Football: Tedford quotes

Jeff Tedford’s quotes from my lengthy conversation with him earlier this week: 

On asking fans for their support, but not blindly

This season obviously was disappointing, and there’s nobody more disappointed than I am. I’m sick to my stomach about it. This place means a lot to me and our success means a lot to me. I’m disappointed not only for our players and our coaches, but for our fans because I know how much they want us to be successful. I think it’s important that even though people are frustrated, and so am I, to still lend support to what we’re doing so it doesn’t get so quick to be negative. You’re going to have to battle through some things sometimes. I’m asking for their support. I’m as disappointed as anybody. I’m just asking for people to support us, and our players, so that we can move in the right direction. We don’t have to keep wallowing in this. Let’s try to look forward instead of looking back. Let’s be supportive of how we move forward and not look back to the bad things.


On declining other job offers illustrating his commitment to Cal

Even though there have been opportunities to go some other places, I’m completely focused on reaching our goals here. This year, we didn’t and I take responsibility for that. We need to be better coached. We need to play better. I’m not satisfied with eight wins. We’re going to do everything we can to define the problems and fix them. I’m completely committed to this. I have stayed here because I am committed to it. I’m committed. I know eight wins is not what we wanted. But there needs to be some support so we can move forward and not just look at the negative things. We’re going to do our best to learn from it and we’re going to work on it and continue to try to reach all of our goals. I totally appreciate where people want to go and what they want to do. We absolutely do as well. Are we going to be perfect? No. Am I going to be perfect? No. We’re going to have times where we have adversity. Part of this whole deal is overcoming adversity. Part of overcoming adversity is the help from our fans to help overcome it, provide the environment to help us overcome adversity – not pile on and make the adversity harder to overcome.


On his personal disappointment with the season

I feel terrible about it. There’s a knot in my stomach. I feel sick to my stomach every time I think about it. You lose sleep thinking about how you can improve and get better. There are a lot of internal expectations – we want to do well. But I don’t lose sight of how people take pride in our success and are disappointed in our failure. That is widespread because they care. I feel that as much as you could possibly imagine.


On correcting the problems being more than just “working harder.”

When I say we’re going to work harder, it doesn’t mean we’re going to just blow it off and work harder and just start over and do the same things that we’ve always done. We’re continually trying to develop our players, our coaches, and the whole program. We’re not going to just say it’s status quo and we’re going to just work harder at what we do. Part of the hard work is defining who you are and what you’re going to be, what you’re going to work at. It’s not about working so hard because we work very hard. It’s about working smart and it’s about defining what you can do. That’s the process we have to get done.


On why he contacted Bay Area News Group to speak to the fans

I felt like it was important to make a few points that I wanted to get across to the general public. It was important to get it out to people because this is really the only way I could send a message. I hear you and this is my response. This is the only way I know how to answer people’s questions. I know there are a lot of questions. I’m not naïve to the disappointment, I’m not naïve to the naysayers, I’m not naïve to the critics. I want them to know that I’m going to do my best to address the things because it’s important to me that we make people proud. There is a sense of making our alumni and our fans feel good about who we are. I haven’t lost sight of that. I understand that. I’m not callous to that and it does mean something to me and it means something to us. It means something to me that they’re not happy.


On explaining lopsided losses that the Bears ran into hot quarterbacks

It’s one thing to say we run into a guy with a hot hand, but we have to do something about that.


On trying to explain the lopsided losses

I’m disappointed we lost five games, but more than that probably is the way those went. You try to put your finger on why it happened because it’s never happened to us before. We’ve played great games, too. You try to figure that out. The first place I look is in the mirror. Is it motivation? Is it scheme? What is it? We have to make sure that we do whatever it takes to improve and not have those issues. I’m really anxious to get back at it already, to fix that – to evaluate, to find what the issues are.


On the lopsided losses becoming a trend

Once it happens once, you don’t think it’s going to happen again. That was just a fluke deal. But then when it happened at Washington, you look at why it happened like that. Sure, they played about as well as they can play and they were a team that grew a lot through the season, but it still shouldn’t happen like that.


