Jeff Tedford and the Bears usually are pretty predictable in dismissing the importance of any given game. They are not alone. That is usually the norm in college football, getting comments that “it’s just another game” or “there’s a long way to go”, etc.
But after Saturday’s win over Oregon, Tedford admitted there’s no way he will be able to convince his players that this Saturday’s game at USC is just another game.
“They’re not going to buy that,” he said. “They will know that we have to prepare the same no matter who we play every week, but when you down to play SC, you have a tendency to get really hyped up. So we’re going to have to keep our poise and focus on what we need to do and just prepare really well to play a great football team.”
The Bears did some good running at conditioning practice Sunday night. Afterward, Tedford once again admitted Saturday’s game was big, most notably because of the stakes. It’s late in the season and the Bears are only one-half game behind the Trojans in the Pac-10 standings.
“SC just means a litlte bit more this week because of where we are at the time of the year right now,” Tedfrod said. “Every game is magnified now. Last week was a big game, and now that’s behind us.
“I think it’s important we have a good week of preparation and go in there with confidence and ready to play. We have great respect for USC. You don’t have to build this game up. Everybody understands that this is a big game and SC is a very good football team, and you have to play your best to be successful.”
In each of the last three even-numbered years, Cal’s visit to the L.A. Coliseum has had major implications. The Bears and Trojans both were in the national title hunt in 2004, and Cal was looking for a Rose Bowl berth in 2006. Cal could walk away from Saturday’s game all alone in first place in the Pac-10 standings.
“They are the reigning Pac-10 champs,” quarterback Nate Longshore said tonight. “That makes it special. In boxing, everybody always wants a title shot, right?”
Speaking of quarterbacks, Tedford said Kevin Riley is “doing all right” after suffering a concussion Saturday, but said he also had a little bit of a headcahe. Riley is scheduled to undergo further tests Monday. Tedford said he won’t know Riley’s availability until after the tests.
Defensive end Tyson Alualu showed up tonight with a sling on his arm. Tedford said he suffered a pulled muscle but should be fine for the game.
After looking at the tape, Tedford still was pleased with the play of right guard Justin Cheadle and right tackle Donovan Edwards, each of whom made his first career start against Oregon. Tedford said starters Noris Malele and Chet Teofilo are day-to-day with ankle sprains, and would be confident going with Cheadle and Edwards again if need be.
Tedford also said nose tackle Derrick Hill is battling a shoulder sprain, and that’s why Mika Kane got more reps against Oregon.
Some of you may have already seen it, but Cal is ranked No. 21 in both the latest BCS standings and Associated Press top 25.
That’s all for now…