Oct. 26, 2010
Tuesday Presser: Tedford | Riley | Cattouse
Tuesday Post-Practice: Vereen | Jordan
BERKELEY - Cal football head coach Jeff Tedford, senior quarterback Kevin Riley and junior defensive back Sean Cattouse spoke with the media at the weekly press conference on campus prior to Cal's nationally-televised game (Fox College Sports) against Oregon State at Reser Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 30 (12:30 p.m. PT). Following are selected quotes of what the trio had to say.
HEAD COACH JEFF TEDFORD
On what approach he takes to motivate his team for two straight upcoming road games
"There's really no motivational challenge. The motivation is to take one game at a time. We don't look at it like we have two road games coming up. We have one road game coming up, that's all that matters right now. Oregon State's a very good football team. It's always a tough place to play and really that's all that's on our mind, to make sure that we go up there and play well. They pose a lot of challenges in every phase of the game so that's really all that's on our mind."
On the loss of James Rodgers to injury for Oregon State and how that affects the Beavers
"Anytime you lose a player like that, he's an impact player, no doubt. But they have other very good players as well. Seems like Markus Wheaton's really stepped into his role. They used Rodgers in so many ways on fly sweeps and then last year he really came into his own as a receiver. Two years ago it was a lot of fly sweeps just to get the ball in his hands, and then he improved so much as a receiver, it started being downfield throws. But they have other very talented guys and Markus Wheaton seems to be the guy that they want for him to assume the role of James and hand him the ball on the flys and things like that. He's very fast and elusive and good with the ball in his hands. They have enough to contend with, no doubt about it, with the receiving corps, and Jacquizz [Rodgers ... James' brother] is, he's by himself the guy that just keeps you awake at night."
On RB Jacquizz Rodgers and whether he indeed causes Tedford to lose sleep
[Cal defensive coordinator] Clancy [Pendergast] is [losing sleep], I'm sure. Clancy's thing is that side of the ball but I have a lot of confidence and trust. My point is he's a guy that you have to be very concerned about. They have plenty of other things keeping me awake at night, their defense and how we play and how we're going to execute and the plan we're going to have, but I have a lot confidence in our defense. Our defense has played pretty well except for two games, really, and besides those two games, I thought they've done an excellent job. You look at last week, Arizona State coming in here I thought was a very good offensive team, and they still are, but I thought our defense played very, very well, and really only gave up three points. Those other touchdowns came by the fumble and the blocked punt. But last week is last week and it's a whole new crew this week. To stop this run game - one of the things we did last week that helped us so much was to limit the run game and if you can keep people in third-and-long because you can stop the run on early downs, then you have a much better chance to be successful. To stop these guys' run game is going to be a bigger task than it was last week."
On whether he is confident the Cal offense can score enough against Oregon State
"It comes down to execution, as in anything. The games that they've lost, besides the overtime game to Washington where [Washington quarterback Jake] Locker played very well, at Boise and really what an away game at TCU - you talk about TCU and Boise being highly ranked teams, very good football teams. But scoring points comes down to making plays and execution. Running the football, blocking at the point of attack, protecting the quarterback, catching the football, not turning the football over, capitalizing on field position - so far this year I think we've shown when that's the case for us, we're able to score points."
On how to keep Jacquizz Rodgers in check, which Cal did relatively successfully in 2009
"Last year really has not much to do with it. It's a whole new group, whole new system, but the challenges that he brings are really everything. He catches the ball well out of the backfield, he can pass protect, but he is so strong and so elusive that his feet are awesome. When you talk about jump cuts - jump cuts are when you're in the hole and you can jump sideways and then go forward very quickly - he's a master at that. So if you're in front of him and he jumps sideways on you, you've got to get on him right away or he will spurt through a hole and be gone. You just can't arm-tackle the guy. He is so strong and built low to the ground and very strong, and then when he gets in the open field he has great speed. You can never go to sleep on him. You can never relax and think he's down because he'll come spurting out of there and take it the distance."
On DB Steve Williams listed on the current depth chart ahead of Darian Hagan
"It's competition every week and we'll see how this week goes to see who starts this week. We're fortunate to have good corners. [Bryant] Nnabuife was out last week. Steve had, through his body of work through the week of practice, had earned the start, but Darian still played. They'll both play, it's just a matter of who starts. We'll figure that out as the week goes on."
On whether the fact that Cal had a 4-2 record in true road games in 2009 offers optimism that the Bears can improve their current 0-3 road record
"Yeah, I think so. To everybody else I guess it's a big deal about the whole road and home thing. To us, we prepare the same exact way. Unfortunate that the pistol got us at Reno and then the game got away from us at SC in the first half, which they happened to be on the road, But at Arizona, Arizona's a tough place to play and we had a great opportunity to win that game, and didn't get it done. I don't think it had anything to do with being on the road or not. Are there challenges to playing on the road? Yes. You can't be naïve and think that there's no challenges on the road, because of the environments that we play in and the noise and things like that, but that's not a reason why you drop a football, it's not a reason why you miss a tackle, it has nothing to do with it. It just happens to be that way, that the teams that we lost [to], that the games [that] got out of control were on the road."
