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Football: Thursday night update

A popular question these days is whether Cal’s players will be motivated to play in the Poinsettia Bowl after having their sights set on something bigger this season.

The biggest motivation for the Bears is the opportunity not to go into the offseason with back-to-back losses, especially given the bad taste in their collective mouth from Washington.

“It will be huge for us to finish on a positive note,” Cal quarterback Kevin Riley said after practice today. “If you lose (a bowl game), you think about that game your whole offseason. That’s something I don’t want to go through. We’re playing a good team, so we just have to be ready.”

Most of the conversation with Jeff Tedford today focused on offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig, an obvious storyline since he was Utah’s OC for four years before coming to Berkeley this season. I will have a feature on Ludwig next week leading up the the game, but it’s interesting that he was the subject of some criticism in Salt Lake even while the Utes were compiling a perfect season last year.

Tedford said he’s been very pleased with the impact Ludwig has made so far and only expects it to get better as he gets more immersed at Cal. Tedford feels such a comfort level with Ludwig that he never calls a play anymore. Tedford said he might suggest something during the course of the game but it’s up to Ludwig to actually call it. Last year, when former offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti was calling the plays, Tedford said he would still call a handful of plays per game.

Tedford said Ludwig has helped the Bears in the game planning department because he is so familiar with the Utes’ personnel.

A couple of notes:

  • Left guard Matt Summers-Gavin missed another practice and Tedford reiterated that he is day-to-day. Summers-Gavin continues to get evaluated for the concussion that kept him out of the Washington game.
  • A handful of players missed practice to take finals. That’s the norm this time of year. The coaching staff schedules practices at the times most optimal for the players’ finals, but it’s almost impossible to satisfy everyone.
  • The Bears will practice at Memorial Stadium for the last time this season on Friday. They will fly to San Diego on Saturday morning and practice at the University of San Diego later in the day.

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.