Football: From the press room

–For those of you who are wondering, Jeff Tedford definitively said after the game that “Kevin is our starter.”

–Cal has failed to score a touchdown in back-to-back games for the first time since 1986.

–It was Cal’s first home loss since its loss to USC in Nov. of 2007.

–Anthony Miller had four catches for 70 yards, both career-highs. Miller is the first Cal player this season to have at least four catches in a game.

–Damian Willia’ms had the first punt return for a touchdown against Cal since Maurice Drew in 2005.

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.

  • MoreNCsarecoming


    I just got back from the game. The game was won on the lines of scrimmage. My contact told me he was delighted with the way the DL played for USC. Riley is simply terrible. He is mental midget out there. I just don’t think he has much of a feel for the game. Barkley does and it is quite obvious he does too. One other thing too. There are a lot of disgruntled high end donors. I asked a number of them if they had bought those licenses and only one of many said they had and now were thinking about dropping it. When you lose to pucla expect the WSU game to be around 50K fans at the most. I think most are very fed up. That’s the sense I got.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    I didn’t talk much with my USC contact about the game. We talked mostly about the church and some friends and his family. However if you need some quotes I could probably get you some. BTW the crowd went out of the game very quickly. If this team can get to the Las Vegas bowl or the Nut Bowl it should consider itself fortunate. This team just might finish up at 5-7 with only two wins – one over Wazzou and one over one of the Arizonas.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Also I think Tedford shold go to church tomorrow. He needs to join a small group for support. I think things will start getting very ugly for him. Even I did not like hearing the things I heard tonight where I was sitting.

  • Jake

    HaHa- 1st 3 posts are from MORON. Unfortunately I can’t “hear” what he’s posting thanks to GreaseMonkey.

  • Larry

    Get a life you Holmoe!

  • I was unable to attend the game-thank goodness. Let’s see, Cal is not the the best or 2nd best team in the conference- I think it’s the 6th best team in the Pac-10 . Perhaps, Cal’s opening games should be against a Pac-10 opponent so that there is not a let down once conference play begins. It’s just frustrating that we haven’t got consistent play from the qb position the past two seasons.

    I don’t have the answers, but this season seems eerily familiar.

  • Jake

    I think we are regressing. Usually we don’t look bad until November.

  • CalBearister99

    I hate to say it, but Jeff Tedford is looking and sounding more and more like Ben Braun every day. Nice guys who run a clean program, successful in taking bad teams out of the abyss, but unable to take them to the next level or impose accountability on others. Breaks my heart, but you can’t deny the fact that bowl games aside (and we’ve never been in a big one), his record in spotlight games leaves much to be desired since 2004.


    If you are a Cal fan, you have to be wondering if you are ever going to beat USC again. If ever a year to do it, this was it. New defense, new coaches, freshman QB.
    And Cal returned a lot of their players and has Best.

    So when is it going to happen? Next year in LA, maybe without Best? I don’t think so. Up here in 2011 when barkley is a junior, effectively auditioning for the pros? Don’t think so.

  • MountainJim

    Cal’s defense gave up 23 points while being on the field way too long. That game was lost on offense, with Riley missing wide open receivers and being lucky he didn’t have three more interceptions against a defense selling out against the run. The team also appears to be in a fragile mental state – that first drive interception seemed to totally deflate them. This is not a team that has a confident expectation of winning right now and it may never have that feeling.

    More of this and we’d better see some of Sweeney, because Riley isn’t going to be the man to take this team anywhere.

  • Eric

    Last week, I made several lengthy posts that the Oregon was the most embarassing in the Tedford era, the loss was strictly on the coaches, and that unless we won against U$C, we are heading for a collapse as dramatic as the flame-out as 2007. Unfortunately, my worst fears were confirmed.

    From a coaching perspective, the offensive play-calling was actually better than against Oregon. The first drive had good play calls, and throwing in the trick plays (the reverse to Jones and the pass to Vereen) were good. There were a number of designed roll-outs and short throws to the TE, and Riley seemed to be given a green light to run, and that made a difference. While he had pressure, it was nowhere near what he faced at Oregon, and I think the designed roll-outs helped.

    That being said, the coaching was still terrible. We gave up too quickly on the I-formation/veer runs. Against a team like U$C, we’re not going to get a lot of ground gains early on. It takes time. In 2007, Forsett gained 176 yards rushing against U$C. That didn’t all come in the first half. But if we give up on the runs, it will quickly turn disastrous because you are putting everything into the hands of your QB, and you see what happens – missing wide open receivers.