On the Oregon State pass rush and its schemes
"First off, they have very good players. [DT Stephen] Paea is one of the best defensive linemen in our conference. They mix it up, they have a nice package. They'll blitz from every direction, they'll bring corners, they'll bring backers, they play man, they play zone, they make you hold the ball, they throw off your timing, they make you hold the ball a little bit. They're very well coached on defense and they have very good players doing it. They play extremely hard. They're relentless at getting after the passer and so that's going to be one of the keys. We're going to have to be balanced to win this game. We're going to have to be able to run the football, we're going to have to be able to throw the football, but in order to do that we need to protect the passer."
On Beavers QB Ryan Katz
"He's getting better every week. He can throw. He's got a nice, quick release, accurate throwing the football and it seems like he's just getting more comfortable with each game. He's got plenty of weapons so he can hurt you in the air too. It's not a one-man show with Jacquizz. Katz can deal the ball around and so, again it's going to be very important to keep him off balance, try and get to him a little bit and disrupt him from just being able to set his feet and throw the football."
On the challenge DT Stephen Paea and the Oregon State defense pose to Cal's offensive line
"I heard [offensive line] coach [Steve] Marshall on Monday, we had our meeting at 6:45 a.m., and he was making sure they were awake in there, that there's a big challenge but we've got to rise to the challenge. There's a lot of good players in this league, there are, and you have to be ready to compete against him, because he's going to get off the ball hard and fast, and he's relentless and so there's no question that our linemen have to have a good week of practice and be ready for him because he can disrupt everything."
On OL Dominic Galas and his chances containing Paea
"Dominic, I have confidence can hold up on pretty much anybody, but Paea has taken very good players and driven them into the backfield so he's going to probably get his from time to time, because that's the type of player that he is. But I have confidence in [Chris] Guarnero and Galas and our guards that they're going to compete hard against him. We're going to have to do some different things with him, double-team him from time to time and those types of things, keep him off guard. We're not going to one-on-one block him the whole game."
On whether he could use the pass to open up the runQUARTERBACK KEVIN RILEY
On returning to his home state to play the Beavers
"You like to stay balanced and you like to try to do that. Again, depending on field position, field position and down-and-distance and those type of things, but yeah, play-action and quick-pass game and those type of things that go with the run game are part of the offense and you want to utilize it. But if you're backed up deep, you have a little bit of a tendency to be a little bit more cautious with the ball because if you make a mistake back there it's going to cost you. And that was really the case at SC early in the game, was we were backed up so deep, it was really important that we hit those plays to get out of there, and we didn't, and then you're punting out of your end zone and now they have field position. So field position plays a big key in what your game plan can be."
"Early on in my career it felt great going back home and playing ... but now it's just another game and it's a game we need to win. It's nothing new, really. I had more family at our UW game last year and they traveled to almost every game so it's just another game. But I want to win up there, I want to beat them. Haven't beaten Oregon or Oregon State, haven't beaten them in a while, so it's just we need to beat Oregon State."
On whether he'd like to see more hurry-up offense used in the game
"You just do what you're told. I think the offense feels comfortable. Like I said, we do it every week and we usually have success in practice doing it every single week. I do feel comfortable. The defense knows it's a pass but also when you're hurrying up you're not getting many exotic looks. You're getting basic looks. You just have to control what you're doing and like I said, you've been doing it so long, you just feel comfortable. You've just got to roll."
On whether he notices anything different in preparation for road games this season
"No, not at all. It's just a weird thing. Arizona game, we had that in our hands. Nevada, lost. SC, obviously, got beat. But I think it's like I've said before, when you get those momentum shifts at home, you can just feel it in the environment with the crowd and everything, and when momentum shifts happen at away games, it's pretty much your team, so you've got to get a lot of excitement out of the sideline, and we've just got to be active the whole game."
On whether the Beavers defense has changed over the course of his career
"Oregon State, their defense hasn't changed since I've played, and that's quite a while ago, so they run what they run. They put a lot of trust in their safeties like usual. I think this year they're bringing a little bit more man pressure than they have, so that gives us a chance to have some one-on-ones that we have to win, and therey're not much different than what they've done in the past. They're still strong up front so we've got to protect well, we've got to run well, kind of do what we did last week with running well and then hopefully get some play-action from it and get some big pass plays."
On whether Oregon State is doing anything different to improve their sack total this season
"I think they're just doing it better. It's just one of those things, I feel and you hear that Oregon State just gets better as the year goes on, and I think that's more with their defense than anything. They get comfortable in what they do. They don't do a ton of things but they get better at it while they go along."
On whether he notices any difference in the team when playing on grass vs. turf
"No. I like playing on grass, so I think if it did make a difference, it would depend on the weather, if it was wet or cold, but they have the same field as we do up there."
