Jeff Tedford had a pretty long session with reporters today. As it usually is on a Monday, much of the discussion focused on Saturday’s game.
One of the first topics addressed was the lack of passing game against UCLA. After reviewing the tape, Tedford said his opinion of what happened didn’t change.
“We didn’t throw it very much,” he said. “We ran the ball very effectively. Some things were covered. When things are covered, make good decisions. We’ll be fine with it. We just didn’t throw it that much.”
Tedford said offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Andy Ludwig spoke with quarterback Kevin Riley to talk about his footwork. After the game, Riley said his footwork wasn’t where it needed to be.
“A lot of things start with your feet,” Tedford said. “If your feet are out of whack, that can sometimes make you a little high with the ball. The good thing is we’re not making poor decisions turning the football over.”
- Nose tackle Kendrick Payne didn’t play Saturday. Tedford said Payne had a sore shoulder last week and the team wanted him to rest it to get it back to full strength.
- Free safety Sean Cattouse saw his most playing time this season, replacing Josh Hill and playing most of the second half. Tedford said both players are playing well and both will continue to play.
- The Bears did a lot of rotating along the defensive line. Even little-used Mike Costanzo saw some significant reps against UCLA. “It’s just to keep people fresh,” Tedford said. “We’ve been doing a pretty good job of wholesale substitutions so we’re keeping guys fresh so they can play fast all the time. It’s nice to get quality minutes from certain guys so we can continue to do that. Depth is a good thing to keep people fresh, even if it’s for two plays at a time. It just helps get those other guys a blow. The key is playing fast.”
- Despite the fact that USC’s defense is clearly not what it once was, Tedford said the Trojans have the most talented group of players the Bears have faced yet this season. “The defensive line is great, the linebackers are fast and athletic. There are no chinks in their armor. They have talent everywhere.”
When asked why the Trojans rank just 100th nationally in total defense so far, Tedford said: “Good question. … They look the same to me. They fly around and they’re physical and they’re very athletic.”
- Tedford said Jeremy Ross will continue to be the Bears primary punt returner. Ross fumbled two punts Saturday, one of which was recovered by UCLA. “We just have to make sure that we continue to practice with focus,” Tedford said. “We have faith in Jeremy that he’ll do the right thing. We worked on decision-making today.”