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Football: Tuesday night update

Not surprisngly, much of the discussion at today’s weekly press luncheon still focused on Jahvid Best. The latest is Best is still recovering at his parents home in Vallejo, and there doesn’t appear to be any imminent change in that situation. Jeff Tedford said Best will wait until he’s completely feeling better before he even entertains the notion of returning to classes, let alone football. Tedford has been communicating with Best via text messages and Best told him this morning that he’s feeling a little better, but still has a stiff back and a minor headache. It sounds like the back is the thing that is bothering him the most, not surprising when you think about the way he landed.

Even though all we know for sure is Best won’t play Saturday against Arizona, it doesn’t appear he’s anywhere near even thinking about returning to football right now. Tedford said he and Best haven’t even talked about when he might come back, or even show up to practice just to see his teammates. From listenting to Tedford talk today, I’d be surprised if Best makes an appearance at practice or the locker room this week.

Tedford’s message today was simple: The idea of Best on a football field is the furthest thing from his mind right now. All energy is being devoted to Best getting healthy and recovering from such a serious injury. Tedford said “If he doesn’t play again this year, so be it.”

As far as Best’s progress, Tedford said it’s a day-to-day evaluation and much of it is determined simply by how Best feels. He said the team’s medical staff is in constant communication with Best and he did have some kind of follow-up appointment coming, but wasn’t sure exactly when it was.

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On to other non-Best related news, Tedford seemed optimistic that left guard Matt Summers-Gavin could return this week after a two-week absence because of a sprained shoulder (he also missed the USC game with the same injury). From the portion of practice I watched today, Summers-Gavin was practicing in full. That’s a good sign, because he didn’t practice at all the past two weeks. As for nose tackle Derrick Hill and tight end Anthony Miller, Tedford said they are both day-to-day. Tedford reiterated there is a chance Miller could return this week, meaning he would miss just one game after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery.

–On paper, the biggest mismatch of Saturday’s game looks like Arizona’s pass protection against Cal’s pass pressure. The Wildcats enter the game having allowed just four sacks all season, tied for first in the country. And the Bears haven’t been getting much pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

But Tedford said part of Arizona’s strong sacks allowed total is because the Wildcats employ a quick-passing offense, using screens and short routes with quarterback Nick Foles getting the ball out in a hurry. That has made it hard for opposing defenses to get to the quarterback. With that in mind, you may see Cal do what it did against Eastern Washington — stick with a three man rush and drop eight in coverage. EWU had the same type of pass offense, and when the Bears actually decided not to commit as many guys to the rush, they shut them down.

That being said, Tedford still said the Bears can’t just abandon the pass rush and will have to mix up their blitzes with when they drop into coverage.

–Tedford has always been committed to using two running backs, and that won’t change now that Best is out. Expect to see redshirt freshman Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson spell Shane Vereen from time to time.

–Three players came to Tuesday’s media luncheon — left tackle Mike Tepper, linebacker Eddie Young and fullback Brian Holley. I will have complete transcriptions tomorrow, but Tepper had the quote of the day in describing Jahvid Best’s popularity in the locker room. Best is widely respected and well-liked among teammates.

“He’s one of those guys who has a special aura around him,” Tepper said. “He’s not your T.O. He’s very humble, very quiet. When he walks into a room, he doesn’t really need to say very much because everybody knows he’s there. So when that’s away, it’s a little different. You notice his absence.”

–Here’s the transcription of Jeff Tedford’s comments today. Quarterback Kevin Riley is usually included here, but he coudn’t make the luncheon today because of a conflict.

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

    JO

    Will 8 men in coverage do the job. How about all 11?

  • bearupthere

    With Arizona’s quick and short passing game the Bears need to find someone opposite Syd who can tackle . The starting corner last week had several missed tackles that led to big gains….you can expect the Cats to focus their passing game on whatever side Syd is not on.

  • calbear

    JO – why didn’t Deboskie play against ASU last year when Best was out? Why are things be different this year?

  • falseintellect

    @3: it would have been slocum last year. his lack of carries could have been an issue with him personally since there were obviously problems in that relationship (best evidence his not being on the team any longer).

    EWU moved the ball way too well for a D2 team. we might have known our D had problems then. and EWU may run the same ‘scheme’ but they dont have pac10 talent..

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Actually Sac State played just about as well on defense against EWU as your team.

  • Robert

    Why put 11 men in coverage? Take a player off and just go with 10 in coverage! Bears dominate in that Gregory formation!

