Football: USC quotables


 On why he didn’t replace QB Kevin Riley in the second half:

“He gives us the best chance to win.”


On if he felt his team was well-prepared:

“I thought we had a good week. You have to give SC a lot of credit. They got after us pretty well.”



“We really couldn’t slow them down on offense. They pretty much went up and down the field. In both phases of the game, offense and defense, they beat us soundly in the first half.”


On whether Kevin Riley gives Cal the best chance to win the rest of the season:



On whether having a big deficit is a good time to play the backup quarterback:

“We needed to do what we needed to do to move the ball and put some points on the board. At that point, we needed to have our guys competing hard and put some points on the board.”


On if he wanted Riley and the first team offense to experience something positive:

“They don’t want to end at halftime like that. They wanted to get out there and keep fighting.”


On whether USC did anything defensively that surprised them:

“They did in the first half. They did some things that they hadn’t done that early in the game to get pressure on the quarterback.


On dropped passes:

“We had some chance to make some plays. We have to catch the football. He hits guys right in the hands where we could have made big plays and get us out of a hole. Somebody has to make a play somewhere.

“Everybody has to do their part. It’s very easy to point at the quarterback. People have to make plays where there is time to make plays.”


On USC’s offense:

“There’s no questions it’s the best offense we’ve played. They can do it all. They’re very, very talented on offense.”


On safety Chris Conte:

“Chris played very hard, there’s no question about it. He left it all on the field. Right now, he’s spent in the locker room. He gave it all he had and played very well.”


On how his team will respond:

“I have a lot of faith in this team. This is one game. Obviously, the first half was a first half that we’ve never dealt with like that. There’s character on this team. I believe the leadership will surface next week and we’ll get back to work and get ready for another opportunity next week.”



 On whether USC surprised them at all:

“They did a lot of the same things that we practiced. We didn’t make some adjustments on the field that we probably should have from an alignment standpoint. You have to give them credit. They did a nice job. Or guys didn’t make a whole lot of plays today.”


On if his players were shellshocked:

“I really didn’t sense that. We had some mistakes out there, obviously. But I felt like we were ready to play. I thought we had a good week. I felt like the guys were locked in. I felt like we just didn’t’ make any plays early to give us a lot of juice on defense. Then it just kind of snowballed from there.”




On falling behind by so much so quickly:

“They made a couple plays and we didn’t. They got the start that we wanted. They jumped us quick. We tried to get going from there. We had one drive going and that pick just ruined that drive and gave them opportunity to get more points on the board. We couldn’t really get going.”


On the offensive problems:

“They made some plays but I think a lot of what we did is on us. You have to credit them because they put us in the situation to make it on us. Fourteen points is not what we expected at all.”


On his interception right before halftime:

“I was thinking about throwing it in the dirt, which I should have. It was just a bad play from t he get-go. I needed to throw it in the ground.”


On if the players were shellshocked at the beginning:

“People felt fine. We got down 14-0 but we weren’t really worried because we’ve been in that situation before. It just kept on hitting us. They got the two touchdowns off turnovers that really put us in a hole that we could never climb out of.”


On what was said at halftime:

“Have some heart and pride. You’re down 42-0, you have to go out there and play. You can’t put your tail between your legs and go out there and do what you did in the first half. You have to show you have heart in you. We came out there and did play with some heart and competed.”


On whether he thought he might get replaced:

“No. I was throwing the ball pretty well besides those two interceptions. Those were bad plays that definitely hurt us. There were some balls in the first half that were playable. I was throwing the ball pretty well. Those were two bad plays that can’t happen.


On how the team will respond:

“I think we’ll be good. We just have to go out and practice. Everybody has to compete against each other. We just have to execute.”


On being 1-2 in the Pac-10:

“You look at some of the teams in the Pac-10, there are some teams that are 1-2 and they are good teams. There’s no talking it off. We have to be ready for another strong opponent.”




On his dropped pass that was reviewed by instant replay:

“I really don’t know what happened. I know I came down with it. Ninety-nine percent of the time I make that play. But they ruled it incomplete.”


