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Football: Monday report

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.”

Other notes:

  •  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.”

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.

  • abe

    “Riley said his footwork wasn’t where it needed to be”…he is a 5th year senior, who has been under the tutelage of a proven QB coach and he is still saying things like that? takes sack after sack instead of throwing the ball, cant see open people…geez where does this guy come from? i don’t know about you all but i am ready for the post riley era, in fact i am desperately waiting for it.

  • uh oh.

    What caught my attn was this line:

    “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.”

    I said to myself: :well, I guess this means we are about to see a bunch of turnovers as Riley sinks mentally from the disappointment and pressure.”

  • SteveNtexas

    Abe – exactly what I was thinking. When is he planning to be ready? For the NFL Draft?lol That would be like Sarah Palin saying she will learn where the major countries are on a map in time to be President.

  • Jim

    After all the time and energy trying to train an Elite-11 QB how to get his feet straight, perhaps it’s now time to grade his performance accurately and make decisions on the results.
    Riley consistently turns in a C performance, occasionally getting a B against a weak opponent but even falling to the D or even F level against better teams.
    Tedford keeps stressing how the team should be put in a position to be successful, but as with Ayoob and Longshore, Tedford’s inability to make an obvious change negates his “success” words.
    With Rodgers, Tedford turned the job over to a superior performer but the guy Aaron replaced was very adequate.
    Riley has proven, through his non-performance, that he no longer deserves the job. The other high-star rated QBs deserve the opportunity to compete.

  • http://leaderofthepac.wordpress.com/ LeaderofthePac.wordpress.com

    Riley will need to play better if the Bears are going to win this weekend. The weakness of USC’s defense is in the secondary and the two losses came from teams with some of the better quarterbacks in the conference.

    Good luck Saturday.

  • Calduke

    USC is favored by 3
    Over/Under is 53
    That is a predicted score of 28-25, U$C

  • rollonubears

    trying to take something positive out of this, i really like that we’re subbing guys in like crazy on defense and getting pretty consistent results out of all the different looks. it’s a great strategy, and it only works if you’ve got depth, but you don’t have to be quite as good at any position, if you’re always fresh at all the positions. this is great for teambuilding, as it gets more guys involved. it’s great for depth, both this year and next year, and it’s a sign that we already HAVE depth, too. just all around good stuff. i wish we could do that at QB.

  • GldnBear71

    I remain skeptical that JT can coach Riley out of his problems. Hopefully he won’t do anything to lose us a game.

  • Bears

    Sc is a very talented and dangerous team. Our Bears will have to be on top of their game to have a shot.
    One thing I know about Kevin Riley is that he will be ready to go Saturday. This is a tremendous opportunity for him.
    I think he surprises everyone with a very good game.
    Also look for big games from Ross and Tavecchio.
    Can’t wait for Saturday!

  • rollonubears

    that would certainly surprise everyone.

    go bears

  • rookie

    Tedford always seems to find a whipping boy. I wonder who it will be when Riley is gone…

  • CoBears

    Rollonubears–THAT was funny.

    GldnBear71–um, he already has lost us several games as a starter, but, like you, I hope he doesn’t do anything to lose us any more.

    I actually have faith that we can pull this out. The team, especially the defense, has to feel really good going into this game, something we definitely did NOT have when we faced them last year. Last year, as soon as we gave up points, the team was deflated and you could sense we would lose the game, as it came right after the Oregon debacle. This year, we have an inspiring performance in Arizona followed by an annihilation of UCLA to lead in to this game, and our team seems to be building off the positive energy instead of sensing demise. Looking forward to a good game.

    Go Bears! Beat the $C toejams!

  • rollonubears

    i’m not sure how much this plays into it, but when was the last time we came back to win a game? not like a lead change, but a good second-half comeback where we erase a deficit of 10 or more and go on on to win? the air force vegas bowl? i can’t remember any. riley almost did it against oregon state in 2007. he almost did it against nevada this year. but both times, he failed big time. this team seems to do great when we jump out to a big lead. we tend to blow it when we cling to a small lead, and we don’t seem to be able to come back from any deficit at all. we need a few games like that to really boost the confidence, and the qb needs to be at the forefront. i really think that’s why riley’s confidence isn’t where it could be. maybe i’m wrong. the good teams overcome adversity. we seem to either avoid it entirely, which is great, or create it for ourselves (like every time we play arizona or an LA school on the road).

  • CoBears

    @Rollonubears:

    Arizona State last year was a good comeback victory and paved the way for a better season than it looked like we would have prior to the final drive and the winning FG.

    We had several tight games toward the end last year, too, and performed well when we were in the game (not @UW, where I froze my arse off only to see our team go into hibernation, not to be awoken before spring ball).