    More on coaching – the wildcat is stupid. It automatically signals a run tha is slow developing. Against fast linebackers, it does not work. The only time it worked was with Vereen, because it was a new wrinkle. Maybe once or twice in a game, when you come out of a huddle quickly, but 10 times?

    The defensive secondary is still playing way, way, way too loose, and that again is game-time coaching. On one play in the first half, on a second and long, U$C had 3 receivers bunched up close, which almost always means a wide receiver screen, because Barkely rarely is ordered to throw deep. Yet 1 second before the play, the defensive backs ALL stepped back 5 yards. Needless to say, totally out of position.

    And, more than anything else, the failure to go for it on 4th and 1 when we were down 20-0, and the failure to take one last crack at the end zone with 12 seconds left at the end of the first half (instead opting for kicking a FG into a swirling wind) signals to the offense that the coaching staff simply doesn’t believe in them or knows what to do.

    Of course, this game had far more failures of execution than at Oregon. Riley absolutely was terrible. The INT was a terrible pass – he waited far too long to throw (boy, was Mays out of position for the first 5 seconds of the play) and, once he started scrambling, he forced a throw that he should have tossed away. And, of course, he totally failed to get back into the game. The missed throw to Vereen on the trick play may have sealed the deal that he is never going to be a competent Pac-10 QB (and I still believe he is a substantial upgrade over Longshore). When Riley was reasonably on target, the receivers (who were open quite often – U$C’s secondary needs help) dropped passes.

    I can’t really comment on Best, because we gave up on the run, and insisted on the idiotic wildcat, that hurts Best.

    Squid is just not that good. On the big pass on U$C’s first drive, he slipped (on a friggin’ tight end). On another wide receiver screen, rather than going inside to slow down the play, he went outside of the block, taking himself totally out of position.

    This season is going to be a huge disappointment. If we go 7-5, I’ll be surprised. I think we lose at UCLA (mainly because Tedford will again gives up on the run early on, even though Stanfurd demonstrated the benefits of sticking with power running). We’ll beat WSU, we’ll beat OSU, and we’ll beat one of the Arizonas. So we need to either beat the other Arizona, Stanfurd, or Washington, just to get to 7-5. You think it is going to happen? And, unlike 2007 where we sort of lucked into a high ranking, here, we started off with a high ranking and a real expectation of competing for the Rose Bowl.

    Since the 2004 Holiday Bowl (a game that squarely falls on the failure to coach), I have long believed Tedford is an overrated coach. He is NOT a quarterbakc guru. Ayoob, Longshore, and Riley conclusively prove it. The reason for Cal’s success since Tedford got to Cal has been a strong running game. That has allowed Cal to beat inferior teams and, if the defense is opportunistic, beat equally talented teams. The one year we actually had a superior QB, we were one pass away from the Rose Bowl. What has consistently held us back from winning games we NEED to win has been coaching.

    I am of the mindset that I would much rather get a young and aggressive coach than stick with a tired, predictable format. Going 7-5, 8-4, or occasionally 9-3 may seem ok as compared to before, but we can get at least that with a Chris Peterson type (who, of course, would be unlikely to leave Boise State for Cal)and we won’t suffer the same type of disappointment or monetary damages. Florida fired Ron Zook, even though he was achieving success, because Florida knew it could do better. It went and found a young, aggressive coach from a non-BCS conference. Is Cal Florida? Not yet.

    This isn’t an issue of going back to the Gilbertson/Holmoe era (though, even with Gilbertson, the 1993 team was awesome and would have been a Rose Bowl contender but for the injury to Barr). That argument makes about as much sense as saying we should go back to Pappy Waldorf or Andy Smith.