On whether they should be wary of and game-plan to deal with DT Stephen Paea
"Yeah, and he gave us some fits last year. He beat us up good last year. I know our guards are excited about a little redemption game for them against him. They were upset about the way we played against him last year. I think he's one of those guys you definitely go chip down on if you don't have anybody on you, to go block him. I think everybody knows he's just a strong guy who can make plays. You've got to stay in front of him."
On whether this matchup reminds him of the injury in the 2009 OSU game to former Cal TB Jahvid Best
"No one's really talked about it, last year. Shane [Vereen] and I were kind of talking about it on the field this year, just talking about how, that happened in a game and the enthusiasm just dropped in that game. When you see your best player go down in that fashion, it is a scary thing. Luckily he's okay, he's doing well now, and it was great seeing him last weekend [at the Cal-Arizona State game], too. He's still humble as ever and he's just a good person."
On whether he envisions a high-scoring game at CorvallisDEFENSIVE BACK SEAN CATTOUSE
On how Oregon State's offense has changed without James Rodgers
"Yeah, I think it could be a possibility for sure. I think that's a possibility in any game. Their offense against Washington at times was rolling then our offense gets rolling at the same time, and then sometimes their defense is stout and our defense is stout, so we'll just see how the rhythm of the game goes. You never know what's going to happen but we both have dynamic players on offense for sure."
"It's definitely big. I never, I never, hoped he was hurting like he is; it's a pretty bad injury. But it changes a lot for their offense ... well maybe not too much; they're trying to do some of the same things, but with him in there there's a few more packages they can run. It's definitely a key loss for them. They do a lot of the same things though, not too much has changed just some things in a couple of areas."
On whether his performance against Arizona State is indicative of the rest of the season
"I definitely think so, if you let me tell it. I plan on it. I have to wait until Saturday, but I plan on it every week."
On Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers
"He's a great back, he's a great back. He's a real good football player all the way around. You know, I think we could just get to the ball. You know wherever he's at, make sure we have all 11 guys running to him and, you know, getting him down. He's going to make some plays - make a guy or two miss every now and then - but that's to be expected. But if we all just get to the ball, we'll be fine."
On whether they plan to continue using a five defensive-back based defense
"I'm not sure. I can't really anticipate us; it's all coach's call, but I'm sure guys will be getting in there. We have great depth this year and I think it's always good to use it. So it's coach P's [defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast] call. We'll see what he decides."
On addressing the issue of playing away versus playing at home as a team
"I know definitely, the coaches, from [head] coach [Jeff] Tedford to Coach P [defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast] to all the position coaches - we've touched on that yesterday, and the beginning of the week. I know definitely, more so than even the coaches, amongst the players, we're definitely talking about just getting back to all the basics. Just focusing in, communicating, running to the ball. Just to make sure we're going in there fully prepared just amongst ourselves and all the guys that are going to be on the field. It's an issue that everyone knows amongst the team. So we're definitely going to get it fixed this week."
On Cal's success on the road last year and why it's different this year
"As far as that, we haven't really sat amongst ourselves and reflected on last year and where our success came from. We haven't done that too much, kind of just focusing on this year. But, I think we know places as far as what we're doing wrong on defense. I mean I can't say what exactly causes those things to go wrong on the road. But I think there's just some things we know, just X's and O's, we need to correct and try to get it done."
On the last time Cal faced the Beavers, during which TB Jahvid Best sustained a season-ending injury
"It's crazy. I just saw Jahvid last week and I didn't even think. I didn't remember that game as the game he had that pretty bad injury. I haven't thought about it too much."
On Oregon State QB Ryan Katz
"He's a good quarterback. He can definitely do some things to hurt us. You know, he's mobile. He has a big arm. But, I think there's definitely some places we can hurt him as well and the whole entire offense. But we always give respect to the opponent. He's a good quarterback, but there's definitely some ways we can take advantage of him and the offense."
On whether Jacquizz Rodgers' small size is the hardest thing about him to defend
"I don't know if it's the hardest. It's probably one of them - tracking him behind that line. The hardest thing is probably bringing him down. He's a tough back. He's a true ball player just all-around. I mean he comes to play and goes hard. That's something we're going to have to match, that'll probably be the biggest thing, and we will. But him behind that line of scrimmage is pretty tough. It's kind of the same deal we got with [Cal tailback] Isi [Sofele] and that wildcat at practice. But it's pretty similar, yes. It's not the toughest, but one of them."
On how he'll defend Rodgers at 6-2 in a one-on-one open shot
"One-on-one open shot? I like to come with all of me, everything I got. Leverage usually wins, but I'll get down there with him and bring it. We'll see what happens. I've definitely got to get low and come with nothing but basic football. Leverage wins, you know, come hard and low. I'll do that."
On how Oregon State's nonconference schedule [vs. Boise State and TCU] has affected them
"I don't know, maybe just gave them a tough look earlier on. Just as simple as that. We've had some similar years like that, the past few years. It just gives you, it's a big test early. That's about as far as it goes. To some degree dependent of who you're playing or whatever, it could be a big statement. I actually don't remember how they fared in both those games, but it's just a test for them as their team. But we haven't been thinking about that at all."