Nov. 15, 2010
Presser Video: Tedford | Mohamed | Guarnero
SAN FRANCISCO - Cal football head coach Jeff Tedford, linebacker Mike Mohamed and center Chris Guarnero spoke with the media at the Big Game press conference, held Tuesday at Gordon Biersch on the Embarcadero.
Cal will play No. 6 BCS/7 AP/8 USA Today Stanford in the 113th Big Game at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 20, at 12:30 p.m. PT. The game will be televised nationally on Fox Sports Net and locally Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.
HEAD COACH JEFF TEDFORD
"It's great to see you all. I'd like to welcome our two players: Chris Guarnero, our senior center; and Mike Mohamed, our linebacker, both great leaders for our football team, both going to graduate at the end of this semester, and very proud of their accomplishments and what they've brought to our program over the years. It's an honor to be a part of this tradition, as always. I'm going into the ninth one here and we've had great games games against Stanford, very competitive, and I want to congratulate coach Harbaugh and Sione [Fua] and Andrew [Luck] for their success. Coach Harbaugh has done a fantastic job with their program. [Stanford is] sixth in the country right now and going into this football game, it's going to be imperative that we play our best in all phases of the game, offensively, defensively and special teams. A very physical football team, Stanford is, in all areas, and probably the best quarterback in the country, in my opinion, with Andrew Luck. Can do it all - they can run it, they can throw it, he can beat you with his legs and he can beat you through the air. Very physical offensive line and so, they're playing very, very well. As coach Harbaugh mentioned, we're very excited about the opportunity and the challenge as well. Big Game week is always very enthusiastic and preparation is key. Looking forward to the week and preparing to play a great football game against a great team."
On whether there is any concern of a negative carryover into the Big Game following the two-point loss to No. 1 Oregon
"You always worry about something like that, but I don't think that's any cause for concern this week because it's Stanford, it's the Big Game and there's a lot of tradition involved, pride and tradition in this game, in retaining The Axe and all that, that the kids look forward to and want to compete for. It takes a day or so to get over [the Oregon loss], no doubt about it, a hard-fought game like that when it doesn't come out your way. But I think our kids can take a lot of positives out of that game and put it to good use this week in preparation to play another great football team."
On the defensive priorities against the Stanford offense led by QB Andrew Luck
"First and foremost, the way they run the football, to stop the run - that's the key always. It's very challenging because they do things so well. They're so balanced. They run the ball 213 yards a game, throw for 250-something yards a game, so there's a lot of balance on that offense. They're not one-dimensional. They're very physical, they protect Luck very well. I think he's only maybe been sacked four times this year, something like that. He gets out of a lot of trouble himself. He can do it all. He's very accurate throwing the football and he can run with it. They're a very difficult offense to stop."
More on the intensity Cal will need once again on Saturday
"It's the Big Game. You have to be up for every game no matter what happens. The conference is so competitive and you're playing the sixth-ranked team in the country. We're not going to have any trouble focusing on Stanford knowing what they're all about. They're not going to sneak up on us. They're a great football team and our team understands to be competitive, we have to take all the intensity and enthusiasm to play a very physical, four-quarter football game."
On the status of DBs Marc Anthony and Darian Hagan
"They'll be fine. They'll be ready to play."
On whether he has analyzed the team's contrasting fortunes on the road compared to at home this season
"I've been asked that enough times, so I should have analyzed it. If I had the magical answer it would have been taken care of a long time ago, but we've played some very good teams on the road. One of the heartbreaking losses on the season for us was against Arizona. It felt like we had a chance to beat a good football team at Arizona but it didn't happen. But we're at home this week and our kids have played well at home. Our fans do a great job of getting into the football game, so that's really all that matters, is this week."
On what he attributes his 7-1 record against Stanford to
"We've been fortunate to win those games. They're hard-fought football games and like I said, you have no problem getting up for the Big Game. I expect the same intensity this week, looking forward to the preparation. It's going to be a huge challenge. Every season brings new challenges and ever since coach Harbaugh's been there it has been a dogfight, it really has. It's been very close football games, very physical football games, and we don't expect anything different this year."
