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Football: Sunday night update

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…

 

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.

  • Davidson

    Hm, so no new news really…

    I’m concerned about Riley. I want him to start, but only if he’s okay. Watching the game tape, Riley had some very nice throws and his mobility was an asset. I would rather have Riley in there and then have Nate come in if needed. If Riley is unavailable, and then Nate gets hurt…we have Mansion? It’s well documented that USC salivates over non-mobile QBs. They pin their ears back and blitz constantly. You remember what happened to Ohio St.’s QB? He was getting drilled play after play and we know our O-line is fairly decimated.

    USC is coming off a cupcake win at home and CAL is coming off a close and hard-fought game in the trenches. I think USC might be ripe for an upset. I’m not terribly impressed by USC’s offense and our defense can keep us in the game. Best need to shed that brace and come out running like it’s the last game of his life. We can do it, trust in Tedford to draw up a gameplan of his life. Hope that Riley starts and everything clicks. GO BEARS!!!

  • toparchitect

    Please mix up and more mix up the play, confuse the troll defense. And, hope the bear D# can stop their runs and rush Their QB. If the bear can control the turn over margin and to score on them, the Bears will wins.

    Go Bears! Make us all proud. Beat the Troll.

  • concord tom

    So, once again we find ourselves in November, praying for just a few more wins so I can make it to Pasadena on New Years with Grandma, who is now 90. Probably won’t happen, but at least it’s better than when I was a kid and we felt happy to go 6-5 and win the Big Game. Hope springs eternal…. Thanks, Tedford.

  • Calduke

    Great Game Bears!!

    J Best seems to be a bit fragile. USC certainly noticed those 2 fumbles-the fumbles weren’t from terribly hard hits.

    Also, Best has lost some speed – 3 Oregon players ran him down on the 50 yard run.

  • dball

    Calduke, you’re a wanker. You try running thru 4″ of water with a big brace on your arm, making cuts on a field that feels like you’re running thru the waves at the beach. You try holding onto the ball. Why don’t you go sit in the visitor section at the next game.

  • Jan K Oski

    Calduke Says:
    November 3rd, 2008 at 9:36 am “Also, Best has lost some speed – 3 Oregon players ran him down on the 50 yard run.”

    Not true, Calduke. Best was weaving through people, so it is logical that a defender, who is running straight at him, will catch him. The play by play caller even declared that “Best lost the ball after a hesitation.”
    It would be nice if Best could always run north and south, but that’s track and field, not football.

    If anyone wants to watch the game minus the first 6 minutes (it starts with the replay of Riley’s TD pass to Ross), and you have AT&T and Comcast Internet, go to ESPN360 and set the tab to and scroll down to the very bottom. Prior to this, you’ll need to download the player to view. Finally, the other tabs like changed to don’t work for searching, so don’t waste your time. This is a great service, but it obviously needs some fine tuning.

    Go Bears!

  • Jan K Oski

    Bizaar! I guess you can’t talk about webpage tabs on this site as the content in between the greater and lesser signs didn’t appear in my above post. the first tab is the all sports changed to football. the second tab, a waste fo time, is all leagues changed to pac-10.

    Go Bears!

  • SAMOBear

    Agree Toparchitect–we need to creatively utilize the entire Cignetti/Tedford playbook (and have the guts to call and execute the plays) if we are going to pull this one off. If we take a page from OSU, they ran up the middle, since the lateral movement of SC D is unbelieveable. Hopefully, we wont see the same slow-developing screen passes on third and long.

    However, I believe that this game will be decided by the SC offense vs the Cal Defense. SC’s major weakness is themselves and penalities, much like us. They average about 10 for 90+ yards. This is an opportunity–to get them frustrated. Also, SC is good for a 1-2 turnovers a game–we will need to capitalize on them.

    Bears need near perfection to win on Saturday night–unfortunately, we have not had close to a near perfect game yet and we are more than half way done with the season.

    Go Bears!

  • Davidson

    As for the Best fumbles, on the 1st one…the ball was literally popping out even before the defender hit it. He was holding it in his left arm, with the brace. He should shed the brace for USC. From my understanding, the elbow is fine and the brace is for preventive measures.

    For his second fumble, it was at the swampy endzone, and you really couldn’t see what happened. I assume it just squirted out. That one was mostly his fault. But the balls were exceptionally wet and slick.

  • Mike W.

    Davidson,

    You can wish for Riley to start all you want against USC . . . but the fact of the matter is that Nate threw some incredible passes in the worst weather seen at Memorial in quite some time! Sure, Riley has a ton more mobility than Nate but Nate has been throwing the ball extremely well. If you don’t believe me, feel free to replay the game from COMCAST and you’ll see some very nice throws by Nate. – - – If anything, I’m more concerned about Cheadle, Edwards, and especially Boskovich defending our QB against USC’s D-Line.

    Go Bears!

  • Davidson

    Mike, true, Nate threw some nice passes, (4th and 14, post out to Sean Young, post out to Verran Tucker, TD pass to Boateng are a few that come to mind), however, our offense did stall several times and were only able to score when we created turnovers inside the 10 yard line.

    Let’s compare. Riley threw one pass in his first drive and it was intercepted. Nick Reed basically flew by our left guard and hit Riley as he was dumping it off to Best. If completed, it would have been the right read, a 5 yard check off to Best for a first down.

    2nd Drive, false start, followed by 2 bad throws under pressure. 3rd and 15, Riley rolls out and throws a laser to Tucker for a first down. His next throw finds tucker for 26 yards and then a 22 yarder to Ross right in stride and right in his numbers.

    3rd Drive, Riley scrambles for 12 yards is suffers a concussion with a helmet to helmet hit. (If it was the NFL, Ward would have been fined when they reviewed the play). Nate had a good game given the situation, however I truly believe Riley would had a better game if given the chance…

    Having said that, I will support Nate 1000% if he gets the nod. We don’t really know the severity of Riley’s concussion and I will trust Tedford to make the right decision.

  • liam

    i think if riley play we have a chance because USC’s defense does not know him and his game yet, while Longshore is so predictable. also im not scared about USC’s offense, so if Riley starts and looks like he did when he played in that game and are defense holds up Cal can win this game. be hard but its possible.
    GO BEARS!!

  • Ursa In Oregon

    Well, I dont’ want to rehash the whole NL versus KR thing, but in the USC case, I agree with Davidson above. USC really knows how to go after the pocket passer.
    Their DB’s are good enough to bump and play tough for long enough for their blitzes to get to the immobile QB – seems tailor-made for a bad NL game.

    Look who USC has lost to – teams that can run the ball straight at them (not us, this year) and Vince Young.

  • Calduke

    Dball;

    Everyone was running in 4 inches of water.

    Water or no water – if this had been the first game of the season Best would have had a long TD run.

    My point is – whether it’s the brace, sore foot(or ankle??)or ??, Best is not as fast as earlier in the
    year. He’s still fast, but not as fast as…

    Davidson is right-on about the brace. For u$c it’s a bullseye!!

  • Larry

    Don’t forget those 2-3 passes Nate threw that bounced off the Oregon players chest & hands. If it was dry out, he may have had 2-3 more picks. I prefer Riley against USC, but if it’s Nate, then we’ll have to go with that.