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Football: Tuesday night update

The best thing about today’s weekly press luncheon is that it was indoors. As we sat inside the Hall of Fame Room, the rain came down at a 45-degree angle outside us. Not surprisingly, the Memorial Stadium field was battered. It looked a lot like the Oregon game last year.

When Jeff Tedford came to speak to us at around noon, he hadn’t yet gone out to the field to check its condition. Apparently, he didn’t like what he saw because he moved Tuesday afternoon’s practice indoors. That’s right, the Bears practiced at the RSF today after Tedford determined the condition of the field wouldn’t allow for a productive practice.

“We have a lot of work to get in for the UCLA game and practicing on our field today was going to make it very difficult to have a productive workout,” Tedford said.

The good news for the Bears is that if practicing indoors limited what they could usually do, they already had a leg up on the work week because of the last week’s bye. Cal started game planning for UCLA last Thursday and put in more of the plan on Sunday night, so Tedford felt like he could afford to cut back on practice a bit.

The Bears actually wanted to practice some on the Witter Rugby Field this week in order to prepare for the natural grass at the Rose Bowl. The rain is supposed to let up Wednesday so they may be able to get that done at least one day this week.

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The most lively part of the press luncheon came courtesy of linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who came across as almost defiant that the Bears are going to be fine and haven’t lost any confidence after two lopsided losses in a row. In fact, he virtually guaranteed that Cal will beat UCLA on Saturday.

“We have to win every game for now on,” Kendricks said. “We can’t lose again. I don’t think we are, either. Actually, I know we’re not.”

When asked about the team’s confidence this week against UCLA, he said: “We’re going to win this week.” When a reporter asked if he wanted to guarantee that, Kendricks simply repeated: “We’re going to win this week.”

Kendricks spoke with a confidence that seems to be a new side of him, at least with the media. He’s been pretty soft-spoken during his first 1 1/2 years at Cal. Even early on this season, he didn’t say much and didn’t appear to be terribly comfortable dealing with the press.

But Tuesday was a different story. Kendricks displayed a brash side, speaking definitively about his team as though nobody should doubt what the Bears are capable of.

When asked about the USC loss, Kendricks said: “It was just us. It wasn’t anything they were doing. “Everything that we did was on us. It’s nothing that can’t be fixed.”

When asked if the defense gets frustrated when the offense is struggling, Kendricks said: “I feel like we play better. The defensive guys rally up when that stuff happens. We kind of put the game on our shoulders. If one side of the ball isn’t going to get it done at the time, then we have to take it upon ourselves to do it. I think we come together and play a little better.”

When asked what makes him so confident the team will win, Kendricks said: “That’s going to be my answer every game. I don’t think we’re going to lose. Tha’ts going to be my answer forever.”

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On the injury front, Tedford called wide receiver Verran Tucker day-to-day. Tucker saw a doctor on Sunday night and Tedford said Tucker has a “pretty deep bruise” in his calf. He will get treatment and the team will monitor him throughout the week.

Tedford reiterated that left guard Matt Summers-Gavin and wide receiver Nyan Boateng are on track to play Saturday, barring any setbacks.

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Here’s the transcript to Tedford and Kevin Riley’s comments Tuesday. I will have more transcriptions from the other players to appear at the luncheon on Wednesday.

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.

  • House

    Thanks for the update JO!

  • TrumanHugh

    As I read this, my mind kept flashing back to former Michigan running back Mike Hart in 2007, the year they opened their season with back-to-back home losses to Appalachian State and Oregon. In a press conference after the first loss Hart angrily stated that would never happen again, Michigan would show Oregon what Wolverine football was all about…(Oregon beat them something like 39-7)…

    Following the Oregon loss, again at a press conference, this time looking like a corpse and with a creepy psychotic look in his eyes, he defiantly announced they were going to win (the following week against Notre Dame). He was adamant that they would win “from here on out,” that a loss just wasn’t going to happen. I remember he kept answering the “what if” follow-up questions with “it’s not going to happen…it’s not going to happen…it’s just not going to happen!”

    Fortunately for Hart, they shut out Notre Dame 38-0 which led to winning eight in a row, losing two, then beating #9 Florida in a bowl game. They finished 9-4, which doesn’t sound all that bad considering how badly I felt the last couple of weeks.

    I didn’t see ths presser to know what sort of look Kendricks had in his eye, and while I appreciate his upbeat, positive attitude, I hold no faith in words from anyone just yet.

    I need to see my Golden Bears come back together and play like they know what they’re doing. I need to see them fight past the adversity and push through to victory. (Heck, at this point, I’d settle for a touchdown.)

    I know they are a better team than those that took the field against Oregon and $C. Are they the best team in the Pac-10? Apparently not. But, I still believe they belong in that top tier.

    Obviously, how they play this weekend will either prove me right or wrong. Until then, nothing player or coach SAYS means a whole lot.

    Go Bears!

  • rollonubears

    the season is already ruined, even if we win out, unless there’s a 4 way tie for first, and we slip into the rose bowl. once the pressure’s off, as it was last year, and every year before, winning is easy. a good coach finds ways for his team to deal with the pressure so they don’t lose in the first place. that’s the problem with this team. i don’t care if we finish in the top 25 with a resounding victory in a second-tier bowl game. we need to win when it matters. until that happens, we’re not winners.

  • Dan

    Here, here rollonubears. Said perfectly.