Tuesday update

Cal held its weekly luncheon Tuesday, and the best way I could sum up the players’ attitude is motivated.

Sure, the Bears are a bit down after back-to-back losses, but I think they’re also a bit angry, and ready to take that out on their next opponent. Guard Brian De La Puente said “hungry” was the best way to describe the mood of the team.

The players present Tuesday all talked about the fact that the Rose Bowl was still possible. That was a far cry from immediately after Saturday’s loss, when some of the players seemed almost ready to write off the season. Not in a way in which they would stop trying, but they seemed almost resigned to the fact that they weren’t going to the BCS title game or the Rose Bowl.

Surely, the BCS title game is out. But the Bears could still make it to the Rose Bowl. It would take a handful of different things happening, but it’s not totally out of the question. Let’s not forget that Cal shared the Pac-10 title last season with two losses. The major difference is there are more teams in the running this year.

But the possibility of still going to the Rose Bowl seemed to rejuvenate the team. Wide receiver Robert Jordan said he took it up on himself to make sure his teammates understood there is still a lot to play for this season. Jordan said he probably would be back this Saturday after missing last week with a sprained shoulder. Jordan currently is tied with Brian Treggs for the Cal record for most consecutive games with a catch (36).

Jordan and De La Puente all but guaranteed the Bears would beat Arizona State this weekend. “Everything will be all right, and we’ll beat Arizona State,” Jordan said. “We’re going to come back and get this one this weekend,” De La Puente said.

Jeff Tedford was especially candid Tuesday. He admitted he hasn’t slept much the past few nights second-guessing some of his own play calls. He said the reason he called two running plays on the final drive before Nate Longshore’s costly interception was because of the defense UCLA was in. He said he thought the play he called would wind up as a big gain, but UCLA’s defensive end simply made a good individual play to break it up.

Tedford said he also stuck with the running game because of the success Cal has had all season running the ball. He said even though UCLA’s defense was doing a good job slowing down the Bears’ running attack, he always thought that next play was going to be a big one.

Jonathan Okanes

Jonathan Okanes is in his fourth year covering Cal's football team. Previously, he covered Cal's men's basketball team for four years. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OkanesonCal.

  • Ybear

    Hey JO- Thanks for the updates… how did practice look yesterday? How is Longshore’s ankle holding up? Any word on other injuries (e.g. Desean’s hand and Forsett)- they both looked injured at some point during the UCLA game.

  • Jonathan Okanes

    Ybear, Longshore continues to improve. I don’t think there is anything wrong with DeSean or Justin. Forsett has been banged up all season, so that’s nothing new.

  • CalAlum97

    TEST. This hasn’t worked the last few days and I want to test before…

  • timote

    Don’t forget that USC lost to… OSU and UCLA last year en route to the Rose Bowl. Not as favorable for us to do the same this year (resurgence of Oregon, ASU), but these things are possible.

  • CalAlum97

    Hi J.O. I’m a huge Tedford fan and will never think he’s anything other than a terrific coach. However, I do think he’s been a bit rigid and obstinate in his adherance to the run lately. On one hand he seems to be wondering if that was the right call vs. the stopping power of the Bruins. But on the other hand he’s saying not to expect any changes in his style. Do you intepret this to mean that the next time we face a team that is stopping the run (even in the 4th qrtr) we won’t turn more to the passing game for some relief? I believe in the run, but when it’s being stuffed as much as and for as long as it was during the Bruins game, I think Tedford needs to consider relying on the passing game more.

  • nickle

    It’s hard to judge Tedford from anything but an amazing coach for me and it’ll take more than a couple of heartbreaking games like OSU / UCLA til I change my mind, and this post reminds me why.

    If Tedford thought that the next run would be the “big one” … I wonder how many times he actually thought that in other games … and it actually turned out to be a big gain. Naturally, we never priase Tedford for those calls that turn out to be a 20-40 yd Forsett/Best gain, but imagine what Coach must be thinking right before calling that play. If Forsett had actually broken one on the 1st / 2nd at the end (if that’s what the dfense gave us, holes in the running game), and broke one to the endzone, and Cal ended up winning, none of the run game questions or play call questions would have come up. Maybe, but not to the extent that he’s getting criticized (by media and prob mostly by himself).

    Just something to think about. I think this is just one of those things Tedford will remember later, but that in no way shows that his playcalling is off (overall). He thought he made the right call and ended up coming short in this game, but til it becomes more regular…I’m with Coach.