On the frustration of the fans

I understand the frustrations. There’s nobody more frustrated than me. Eight wins is eight wins, but that’s not what we set out to do. We set out to be better than that. Whether that was false hope or not, I don’t know. Even if those five losses were close games, you wouldn’t be happy about it, but it wouldn’t be so perplexing. I think it’s important that even though people are frustrated, and so am I, to still lend support to what we’re doing so it doesn’t get so quick to be negative. You’re going to have to battle through some things sometimes.


On trying to learn from the season

Every year is a learning experience in some way, shape or form, and this is something we’ve never been through before. It was really odd. You have to ask why. I just think it’s a combination of playing poor on both sides of the ball. It’s matchups, it’s not making plays, it’s not being in position. Everybody has to take responsibility. It starts with coaching. It trickles down to execution and players. Everybody shoulders the burden of that.


On where you start in making the corrections

You have to go back and look at X’s and O’s first. Every year, you look to see if you are doing the right things schematically. Are your matchups right? Are your players executing? If they are not, why aren’t they? Is it coaching? Or is it just that the other guy is better than you are? I don’t think it’s one of the other. I think it’s a little bit of everything.


On his players not quitting, even though some believe that they did during the losses

I would assume the same thing. I would assume they are not playing hard. I’m at the hotel. I’m in the locker room. I see what they are like. But when the momentum gets away from you and you get down by 24, people are dejected. They look at that and think you don’t have any energy. You wouldn’t either if they just scored three touchdowns on you and you were three-and-out three times in a row.


On the team’s practice habits this year

Practices this year the practices have been as good and as energetic as ever.


On making changes

At every turn, there are certain things where you may feel like you have to do things differently. That’s part of the evaluation. Maybe we need to do some things differently. Maybe some of the things we’ve always done are not good enough. That applies to everything – how we do travel, how we do pregame, how we practice, everything.


On practices

Do we practice smart? Is there such a thing as working too hard? Are we efficient? I’m going to make a list of everything that we do and we’re going to talk about them, we’re going to gather information – coaching staff, and players. Players are definitely a part of it because they’re the ones who are living it and give you feedback. It’s important to get feedback from the staff and it’s important to get feedback from players.


On the support of the program

I think it’s important to thank everybody for the support that they’ve given and to know that we went through a year that we weren’t happy with and we’re going to do everything we can and make people proud of what they come to watch every weekend. But in order to do that, we need to stay positive at times when adversity hits. I thank them for the support, understanding their disappointment and understand that we’re disappointed. We need to all be able to put our best foot forward now and turn the page and start a new chapter.

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.


    wow, this is great, thanks for the update JO, this is very encouraging

  • Jan K Oski

    I’m not so taken by this, House. It seems like a similar situation just 2 years ago. Did you see the article from the end of that season? It is almost a carbon copy Tedford. That’s disturbing. While I’ll remain hopeful, there’s a lot that needs to change in order for this team to catch up with top tier teams of the PAC. Yet, Ohio State held Oregon to its lowest score level since the Boise State debacle. The key of the game was Pryor, but Ohio State’s defense deserves some praise as well. Masoli was completely taken out of the game with well-disciplined and swarming defense. We haven’t seen that at Cal in 4 or 5 years. People say that the games are won and lost in the trenches, but I think the right balance of offense and defense win championships. I doubt Gregory’s bend ‘n break will ever help to achieve that goal.

  • Will

    It’s great that Coach is reaching out to the fans and alumni and wants 2010 to be different. But this is one I would ask Jonathan to ask Coach: “do you believe that there was nothing wrong with the following decisions: 1) field goal before halftime versus SC, 2) the kneel on third down v. Stanford, and 3) generally kicking on 4th and short at midfield or better.”

    If not, I think that’s the problem here and Coach is being inflexible about it, even while he reflects. If JT does regret it or is open to changing his ultra-conservative risk-averse philosophy, then I find this all encouraging. I am not asking coach to be a river boat gambler. I am just asking Coach to stop playing not to lose since football, being an aggressive game, requires young men to attack on offense and defense. The players will probably have more passion and feel free to express themselves on the field which will help them make more plays.

  • SteveNTexas

    Well at least Tedford is aware of how we feel. I suppose he can’t talk about recruiting, but we need a good class. We have less commits than most of our competition , although so far the quality seems pretty good.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Did Tedford say anything about next year? Where does he think the media will rank this team pre-season? Does he think the Pac 10 next year will be improved, much improved or regressed?

