By Jonathan Okanes
Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 at 10:41 pm in media luncheon.
The first weekly press luncheon is in the books. Thanks to Cal’s media relations staff, you can read every word Jeff Tedford said by clicking here.
One of the prevailing topics among Tedford and the players that showed up was the late kickoff time. The 7 p.m. start time means the players will have a lot of time to wait during the day Saturday. But cornerback Syd’Quan Thompson said it can be a good thing because it allows the players to sleep in, especially since sometimes they have a hard time falling asleep the night before because they are excited about the game.
“It’s better than a 9 a.m. game, I’ll tell you that,” fullback Brian Holley said.
Tedford and the players used the word “redemption” rather than “revenge” in describing their desire to make up for last season’s loss to Maryland. They believe they just didn’t play well and want to right that wrong.
“It’s a game we felt got away from us real early in the game,” Thompson said. “If we had a couple more minutes on the clcok, we feel like we could have pulled out a win last year. But we’re looking forward to the challenge again. We get a chance to redeem ourselves and start this season right.”
Defensive end Tyson Alualu said the defense in last year’s game was a little confused by Maryland’s quick snaps.
“It might have been a lack of communication on the field on certain plays,” he said. “They surprised us with a lot of fast counts, fast snaps. We were trying to communicate, and we didn’t really get the plays on the D-line. There were some plays where we were still standing and not really ready.
“We’re prepared this year. The coaches have put us in the right positions.”
There has been a lot of speculation that the Bears weren’t ready for the type of humidity they faced that day. But it didn’t bother Alualu, who is from Honolulu.
“I’m from Hawaii. I thought that was normal weather,” Alualu said. “It felt like playing back home.”
Thompson said he usually spends much of Saturday watching other college football games on days the Bears have a nighttime kickoff.
“I go through my playbook a little bit, check out some other games and see how teams are looking,” he said. “Just to be able to relax my mind before our game. It’s just entertainment, really just to relax my mind. You don’t want to overly jam your mind before a game. It’s really just to clear your mind and see somebody else play.”
One game within the game Saturday will be the battle of top punters. Cal’s Bryan Anger and Maryland’s Travis Baltz are both on the preseason watch list for the Ray Guy Award.
“That should be fun,” Anger said. “I’m looking forward to a little rivalry. At the end, to see who does better in the game — it’s always a little competition to make it fun.”
Wide receiver Marvin Jones wrapped up the luncheon and said the player he admires the most is Arizona Cardinals wideout Larry Fitzgerald.
“Just the way he goes up and gets the ball,” Jones said. “I feel like I do the same thing. He’s a different player. He’ll get anybody motivated the way he talks. He’s very mature with his game.”