A sampling of what was said at Tuesday’s weekly media luncheon:
–A transcript of Jeff Tedford and Kevin Riley.
DEFENSIVE END CAMERON JORDAN:
On returning home to the Phoenix area this weekend
I’m always excited to go home, and ASU is always good to me.
On last year’s game against ASU, in which he was named Pac-10 Player of the Week.
It was fun, to say the least. Things went well that game.
On how much he’s changed as a person and player since arriving at Cal
Probably as a person, I haven’t changed much. I still hold my comic books and my PS3 dearly to me. As a player, I’ve changed a whole bunch. Freshman year, just being a third down specialist, I didn’t really want to play the run my freshman year. Last year, I grew up a little bit and saw that I could actually play the run. This year, I’m improving on both.
On the coaches desire for him to be more serious
Freshman year, coaches would get at me. They’d be like, ‘Cam, you need to grow up.’ I’d be like, ‘I just turned 18 a couple months ago. You guys are sweating me. I need to be me.’ Now, it’s like, ‘Hey, I’ve barely turned 20, you guys are sweating me.’ I understand I have to change. I don’t think I’ve changed too much.
On whether he and the coaches have reached a middle ground in his desire to have fun
I think it’s a comfortable midpoint. They probably want me to be a little more serious than I am. You have to have fun while you’re living.
On whether he expects added attention after his play against WSU
The thing about our D-line, you can’t really target just one of us. I hope they do target me. That just means Tyson is going to have one heck of a day. If they target Tyson, D-Hill is going to be balling. The D-line is such a great unit this year.
On being just a pass rusher when he first got to Cal
Freshman year, I came in and I was like, ‘I’m faster than you, I’m faster than you, you’re slow, I’m faster than you.’ So I ended up not redshirting. I knew what I was here for. I didn’t come here to play the run. I’m not going to be a starter my freshman year. I came here to be in pass situations. I’m going to rush the quarterback. I’m going to chase down some guys. That was my identity at the time.
On learning to be a better run defender
Sophomore year, Rulon (Davis) got hurt and they asked me to step up and play the run as well. A couple games in, I wanted to take that starting spot, and now it’s mine.
On when he realized stopping the run would make him a more complete player
I figured I’d do that this year. Last year, I was a sophomore and I thought I would just take things slow and enjoy life. Cal was always good to me so I had no worries. Then I had to play the run when Rulon hurt his ankle last year.
On having fun against Washington St.
Honestly, I have fun at all games. Anytime I’m allowed to hit somebody and laugh at them while I’m hitting them, it’s awesome for me. Especially when it’s a mismatch like a running back or something like that. Anytime I can fully hit a running back, when he’s in a pass blocking situation, it’s so funny. If I can put them on their back, I’m usually laughing the whole play and probably the next couple plays.
On whether having fun makes him play better
I feel like if I was too serious, it would take some of the fun out of the game. Once you take the fun out of it, it just becomes a job. It’s not a job to me. Football makes me happy.
On whether the coaches have accepted him for who he is
I feel like they’ve sort of accepted it. They’re always like, ‘Hey, Cam you could be a little more serious….no? We’d like you to be. ..no? All right, Cam. Hopefully you’ll change soon. …no? All right, we love you anyway.’
On his season so far
I think I started off pretty well. A couple games into it, I hurt my wrist, but that’s just an excuse, I guess. The past two games or so I felt like I was playing back up to my potential. I hope to keep it that way.
On whether he’s always been a fun-loving guy
It’s always been like this. My mother will tell you she’s been annoyed with me. I don’t know. They say my mom was like this when she was younger, but I’m not that young anymore. I’m 20 now. I’m halfway through my career here. I’m young but I’m not.
LINEBACKER MIKE MOHAMED:
On the importance of Saturday’s game
Every game from here on out is important. We’re trying to finish 10-2. It’ll be good to get a more quality opponent and really see what we’re all about.
On getting an idea of where Cal stands
The biggest thing is, can we get the explosive Cal out there? The Cal that scores points early in the first quarter and then the defense shuts guys down. We’ve kind of seen opposite sides of Cal at times, mainly the USC and Oregon games. We’re hoping to go out there and put up some points and then just hold their offense.