On the effect it would have had if the dropped passes were caught:

“You never know. We’re not perfect. We’re going to drop some passes. We could have made plays on those, but we have to move on. You just have to move on to the next one.”


On how the team will respond:

“I think we will respond great. We always do. We always go back to square one and practice hard.”



 On USC wide receiver Robert Woods:

“He’s talented and fast. I did the best I could. Having a career high tackles in this game isn’t really the best thing. I would have rather had d-lineman or linebackers making most of those tackles. It’s not the best sign when I’m making most of the tackles because it means they’re getting into the secondary.”


On the problems with the defense:

“Really, it was our fault. All the big plays that we had were the defense’s fault. We just have to go back and look at the film and correct the mistakes. We know we’ll bounce back against Arizona State.”


On how the team will respond:

“I think we’re going to come back with a rough week of practice. We’ll work hard and bounce back.  I think our defense will have a great game against Arizona State.”

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.

  • Glad I went out and weeded after the first quarter.

    There have been many comments about Tedford’s coachig abilities and Riley’s play and dropped passes and blown defensive assignments. All good points I’m sure.

    But what hasn’t been said is what this game says about Tedford’s failure to grasp simple team chemistry.

    Anyone who has played the game (and I have been in on a lot of blowout losses) knows that 80% of the guys who dressed and are not starters think about one thing when they walk into the tunnel when you are behind 42-0–am I going to play in the second half, because hey, let’s be real, this is a loss. It’s a bit different with a blow-out lead, but the same question is still in your mind.

    And what is that “am I going to play now” question really? It’s an issue of respect for you as a player and appreciation for your contribution to the team even though you never get any public recognition.

    So what kind of a coach is it who would not, in the face of this unrecoverable scoring gap, put his second, third and lower line players in for some snaps against USC and in their home? It’s a guy who doesn’t understand what the concept of student-athlete really means; it’s a guy who doesn’t care about his players; it’s a guy who is delusional about what he is trying to preserve for this year while at the same time not caring about this year’s TEAM spirit and cohesion; it’s a guy who is telling all the other QBs in the line behind Riley that’s it not important to give ANY of them some playing time in on a big stage before a large crowd that hates Cal and is loving the beating; its the picture of a man with narrow vision and no true leadership skills.

    I have long thought that Tedford has brought quite a bit more to the program than most perople are willing to admit. I used to think Tedford was a guy of integrity (not the we don’t commit violations type, but the building character type). That’s gone now. The best excuse Tedford could invent is that he wanted to abate the bad taste for the 1st team. If that was so, give them that first touchdown and then pull them and let others play. He didn’t do that; instead it was more like he wanted to punish them by keeping them in. This man has no ability to inspire.

    So this is a rant. It comes from someone who has watched and contributed to Cal for many many years. Message to Sandy–I’m done on the money thing and we are taking a lot of digits here. I want Cal to win, and I want them to win or lose with class and respect for all that the players give. This game showed with absolute clarity that Tedford doesn’t care about the second point, and in the end its the second point that I’m guessing a pretty fair number of long time Cal fans really care about.

    JO I want you to use this message to call Teford out on this issue. I know if I was a member of the team I sure as hell would go to my position coach and ask him why I didn’t get into this game in the second half. People don’t follow you up the hill if you are dumping a load on them as you try to lead the way. If Tedford doesn’t know that by now that’s a shame. If he is running scared because he is afraid for his job that a shame too. But if he doesn’t understand team respect and recognition that’s just called being the wrong guy for the job.

  • uh oh.

    I agree with PeteBear to many degrees except I think it was a bit early in the season to have made the mental shift of packing it in. I mean, Tedford seriously had to be thinking, “really? are you guys really going to lay this much of an egg?”

    He’s still working with them (first stringers) on being all they can be, still fighting for a good position in the Pac10. I know I was thinking (no, dreaming) that if we won out, we’d be in place for a Rose Bowl. A big dream, but you have to play for what’s on the table, and THAT was the goal which was still on the table.

    Well, now that’s obviously out the window as AZ would need 3 Pac losses and Oregon, et al, is going to need 2.

    So, I’ll give him the 3rd quarter. Put your starters back out there and have them do SOMETHING decent. It’s a point of pride that needs to be followed thru upon. You even make the same point (1st touchdown).

