Sept. 21, 2010
Cal football head coach Jeff Tedford, senior quarterback Kevin Riley and junior wide receiver Marvin Jones spoke with the media at the weekly press conference on campus prior to Cal's first Pac-10 game of the 2010 season, with the Bears visiting Arizona on Saturday, Sept. 25, for a 7 p.m. kickoff. Following are selected quotes of what they had to say.
HEAD COACH JEFF TEDFORD
On quarterback Kevin Riley's performance at Nevada
"I don't actually think Kevin played horribly, by any means. He made a lot of good plays. A poor decision on the interception was costly, of course, but [he] completed a lot of balls. I don't know if there's any specific thing he did poorly - if you did, I'd be happy to address it - but Marv [Jones] caught 12 balls for 100-and-something yards and the tight end, Anthony Miller, caught some balls for yards. The interceptions, the first interception goes off Keenan's hands - that's going to be a touchdown - and then the second one was obviously costly ... On the fourth down, the ball got tipped because the receiver got jammed at the line of scrimmage and Kevin's waiting for him to get open and has to be late with the ball because the receiver gets jammed. So there's a lot of those things people don't really see and the easy thing is to say, `Well, that's Kevin.' But he can't throw it we don't have a receiver getting free. Can he be better? Obviously, yeah, everybody can."
On the challenges Cal's offensive line faces against Arizona's defensive line
On whether the offensive line has played well so far this season
"If you watch the Iowa game and watch how - they're relentless in their pass rush. The two defensive ends can really get after you and put a lot of pressure on your tackles. And then inside they're very powerful and tenacious with their rush as well. And then they have a nice blitz package. They're a good front, and we're going to have to protect and try to stay out of situations where they're obvious passing situations."
"Yeah, actually, they have. The couple of sacks that we had last week early in the game, when we were backed up there, one was on the tailback and one was on the tight end. It wasn't on the offensive line, but anytime you get sacked, it's the offensive line's fault. There's other people involved in pass protection."
On whether the altitude in Reno was a factor against Nevada
"No, I don't think so. I didn't get that with guys coming off the sideline and dragging at all. I didn't see that and didn't feel that. Guys played hard and ran to the ball hard. I don't think that had much of a factor."
On the improvement of LB D.J. Holt and whether he has stepped up
"Yeah, he has. I think the scheme helps him, keeping the line off of him, letting him roam and make plays. He had to play two positions last week because [Mike] Mohamed was out and we had some new Will [weak-side] linebackers in there, so we had to put him to Will and he kind of had to make some adjustments on the run there but played really well.
On whether he expects Holt to continue playing weak-side linebacker
"Not really. He's mainly the Mike [middle linebacker]"
On whether he expects LB Mike Mohamed to return to action against Arizona
"Yeah, we'll see as the week goes on. Mike's into it 100 percent mentally, but that toe last week, we were told by the doctor that if he played, he would risk damaging it more ... Your big toe and the ball of your foot is very painful when you have something like that and you can't push off and run, and if he can't run, he's not going to be very effective. And then, obviously didn't want to hurt him any worse."
On whether Arizona is one dimensional considering the few rushing yards it had last weekend against Iowa
"No, I don't think they're one dimensional. I think actually Arizona probably does as good a job of anyone of being able to line up and run the ball downhill at you, and then being able to spread you out and throw it. They're very, very efficient in their passing game, and it's a lot of quick throws. So their passing game can be their running game because they're so quick and get the ball out fast. You know, five-yard completions and couple of those move the sticks, and then if they break a tackle they're big plays, and so, very efficient with what they do. They're not a big down-the-field throwing team, so it's really hard to get pressure on the passer, because they get rid of it so quick. But then they can line up and run downhill at you, and we've seen that before. I think two years ago, when we played there, in the fourth quarter, that's really where they beat us then, was they ran the ball really well. [Keola] Antolin, No. 2, he got after us pretty good with some downhill running. So they can do that. They're not one dimensional by any means, I don't believe."
On how to game-plan the pass rush considering how quickly Arizona gets the ball out on pass plays
"It can be frustrating when the ball gets out so fast, so yeah, to mix it up and bring pressure, drop more guys - you can't just do one thing or they'll figure that out too. You have to mix it up."
On whether schemes can be derived from Cal's win last year over the Wildcats
On the impression Arizona might have of Shane Vereen
"You would think they have respect for him. He's a very good running back. Last year against them he rushed for, I don't know, 130-something yards I think, something like that, and broke a big one at the end. Shane's a quality back, so you have - I would think you have to - respect the ability to run the football."
