Oct. 5, 2010
Presser Video: Tedford |
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Cal football head coach Jeff Tedford, senior quarterback Kevin Riley and junior tailback Shane Vereen spoke with the media at the weekly press conference on campus prior to Cal's homecoming game against UCLA Saturday, Oct. 9, at 12:30. The contest will also serve as the Joe Roth Memorial Game. Following are selected quotes of what they had to say.
HEAD COACH JEFF TEDFORD
On the differences between the pistol offenses run by UCLA and Nevada
"The only thing I think is different is the [UCLA QB Kevin Prince] quarterback can still make some yards with his legs, [but] it's not [Nevada QB Colin] Kaepernick. Kaepernick broke some long runs us and hopefully if Prince pulls it down and runs it, we can track him down for some minimal gains and not let huge plays happen on us. Against Nevada, they hit some big plays, he did, with getting around the edge and running up the middle. The lesson you learn is you need to be disciplined in this and take away all phases, you can't get caught trying to do something, make a play that's not your assignment, because sure enough, after that, there goes the guy that was your assignment. So, very important that we play disciplined and that we're aggressive but not overly aggressive to the ball and get guys out of position."
On whether he has seen his team get better at handling the pistol in practice
"I think so, still practicing it. The next couple of days of practice are still going to be very important because we're still learning every day with it. It's tough to stop, there's no question about it, especially when you have guys running it like they have. They have two great running backs [Johnathan Franklin and Derrick Coleman] who hit it hard. And even if you get one-on-one with them and they break a tackle, it has potential to be big plays. So tackling is key, there's no question about it, that we're able to wrap up. They spread you out and have you so assignment-oriented that you may be one on one, and that doesn't necessarily mean you have them stopped, because now it turns into a you-against-them, and they're very good running backs."
On whether Cal has reviewed Nevada video again as coaches or as a team
"The defensive coaches have looked at it to where we could have improved ... There's probably certain plays that we went over [as a team] during that week after we played Nevada, when we review the tape. But to watch the [entire] tape again, no. We're watching UCLA's offense right now with the idea of understanding, or trying to understand, everything that can happen with the different moving parts.
On UCLA's productivity in the running game and whether it can be credited to the running backs or the pistol offense
"I think it's a product of the pistol, actually, I really do. Because I think they've always had good running backs and it seems like they're really gaining momentum with it. It looks like they're getting much more comfortable with what's going on. The speed in which they do it is very efficient."
On the Bruins offensive line and how it compares to Nevada's
"I would say they're bigger. I mean, they look bigger and stronger on the surface. They have four out of five guys that are seniors there and they all have good size and they move very well. So I'd say overall they're probably bigger than Nevada and they're playing very well. They're coming off the ball and they're playing with confidence, and they're playing fast and it's a good group."
On what it should mean to have WR/KR Keenan Allen back at 100 percent against UCLA, and whether the game plan was altered the past two games with Allen less than full strength
"It just means there's another guy to make some plays on the field, but no, we didn't alter our game plan. We feel like there's some guys behind him, there's some depth there that we can use and that we trust and have confidence in, so no, we haven't altered the game plan, with him or without him. We're going to do what we feel is necessary to attack the defense."
On how Allen has adjusted to Pac-10 competition compared to other, earlier games
"Don't know. He hasn't played yet. He really hasn't played. He played a couple snaps in Arizona but he hasn't played much ... But I don't think you need to play to understand the environment and the intensity that league play has brought. The games that he played were at home, and so you're in a pretty friendly environment. And then going on the road, he didn't play against Nevada really, maybe a couple of plays, and then obviously the hostile environment in Arizona, so to understand the difference between home and away, I think he's probably got the feel of that."
On whether Allen will see action against UCLA as a kick returner
"He'll be a backup, he won't start there. [Jeremy] Ross will start."
On the realignment of the Pac-10 into two divisions next year and how important he feels it would be to continue playing UCLA and USC every seasonTAILBACK SHANE VEREEN
On whether he anticipates a high-scoring game against UCLA
"I think it would be great. There's a lot of tradition there obviously ... I have no idea how it's going to end up with the alignment but I would hope that the Southern California schools are in our division, but I have no idea which way that's going. But yeah, it'd be nice to play the Southern California schools on a consistent basis."
"I definitely hope the offense can put more points up than nine. I think our goals are to score as much as we need to. I have a lot of confidence in the defense that they'll come and do their thing. They've been doing great all season. It'll be all on the offense to just put up points to support them."
On the urgency to prevent an 0-2 start in conference play
"I don't know if it's just urgency for the Pac-10, I think it's urgency just for our entire season, because we've lost the last two. We don't want to feel rushed, we don't want to feel pressure, but I think we all understand that we need to get a win this Saturday, that it's important for us to come out and play strong and play to the best of our ability."
On whether, as a native of Southern California, he looks forward to this game in particular
"Oh yeah, definitely. I know about half the guys on the UCLA team. This is a humungous bragging-rights game for me. Every time I go home I'm hanging out with them. A lot of my best friends are on that team and so this game is huge. I always circle it on my calendar, I always look forward to it and it's going to be fun."
