Football: Tuesday night update

There’s always a different feel when a team plays its first road game of the season. In a sense, you don’t really know about a team until they go on the road for the first time, experience some adversity, get forced to exhibit some mental toughness, etc. That was the prevailing subject of discussion at today’s weekly press luncheon.

The consensus is this team is better equipped to win on the road than last year, given the eight returning starters on both sides of the ball. Players admitted they need to do a better job on the road. Their only road win last year came at lowly Washington State, and they ended the 2007 season by losing their final four road games to UCLA, Ariozona State, Washington and Stanford.

“This year, we have way more experienced players,” quarterback Kevin Riley said. “We kind of know what to do going into it. We’ll be ready for this game. I have no question about that, especially after last year, going to the East Coast and coming out flat and playing a bad game overall (against Maryland). We’ll come out ready to play from the first snap.”

Linebacker Eddie Young said the team is already stressing the importance of the first road game. He said linebackers coach Kenwick Thompson has already put up little notes in the linebackers’ lockers, stressing the need to be mentally tough this week.

“I feel like we’re going to be a lot better on the road this week,” Young said. “We know we did bad on the road last year and we made an extra effort to really get it across to the players how important it is to be a mentally tough team. That’s winning on the road.”

Fellow linebacker D.J. Holt said the team came out “lackadaisacal” on the road last season.

“We kind of got off track going away,” Holt said. “We really weren’t as focused. We’re going to be more ready this time. It’s a hostile environment so you can’t come out lackadaisacal. You have to come out like it’s a home game; treat it like a home game.”

Speaking of Holt, he’s the first Cal player I’ve heard definitively say that he felt like he wasn’t rested enough going into the Maryland game last year.

“That was definitely a big factor,” he said. “When we played Maryland last year, I was tired out there, kind of sluggish. They jumped on us fast, and we really weren’t ready until the fourth quarter. It was too late to come back. I felt like I didn’t have that much sleep.”

Young hinted that the Bears may not have been acclimated enough to the time zone against Maryland.

“It quite possibly could have been but we don’t really think about that stuff,” he said. “We are going out a day early this year, to get acclimated to when we are going to play. I can’t say it hurt us or helped us last year.”


–For a complete transcript of Jeff Tedford and Kevin Riley from today’s luncheon, click here.

 –For my notes from today’s paper, click here.

–No breaking news here, but always interesting to get a Cal perspective from the other side.

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.

  • Josh

    Fantastic article here about Ron Gould: http://www.dailycal.org/article/106628/pay_no_attention_to_that_man_behind_the_curtain

    Makes me think we are very, very fortunate he stayed with the Cal program all these years.

  • JohnnyCalifornia

    Being sluggish during last year’s Maryland game could easily have been due to the heat and humidity. Most of the team would not be used to that sort of weather. Most of the team is also really mentally tough, so while they might not have thought about how oppressive the weather was, it would still have taken a toll on them physically

    Given that Berkeley has such good football weather (when it’s not raining), I think factors like temperature and humidity can be a game changing factor for the Golden Bears.

    Also, I’ve heard and read multiple people note the high correlation between road losses and playing on grass during the Tedford era.

    I’m comforted by the thought that not only is the weather forecast is a high of 80 degrees with 56% max humidity, comparable to Berkeley, but that Minnesota’s new stadium uses turf.

  • rollonubears

    indeed! the grass has a lot to do with it. it’s kind of funny to see tedford admit that the jet lag may have been a factor. you can tell it’s so hard for him to give in to the fact that he might be wrong. i’m kind of proud of him for that. hopefully he didn’t get mad at the player who went right out and said it was indeed a factor. his ability to hold back there would be another sign of his maturation. he’s getting wise. i really hope he decides to stay with the bears long term. he’s been a godsend. he does so much behind the scenes that no one ever sees. he earns his paycheck.

  • Davidson

    Well, the thing is…it’s a factor when you lose, a non factor when you win…

    I don’t think the time is a factor. You instantly wake up when you get hit in the mouth during the game. The humidity, yes. Poor execution? an even bigger factor. We lost the game because they executed better (for whatever reasons). Any excuse, is simply that…an excuse.

    You always hear the whining of a losing team, “we would have won … IF” well, you lost, that’s the end of story. A win is a win is a win is a win. A loss is the same. There are no moral victories.

    I roll my eyes when I hear Ohio St. fans go, “We would have won the game, if we scored those 2 touchdowns…” Well, it sounds just as stupid when we say that we lost due to time.

  • Pete Carroll

    Davidson is right. Half your conference games are on the road; you have to win. There are no excuses.

  • Larry

    Who cares! It’s 2009 people. Unless you are going to be at the game in Minnesota yelling for the Bears, there isn’t a thing you can do for the Bears vs. Minnesota. Stop the 9am stuff. Wake up, grab your coffee and tune in to ESPN. It’s that simple.

  • Davidson

    I’m traveling to Minnesota tomorrow morning, so I’ll be there. I’ll try to yell as much as I can…but the Cal ticket office stuck us in the 2nd to top row of the upper deck. WTH?? Part of me wants the CAL section to be full so we can make noise…the other part wants it to be empty…so we can move down. 🙂

  • ToparchiBear

    Davidson: Nice that you have an opportunity to do that. Have a pleasant trip. I am very sure that, It is a very nice, and beautiful up there. Please yell twice a hard for all us here that aren’t able to be there.

    Go Bears!