  • mike13050

    If the supposition is JT is a QB guru and a great evaluator of talent, then how bad must Beau, Brock et al be? Five years and it is just a matter of footwork? Even JT can’t believe that? Oh, it’s footwork but it is so much more than that. JT knows it, the opponents know it and even an aging, eternal Bleed-the-Blue optimist knows it. But here’s the reality, while I am forever thankful for JT pulling the Bears from the abyss of Holmoeland, it should be the norm not the exception that Cal is consistently competitive. Also, which exceptional QB has JT recruited and coached to prominence during his tenure? And if the current backups aren’t up to the task of replacing Riley, the future looks like a Las Vegas-Alamo-Holiday Bowl bonanza!

  • too optimistic

    @rollonubears

    Also against ‘Furd last year… Went down a quick two touchdowns, but then proceeded to take control of the game and win it.

  • GooooooooooBEARS

    I wonder how Sweeney, or Mansions footwork is coming along ? Have these substitutes been properly prepared to step-in for Riley ? How much more QB futility will Tedford tolerate before he makes a move ? Can’t these guys hand-off the ball just as effectively as Riley ?

  • Shaka

    I wish Coach would quit gushing over opposing teams week in and week out. Watch the comments before we play Oregon. Healthy respect is good, but a motivated team wins the day.

  • grinandbearit

    Great teams overcome adversity or avoid it altogether. While it’s definitely a plus for us to be able to come back from large deficits and win tight games, a win is a win, and within any given game, there is typically an ebb and flow of momentum.

    Personally, I think it’s more important to see how many games we won against comparable or better teams (not always clear-cut who’s better, but still) and whether we held serve against lesser teams. Last year, we beat Arizona and Stanford, and most people would say that they were at least comparable. Those were huge wins, but then, we had several BAD losses.

    Our special teams and defense seem to be improved, so I feel that this year will definitely go as far as Riley will take us. Unfortunately, he’s just not very good, and we have the rough part of our schedule coming up.

    Riley just isn’t accurate enough, which might be why he holds on to the ball so long because he isn’t very good at fitting the ball into tighter spaces. Just a thought, but what do I know? I’m just a spectator.

    Anyway, Go Bears!

  • Tom S

    Riley has regressed qand is apparently uncoachable. Give Sweeny a shot.
    Ross also must be replaced Sofeli would be a better choice at punt returner.

  • Rick

    Despite Riley’s failures, the scary thing to me is that neither Mansion nor Sweeney made much of a run at the starting job this year. If Riley is clearly performing as the No. 1 guy in practice, that doesn’t bode real well for the post-Riley era.

  • Sean

    rollonubears. You made the same observation I did regarding never coming back or winning close games. The thesis bugged me so much that I actually did some research. What I found was that there have been 36 games during the JT era where there was a one posession lead heading into the 4th quarter (Cal or opponent). Of those games Cal has a mere ~50% winning record. While there are a number of things that contribute to the losses, I mostly look at the coach. He seems to tighten up and coach way too conservatively in close games. I think the coach has lost as many games as the various QBs.

    We all have to accept the fact that the QB is a C+ or B- QB on a good day. However, Cal has so much talent around him that if he can limit big mistakes they can still win. The defense this year is the difference. They should have gotten rid of Gregory like 3 years ago.

  • Oldcalfan

    Cal had a very nice win over UCLA (pleasant surprise).
    But I have 2 questions.

    1. If Cal has a highly ranked defense, how did they get destroyed by Nevada?

    2. A good QB shredded Arizon’s defense (OSU’s Katz). How can we expect Cal to compete without a balanced attack?

    USC will stack the line to stop the run, so Riley will have to have possibly the best game of his inconsistent career.

  • Michael Balaban

    Can someone explain to me why Riley played in the 4th Quarter of the UCLA game?
    It seems that it was ridiculous to expose him to injury, and at the same time it would have been nice to give another QB a chance to get some “game experience” and show whY he could do to move the team.

  • Bear gone fishin

    Post Riley Era will be over soon enough so you all can stop squacking and start belly aching about the Zach Maynard era!! Gosh the Holmoe Era was bad enough lets not live there with our voices. Yes JT’s has had enough time to get the Bears to an elite status however I believe he needs to clean his offensive house and hire a new agressive OC and WR’s Coach. We have the talent however some of the coaches are not tapping into it with quality coaching!!

  • GooooooooooBEARS

    Michael Balaban Says:
    October 13th, 2010 at 12:57 am Can someone explain to me why Riley played in the 4th Quarter of the UCLA game?

    Answer: Riley had played sooooo poorly, that he needed the extra reps … the added gametime experience. Unfortunately, the added reps were WASTED. I guess Riley’s footwork didn’t improve in the 4th quarter. You’re right … time to get the back-up QB’s into the game … Riley just ISNT equal to his teammates.