On UCLA's defense and what the Bruins try to do against the run
"They're a great run-stopping team because they play fast, they play hard, they play physical. They have a great front seven, and because they play their safeties low, their safeties support the run very well. With their combination of the defenses they run, the blitzes, it makes it very difficult for runners to get started against them. Taking that into consideration, it's going to be a tough, grinder game for us. We're going to have to wear them out, wear them down play after play, and hopefully four-yard runs will turn into 10-yard runs and so on."
On his regard for UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers
"We think that he's their best defensive player that they have, hands down. He's made a lot of plays this season alone. He's very fast, very athletic, very physical, not only on pass rush but run-stopping. We definitely have our eye on him. We're going to know where he's at, whether we're running the ball away from him or running the ball to him. We think he's a very talented linebacker."
On the potential of Cal not being aligned with the Los Angeles schools beginning with next year's two-division conference, and the importance to him of playing them regularly
"I think that's important for a lot of the kids that are from Southern California. I was talking to Marv [Jones], he's also from L.A., and whenever we play an L.A. school, we try to turn it up a notch just because, a little bit more to prove, a little bit more on the table for us, personally. And so if that is taken away, I hope that we can do our thing this year against the L.A. schools."
On the coaches' focus on red-zone execution following the Arizona game
"Before each game coach [Andy] Ludwig, the O-coordinator, talks about our success in the red zone and how that's pivotal to our success as a team and putting points on the board. We understand that we kind of fell off a little bit in the red zone two weeks ago, and so I think this week, tomorrow at practice we'll concentrate on the red zone a lot and there'll be a lot of emphasis on scoring once we get inside the red zone."
On the impact Keenan Allen's limited availability had the past two games and how that can change with his return to 100 percent health
"When he wasn't healthy it kind of took away one of our playmakers, one of our better playmakers, and now that he's back I think it's just going to add to our offense. I think it'll help the offense get rolling. I think we've seen his ability, his talents, and to get those back to 100 percent will be huge for us."
On whether he anticipates the offense testing UCLA's secondary more than the Bears did against Arizona
"Even against Arizona we tried to take shots down the field, but the type of defense that they were playing, they had it covered. I think we always feel that our receivers can get open downfield, always feel they're great route runners and one-on-one, we have the advantage, so I anticipate if Kev [Riley] gets the look that he needs that he'll throw it down there for them."
On how he discerns between the UCLA team that both lost badly to Stanford and the one that beat Texas on the road
"A little Jekyll and Hyde. [We're going to] prepare for their best. We saw what they did against Texas, how well that they played. They got a lot of turnovers. They played big on third downs. So we're preparing to get their best, their very best."
On whether he notices teams setting their defense to take away the run from CalQUARTERBACK KEVIN RILEY
On how helpful it was to begin planning for UCLA last week leading into the bye weekend
"Since I've been here, me and Jahvid [Best], that has been a big key for the defenses is to put eight in the box, try and stop the run. But as an offense we prepare for that, we expect that, and when they do put eight in the box we hope that we can open them up with a little bit of the pass game, and when they take eight out of the box hopefully we can hit them with the run a little bit. I think eight in the box, it challenges us in the run game a lot. It's an extra defender, but at the same time we still feel like we should be able to do the things that we need to do."
"It's definitely helpful. It's kind of like the first game of the year. You're just more prepared, you have an extra week to watch film and just get ready for the opponent. Last year it was the same thing after those two games [losses at Oregon and vs. USC], we had a bye week and then UCLA. You really get in tune with the game plan and get ready for what's going to be a hard-fought game ... It's big anytime you have a week to prepare. It gets the team focused, like I said, and you're really in tune with the game plan. You've just got to come out and you've got to start fast, like we did last year. We came out, scored two touchdowns real quick and you get some confidence, you get going from there."
On the impact of Keenan Allen back at 100 percent for the UCLA game
"It puts such another great weapon out there for our offense. He's been hampered with his ankle and now he's full strength. Even in practice he looks so much better, kind of when he first got here. You could tell it was really limiting his play, especially the explosiveness he has as a player. So it's going to be exciting to see him back out there at full strength, making plays."
On the Bruins defense and any changes he notices in it compared to last season
"They're doing a couple things differently from last year but not much, bringing some zone pressure ... You've just got to beat them. They don't make very many mistakes and you've just got to sustain drives, get down the field and score some touchdowns."
On whether there is urgency to win Saturday to prevent an 0-2 conference record
"Definitely, especially this year. Looking at the Pac-10 already, there's going to be, everybody's going to lose a game here and there. You've just got to go out and win. That's all there is to it. If you start 0-2, it kind of ruins your hopes of a Pac-10 championship, and you've just got to go out there and win."
On his impressions of other teams that he watched on TV during the bye weekend
"A lot of good games. Watching some of the games on Saturday, you could see that every game is going to be a fight, just like our game with Arizona. Are you going to make enough plays throughout the game at the end of the game to win those games? Just like those games are all close games, hard fought, and that's what the Pac-10 is going to be like this year, every single game."