On whether he noticed if Kevin Riley's play and confidence would go down a notch for a few plays following an errant pass attempt
"No, not really. I don't think he gets down on himself. If he does miss one that's open, yeah, I don't know if frustrated is the right word, but he gets disappointed that he missed one ... [We] try to get him to do that in practice, that if he does miss one, hey, go on to the next play. I think he's done a pretty good job of that. He doesn't miss many where a guy's wide open and he misses them, but I think if he has a chance to complete a pass that he knows he should have completed, he's not happy about it. But yeah, you're absolutely right, you have to have a short memory, because you can't let it affect you for the rest of the game."
On his expectations for the defense to bounce back after the loss at Nevada
"Yeah, absolutely. If we weren't I'd be very disappointed. But I think that's the attitude, is the focus and the preparation is going to take - just by talking about it, though, that doesn't get it done. So, practiced very hard this morning, actually went live this morning for those guys, run to the ball and tackle and things like that. We're playing a great offense. Not many people just stop them or shut them completely down, but we have to contain them. I've told the team, this is going to be a four-quarter game. It's going to be a tough battle because they're very good at what they do ... Last week's unconventional thing in a short week, we didn't handle it very well. There was some indecision and that's one thing you cannot have against that group [at Nevada], it's a triple option, and if you overplay one thing, you try to make up for somebody else - you have to be very patient against that group we played last week. If you try to get after it, we were probably over-aggressive trying to make plays that weren't our play, and then sure enough, when you do that, they know how to pull it out and beat you. I'm hopeful that we rebound and I think they understand that preparation and focus is needed to bounce back against this group, because this is a high-powered offense we're playing this week as well."
On whether Derrick Hill or Kendrick Payne is the No. 1 nose guard
"They're going back and forth."
On whether the Bears might have been looking past Nevada to the Pac-10 opener
"I would sure hope not, because going into that game, their stats said, `You better be ready to play these guys.' They led the country the year before, they had three 1,000-yard rushers, they scored 50-something points, they didn't punt the week before. All week long I felt like we knew that they had the firepower to do good things, so I didn't get that sense. But our confidence level was very high, and that's what we need to get back to. Anytime something like that happens to you, it stings, it makes you sick to your stomach, and I know a couple of players, when I saw them on Monday, they still said they were sick to their stomach about it. They were anxious to get back on the field and get after it."
On whether he would prefer them to feel badly after a lossQUARTERBACK KEVIN RILEY
On Arizona's pass rush
"Yeah, absolutely. I mean, the bus ride and the plane were as quiet as you've ever heard it, and it was disappointing."
"Obviously they're a sound team all around, but defensively, their D-ends are just workers. They're not huge guys, but they kind of remind me of Oregon State's D-end Victor Butler a couple of years ago and things like that, how they're always coming full speed on every play. They're just good. At the end of the game [such as when Arizona recorded sacks on four straight plays against Iowa], you know it's different, because you know you're throwing the ball, and they came after him, and they weren't even bringing pressure, really. It was just the guys up front, and those things happen, but they're a good team, so we're going to have to be ready."
On whether there is a different feeling on the team as it approaches the start of nine straight Pac-10 games
"Obviously your Pac-10 games are more important because they're conference games, but you start off with a pretty strong opponent, so people are focused, ready, and we've put that Nevada game behind us. We watched film, learned from it, but we've got to come out and play our best game of the year to beat Arizona."
On whether the timing is good to have Pac-10 play start like a new season following the Nevada loss
"I haven't really thought about it that far, but I think we're ready for some conference games. I think last week was a good test, obviously, and we can learn from a lot things we did, especially offensively, kind of hurt ourselves. You just focus on that. We've got to watch a lot of film, because Arizona, they do some different things, not a terrible amount, but what they do, they're good at."
On whether he was displeased with his game against Nevada
"Obviously I was displeased. Made some crucial mistakes, especially that pick six that changed the game. But all you can do is learn from it. You can't really think about it. Went on and played hard the rest of the game. This is a new week, a new opponent. I still have plenty of confidence in myself and this offense, and we'll be fine, we've just got to execute."
On the Arizona secondary
"Veteran group, some players returning from last year's squad. They mix it up. They're a lot of cover three. They do some four, quarters, they press, they do a lot of man. They really put a lot on their secondary, which they have a lot of trust in. They've really packed the box inside. They don't want teams to run the ball on them and teams haven't been running the ball on them, so we're going to definitely, again, have to throw the football this week to be able to win. They put a lot of responsibilities on their DBs, which obviously they have trust in. They're good players, their coaches have trust in them. We've just got to make some plays."