  • Calduke

    Once again; for those who are interested in what the folks who bet money on college games think about this Saturday – Cal is a 1 point favorite over Arizona.

  • Calduke

    Calbear – I think Deboskie was a redshirt last year.

  • Scotty Mon

    Oh where oh where has Mike Pawlawski gone. Tedford seems to have peeked right before the 2004 Holiday Bowl where we got waxed. Since Aaron Rodgers left we have the same problem at QB, which is Tedford so far inside his head that he plays not to screw up. Ayoob, Longshore and Riley have so much physical talent but not the warrior leadership that Pawlawski had. That again is coaching.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    I bet you Tedford would have messed up Powlaski too. I have been saying this all along and I have been trashed for it. Tedford has his QBs over thinking everything. Did Tuel look like he was overthinking against you guys when he put up 350 yards? Did Barkley look like he was overthinking against you guys when he looked like an All American? Did Canfield lokk like he was overthinking against you guys last week? Finally what about Prince. Their coaches make it easy for them. Drop back or roll out, make two reads and then pass.

  • Jonathan Okanes

    Cal, DeBoskie redshirted last year

  • GoldenBear 77

    Scotty Mon,

    I think you have to take off the rose colored glasses.

    Pawlawski was a good leader (something you cannot coach), OK at the game, and unfortunately will be remembered, by me at least, for one of the worst displays of CAL football sportsmanship in my watching the program — the Big Game performance his senior year. Neither Ayoob, nor Longshore was a physical talent. Ayoob could not be taught to stop throwing off his back leg, and was, hence, inaccurate, and Longshore, while bright, and having a great grasp of Tedford’s system was slow footed, and did not step up in the pocket. Neither would have ever been a great quarterback, no matter who coached them. Riley is still an open question, at least for me. He has leadership skills, and when he remembers his form, accurate, but that is not that much of the time.

    Finally, you forget Kyle Boller. In one season, Tedford made him. I think it is the other way around — once quarterbacks buy into the system (like Rodgers and Boller) they get better. Ayoob never did, Longshore did, but did not have the physical tools, and for some reason Riley has not yet been able to get his body to do what he knows he should on a consistent basis.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    GB77

    The word out on Tedford (at least from the NFL) is that he doesn’t “produce” complete players. The reason why Boller succeeded his last year under JT but not in the pros is that JT shrunk the field in half. Boller only had limited reads to make. When Boller got to the pros all of his fundamentals were exposed. He lacked touch, he lacked the mental part of the game, he lacked, he lacked, etc etc. Remember too this was Tedford’s first year as HC and the defensives had not seen his style of play.

    Rodgers has everything and then some although his ability to throw the long ball accurately in college was a bit suspect. Your analysis of the other 3 appears to be good but teaching mechanics is just not that hard. Stepping into your throws is very very easy. It’s the mental parts of the game, the speed and the defenses that confuse a player. Ayoob had the arm but Tedford was into his head so much that the kid didn’t know up from down. You could see it in him. How he held the ball for instance was ridiculous minutiae which only JT would care about. The kid was having a hard time making a single read. Look at how he started against Sac State for all the evidence needed. Longshore just didn’t have it. When healthy he could throw the longball but when he wasn’t he couldn’t even throw the out pattern without pick 6 written all over it. Now the reason why I bring up an analysis of all 4 is for the sake of Riley. He is definitely not Rodgers although he throws a better long ball. In terms of accuracy he reminds me of Ayoob. He simply is not accurate on a consistent basis and that fights with his mental part of the game. He also has some mechanical problems. I have to think Tedford has a lot to do with that. Longshore was just a bad pick by Tedford but what are you going to do when you have a defeated Ayoob and an unseasoned Riley. To me Tedford needs a QB like Canfield – tall, stand in the pocket with occasional throw on the run abilities. That is what suits his offense. He would probably destroy a QB like Luck and definitely would have nothing to do with a Masoli or Dixon.

  • rollonubears

    Boller got his ticket to the NFL on the reputation of Tedford alone. The only QB who has had any success at that level has been Rodgers, and he’s only really been at it for a year. Boller had the best defense in the NFL scoring almost all their points. Go back and look at the stats. Just because you can throw the ball 70 yards from your knees doesn’t mean you have any business playing football on Sunday. Riley is at his best when he’s free to run around. Tedford has forced him into being a pocket QB. Maybe that helps his draft stock, but it’s not helping the team.