  • Dan


    Great post. First of all, I agree with your game analysis. The overall program synopsis is also spot on. I have seen several things with Cal going back to the 2004 Holiday Bowl that has caused me to start to wonder. It has become more and more evident that Tedford is conservative, and as he has been here longer, that has therefore become predictable. These types of coaches never optimize their talent.. Tedford’s approach would make SC less successful, even with all that talent. I hate SC (mostly their fans and the band), but I LOVE watching the way Carroll, and his assistants, coach their teams and the way the attack games. NO FEAR. I feel like watching Cal, it is all about fear. The 2 calls today (FG end of half- predicted the miss…helloooo!!- and the 4th and 1 punt- PATHETIC).
    Re: Riley, all last year when Tedford was jerking Riley around, I said that would come back to haunt Cal and Riley this year. At least if you just let Riley play ALL year last year, we would know alot about Riley. But no, he is trying to learn on the job with confidence that Tedford help shatter last year.
    Just look at Pete Carroll on the sideline during games and thenm look at Coach “Tight-A&$” Tedford. Their teams reflect their coaches demeanor.
    You know, I dared to criticize Tedford about some things here last year, and was attacked and called names by 3 different people (I remember each of your names)- you were all rude and classless then and now you are nowhere to be found this year. The SC fans on this site have more wisdom than you did- though I wonder why SC fans come to a Cal site to talk down the Bears- really, why?
    Anyway, 7-5 this year would be the best at this point. It will get WORSE next year and the year after. UW, Stanford, UCLA will now beat Cal regularly – they are recruiting better and coach better. SC will continue to beat Cal- Oregon, OSU will beat Cal at 2 of 3, and Mike Stoops might pass Cal up. It is not looking good.
    How long will Cal, the (wealthy) alumni and Sandy Barbour put up with this? Ben Braun was here 3 years too long- he had Cal underachieving for 6 years. Tedford is heading to Ben Braun all over again.
    I threw out Chris Peterson last name on this site

  • Dan

    I got cut off on the Chris Petersen comment- I was watching him 2 years ago and liked what I saw and how Boise St plays. They are inspiring to watch. NO FEAR. They are way better than Cal with less talent- though they do have good talent. He would be interested in Cal- he has taken Boise St as far as they can go, I don’t believe he makes nearly as much as he could at Cal. He might be ready for the next challenge, I believe he is a California guy (he played at UC Davis). The new facilities will be a great tool to recruit. Sandy Barbour might HAVE to get a guy like him here to be able get the the buck$$$ to get the stadium redone.
    The only issue might be the cautionary tales of Dirk Koetter and Dan Hawkins. The grass isn’t always greener.

  • George Watson

    I, too, suggested Petersen last week as a replacement, but, let’s face it, he won’t come to Cal. Cal would have to go the Washington route and get a Sarkisian who’s done remarkably well in his first year. (Saw the ND game and the Huskies, though winless last year, played with confidence.) The problem with Tedford is that he just hasn’t adjusted period: either as a coach during games or planning and executing coaching. Look, USC has had Cal’s number for years and years. Cal players from long ago used to say that the game was lost before it was played because of fear. It takes no genius to try to sort out exactly what will motivate these players to play with confidence. Instead Tedford sticks to HIS tried and true, which although “tried,” certainly isn’t “true.” Now he says he’s sticking with Riley even though Riley stunk up the game with his inaccuracies. And mentoring QBs is supposed to be Tedford’s strong suit. Does this sound familiar? He stuck with Longshore, too, after his wheels came off. Failure to make change – or shake things up when necessary – hell, he sat Ayoob – works against the confidence of the team. But Tedford will do it HIS way, regardless of the consequences. Jeff, I’ve loved you for what you’ve done, for bringing back Cal to mediocre status. (You can always count on the Bears to beat up the Eastern Washingtons of the NCAA world.) But this team is never going to rise up beyond mediocrity because of your personal philosophy. You made us believe in winning, you, as coach, failed to deliver. (And let’s face it folks, the reasons the USCs and the Oregons are so consistent year in and year out is talent, yes, but more so coaching. It’s coaching that brings consistency.) Thanks for all you’ve done, but it’s time to hang up the clipboard, Jeff.

  • George Watson

    Oh, and PS for all those people who are afraid of going back to the Holmoe/Gilbertson era: why necessarily does showing Tedford the door mean that Cal would wind up back in those bad old days? You’ve got people at the top now who are different by far from the old AD and president. Cal football in those days was a throwaway. No more. Petersen I am sure would not come: he’s got a much sweeter deal in Idaho. But you sure could get a more forward looking assistant from a year-in-year-out prospering program. Hey, wasn’t that what Tedford was, lo, those many years ago? Didn’t he come from Oregon? Come on, folks, letting Tedford go doesn’t mean a return to bad Cal football and it could even mean rising up to contending in the PAC 10.

  • Dan

    No tds in 2 games. Wow. Against Oregon and SC teams that are nowhere near as good as some of the best of these two programs.
    The fact that these losses were so bad might be a good thing. There are things wrong here. It all reverts back to Tedford and Gregory. Close losses might have obscured the fact that there are things here seriously wrong. If you have been watching, you already suspected that. The 2007 season, losing 6 of the last 7, should have clued everybody in. All I heard were excuses, most of which were directed at the players. Please.

