Cal held its final weekly press luncheon of the season today (sniff, sniff). A lot of the talk, especially among the defensive players there, was about exacting revenge on last year’s stinker in which the Bears yielded 360 rushing yards in an uninspired 37-23 loss. It was pretty much the low point of a season full of lows.
“It was really an embarrassment for us,” said Cal linebacker Anthony Felder, who is from Seattle and showed up to last year’s game wearing a purple suit. “To lose in the fashion we did, it was pretty embarrassing as a team. It’s really difficult to explain. Last year when it happened, I think the biggest thing really is that I don’t think we were ready mentally.”
It may be difficult to stay inspired against a team that is 0-11, but last year’s game should take care of that for Cal’s defensive players. Some players said it’s been tough to watch as the team has looked at the tape of the game during the past couple of days.
“It’s a sore subject,” Felder said. “Nobody really said anything, but you could see a lot of heads shaking. It didn’t really look like us.”
Felder, by the way, said he plans on wearing the purple suit again Saturday.
Part of the motivation for the Bears is that while they were embarrassed by the Huskies last year, Cal has a chance to return the favor by capping off Washington’s winless season.
“Last time we played these guys, they embarrassed us,” Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. “That’s the only time that someone has run the ball against us like that in our time here. They did it with ease. There’s going to be a lot of motivation to redeem ourselves.”
Both Tedford and quarterback Kevin Riley said the Huskies don’t look like an 0-11 team on tape, that they have athletes but for some reason just haven’t put it together.
Another subject Tuesday was the fact that Jahvid Best has a chance to win the Pac-10 rushing title. He enters Saturday 170 yards behind leader Jacquizz Rodgers of Oregon State with 1,083. The rushing crown is measured in yards per game, but both will end up playing in 11 games. Rodgers leads at 113.9 yards per game. Best needs 171 to finish at 114.0 exactly. Washington is allowing 223.3 rushing yards per game, second-to-last in the conference.
Best, of course, has fought through an assortment of injuries all season. He missed one game with a dislocated left elbow and has sat out portions of others.
“There’s something special about him,” Cal fullback Will Ta’ufo’ou said.