The following is a sampling of what was said at Tuesday’s weekly media luncheon:
–Check out a full transcript of Jeff Tedford and Kevin Riley here.
LINEBACKER MIKE MOHAMED:
Describe what it’s like playing weakside outside linebacker:
It’s actually kind of tough sometimes, because when the ball goes away a lot of times you’re the unblocked guy. And it’s your job to do the surf technique – keep your shoulders square, close off the end next to the tackle in case of a big cutback. A lot of times you get antsy and you want to just go chase the ball. Once you do that, that’s when they bring a reverse or cut it back. Then you’re in trouble, because there’s no one else out there. So you don’t always get to hit somebody every play, but you have to be real disciplined out there.
How different is it playing one spot?
I really enjoy it. I get to anchor down and really concentrate on that one position, learning all the different looks I can possibly get at that one position. It helps me react a lot faster.
How will experience playing in Autzen help this time?
That was my first start. I know what to expect. It’s a hostile crowd, very loud. I know just to weather the storm. They’re probably going to get a big play, they’re probably going to score. The thing is to stick in there and keep fighting and we can come out on top.
What’s the toughest thing about playing at Autzen Stadium?
The fans and the field is really pitched. I think that helps the type of offense they run – everything is really horizontal, trying to beat you with speed.
Is it similar to what you faced at Minnesota?
Especially when they tied the game – every little thing they did good, they had the crowd backing them up. We sat in there strong and we fought through it. That was a big test. We’re probably going to see even more of that this weekend.
What do you think of Oregon’s offense?
Masoli is almost like having another running back out there. He’s real stocky, hard runner, he’ll break tackles. He’s not your typical quarterback. Just with the speed they run it, there’s a lot of misdirection. You really have to be disciplined against these guys.
Is Cal in the driver’s seat now with USC losing?
There may be even a little more of a target, but the biggest thing is block it out. Just take it week by week. If you start listening to all that, start looking ahead to games, that’s when it can come back and bite you and you’re going to get in trouble. In our minds, USC has been and still is the king of the crop until somebody knocks them off. But we’re not really worried about that.
Team more serious this week?
We feel we have something good going on here. We know if we prepare right, we can really capitalize on it. It started on Sunday with the practice, so we’re getting ready to go for Saturday and hopefully continue our road to winning this thing.
WIDE RECEIVER JEREMY ROSS:
Have you been getting a lot of positive reaction from Saturday’s game?
I got a lot of reaction — a lot of people hitting me up on Facebook or on campus. I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from friends and family. They were really excited for me.
How much are you looking forward to increased playing time?
I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve been kind of just waiting for my time, just trying to prepare myself to be ready when the opportunity does come. I’m definitely excited about getting the opportunity to play more on the field. I’m just hoping to make plays for the team.
Is having one year of experience helping you this year?
It helps out a lot. Last year, we were really young and didn’t have too much experience under out belt. We made some mistakes. This year, coming in having a year under our belt, I feel like we’ve developed our craft. I think we’ve limited those mistakes and worked really hard out there. It’s helped us out a whole lot on the field.
Do you like having the toughest conference games early on?
It’s an opportunity for us to make a statement early. I think it’s great that these games are early. It give us the opportunity to play them while we’re strong, while everybody is healthy. I think it’s a good thing that all these big games are back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back. I’m not saying that after these games it’s all going to be a cruise and downhill. But we can get on it early and really dominate.
What was your reaction to USC’s loss to Washington?
It was a shock. It was a big shock. We were watching it on Jetblue. It was a big shock. You would never think they would lose to Washington. I am not trying to downplay Washington. They are up and coming and they are hungry and work hard. But it was a big surprise. Everybody was shocked. That happens when you underestimate a team and play down to their level.
How much do you love playing football?
I love it. I’ve been playing since I was young. I love playing with all my friends. I love the excitement of the whole sport. Being able to make plays and score touchdowns, for the crowed, and seeing your teammates and how excited they are. Everybody just pushing toward one goal with blood, sweat and tears together. I enjoy it.
Now that you’re one of the older guys, are you still a jokester?
I still joke around a lot. I’m trying to get better at knowing there is a time for everything. There’s a time to joke around and there’s a time to focus and handle your business. Sometimes I do a good job at that, sometimes I joke around when it’s the time to be serious. I’m definitely working on growing in that area. But I love to have fun. I love to joke around. I love to make things exciting and fun for me.
Sometimes it’s good to have fun and relax. It helps me play better if I’m relaxed and just having fun.
DEFENSIVE END TYSON ALUALU:
On Jeremian Masoli
We see him as a running threat. He’s a real shifty guy who can break tackles. We have to stay disciplined and do our job.
How will the experience of the 2007 game help this year?
It will help, just knowing what to expect. It’s going to be loud, it’s going to be hostile. You know that in the back of your mind, but at the same time you just have to keep your technique. The coaches always coach that, keeping your technique under pressure.
Describe the feeling after the win there in 2007?
It was real exciting, beign able to win in that hostile environment. The crowd was yelling a lot of stuff. Being able to keep them quiet at the end of the game was a great feeling. I just remember everybody jumping for joy and being excited in the locker room. It was a great feeling.