  • Dan

    There are lot of people here that get it. Nice surprise. There have been a lot of knuckleheads here the past couple years that actually thought by questioning ANYTHING Tedford was doing was traitorous and that criticism would cause Tedford to leave. Unbelievable.
    George Watson- perfect. One other thing, you were kind of alluding to, is that Tedford is STUBBORN. If you watch the games, you suspect that, but if you follow the team, you really know that. For example, the Maryland travel last year, he would never admit that it had anything to do with the poor showing. He still wont, despite the change for Minnesota this year. After that game, he still would not admit he made a mistake last year. Unbelievable. I could many examples (i.e., Nate Longshore). Stubborn isn’t what he needs to be right now. I am hopeful that since things are so bad right now, that he might finally look in the mirror and really do some deep soul searching, maybe seek some advice different from he might normally seek. But that probably won’t happen. Stubborn people are stubborn.

    One thing guys. You can’t throw him out the door without a solid replacement. That guy has to be as close to can’t miss as possible. If you follow college football, when you heard that UW hired Sarkisian and he was bring Nick Holt and 5 other SC assistants along, you had to go “Oh, oh. Brilliant” The Huskies blew it with Tyrone Willingham- you knew that when they hired him. They hit a homerun with Sarkisian. Same thing at Stanford and Harbaugh. The only doubt about Harbaugh is whether he would stick around for 6-8 years or more. I have been watching what he is doing over there- be concerned Bear fans. He recruits, now better than Cal, he is building the program the right way and with a swaager. Those kids over there are supremely confident with the right kind of confidence, not the hollow kind Cal players have. When they lost to Wake this year in a game they had and should have won, HE took the blame and meant it. He was crushed he let his players down. What do want to bet he will never make that mistake again? Can you imagine Tedford ever doing that. Never. He has had opportunities but has never done it. Tedford is not getting it. He is too close and too stuboorn. He is not ready for some brutal honesty.
    Also, Cal had an unbelieveable collection of recruits at the game to witness the massacre- here is the link-
    Cal desperately needs these guys and needs a top 15 class this year. The last 2 weeks may have killed the chances for that. In fact, those that say Tedford is a good recruiter … Tosh Lupoi is the guy right now. Kids love him, they trust him, he is the real deal. Do you think most of these recruits connect with Tedford? I don’t think so. It is Lupoi and a couple of the other assistants (Ron Gould, Kennewick Thompson).
    It’s getting rocky in Bear-land. Get ready if you’re not already. Sorry to be such a bummer.

  • Steve W

    I have been reluctant to get on the Tedford bashing wagon, but I’m there now. I came up from So Cal. – paid scalper’s prices to get into the game – and feel violated and cheated for the experience. It was clear from the start that the USC players had more emotion and intensity in the game. I said all week that Cal had to put pressure on Barkely from the very beginning and didn’t do it. He had all day back there to ratchet up his true freshman confidence and looked like a Heisman winner in directing USC to their much too easy scoring drives in the first quarter.

    Cal’s play calling is predictable beyond belief. Give me a break on that Wildcat thing. Does anyone in the stadium not know that Best is going to run left or right after the ball is snapped? The USC guys must have been smacking their lips. I about threw up a couple of times when Best shifted from running back to wide receiver and watched Riley lock in on him as if the SC defenders didn’t know it was coming. And when Taylor Mays ran down Best on a critical fourth and one play to keep a drive going, it was clear to me that USC just has better athletes.

    I have been going to Cal games for 25 years now and left at halftime for the first time. I saw nothing, and I mean nothing, that inspired me to stay. The bottom line is that Cal thinks it’s a big boy program by paying the coach $2 million and charging almost $70 for a ticket to get into the game. The fans have been let down in momumental proportions. It’s time to take that $2 million and buy a better product. Thanks for the memories, Jeff, but 7-5 is no longe good enough here. BTW, I would not be surprised to see Cal get shut out of a bowl this year. The PAC 10 is much improved this year, and there are no guaranteed wins except for WSU at home.

  • Jake

    I don’t even know if Washington St. is guaranteed. Didn’t they score more points than CAL did against USC?

  • covinared

    I agree with many of the points above, but am less critical of the overall game plan and calls against USC. Simply put, Reilly is a choker. He badly missed too many open receivers in critical situations, like he did against Oregon this year and USC last year. He has been around long enough to know what your going to get with him. The fact that Tedford won’t consider replacing him does not speak well for his recruiting and/or player development. How could Mansion and Sweeney possibly be any worse? Are they no good, or is his system too complex to learn?

