It was rather interesting talking to Coach Tedford about the clock management at the end of the half on Saturday against Washington. I asked him why the Bears took so much time coming up to the line of scrimmage at the beginning of the series. He said that he was taking a conservative approach and that he wanted to run a play to see if it was worth taking a shot at scoring. “We were going to see what happened on first down, and if there was a positive play, then we were going into hurry-up mode,” Tedford said. Of course, Nate Longshore moved the Bears down the field in a hurry and they managed a field goal. However, Cal would have had a shot at the end zone if they hadn’t burned so many seconds. I also asked Nate Longshore about Cal’s delay in getting over the ball and he said he really wasn’t aware that it took so long to get the first play off.
It appears that Cal still hasn’t adjusted to the new NCAA rule that starts the game clock after change of possession. With so much at stake down the stretch, Cal will need to clean up its clock management issues. With all three time outs available on that last drive of the half, Cal should have called a time out, discussed the options and then snapped the ball. If it was a negative play, Cal could have let the clock run. With its field position, Washington wasn’t going to stop the clock even if Cal had a negative play.
Although Cal hasn’t played up to its standards on offense the past couple of weeks, Tedford said he was mostly satisfied. “You are not going to play perfect all the time,” he said. “We’ve been a little hit and miss. But we still didn’t turn the football over (on Saturday). Not everything is going to click. We probably haven’t been as consistent as we have been. I saw a lot of plays to be made out there. We can play better, no question about it.”
Tedford said he was most proud of how his team held together in the face of adversity against Washington. “I was most impressed with our togetherness,” he said. “We talk about united we stand. There were times there when it would have been easy for one of our groups to get frustrated. I never saw it.
Tedford was asked if playing such a nailbiter will help down the road. “That’s what they say,” he said with a laugh.
Like always, Tedford was asked if he is thinking about the Rose Bowl. “This is no time to dream about this, that or the other thing,” he said.
I asked Marshawn Lynch about that dive he was going to do into the end zone in regulation. He said he changed his mind because he saw a defender closing in behind him. It’s a good thing he didn’t do it. It would have resulted in a penalty that would have given Washington great field position at a crucial time.
Nate Longshore was asked if he was kind of living a dream against Washington, leading his team on a fourth quarter touchdown drive to take the lead. “I guess it wasn’t that big a deal,” Longshore said. “Everyone in the huddle was calm.”
Guard Erik Robertson said he felt that the team was flat before the Washington game. But the Bears stood out on that final drive in the fourth quarter. “Great teams find a way to win,” he said. It was a great lesson for the future. And I think it revealed our character.”