    I had to leave, and didn’t get to watch the 4th qtr. If Tedford kept his starters out there the ENTIRE game then that IS silly.

  • BlueNGold

    I don’t know which is worse: watching a game so horribly played it was embarrassing and painful to watch, or reading the cliche and platitude laden comments made by the coaches and players about it in their post game interviews.

  • noduck

    the quotes clearly give the sense of a divided team. (remember what i said about last year’s team and how tedford divides players?) i’d like to read an interview from some second team players who don’t alternate as starters to get a feeling from the sidelines. what is it like during the game, during week preparations for a second teamer, etc..

  • CalBearEnthu

    Riley’s interception with 26 seconds left in the half deep in Cal territory defies explanation

  • CalBearEnthu

    The Kyle Boehm era cannot begin soon enough…I’ve seen all the Cal QBs, it’s the guy that’s still in high school who is, by far, the most talented QB.

  • BlakeStreetBear

    I agree with PeteBear completely. Tedford’s “logic” confounds. He won’t go for it on 4th and inches when there is still a slim chance to win but he will let his starters play until the end of a losing blowout, risking injuries to irreplaceable players (Vareen) while there is absolutely no chance to win!? I thought at halftime, as I walked to my car, well at least the backups will play, and we can rest the starters for the game next week, a game we can and should win, we’ll see…

    Tedford needs to step down, but he won’t. Ever since that fateful ankle break to Longshore in ’07 this team is 22-18, with multiple blowout loses in tough games that required a backbone and some real motivational coaching (Maryland, Nevada, USC, USC, Oregon, etc.) I hope we can win 2 more games this year, but then again, just like with Ben Braun, I was hoping for losses at the end just to end the suffering and the fact that not all the lucky breaks in the world would get the Bears a championship with Braun/Tedford at the helm. Tedford’s mojo is absolutely gone, let Tosh Lupoi or Ron Gould hold the reins, their recruiting genius seem to be the only reason Cal competes.

  • shaka

    Cal Nation rise up.The players deserve better. The assistant coaches deserve better. The students and alumni deserve better. Something is rotten in Denmark when profit-making programs like Rugby are taken apart in the name of budget balancing. It’s an institutional problem, one ingrained in the academic culture there where football is tolerated as a bourgeois money-making activity. When was the last time you saw someone like a Pete Carroll marching up and down the sidelines inspiring his team to glory. Why not break the box, hire someone like him or Pete himself after he tires of the NFL?

  • Jim

    After watching the Beavs and Dawgs, I have to count both of those games as probable losses.
    ASU – I don’t know but ASU wants a victory badly so we’ll see which team wants it more.
    WSU – probable but it’s in Pullman and I can’t give Cal an auto win.
    Oregon, gawd
    furd, it’s the Big Game but can the players play a big game?

    Yep, time for JT to step aside or step down. He’s clearly not worth the huge amount of money he’s getting. Recruiting is dismal and doesn’t appear like it’ll improve much. Hope we can hang onto the few big recruits we did get. Allen has to be considering transferring to a program with a chance to win, especially since he didn’t redshirt.

  • CalHipHopHead

    I have defended Tedford for a long time, but I have had enough. I think it is safe to say he has lost it. When I go back to thinking thinking about his first few years in Berkeley, what made him exciting was his risk taking and high flying, unpredictable offenses. Heck, he even turned Kyle Boller into a first round draft pick. But over the past several years ago, he has become very predictable and conservative. Although Cal may not have the most talent in the Pac-10, with the speed that they have consistently had, they should be doing things very differently on offense. I just think back to how radical his offenses looked at Oregon and his first couple of years at Berkeley to now, and it is pretty disheartening. If you look at the top 3 teams in the Pac-10 (Oregon, Arizona, Stanford), Oregon and Arizona run unconventional offenses, while only Stanford runs a more traditional offense, purely off the strength of a great qb. Even OSU, UCLA, and Washington run more intricate offenses. I know this failed once before, but I think we should be a spread team with all of that speed, and not a pro-style offense. Imagine Vereen, Sofeli, Jones, and Allen in a Spread. The pro-style offense will not work to win the Pac-10 anymore, unless your talent is far superior (see USC 2002-2008), somehting Cal does not have. But what do I know.