On how he rates the offensive line going into perhaps its biggest test so far this year at Arizona
"I think they've done a good job. I think they've gotten better every game. I think this week will be the biggest test and I think they're up for it. They're working hard. You've got to stop a lot of [the Wildcats'] twists that they do, because the D-ends are just coming. They just kind of crash with force in there and try and open up holes. We're going to have to be ready, that's for sure, because they can get after you."
On whether he measures himself against other quarterbacks in the conference
"I don't really look at it like that. I've been here a long time, played a lot, done some good things, done some bad things, obviously. During the season you don't look at that, you just look at who you're playing, that's what you concentrate on. When you watch other quarterbacks on film sometimes, you watch and say, `Oh, he's a good player.' [Arizona QB Nick] Foles is a good player, he throws the ball well, and that's all you can really say. I don't watch their offense during the week, just getting ready to learn how to beat their defense. That's more something in the offseason that people talk about. In-season, it's games."
On the tough environment at Arizona Stadium and what he took away from Cal's last two trips thereWIDE RECEIVER MARVIN JONES
On whether there's a different feeling for the team going into nine consecutive Pac-10 games
"I wasn't down there the first time. I was down there last time, I came in at the end of the game. It's a loud place to play. You've just got to execute. It's no louder than any other stadium in the Pac-10. They get after it. Offensively, you've just got to focus on what you do. We've got to limit the penalties in terms of clock management and if the crowd does get loud, we've got work on some things to get our calls right - that's more important than anything, so people can hear calls, adjustments, things like that. We've won at pretty hostile crowds before. It's up to us. We've just got to be ready, that's it. I'm guessing it's going to be a little louder this time, though, because it's their highest ranking in a long time."
"Yeah, obviously, we want to approach every game like it's the same. But it's definitely a good feeling. it's one more shot we get at these guys. We play these guys once a year. So us playing them, we're definite; we're going to play these nine teams. It is a good feeling, you know, to go out there and compete."
On whether he sees last week's loss as a way to wipe the slate clean or a start of a new season
"I think if we would've won, it still would've been starting off as a clean slate 0-0 because this is Pac-10 play. But it is an opportunity to start fresh because obviously these Pac-10 games are vital to the direction that we go for the rest of the season."
On what he and the team learned from the Nevada game, in terms of offense
"I think we did a real good job moving the ball when we needed to. There were some points in the game where we missed some opportunities. But, I think we did fairly well. Obviously, we learned it's a four-quarter game; we have to do what it takes for four quarters. I think there were some pretty good things that we did in that game, but obviously there's always something to learn from."
On what he remembers about Arizona's defensive backs and his impressions of them
"They're quick and they're strong. I'm good friends with one of them, Robert Golden. We were recruited by Oregon together. We took our Oregon trip together. I've went against him, practiced against him. So, they're strong. And they're definitely quick and fast. They're good players, that's what I get ... We've definitely went against bigger corners, but they are physical. They're a physical group."
On Arizona cornerback Trevin Wade
"Yea, I played against him last year. He's a right corner, so whenever I'm on the left he'll be there. I don't think it's specifically him matching up with me, or he'll be matching up with whoever`s on the right. ... He's a good player. When I watched him, he took a pick six to the house. He's very active. He's very aggressive on break point. So, that's what I think about him."
On how the 502 offensive yards against Nevada will translate to the game against Arizona
"We've been doing a good job in practices. Coach puts us in situations that will help us. And we've been in those situations, and we've performed very well in those situations and that leads to the yards we've been gaining. I definitely think we're going to continue with our offense."
On preparing for traveling to Arizona and the stadium atmosphere
"I went there my freshman year. That was my first game back from my injury, but I didn't see any playing time because I was still a little nicked up. Being a freshman, and going there, it was very loud, very loud, and it was hostile. It was a good game. Actually going there as a player and as a starter, I'm anticipating it. It's going to be hostile, but we've won against hostile crowds before."
On what impression Cal's offensive film against Nevada will leave on Arizona, and other teams
"The main thing that sticks out is we have playmakers; we have a lot of playmakers. You know, Kevin Riley, he makes plays. Obviously, Shane Vereen, he's a wonderful talent and we have him back there. And then you have me, you have Keenan [Allen]. We have playmakers that spread the field. So I don't think you can point out any one guy, or focus on one guy. I think that's what they'll see and that'll be the perception of our offense."
On the lack of connection between Kevin Riley and Keenan Allen in the game against Nevada
"Keenan was a little nicked up, so that's why you didn't see him very active in the game. Coming into practice today, he was 100% and they were hooking up just fine. So I think that's mainly what you saw."