Coach Jeff Tedford, along with basketball coach Mike Montgomery and athletic director Sandy Barbour, kicked off their 2008 Coaches Tour on Monday with an event at Back Forty BBQ in Pleasant Hill. It’s the first of seven stops — four in Northern California and three in Southern California — over the next couple of weeks.
I stopped by the event last night and it was estimated that there were 450 Cal fans on hand, which is expected to be the biggest turnout. I’ll talk just about Tedford and football because that is the parameter for this forum, but those who attended will confirm that Montgomery stole the show with his wit and insight.
After Tedford made his prepared remarks, it was Montgomery’s turn. Before he said anything about the basketball team, he said “Let’s cut to the chase and ask Jeff about the quarterback situation.” It drew a roar from the crowd.
After Tedford, Montgomery and Barbour addressed the crowd, it was time for the question-and-answer session. Emcee Ed Kleinhans, who some of you might know better as the public address announcer at basketball games, got the questions started by jokingly asking Tedford who the starting….center would be?
Tedford took the hint and addressed the quarterback situation. He didn’t break too much new ground, except for one nugget: He hinted that the competition might not just run through the fall, but the season-opener against Michigan State.
“It may be the evaluation needs to go into the games,” Tedford said. “Both played very, very well in the springtime. They will compete through the summer, they will compete through the fall, and possibly both play in the Michigan State game and see where we are.”
Tedford reiterated what he’s said all along, that he’s not a fan of the two-quarterback system. He repeated his plea to support Nate Longshore if he is indeed the quarterback.
“We’re blessed. We probably have the best 1-2 quarterback combination in the conference,” Tedford said. “We have to keep their confidence high, both of them. We can not draw lines. We can not pick sides, we can’t cheer for one and not the other. They both have to have extreme confidence when they hit the football field. That’s what I’m asking for. Support them both. They are both going to play their hearts out.”
Tedford also had an interesting update on running back Jahvid Best. The training staff recently put him through two weeks of simulated two-a-day practices to test his hip. Tedford said they “put him through all kinds of things, threw him on the ground, everything you could imagine.” Best apparently passed with flying colors.
Tedford said there was still a chance Best could have underwent surgery, and that he needed to go through that kind of test now to make a decision. If Best was going to have surgery, he would have had to do it right around now to be back for the start of the season.
Tedford said in addition to the bruised hip Best suffered last season against USC, he also has a hip impingement that potentially can cause some pain. But Best reportedly feels great, and the two weeks of simulated two-a-days demonstrated that there is no cause for concern.
“He feels great and he’s ready to go,” Tedford said. “He will not have to have surgery, so we’re really, really excited about that because as you saw, he’s a difference-maker. I feel great that he’s going to be back in the fold.”