Football: Tedford cut bait with Martin

Linebacker Chris Martin may have had distractions in the Bay Area, but it is also clear that Cal coach Jeff Tedford wasn’t happy with the incoming freshman’s focus on the team.

Tedford said Martin had distractions here, that the Oakland native was interested in hanging out with his old group of friends, etc. Whether it was because of those distractions or not, Tedford didn’t like what he saw from the highly regarded linebacker so far.

“There wasn’t a lot of dedication to football and school and things likeĀ  that, things that everybody else had,” Tedford said. “I wanted to make sure he can go where he wants to go to be happy, but the rest of our guys want to be here and be completely focused on what they are doing.”

Tedford said he didn’t think this would be a concern when Martin committed to Cal, but it was obvious when he arrived for the summer that there could be a problem.

“He didn’t want to be here. There were a lot of distractions going on with him,” Tedford said. “I wasn’t interestedĀ  in distractions. It’s one thing for a guy to be homesick. That’s different than saying, ‘I don’t want to be here. Certain things around me are bringing me down.’ It was evident he didn’t want to be here. He wanted to do other things.”

Martin and Cecil Whiteside, who will grayshirt this season, were two of Cal’s incoming freshmen who could have made a push for significant playing time right away. But Tedford deflected any negative impact their loss might have on the defense.

“We wanted to see how they were going to fit into the mix,” he said. “They weren’t penciled in as starters anywhere, that’s for sure. They were coming with the idea that they would compete.”

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.

  • Larry

    It sounds like he’ll fit right in at Florida.

  • rollonubears

    indeed. tedford really seems to be turning over a new leaf this year. great story in the chron about how he’s realized he needs to lighten up and have fun. whatever he did in his first year worked wonders. i hope he brings that same excitement this year.

  • GldnBear71
  • rollonubears

    gldnbear, seriously? lowell cohn? did you even read the whole article? this guy went to one media day and starts spouting off what he thinks he knows about the bears? he tried to make a whole story out of one comment taken out of context. and taken out of context because he hasn’t followed tedford long enough to understand him. tedford said just last week that their only goal is the rose bowl. this guy is a clown. and a lazy clown at that.

  • Bears

    Cohn is a clown sensationalist. If anyone reads him and takes what he says seriously bad move. Never read the guy because he’s so out there and don’t care about gossip style sports writing.
    These lazy columnists sense blood in the water. When they do they attack because it’s the only way they think they can stay relevant.
    If they don’t follow college sports closely enough to write about them they should stick to what they do know.
    All that said Tedford and the Cal program are bulls eyes right now. Media is all over them because they think Cal is a pretender and are not talented. The program needs to step up and prove what they are made of.

  • Dan

    Re: Martin- Better if you catch (a) cancer early. Good on Tedford, though it sounds like Martin made it a no brainer. Good riddance to Martin.

    Re: Lowell Cohn- Also, I disagree with your comments in general. He’s been in this market forever, has a lot of contacts, is extremely well respected. He might be sensationalistic, but he’s a columnist- they tend to be that by design. Glenn Dickey is similar. I appreciate that guys like that have an opinion and are willing to state that.

    Furthermore, I agree with what he is saying in that column. I think he is spot on. Monte Poole’s column today wasn’t far off from Cohn’s. He is a clown too?

    Sandy Barbour says all the Cal teams have a goal to not only win Conference championships, but National championships. Does Tedford get a different criteria? Plus, he is coming off as a bit paranoid and boorish- again.

    Final thing- to criticize Cohn as not going to Cal all the time (going to one media day) is off base. You don’t know that. Besides, with the no essentially no access that Tedford gives the media, who has really good access.

    You might mot like Lowell Cohn, but that doesn’t mean what he wrote is wrong.

  • H8sRed

    IMHO, Cohn is a has-been sports columnist put out to pasture (almost literally in Santa Rosa). He’s trying to make himself relevant in Bay Area sports again by stirring the pot.

