Nov. 9, 2010
Presser Video: Tedford | Mohamed
Post-Practice Video: Jordan | Mansion | Vereen
BERKELEY - Cal football head coach Jeff Tedford and linebacker Mike Mohamed spoke with the media at the weekly Cal football press conference, while quarterback Brock Mansion conducted a post-practice interview on Tuesday. Following are selected quotes of what each had to say. Videos of defensive lineman Cameron Jordan and tailback Shane Vereen are also available above.
Cal will next play No. 1 Oregon in the first contest of a three-game homestand that ends the regular season, with kickoff at Memorial Stadium slated for 4:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, Nov. 13. The game will be televised live nationally on VERSUS in both HD and 3D formats.
HEAD COACH JEFF TEDFORD
On the enthusiasm this week leading up to Saturday's matchup against No. 1 Oregon
"Today's pace in practice was very fast. It was because we really want it that way. They were very energetic, but we were trying to really go up-tempo to simulate what Oregon does on offense. So I thought they flew around really well and [are] excited for the challenge."
On how to slow Oregon's offense down
"That's a good question. They just have so many weapons and they spread you over the field so much and they're so fast. With the running back that they have, it starts with being able to try to slow the run down. They wear you down. LaMichael James, they play at such a fast tempo and if he finds a crease, he can make such big plays. They make huge plays in the run game. And then [QB] Darron Thomas, I think - while I have great respects for [former Oregon QB Jeremiah] Masoli, Masoli was a tough, hard runner - but Thomas I think even brings more to that offense because he's so elusive and so fast in the open field, and he's very accurate throwing the football. So I think it starts with trying to slow the run down and force them into long-yardage situations and hopefully force them to throw the ball. But they are so effective on early downs and running the football that they don't get in many third-and-long situations."
On any similarities between Oregon's offense and Nevada's Pistol offense
"[Oregon's offense is] not really the same. It's a spread deal and it's a lot of lateral - Nevada's run game is based off of downhill run game and Oregon's run game is based off of lateral run game. They get you spread side to side and then [James] hits a crease up in there, where Nevada, the Pistol, the back runs downhill every time. Yeah, there's an option phase to it, which obviously Oregon has the option phase, but it's not as downhill as the Pistol is."
On how much its fast tempo has to do with the success of Oregon's offense
"It has a lot to do with it, it does. They run over 100 plays a game and they keep the pressure on you at all times and so communication becomes key, of making sure that you can be aligned correctly and things like that, and then cover all the phases of what they do, and it happens so fast, and so I think tempo has a lot to do with it, besides them being great players."
On the Ducks defense
"Their offense gets a lot of attention but their defense plays great, they really do. The team speed that they have on defense, they love to pressure you. They're very good in the secondary, a lot of speed in the secondary. Their linebackers are very athletic. A lot of movement up front with very good defensive linemen. Kenny Rowe, a defensive end, really does a nice job. Defensively, they're right up there in the nation and the conference as leaders on defense as well. They're able to play off each other offensively and defensively but they're solid in all phases of the game, not just offense and defense but special teams as well. They're as complete a team as you're going to see."
On whether Cal has enough offensive firepower to keep pace with Oregon
"We're going to find out. The thing is, they average over 50 points a game. That would be a huge feat for us to do that. I think we need to keep the score low and keep the game close to be there to win the game. It's got to be a low-scoring game. Not many people have outscored them in the 50s. The key lies in being able to hold them to a manageable number on offense."
On what constitutes a low-scoring game for Oregon
"I can't give you a number. I mean, low enough where we can win, whatever it may be. I think they've proven to be very difficult to stop. We can't have them score 50-something points. Hopefully we can keep the game close till the end and have an opportunity to win. Nobody's been successful at that so far."
On OL Matt Summers-Gavin and whether he found himself set back with his 2010 injury compared to his 2009 season
"He did, the injury put him back because he missed all of camp essentially. The other guys were playing pretty well and so he had limited reps in there, because those other guys had earned a spot in there. But now he's back in there and playing at the guard position and last week was his first start ... played decent, I think he can still play better given more playing time, but you know, it's nice to see him back in there playing, being a part of it."
On how much he is using last year's loss at Oregon as motivation this week
"I'm not going to go back and harp on last year. This is about this year and it's about this opportunity and the motivation to play the No. 1 team in the nation is obviously there. I don't need to bring back old things to motivate them to play this game. They'll be plenty motivated, I'm sure."
LINEBACKER MIKE MOHAMED
On how to slow down Oregon's offense
"I'm not sure if you can really slow them down. You know, they really pride themselves on fast tempo. But what we can try to do is, you know, try to hang with them. The conditioning is a big part of our plan this week. Obviously, just because there's no huddle - [they] get two to three plays off every minute. We did quite a bit of conditioning today. We're still not where we want to be, but that's the thing that you see. A lot of teams are able to hang with them early and then they just wear them down; guys get tired and they make mental mistakes. So, it's going to be a challenge this week."