  • Clunky

    It is perplexing that Tedford is still searching so hard for answers at this point. The fundamental problem right now is a lack of trust between the players and the coaches (and probably the coaches amongst themselves too). If Tedford solves that problem it will go a long way towards getting Cal to a BCS game.

  • MikeD

    a bit of stream of consciousness here as I mull over what I just read

    great questions, but the answers? I’m left kinda meehhhh. still lots of work harders, X’s and O’s, evaluations. not a lot of definitives, and not a lot of actual direction. feels like there is still much fumbling around in the dark with the hope that you find the door. clearly he seems still confused by what has happened and is on the verge of a deep analysis/evaluation. but there have been eval’s before that have not resulted in any significant differences, I don’t see anything in there that tells me this postmortem eval will result in anything different. time will tell.

    kudo’s to Coach Tedford for reaching out to the media to get a message to the fan base. i see that he has gotten how severe the discontent is within the fan base. for me my ability to “stay positive at times when adversity hits” and “to still lend support to what we’re doing so it doesn’t get so quick to be negative” is based solely on my reaction to what I see happening on the field in the game and how the team trends within the season. show me something positive and I’ll stay positive, continue to do the same things over and over expecting different results and you’ll probably get my same reaction to your continued lack of improvement. be quicker to implement any sort of visible positive adjustment and I will respond to the product on the field and be quicker to give you positive feedback.

    Coach Tedford – give us something to support — give us actions that we can feel confident in, show us positive changes on the field, make us feel comfortable that when things go astray that you have a firm grip on the wheel, that you can and will move the program forward. But right now these things are not within our comfort zone, we are not seeing these things from you.

    I appreciate that you are committed to the program. there is not one of us – not a one – who doesn’t want you to be successful. now take a deep breath, look around you and make sure that you have what you need to be surrounded with so that you yourself can be successful, because when you are successful then the program will be as well. Take a look at Joe Paterno roaming the sidelines with no headset, why does he do that? because he has surrounded himself with resources and a staff that allows him to do that, that in turn makes him successful over a very long period of time with a pretty consistent program. what you are doing now is not working, but you clearly have the smarts, the creativity, and the ability to make the changes necessary to make it all work. it all starts at the top with you.

  • GoldenBear 77

    JO, thanks for the information. JT, thanks for bringing the program out of the doldrums.

    I am a loyal but disappointed Golden Bear, but what gives me hope is that I see JT learning, and willing to change. He is still a relatively new head coach, and what has always impressed me is he learns from what has happened. Maybe not as much in the middle of the season, since the rush to prepare is probably all consuming. But the introspection after the season has proved he can change.

    This was not 2007. If it had been, the team would have gone into a total collapse after Oregon/USC. Instead, the coaching staff and players came together and beat two top 25 teams down the stretch. I think the results at Washington, and Utah had a different flavor than the earlier collapse. In other words, he took the lessons of 2007, and got part of the way there. Now, it is time to prevent the crisis from happening in the first place.

    It is too close to the season to have answers yet, but I am heartened by the willingness to look. While we will hear of some of the changes (Alamar for one), others will only be apparent when the 2010 Bears take the field. For me, I can’t wait for the Spring practices to begin.

  • Jan K Oski

    GB77, are you still wearing your cheerleader uni? “This was not 2007.” Really? I wish Tedford didn’t react the same way. Now, it could be JO’s writing style, but it takes 2 to tango.


    On your thoughts that Washington and Utah were different from “the other collapses”? Are you kidding? The Udub game was identical to the Oregon and $C collapses in final score and being completely dominated in every aspect of the game. Then, the Utah game was like the Oregon State game, as it had dismal production from the defense and offense in games within reach, but execution wasn’t there to string together defensive stands or offensive drives.

    Granted Tedford has brought our Bears out of the daldrums, but Bear faithful want a Rose Bowl, not Holiday or Lesser Bowls.

    Go BEARS!

  • robert

    Coach, you have gone through something LIKE this. It was 2007. Not identical, but same total disappointment.

    Want to convince the fans that you strive for BCS games? Then thank Gregory and Marshall and ask them to move on.

    That was a pathetic offensive line performance ALL YEAR LONG. They did not improve. They were confused and tentative.

    The defense has no identity, except for being laughed at and derided by announcers seeing it for the first time.