  • BlueNGold

    Here is a link to Monte Poole’s column about Tedford this morning. I suppose one can find fault with Poole’s opinions too, since he does not cover Cal football on a regular basis. But what he has to say does make sense, and I give his opinions a lot more weight than those of Lowell Cohn:


  • rollonubears

    the only similarity i see between the two articles is that both suggest if tedford flops again, he might be out. that’s all though, and that’s not really insightful. we’ve all been talking about that for a year or two. and i agree with that. the difference with poole’s column is that it’s packed with hard data, research, and actual reporting. it ties it all together nicely. cohn, in my opinion, just anchored on one comment tedford made. does he have anything to prove? and tedford said “no, i don’t look at it that way.” dwelling on this article is as ridiculous as cohn dwelling on the comment itself, so i’ll stop there.

    i was mad as hell at tedford last year. he was stubborn and refused to address glaring issues with his management style. that appears to have changed. we’ll see if it does, and what the results are, but i’m excited. and i think we do well when expectations aren’t so high.

  • Meep.

    “No, I don’t look at it that way” is not “No.” Clearly a misunderstanding or Cohn’s attempt to spin what Tedford said in order to push along his sensationalist blog post, because that’s what it is. Tedford’s whole point was that instead of going out to prove something, they’re focusing on all the little things. Forget the Rose Bowl, forget the National Championship. The team’s going to learn to focus on one game at a time, and at the end of the season, they’ll see that it’s paid off. That’s what I got from my prior knowledge of Tedford and the quotes that were taken completely out of context. In which case I have high hopes for Cal.

  • Dan

    We were all sitting here last year and the year before discussing Tedford’s comments that he realized he needed to make changes in the face of a previously disappointing season. He said he was going to make changes – maybe he did- but the results have been the same.

    So here is again saying that he is going to need to make changes and many here seem to act like finally he is realizing he needs to change things. Me? I will believe it when I see it happening on the field in games over the course of the entire season. When I see Cal playing up to their abilities and Tedford and his staff playing to win, not playing not to lose, then I will become a believer- and inspired again. I am skeptical.

    Either he really makes some changes this year or it will more of the same under-achieving and disappointment. In my opinion, he might be onto something – finally- when he talks about being too serious and stressed during the season- duh. True, but duh. It is so obvious to anybody that follows the program closely. Coach Stress rubs off on the entire program. And not in a good way.

    He has brought in a new D coordinator that is saying the right things, they they are going to go after the QB. Again, duh. But if it actually happens this season, then that is great. That will be progress.

    He has brought in what is seemingly a more sophisticated special teams coach. ST coaching and play couldn’t have been much worse the past few years. So the special teams coaching and play needed a complete overhaul. Again, duh. But it looks like he is trying- finally. But again, if it happens, it will be progress.

    Finally, the offense. Will Tedford go back to his aggressive, unpredictable style of the first 3-4 years of his tenure? Does he finally get that his offense has been brutally conservative, predictable and unimaginative for the past 4 years? This speaks the loudest to his ability to finally, really look himself in the mirror and finally change who in him has cost the program the past few years.

    He has talked a good game for several off seasons, but I have not seen any change. It is pretty bad when Cal is dominated by less talented Utah and UW teams- Cal was badly outcoached, outplayed, out-“hearted” in those games and also against comparable teams like SC, Oregon and OSU. That falls squarely on the very highly paid Tedford’s shoulders. He dedervedly got tons of glory, accolades and money for what he did at Cal early in his tenure. The buck should stop at him for the shortcomings and disappointments the past few yeras.

    Tedford runs this program so well and in a clean and classy manner in so many ways. But the on field part has been lacking the past few years, performing well below the talent and expectations. He appears to have taken steps with the D and ST units- that’s good.

    If he has really changed and really found the truth in where he has fallen short, he will take the same progressive, evolved approach with the offense. If he does, this could be the first season in years that exceeds expectations- not just this season’s lowered expectations, but what a Tedford program and team should be year in, year out. I can’t wait to see it unfold.

  • New Wolf

    Yea, Martin will fit right in at Florida. Where they compete for National Championships on a yearly basis, not have a stated goal and cultural mindset to some day “play in a Rose Bowl”. Martin is ultra-competitive and probably realized early on that this was not a good fit.

  • Tom S

    This OK if you have 28 recruits. When you only have 20 you need to nurture the talent. We can’t afford to lose blue chippers.
    Who is in charge of retention?