9 record in its last 46 contests at Memorial Stadium before the venue's renovation forced the Bears to play their 2011 home games at AT&T Park.
Allen was another subject that came up often Monday and Tedford had plenty to say about his preseason All-American and national honors candidate.
"He's a phenomenal player, he can do anything," Tedford said. "He's got such a great feel for the game ... He's got great knowledge and is a very strong competitor. I don't know that you'll find anyone any more competitive than he is ... He's poised for a big year ... He's a great young man, a great competitor, an unbelievable football player, and we're happy he's on our team."
Tedford and Allen both kept the mood light during the luncheon during their respective onstage interviews with KNBR 680 radio personality Brian Murphy and Cal radio sideline reporter Todd McKim.
"I love Berkeley, now that the people are out of the trees," Tedford quipped when asked by Murphy about the specialness of the Berkeley community and playing football in Strawberry Canyon. "They were my neighbors for about a year and a half."
"But, it's a great experience," Tedford added. "It's a great university. I really love everything that it stands for, and I feel very fortunate and privileged to have been there for as long as I have."
Tedford begins his 11th season at Cal in 2012 and is the longest-tenured head coach in the Pac-12. He holds the school record for victories with a 79-48 (.622) career mark, and is also Cal's all-time leader for victories in conference games (48), road contests (26) and bowl games (5). To top it off, he is 7-3 in the Big Game, equaling Pappy Waldorf's school record of seven wins against Stanford.
McKim opened his interview by teasing Allen figuratively and literally about being the greybeard of the Cal receiving core in reference to the new growth of hair hanging from Allen's chin.
"I might cut it before the first game," Allen replied when asked if it would be there during the season. "My mom doesn't like it too much."
McKim pressed further and asked Allen what his college co-eds thought about it.
"They don't like it either," Allen replied.
Both were asked about a more serious subject - the team's 2012 schedule that includes a challenging stretch of back-to-back September road games at Ohio State and USC.
"Those are two challenging games on the road, but I think it's going to be a great indicator of where we are," Tedford said. "I've never been back to Columbus, but I hear it's a great environment to play a football game. That's why we do this, to play in environments like that. I'm sure our players are going to be fired up. We're excited about the challenge of having back-to-back road games against quality opponents."
"It's definitely going to be tough, but what I've lived by my whole life is big-time players show up in big-time games," Allen said. "We're going to have to come out there and show the world that we can compete with anybody."
The Bears officially begin preparing to do that when training camp opens this Sat., Aug. 4. The team's 2012 season opener is scheduled to take place against Nevada at Memorial Stadium on Sat., Sept. 1 (Noon PT). The contest will be televised live by Pac-12 Networks, and the radio broadcast available on the Cal IMG Sports Radio Network with KGO Newstalk 810 AM in San Francisco serving as the flagship station.
"I'm just ready to get out there with my teammates," Allen said. "We're all ready to go, we're motivated."
Tickets for Cal's return to a renovated Memorial Stadium in 2012 are currently on sale by calling (800) GO BEARS (800-462-3277), online at CalBears.com, or in person at the Sales and Service Center located in the Haas Pavilion Club Room Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. PT. More season-ticket information is available at CalBears.com. For updates on the progress of the renovation and retrofit of Memorial Stadium, visit californiamemorialstadium.com.
In addition to the Sept. 1 season-opener vs. Nevada, Cal's 2012 seven-game home schedule includes contests against Pac-12 foes Arizona State, Oregon, Stanford, Washington and UCLA, as well as a non-conference game against Southern Utah.