  • rollonubears

    i went back and looked at some games in the early JT berkeley era. there really isn’t much of a difference. he was still pretty conservative. we just remember it as being awesome because it was so much better than holmoe, and that’s still enough for some people. he was riding a wave of momentum (that he brought to us, in all fairness), but that topped out in 2004, with his refusal to play the games with the media at the time, and run up the score against opponents, etc. he knew we had to go to southern miss and beat them up to get to the rose bowl, and he brought a fairly un-inspired team down there, then laid an egg in the holiday bowl.

    after reflecting on this quite a bit, i still think we’ve got the same tedford we’ve always had. the indecisiveness about OC, and whether he’ll call plays, or share plays…that’s the only difference. he came here and called the shots, and we had success, but he was spending 20 hours a day at cal, and that was ridiculous. still, go back and watch how we did against good competition in 2002, 2003 and 2004. consider, too, that we had rodgers when we peaked. imagine if riley was an 80% passer. we’d be 5-1 right now, most likely.

    so, i think we have the same tedford. but, as many have posted, the game has changed since 2002, and tedford hasn’t. the talent we face keeps getting better, and we don’t. the pac10 is growing, literally and figuratively, and we’re still the same bears we were in 2002.

  • Larry

    “I was thinking about throwing it in the dirt, which I should have. It was just a bad play from t he get-go. I needed to throw it in the ground.”–K. Riley

    Is that why his middle name is ‘McDevitt”?

    (*It’s true, look it up)

  • Steve W


    I’m afraid I have to disagree with you on the “same old Tedford” angle. His early teams were never humiliated like this in losses, speaking to far better game preparation early in his career at Cal. Listen to what LA Times Columnist Bill Plaschke had to say about Cal after the game:

    “Can I pause here to say that Cal was the most unprepared visiting team I have seen in the Coliseum in years? Their sorry afternoon included dropped passes, blocking breakdowns, uncovered receivers, and an attitude that became clear when they literally walked off the Colisieum at halftime while trailing 42-0.”

    Tedford used to sleep in his office in a cot during those heady first few seasons. I doubt he is doing that now. I dare say he has gotten a little too comfy on the job….all you have to do is look at his growing waistline to figure that one out.

    The coach should have taken some of that $2.8 million salary and hired an extremely competent and driven second-in-command, much like Mac Brown has done with Bill Muschamp and Bobby Bowden did with Jimbo Fisher. Mike Belotti at Oregon recognized the job was too much to handle when he brought in Chip Kelly from Maine. The bottom line is that Tedford is overpaid and probably burned out with no clear line of succession. It’s not a good situation for Old Blues, and I agree with most of the posters that we will have to live with this unpleasant siuation for the next few seasons before anything is done about it.

  • Dan

    PapaBear- Post #1. Wow. Great insights that I have never read on here before. I agree with youwholeheartedly, nice to see you hit it between the eyes with a new thought.

    CalBearEnthu – the Kyle Boehm era? Seriously? I love your optimism, but does anyone have any confidence or faith that Tedford can develop any QB at this point? I don’t.

    Definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and hoping for a different result. That is Cal trying to win a road game or beat a good team or develop a QB. Plus, what is going on here defies any one player or one position.

    Also, part of Boehm’s game is running. He will never do it here, because Tedford despises a running QB. So you already lessened his tools before he ever sets foot on campus.

    I wanted to float my idea thrown out a couple of times in the past month. What about a couple of series of each half running the Pistol w/ Brock Mansion? Our D could never stop them in practice. This is a great example of what would be a breath of fresh air from Tedford, showing some creativity. But he is no sack, playing scared Tedford.

    No imagination, no innovation, no inspiration, no conference championship, no Rose Bowl- ever. Cal has as much chance of getting to the Rose Bowl as Ben Braun had of winning a national championship- heck, make that winning a conference championship.

  • Dan

    Larry- He would have thrown it into the ground if his middle name was spelled differently, like McDivot. Very funny.