  • covinared

    Exhalt yourself, and you shall be humbled.

  • DUCK Dad

    First & foremost, I live in the East Bay, and cheer for the Bears, (unless they’re playing the DUCKS) With that being said, there is one common thread that the DUCKS @ Boise had, your 2007 team & the current team. All of these kids read too many articles about themselves, and believe that just showing up will win the game. From the Heisman ramblings of Lynch & Forsett, darkhorse Masoli this year(SI cover jinx too) and Saturday morning gameday….I agree with most of you its on the coaches shoulders, but not for play-calling. It’s for not getting the attitude that it takes to shake off the media crap. USC loses, they close practice, begin hitting and get pissed. Cal loses, and they look for answers….Hmmmm…see what I mean? Motivation & attitude win football games….its the old adage of “Who wants it more?”

  • uh oh.

    Please tell me why Chris Petersen would NOT want the Cal job? He graduated from UC Davis, is paid at least half as much as Tedford, and he is limited in who he can recruit and what Bowl games he can get his team to – meaning his upside is limited if he stays at Boise.

    So, WHY wouldn’t he come to Cal???

  • Calduke

    Coach bashing, crappy play-calling, blah, blah, blah!!

    Steve W. your one observation explains it all;

    “it was clear to me that USC just has better athletes.” Also, it was clear that Oregon just had better athletes. These 2 teams had the studs to batter the Bear’s OL and DL. The Cal players are of the capability WE built them up to be , but, in reality don’t match up well with the other PAC-10 athletes. Most of us felt that the Bears had improved over last year, and they have,but, we were oblivious that the other teams were improving, also. Watch either game, closely, and it is clear, the OL and DL get torched.
    The talent is just not there. Best’s poor stats are due solely to the OL. If he had SCs line, do you think he would have had only 50(?) yards.

  • covinared

    I agree about the talent level on the lines, but when the opposition has 8-9 guys keying run, a team should be able to throw. Our qb could not deliver. A good qb would have kept us in the sc game.

  • Calduke

    My observation about talent level applies not only to the OL and DL. It applies across the line. It is just more obvious at the QB position.

    I do agree, a better QB, and receivers, would have made the game closer. The SC receivers were continually getting separation from the DBs.

  • George Watson

    To Uh-Oh,
    Cal’s program is not that attractive. In the past it’s been bad facilities, no admin support, etc. Now it’s that the PAC 10 has become more difficult to recruit and play in. The pool of really good players from CA is really bitten into, as never before, by the NW schools, as well as UCLA and USC. (Stanford recruits nationally like ND.) From all I know, Petersen runs the show in Boise, has maximum support from the admin, has great facilities and is outside the PAC 10. (He does recruit from CA.) A move to CAL would be a step down for Petersen, whose program just doesn’t have attractions for a coach of his caliber. (He’s like an Urban Meyer.) I think the only program in the PAC 10 that might attract him would be SC.

  • George Watson

    All these posters have been talking about how CAL players played flat, read and believed their press clippings, and just weren’t prepared. They’re right, but all that does is point the finger more, not at them, but at the coaching staff which is supposed to motivate the players, esp. Tedford. Now Tedford is supposed to be a QB guru. Well you tell me where all that guru-ness was with respect to a rattled Riley on Saturday? Tedford’s not been doing his job with respect even to his specialty. (You look back and you realize now that CAL won the game against SC with Rodgers at the wheel because of Rodgers, NOT Tedford.) Jeff buddy, we’re all very grateful for your help over the past years, but clearly CAL is going nowhere with you at the helm. Time to say hasta la bye bye.

  • Scotty Mon

    Chris Petersen could make three times the money he gets now plus he would have the new athletic center to recruit to plus he wouldn’t have to beg his way into the BCS party every year. Cal football now has the donor money above and beyond what the school allocates to pay market for a great coach. Tedford brought big-time money back into the program along with national interest, but think what getting up to the next level with Chris Petersen would do! I agree with Uh Oh. Why not?

  • Jake

    After watching tonight’s MNF game, I agree completely with George. Aaron Rodgers is a stud!! The reason we beat USC was because of HIM. And we almost won the following year were it not for the missed catch in the end zone. Tedford got lucky in recruiting Rodgers and has probably been riding that success until now. Remember, Tedford had some QB’s prior to Rodgers. But where is Akili Smith now?!?

    Go Aaron Rodgers!!!