So if misery enjoys company, Cal fans should have been up at Memorial Stadium on Tuesday having lunch with Jeff Tedford. The guy obviously is in a lot of pain.
I remember talking with coach Tedford when he first signed on at Cal. This was a Fresno State guy by way of Oregon and a guy looking to make a mark and leave. Geez, what a difference. This guy is bleeding blue and gold these days, because there was blue running out all over the floor in the Hall of Fame room on Tuesday.
Tedford met with a few members of the press to talk a bit about the USC loss. He has spent most of the hours since the game wondering what he could have done differently. He looks at things such as the call on third and inches. He is questioning himself, obviously preparing for the next time he has to make the same call.
But, while he does question a few calls, watching film brings him back to the fact that he played a tremendous team and that opponent never cracked in terms of turning over the ball. USC never gave Cal the chance to pounce. Cal,meanwhile, turned over the ball three times.
That didn’t change the fact that Tedford was been hurting the past few days, coming so close to a goal he wanted for his players. He also admitted he could feel a lot of hostility around the program as many calls came in questioning his ability to coach. “I took a lot of nasty phone calls,” he said. “But that’s part of the deal.”
His overall mood started to swing toward the positive, though, when a Cal backer called and reminded him that five years ago, nobody would have cared anyway. It had to get back that perspective.
“For people to be disappointed means they care,” Tedford was told by the backer.
It was feedback that struck a note with Tedford, who often tells his players that if he stops yelling at them, then it’s time to worry.
Tedford doesn’t have time to dwell on regret, though. He has two big recruiting weekends coming up. That’s a lot of work because Cal is competing with the USCs, Floridas, Nebraskas of the college football world these days.
Some of that recruiting involves telling those recruits that new facilities are due shortly. Tedford said he has confidence that Cal’s administration is working hard to get it done.
I asked Coach Tedford if he thought his offense was a true reflection of himself during the games now that he doesn’t call many plays anymore. “I think Mike (Dunbar) has done a good job,” he said. “It’s just the nature of the beast that you say ‘Darn, I wish I would have done that different.’ But I am very happy with Mike’s preparation and philosophy. He calls most of the plays and I make some suggestions.
I asked Coach Tedford if he thought the play calling was conservative against USC. “We threw the ball 38 times,” he said. “The game seemed to swing quickly in the fourth quarter. That’s why I said that you have to keep up.
“But you have to do what you can do to attack what they have going on defense.”