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Tuesday night update

By Jonathan Okanes
Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008 at 9:39 pm in media luncheon.

The Bears moved ahead toward Washington State today, feeling mostly good about where they stand after Saturday’s season-opening win over Michigan State.

“There were a lot of situations that came up,” Cal coach Jeff Tedford said at the team’s weekly press luncheon. “There was a lot of adversity in the game. There were a lot of ups and downs. I think you can learn a lot from those situations. I thought our team held together well.

“You know when you play a great team, there is going to be adversity. It’s not all going to go your way. So how you handle adversity and respond to it is critical. I think that the game the other night gave us that opportunity.”

There wasn’t a whole lot of big news Tuesday. The most notable development came when Tedford told our columnist, Gary Peterson, that Kevin Riley would once again start at quarterbackand this  time there were no plans to use Nate Longshore in relief. I don’t really characterize this as huge news because it’s simply not surprising.

That being said, it sure looks like it’s Riley’s team now. Riley is performing like a starting quarterback and acting like a starting quarterback. Just in his dealings with the media, you can see the confidence growing. Riley isn’t afraid to talk about any subject related to the team. He understands his role that a quarterback is somewhat of a mouthpiece for the team.

Tedford said Riley “earned it last week.” It’s clear that he was still evaluating the situation during the Michigan State game, and Longshore’s two intercpetions made it clear that Riley has to be the man right now.

“Nate made a very poor decision on the second interception,” Tedford said. “The first interception was a defensive back making a great play.  But Kevin played well enough to be the guy. I’m not a huge fan of going back and forth.”

Tedford touched on a number of subjects at the luncheon. He said he wasn’t a big fan of starting the Pac-10 season so early becasue he’d rather have a better feel for where his team stands before opening conference play. He said one thing the team will need to pay special attention to this week is cutting down to the 64-man travel roster allowable in Pac-10 play.

“You cut down to 64 players to go on the road, so it’s still kind of early to do that,” Tedford said. “You’re still evaluating some situations on special teams and so on and so forth. That’s a challenge this week is to cut down to 64 for the road.”

Tedford compared Washington State quarterback Gary Rogers to former Cougar Drew Bledsoe. Tedford said Rogers throws the ball like Bledsoe but is more athletic. Rogers has been waiting in the wings for Alex Brink to move on, and he’s finally getting his chance under new coach Paul Wulff, who has implemented the no-huddle spread offense.

The Bears should be well-equipped to handle the Cougars’ offense. Each of Cal’s first five opponents last season ran the no-huddle, spread, or both.

Tedford said Sean Young is the No. 1 punt returner for now becasue of his sure-handedness receiving punts. He said Syd’Quan Thompson would probably be more in the mix had he not suffered a sprained shoulder near the end of training camp.

But Thompson didn’t appear to be very hurt Saturday, when he arguably had the best game of his career with five tackles, three pass break-ups and a crucial interception. He also was just generally dominant from his cornerback spot. Tedford said Thompson was sore after the game and he plans on getting him some rest this week during practice.

Tedford said wide receiver Michael Calvin (sprained toe) is doing better. Calvin, expected to be Cal’s top receiver this season, got minimal reps against Michigan State. Tedford said left tackle Mike Tepper (pectoral muscle surgery, hamstring) will continue to rest this week. Punter Bryan Anger (sprained knee) underwent an MRI on Tuesday morning but not results were yet available.

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  • dball

    Its probably because I like Sean Young and want to see him do well at WR that I cringe to think he’s going to be returning punts and taking the punishment of those gunners going downfield at full speed.

  • Goldiebear

    Dball–

    That’s the catch-22 of football. The more you try to maximize your key players, the more chance they can get hurt. Using a non-starter of near-equal ability is an option, but coaches also seem to want their very best players on the field.

  • toparchitect

    My wish list to coaches:

    MIX UP THE PLAYS MORE.

    MSU were all after Best most of the night due to publicity on giving the ball to Best more. Some plays were so predictable that the entire white jersey bees focus on Best and stinked him on the snap.

    And, most effective time, when he was a decoy left and the tide end right with TDs untouched.

    And, most of his pass-rushes on wide out got the most yardage. I guess it got some thing to do with his speed.

    Any how, GO BEARS!, Beat WaSu.

  • feveredbear

    toparchitect >>MIX UP THE PLAYS MORE.<< The biggest problem that I saw last week was that Cignetti seems to have caught the Tedford disease of play-calling inside the 10. I haven’t seen stats on this but they must be pretty terrible over Tedford’s reign and last week’s series looked just the same. To paraphrase the new ruling party in America (god willing), we don’t need 1 more year like the last 6 in this department.

    As far as the mix of plays goes, I think it was hampered by the WR problem. It’s going to get better (I hope) but not for awhile. Still, as long as Riley stays healthy we should be OK.

  • http://collegefootball.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=845402 Jan K Oski

    Hey Bear Fans, Don’t miss the front page article and picture of Best on Yahoo!

    http://collegefootball.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=845402

    Fevered- you’re still a Nimrod! On 2nd down, Riley passed to Morrah and Will T for their respective TD catches. 2nd down and Goal are traditionally running plays on any team, so your theory is completely wrong. The only other time the Bears were in a goal line situation, Best scored on 1st down. If Cignetti has any disease, it is called brilliance. Any other ignorant ideas to share? Did you even watch the game? Or, are you suffering from dementia?

    GO BEARS!

  • MoutainBear

    So the second-guessers are already out in force this year? Jan K Oski is dead-on. The play calls, especially the pass to Will for his first ever touchdown catch, were excellent. And the play-calling in general was excellent considering we had one wide receiver in the game who could even manage to separate from the defensive backs.

  • rollonubears

    Anger’s MRI was negative. Just a sprain and he should be able to play on Saturday. I thought the play calling was pretty solid against MSU. Boeteng either needs to make catches or sit. His performance was abysmal. It would be nice to see Jones more in the mix on Saturday as well. I think we have a chance to roll. Somebody get the CBs some gloves. We could have had a dozen picks in the last game.

  • Teff EdFord (also from Concord)

    Holy crap, you guys should coach football. Does Al Davis know you all are out there? Obviously Tedford’s “too stubborn” to hire you.
    Maybe, just maybe, the TD’s to Cameron and TaFaou’ worked because the D was looking for Best because he had been used a lot. Best and Vereen had over 100 yds rushing and we scored 38 points – that means the O-plan WORKED.
    To quote the man above, JUST WIN BABY – different games call for different scenarios due to match-ups, what Cignettit thinks the D will do, and then things change within the game (injuries, subsitutions by the D, impact performances, ect.) that the fans, even straight-A Cal students, have no clue of. The idea is to win the game by any means necessary, not make you armchair coaches happy.
    Plus, the O-plan will shift throughout the season, saving any real twists for the tougher defenses we’ll face.

  • fedupoffedup

    feveredbear – STFU you ignorant child.

  • Tyler M.

    I just thought of a stadium cheer for Rulon Davis:

    Ruu-lon-you-davis.

    What do you think?