    Put some emotion into the program, starting with the DC!!!! College football is a game of emotion. Understand that, PLEASE!

  • Juancho

    Reading this makes me feel better. I’m an alumni, and have been a Cal fan since the 80s. I’ve seen a lot of awful football between then and now. And while I’m dissapointed and in a sense feel that Tedford will probably not be able to elevate the program to the next level – I don’t want him to leave the program. He built the program and he deserves the time to try to take it to the next level. And even if he doesn’t, eight wins and beating stanford every year isn’t so bad for our school. We’re not Florida. And, we don’t have a crooked coach or athletics program that is required to have top programs now.

  • I appreciate that Tedford will evaluate all aspects of being a team – of how the team’s organization operates on a daily basis.

    From individuals, to relationships, to organizations – all have to reinvent themselves from time to time. It sounds as if Tedford is seeking this course of action and I appreciate it as fan.

  • GoldenBear 77

    Jan K Oski,

    Maybe I was not clear enough, the difference between Washington, and Utah is legion from the 2007 experience (I also think that they were much different than Oregon/USC, but that was not my point). Not a cheerleader (I thought 9-4 last year was OK — not above expectations, but not below with the young team), and in fact have been disappointed with 2009 as I said. What I am willing to do is go through the growing pains it takes to have a winning program, which I think begins with consistent coaching, rather than years like 1975, and 1991 interspersed with losing season upon losing season.

    Further, JT’s reaction may be the same (thankfully he still cares this deeply, but problem solving often takes a consistent approach), but the results of that introspection, I trust will be different, and show growth.

    Finally, I want a Rose Bowl too, but with a balance. I want to be the top public university in the world more, and I want our athletes to graduate (something I think JT wants as well), and I truly believe that had JT’s tenure not coincided with USC’s incredible run, we would have been there already.

    Go Bears!

    P.S. Isn’t great we can be this disappointed in an 8-5 season?

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    8-5 included 3 wins against OOC patsies and 3 very lucky wins against ASU, UA and Stanford.

  • Will

    MoreNCS_are_ignored – troll post blocked

  • MikeD

    MoreNCS_are_ignored – troll post blocked

    ain’t life grand?!!


  • Mack Attack

    I agree that Gregory needs to be let go. His “bend-don’t-break” defense is impotent and weak-minded. What great college teams have won championships on account of a “bend-don’t-break” philosophy with their defense? Not Florida in 2008/2006, or LSU in 2007, or Texas in 2005, or USC in 2004: NOT ANYONE! Is there anyway Tedford can bring in someone who can recruit and coach solid defensive play from another program? As for keeping it in-house (and I know he’s young), I really like Tosh Lupoi’s energy and he’s been an amazing recruiter for us. If he’s got the schematic acumen, I think he should be given more responsibility in terms of defensive preparation. At least with him in charge, I feel confident that our defense will play aggressively and with passion. Forget the “bend-not-break” scheme and institute a “break everyone” mentality. Great defenses should be feared on every play instead of playing in fear of giving up the big play.

    The offensive line was bad, but I think it’s a little too soon to jump on Marshall. It’s his first year, and the offensive line was very young (plus Tepper was over-rated…watch the U of Wash game for proof). If they’re playing like this in 2011, then off with his head as well.

    I love you Tedford. It’s time to make some moves. Get on it.

    Go Bears!

  • Will

    Uh Mack, SC pretty much has used BBDB for years. However, they usually have an NFL level front 7 and secondary to back them up. But yes, BBDB has to go.

    It’s not necessarily rushing 3 that bothers most of us. It’s the lack of aggressive play and going after the ball, rather than passively guarding your zone, that bothers us. It allows offenses to dictate the flow of the game.

    But same thing with the lack of progressive, aggressive game plan on offense that puts opponents on their heels. Remember the 2003 SC game? SC was on its heels and never knew what hit them initially. We don’t do that anymore. We just try to use our talent to win a war of attrition. We do have great talent but that’s not enough — you have to outscheme teams too. How about some uptempo ball. How about sitting Riley down for a series if he is in a funk like we saw in many games? How bout going 2 minute offense?

    Let’s stir the pot and do some things differently in 2010. No more predictable Cal. Let’s also close out a great recruiting class and look forward to a resurgent Cal football team.