On the difference between former Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli and current Ducks QB Darron Thomas
"I think Thomas is a little bit faster, a little more agile. Masoli ran that offense really well. And, yeah, I think Thomas runs it even better. He's got a great arm. He slings that football down the field and he can also run. Pretty much everyone on that offense is a threat, and, you know, we're going to have our hands full."
On what else Cal is doing to prepare for Oregon's tempo
"Basically, all you can do is try to simulate what they're going to do in the game during practice. And our scout team did a great job today. And they're going to come out tomorrow and try to give us a look. But, basically, just trying to run plays as similar to how Oregon does it. And hopefully that will get us ready for the game."
On how similar Oregon's offense is to the Pistol and how to prepare for that
"I think the biggest thing is assignment defense. Everybody has a gap, everybody has a responsibility. And when you look at - on film, when Oregon busts big plays it's because I think guys get tired, they get out of their gap, they start to do their own thing, and Oregon exploits that and takes advantage of that. So it's going to come down to every guy doing their individual job within the defense."
On what it would mean to the team to knock off the No. 1 team in the country
"That'd be huge. It'd be a huge boost for the team. You know, we're the only team playing the number one team in the country this week. This is basically our BCS game. It's going to be awesome to just go out there and play them. If we do happen to knock them off, it would be a huge boost for morale."
On the team's enthusiasm in practice being at its highest so far this season
"If you can't get up for the No. 1 team in the country, you don't belong out there on the field. The energy was definitely really high [in practice today]. And guys were flying around, really excited for this one."
On reviewing last year's film against Oregon and the differences on this year's Ducks
"I think they're pretty similar. They've been kind of running the same system for as long as I can remember. I think the thing that's the most different this year is the tempo. You know, somebody makes a tackle and the next thing you know they're all lined up, already running another play. I think that's a little bit different than years past. They've always had the fast tempo, but this year they've kicked it into another gear. And, you know, they've really done well with it."
On whether last year's game against Oregon is on their minds
"Anytime you get embarrassed like that, it sticks in the back of your mind. You know, we kind of want to avenge that. Prove that we belong with these guys. And we're just hoping for a great weekend."
On whether Cal has picked up techniques from teams that were able to slow Oregon down last year
"We're mostly concentrating on us. If you can't get your part right, you can't expect to beat the other team. No, we haven't really looked at film from last year; it's more about the guys this year - definitely the new quarterback. They're definitely much better than last year."
On how they plan to stop RB LaMichael James
QUARTERBACK BROCK MANSION
On Oregon's defense
"Well that's the thing, if you end up stopping him they still have Thomas, they have [WR Jeff] Maehl, a whole bunch of other options. Kind of like I said earlier, everybody just has to do their part and stop their individual guy. And hopefully we can contain these guys."
"They have a solid defense. They're really fast, play really well laterally. It's going to be a challenge for us, there's no doubt about it. But we have the tools to do what it takes to win this Saturday."
On what a win against Oregon would do for the team
"We'd still be undefeated at home, which is always one of our goals, to never lose in our house. But it'd be a huge, huge boost for us to finish up the rest of this season and going into the week after."
On whether he relishes this opportunity or finds it daunting
"There's nothing daunting about it at all. It's a great opportunity. Everybody on this team is excited. We haven't come out and practiced with this much enthusiasm since probably the first week of fall camp, so I was really excited ... There's some type of energy today, I don't know what it was, but coming out of one-on-ones, we had a great, competitive atmosphere, which is just amazing for the energy of the rest of the practice ... We try to keep the same attitude [week to week], but yeah, you could definitely tell there's a different competitive atmosphere and energy going on in practice, which is awesome."
On Oregon's frequent substitutions and more on their defensive schemes
"They're like every other team, they have their pressure packages, just got to try to keep out of those situations where they bring those. They're going to probably have one new one in there, just like every team, every week, that tries to attack what we do, but we've just got to be prepared for it and make the adjustment on the fly."
On whether he is looking forward to his home debut as the starter
"I really am. I'm excited. My uncle gets to come and I haven't played in front of him probably since my senior year of high school. He's been a big inspiration to me playing college football. I'm excited about that, and just to feel that home atmosphere."
On whether his margin for error is slimmer against the Ducks
"Every week, we want to stay out of the third-and-20s, the third-and-forevers. I mean, who wants to call plays when it's third-and-15-plus? There's not very many plays that get you out of that. So making positive plays every drive is going to be key for us, as it is every week."