There were no solemn hymns playing, no announcements of dramatic changes, no grim reaper lingering nearby. The Bears returned to practice this morning and simply said they have to move on from Saturday’s disaster in Los Angeles.
“It’s one game. You look around football, things happen,” Tedford said. “Who would have thought Florida would lose three straight? It’s one game on our schedule and it’s very important that we learn from it and we prepare and we focus and get ready for this week.”
The reality is there is only so much the Bears can do after a loss like that. There is a growing faction of fans who would like to see Cal make a change at quarterback. But Saturday’s loss was about so much more than the quarterback that it probably wouldn’t make too much of an impact.
The question really is why did Saturday’s beatdown occur? Yes, USC still has talent, but based on the Trojans’ previous results so far this season, it’s clear they are not the team they once were. Even with a couple of leaner recruiting years, it’s hard to believe USC is that much more talented and athletic than Cal.
Were the Bears properly prepared? Properly motivated? Outschemed? Outcoached? These are valid questions.
One thing that is usually consistent is you don’t typically see a whole lot of demonstrative emotion on the Cal sideline, good or bad. That’s obviously a reflection of Tedford, who would prefer to keep his animated moments behind closed doors.
Some feel that the lack of emotion on the sideline hurts the Bears, that if they would get a little more upset when things go bad they may turn things around. It can’t all be about schematics and correcting assignment mistakes, etc. Then again, that can make a difference as well.
“Of course, there is emotion that goes along with it,” Tedford said. “But is it going to do any good for me to yell and scream and put guys down? When it’s needed, it’s there. There is definitely a time for emotion. You’re not happy when you’re losing.”
Tedford resisted the notion that the lack of animation on the sideline is an indication that it’s OK to be on the receiving end of such a beatdown.
“It’s not OK. If you want me to sit here and cuss and scream and things like that to give you the idea that it’s not OK, it’s not. Nobody thinks it is. Nobody feels like it is. But I’m not going to put on a show out here and yell at people. The things we talk about as a team inside, there’s emotion involved with it.
“It’s not OK. Arizona, it wasn’t OK to lose by a point, either. They know it’s not OK. We all know it’s not OK.”
Tedford said immediately after the game that he expects his on-field leaders to surface to make sure the team responds. But he said it takes a couple of days for that to happen because the loss is still so fresh right afterward.
“It’s an open wound,” he said. “It takes a day or two to sort of let it sink in. I think you need to process it and not act like it didnt’ happen. But it can’t be all-encompassing. We need to deal with it, which we did this morning. Now, we move forward. We’re 3-3 and every game is a new opportunity. That’s how we’re going to approach it.
“I do believe as the week moves on that with our leadership and work ethic, we’ll have a good week of practice.”
When asked if a game like Saturday’s might prompt some lineup changes, Tedford allowed that “some guys may get more playing time based off of performance. But he went on to say “you’re always looking to evaluate that to make sure you put the best guys on the field.” So it sounded more like a generic response more than one reacting to the USC game.
Back to the on-field leadership, linebacker Mike Mohamed is one of the guys who should be the most respected leader, of not the absolute most, on the team. Problem is Mohamed is a quiet guy. He’s admitted as such. He said repeatedly during the preseason that he had to become more vocal, but knew it would be a hard task for him.
Well, if the Bears ever need on-field leadership, it’s now.
“I’m just going to try to be as positive as I can and encourage the guys and focus on this next game,” Mohamed said today. “I”m going to have to step up, whether it’s just a couple of words at meetings or practice. I just think I have to keep encouraging and staying positive and guys will respond to that. I still have my head up. I’m still optimistic. I think that will translate to some of the other players.”
Mohamed also address this notion that the team might benefit from more displays of anger.
“As long as you get (ticked) off in the right way,” he said. “You don’t want to get mad at each other, but you want to get mad at what happened and take it out on the next opponent. You don’t want to get guys turning on each other.”