  • Tightwad Phil

    What kind of messed up message did Tedford send to Sweeney, Mansion, Bridgford, and the other aspiring QBs when he said, “Riley gives us the best chance to win.”?

    Publicly expressing undying loyalty and support for a failure like Riley, and saying he’s the best we have is a real blow to the other qbs. He’s basically saying that they really suck. Like, worse than Ayoob.

    I, and thousands of other Cal fans lost the last shred of faith in Tedford on Saturday. It’s time, Sandy. Fire Tedford at the end of the season. We can do better than this.

    Look, I was out walking in North Berkeley last week, and I just happened to run into Albert Ghiorso, a NOBEL PRIZE WINNING PHYSICIST who helped discover 12 elements with his team at Berkeley. We are the best public school in the nation. We are known around the world for premier academic programs, famous alumni, etc. But then our high-profile football team goes down to SC and absolutely humiliates the school and kind of drags Berkeley’s name through the mud. That’s unacceptable. For a couple of years now, Tedford has held on to his job only because it hasn’t gotten quite bad enough to justify firing him, or maybe because bear backers and Barbour are still holding onto some loyalty and nostalgia about 2004. But I think it’s definitely time now. Like PeteBear and BlakeStreetBear said, Tedford’s mojo is gone. It’s done. It’s not gonna get better. Time to plan for the future Sandy. This mediocrity is unacceptable at a world-reknowned institution like Berkeley.

  • rollonubears

    i’d kind of like to see all the young qbs split time.

  • a Perko

    Ok, things are getting bad. There seem to be more humiliating blow-out losses every year. My concern is, what is the alternative? I don’t think any of you will deny that Tedford has done wonders for Cal football. It’s uncomparable to the Holmoe years. The problem is usually successful Cal coaches don’t stay around very long. Look at all the revolving door coaches before Holmoe. If they had any success at all, they would leave. Tedford has dedicated himself, for better or worse, to the Bears, and that means something. Further, there is one significant reason to hold on to him —Stanfurd. Tedford has the ‘furd number. You can’t deny his record playing them (seems to be the inverse of USC). To be honest, I don’t know what they should do, but I, for one, am scared things could get worse. And, you never know, things may actually get better for Tedford and the bears(unlikely, i know) if we hang onto him.

  • rollonubears

    There’s no denying he’s done wonders, but he’s not doing very well anymore, and he hasn’t for quite some time. We were lucky to win the big game last year, and we had a huge letdown after that. It’ll be a miracle if we win it this year, and our programs are moving in opposite directions. Stanfurd was abysmal during the early tedford years. The big game victories we’re great, but not that big of a deal, overall. There is more to the season than “winning the big game.” That’s a point of redemption for an awful season, sure, but the goal is to win the Pac10, and to be in to conversation about it every year. We didn’t lose all our starters on either side. There is arguably more talent on this team than last year’s, yet the results are no better. It’s one thing to have a couple rebuilding years. That’s not the case with these bears.

  • House o’ cards

    I wonder if Ben Braun isn’t a better analogy to use with Tedford’s performance: Inherited a mess, had early success, new facility, and years of consistently mediocre results.

  • Dan

    House O’ Cards- Ben Braun is the perfect analogy, so perfect it’s scary. It has mentioned here as far back as 3 seasons ago.

  • Californication

    I am beginning to think that Tedford is not meant to be a head coach. He should be an off coordinator and let somebody else wear the CEO’s hat. He has done a great job; he completely and solely turned the program around. For this, he should be allowed to stay as long as he wants. But, I look at Pete Carroll and now Chip Kelly–they are motivators. They have fun, they relate to kids in their teens. They sell their programs–they are on ESPN radio monthly, they are doing national interviews. During the Pac 10 coaches roadtrip to Bristol this summer, Tedford was invisible. Chip Kelly pursued every outlet that the ESPN mother ship provides. Tedford was calling plays during his early days at Cal and I think that his program’s success has forced him to be a CEO–and he does not know how to lead. Tedford’s reputation as a QB guro is totally gone now–Aaron Rodgers and Kyle’s senior year were the only good QB’s Cal has had in Tedfords’ era. Who was the last QB to actually improve during their tenure at CAL?