On playing with a big lead
It helps us play looser. When we have the comfortable lead, guys aren’t so uptight about making mistakes. We know we have a little bit of a cushion, but we still don’t let up. It seems to motivate us more, strange as that sounds.
On whether it’s easier to get sacks with a big lead
Usually, when we’re up by that much, that’s when teams start passing more, they have to try to catch up. That means more sacks, more pressure on the QB. We’d like to see our turnovers increase, more interceptions. We didn’t have any turnovers last week.
On being concerned about all the yardage allowed in recent weeks
We’re a little bit concerned. I think the main thing is we have to stop the big play. It seems like we do a pretty consistent job shutting them down, shutting them down. Then they’ll break off a 50-yard play or something. If they get a couple of those a game, it’s going to really change the yardage, just based on four or five big plays.
On the defense not being as good or better than last year, as expected
The one thing that really stands out in my eyes is we haven’t gotten as many turnovers. I really don’t know why, it’s just kind of the way it’s turned out. We still have five games left, so we still have the opportunity to one-up last year’s defense. I wouldn’t write it off just yet.
On whether opponents are catching on to the 3-4 now that Cal has run it for a year
I think they’re more comfortable, just based on the fact they know what to expect. Last year, they hadn’t seen it all so they didn’t know how we were going to adjust to them, what kind of schemes we were going to run. But at the same time it’s our job this year to throw something new at them, so they’re not so comfortable, so we keep them guessing.
On playing with four down linemen
We got a lot of sacks out of that particular look. I think we do have a little bit of that in for this week, for certain situations. So I think we’ll see a little bit of that in the future.
LEFT TACKLE MIKE TEPPER:
On running the ball against ASU
You can run the ball on them but it’s going to be two or three-yard plays and hoepfully if we keep grinding we can get some big ones out of that.
On the difference between Cal’s speed attack and Stanford’s power attack
Well, it’s not like we don’t have that installed in our offense. It’s just we try to utilize our speed. We can use Jahvid or Shane in the backfield and run an inside zone, something like Stanford did, so you know it’s in. It’s just up to our offensive coordinator to see if we want to run it.
On the importance of Saturday’s game
Every game is important. You lose two games, it doesn’t matter. We’ve got a good team we’re playing this team, we’ve got to win. We have to win every game after this. It’s going to be a battle.
On the challenge of the run offense against ASU’s run defense
I look at it as a great opportunity to show that our run offense is still able to kick some butt. I want to establish the run this game, first off, be able to challenge them pass-wise and run-wise. But I want to put up some points against these guys, and do it in the run game.
On having to be patient against ASU’s defense that doesn’t give up a lot of big plays
Against Washington State, we did what we call “run to win.” It’s run the ball nonstop up and down the field. I expect it’s going to be very similar to that, but we might get third-and-five, third-and-four instead. We might have to throw.
On the importance of establishing the run
Establishing the run’s always a very important thing because it opens up the pass game. And I think our coaching staff will be patient this week knowing that they’re a really good running defense.
On whether big plays happen because of blocking or individual efforts
I would like to say that every play is brought perfectly. But no, it’s playmaking. Coaches get you in the right direction, they point you in the right direction, but after that you have to play football. And you have to have playmakers. And Jahvid’s a playmaker, and our offensive line has some playmaking ability. Our receivers make plays downfield blocking. It’s a team effort.
On the play of the offensive line this season
Better than some, worse than others. I think we’ve played OK. I think we can do a lot better.
On having some inexperience along the offensive line
Being young doesn’t really help you in your favor as an offensive lineman. Experience does, though. For me, I think if I had not grown in the weight room as much when I was a freshman but had more experience, I think I could’ve done pretty well. But experience goes a long way, and they’re getting a lot of experience each game. With each game you see them improving in different areas. You don’t just come out like, Maryland — this is how you’re going to play for the rest of the year. You grow. They’re growing, they’re doing well.