Tuesday, September 12th, 2006 at 7:35 pm in Mid-week.
It is easy to understand why Division I-A teams can look sloppy when playing lower division opponents. It simply is a different atmosphere. Take Tuesday’s media luncheon, for instance. There weren’t many TV cameras around and the number of reporters was down. The Portland State-Cal matchup on Saturday at Memorial Stadium isn’t going to rock anyone’s world.
It was refreshing to hear Cal offensive guard Erik Robertson say as much. He noted that when he heard Cal was adding Portland State, he figured it would be just another Sacramento State type game. However, he has since discovered that Portland State, which is 2-0, has quality defensive linemen. What’s worse than looking bad against a lower division opponent. Robertson said the Bears, indeed, are taking this game very seriously.
An interesting side note Portland State coach Tim Walsh said that while he respects the tremendous ability of both Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett, it’s Cal’s offensive line that gives him more worries. He said that appeared to be dominating against Minnesota.
Back to the game itself, no, it won’t get their blood pumping like a game against ASU, Oregon or USC, but they know they can’t afford to look bad. That’s already happened once this season and they don’t want it to happen again.
Expect Cal to take a very professional (for college students) attitude going into this game. Coach Jeff TEdford always talks about taking business trips when he takes the team on the road. This is somewhat of a home business trip. This is all business.
Cal quarterback Nate Longshore came by the media luncheon and he looked very relaxed. Tedford said this is a guy who never gets rattled and it will be interesting to see how he improves after getting four or five games under his belt.
Cody Jones came by and I interviewed him for a story that the Times will run later this week, probably on Friday. He is a joy, another Jeff Tedford recruiting gem. This was a guy that didn’t draw much interest from Arizona in his hometown of Tucson. Here he is a red-shirt freshman with a start under his belt. The nice thing about him is he has that sense of wonder in his eyes, something you just don’t see from some players who simply expect everything to come easy. I think it’s a good bet that Jones is prepared to do anything coach Ken Delgado asks him to do. He sees great players on the field and understands what it takes to get there. It will be fun watching him progress.
Justin Forsett came by the luncheon and, as always, was loving life. I asked him if he misses home and he said, yes. But not Texas, where he went to high school his senior year. He misses Florida (of all places), where he grew up. Most of his friends and family are there. Of course, like any of us, he tolerated the humidity. It’s one thing he doesn’t miss.
The report on offensive tackle Andrew Cameron didn’t appear to be that good as coach Tedford said he wasn’t ready to play. Considering the Bears are facing Portland State, it looks like Mike Tepper might get his first start. Defensive end Rulon Davis, who was ill all last week, is expected back at practice this week. The Bears probably can get along without him against Portland State and the development of Jones is one reason.
It’s Penny day at the stadium on Saturday and, personally, I think it’s a great thing. How often do our kids get to the games (of any kind) these days with the prices so steep? Cal is cultivating fans of the future.