On QB Brock Mansion
"Obviously for a young guy like Brock, he hasn't, he's only played in a couple of games, and so it's going to be very important for him to keep his composure and for him just to play within himself and not try to do too much. He's still learning, there's no doubt about it. But we need to do a good job of protecting him. He's made good decisions with the football and that's very important. We're going to have to be balanced as well. We're going to have to run the football and be able to throw the football. Brock has a lot of confidence, Brock has a lot of composure, and I'm sure he will prepare very well this week with the game plan, and go in and do his best to execute it."
More on Mansion, who did not throw an interception but struggled with accuracy against Oregon, and how to prepare him to make his third career start in the 2010 Big Game
"Brock can throw the ball and that's the whole thing, of game experience for him, trying to simulate that as much as we can in practice, playing fast and making sure that he's confident in what he's doing with the football. Brick has made some very good throws and I'm sure he's going to learn from some of the things that happened last week and try to improve throughout this week."
On what he's seen in Mansion as a starter the past two games
"He's made good decisions. He's handled the huddle very well, play-calling. The mechanics of a football game - you know, everybody looks at the throws and things like that - but for a quarterback to handle the mechanics of a football game, the play clock, the play calls, substitutions, so on and so forth, he's done a very good job with that and has made good decisions with the football. Brock has a lot of confidence, and both weeks that he's played now, I've been impressed with his preparation going into the week and his composure going into the game. He's not a guy that gets rattled. Still getting used to the speed of the game, obviously, but he has a lot of confidence and his teammates have done a great job around him of supporting him throughout the week of practice and during the games."
On whether the Big Game will be decided by the play on the offensive and defensive lines
"I think all games are won or lost up front on both sides of the football. Your offensive line being able to block for the run and pass-protect, that's football, that's where it all starts. They have a very physical offensive line, we have a very physical and good offensive line, they're both very good defenses, so it's going to be a great matchup there, but that really where all games are won and lost, is in the trenches."
On what the offense needs to coming out of last week's game
"We need to execute and score more points, obviously, that's what it comes down to. It's execution and it's going to be very challenging this week against Stanford. They have a great defense and again, they're very physical. They're good up front, they good at linebackers, very solid secondary, so going to be a major challenge, there's no doubt about it. But we're going to have to be able to be balanced on offense. You can't be one-dimensional in any part of the game. That's what we'll works towards this week."
LINEBACKER MIKE MOHAMED
On Stanford's offensive line
"They're one of the best if not the best. They're really physical, they've got a bunch of big guys up there. If you're not physical with them, they'll move you out of the way and create big running lanes. So we're going to have our hands full."
On his priorities defending against Andrew Luck and his offense
Obviously, on the back end, we have to have great coverage. I'm going to have to communicate, guys are going to have to be in the right positions. And then up front, bringing pressure. Anytime you get pressure on a quarterback, he has to rush what he's doing. You might not be able to make all the reads but Luck, he's good under pressure, he can make every throw, so we're just going to have to try to disrupt him."
On what Cal must do to prepare for the 113th Big Game
"After last week it just proved that we can hang with the top teams in the country. We're just going to have to have another great week of practice and load up for a good one."
CENTER CHRIS GUARNERO
On putting Oregon behind him yet carrying that intensity into the Big Game
"Disappointing - that's what Sunday's for though. If you win or lose, enjoy it; if you don't, just put it behind you, come back Monday and go back to work. I'd be probably more worried [about any letdown in intensity] if we were playing not the No. 6 team or it if wasn't the Big Game, but I feel like our guys will be focused and ready to go and Memorial will be hopping and cool atmosphere."
On the importance of this game to the team and to him as his final Big Game
"We want to keep The Axe in Berkeley and definitely would make our season that much more if we kept it in Berkeley. They're a great team and it's going to take our best effort against them. It's going to be a 60-minute battle, that's what it comes down to. It's definitely been fun ... I just want to go get The Axe.
On what the rivalry with Stanford means
"I'm from out of state, so coming in I didn't know it that well, but over the years, definitely start to pick up a little more hatred, a little more grittiness towards Stanford, especially in the Bay Area, because you see highlights of them throughout the week, on gamedays. It's just a great opportunity for us to go out there and support the alumni and everybody who's played in this game, and it'll be fun."