Football: Tuesday report

I talked to Giorgio Tavecchio today for a notebook running tomorrow. He said he’s received a lot of support from Cal fans during the last couple of days after missing a 29-yard field goal  Saturday that would have given Cal a lead over No. 1 Oregon in the fourth quarter. He’s also received some not-so-supportive reaction.


But one thing he wanted to make clear today is he assumes the entire responsibility for the miss, and the illegal motion penalty that came on his 24-yard attempt that was good immediately before. After the game, Tavecchio said long snapper Matt Rios couldn’t hear the cadence from holder Brock Mansion, so the snap came later than Tavecchio expected. That caused him to start his approach too early.

“It was my fault,” Tavecchio said. “I shouldn’t have anticiapted the snap. I should have gone like I was coached and just watched the fingers. That’s completely on me. Looking back at the press conference, I  mentioned the snap count. I want to make it clear that it’s on me. I shouldn’t have anticipated it.”

Tavecchio said he had 66 e-mails when he woke up Sunday morning, 63 of which were about the kick. He said about 80 percent were supportive.

“You have to face it. I didn’t execute,” he said. “It happens. I felt like I had to face it, take responsibility and move on. I heard what people had to say. I understand. For me, the most important thing is my teammates. That’s what hurts me the most because I felt like I let my teammates down. I can’t dwell on it too much. I thought about it on Sunday. I watched film. It’s done. It’s out of my mind. Now I’m focusing on the Big Game.”

Tavecchio said he replied to every supportive e-mail, but left the negative ones alone.

“I’ve had a lot of support. I’ve been incredibly appreciative about that,”  Tavecchio said. “There has obviously been some negativity, but you have to take it with a grain of salt. I have a great family that has been really supportive of me. The team has been incredibly supportive and I can’t thank the guys enough.”

After the game, Tavecchio said his heart was pounding after the penalty but he tried to keep his breathing under control. I followed up with him and asked him if he was rattled at all on the second attempt.

“Consciously, no. But maybe subconsciously,” he said. “You think about making a game-winning kick, not two game-winning kicks. I thought I made the first one and there was kind of an emotional release. But I don’t think I got rattled. It was still only a 29-yard field goal. I’ll take the lessons from it and learn from it.”

Tavecchio said he knew he had stepped  too early on the first attempt but wasn’t sure if the officials would call it.

“I high-fived Brock and then looked behind me and saw the flag,” Tavecchio said. “I knew I had stepped and I’ve heard games where they’ve called that and other games  where they haven’t called that. I didn’t know if they were going to call it or not.”

Tavecchio has now had one field goal attempt in each of the past two games and missed them both. He’s 3 for his last 6 and 9-for-14 on the season.

I asked Tedford today if he would open up the kicking competition this week but he said Tavecchio is still the starter.

“Giorgio is still the guy,” Tedford said. “It’s the life of a kicker. It happens everywhere. You see the NFL guys do the same thing. It’s important to keep his confidence  and get good work this week. When he gets in the same situation again, hopefully he learns from it and has more poise.”

A couple of other notes from today:

  • Tedford reiterated that he expects cornerbacks Darian Hagan and Marc Anthony to play Saturday, although Hagan was wearing a red jersey today and didn’t participate. I didn’t see Anthony’s attire.
  • Tedford on Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor: “He runs through tackles. That’s something that sticks out, a lot like Toby (Gerhart) did. Toby ran through a lot of tackles. You better bring your feet with you or he’s going to run through tackles. You have to put your body on him and gang tackle him or he’s going to step out.”

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.

  • Robert

    “Giorgio is still the guy.”

    Remember before the season how Tedford said that it would be all about competition? Guys would be fighting all the time for spots.

    The Bears have about 4 kickers on their roster. Is Tedford saying that NONE of the other guys is capable of making chip shot field goals? Why are they even on the roster?

    Same with quarterback. Mansion was 10 for 28.

    The Bears have about 4 other guys on the roster. None, freshmen included,can throw a complete pass?

    The coaching must SUCK if this is truly the case!!!!!!!

  • Sumbody

    Mr Tavecchio should take solace in the fact that the Ducks drove the length of the field in the 4th quarter and could have easily put a field goal up to tie or win the game. Chip Kelly showed some honor in that situation by having the O take a knee. Of course the flops by the Cal D Line during that game that were presumeably called by the coaching staff did NOT show any honor. This will make that point nicely: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEr6tHeuKnA

  • Bob49

    It’s so easy to second guess this, but I did write on this blog, right after the game (and before this article was written), that Tedford should have considered calling a time out after the motion penalty on his kicker, to calm him down.

    It is only natural to be upset/extra nervous/whatever after an event like that. I know you normally don’t want to “ice” your own kicker, but in this unique case it could easily have calmed the kicker down. A little encouragement from his coach may have made the difference necessary to make the second kick accurate.

  • heckyeah


    In hindsight this looks like an excellent idea, no sarcasm intended

  • milo

    You know, one missed kick…sure. Two missed kicks against a big opponent, that’s bad but this isn’t the end. The thing is, GT also choked against UA on a kick that would have probably put Cal in the W column.

    Cal needs to recruit new and better PKers.

  • LR

    It’s laughable how Tavecchio has become the focus for air-head Cal fans. Why not reem the ST coach for his crap job all year long (including the punt ret for a TD). That play alone can be blamed for the loss. And what about Vereen’s fumble?

    Of course the broader issues that have turned Cal into a possibly sub-500 team are all on JT. That is, no QB development for 5 years, garbage OL recruiting (and coaching, obviously) and high turnover at OC due to constant meddling and dithering from the head man.

    Oh, but it IS a lot easier to focus on a shank from a kid should’ve never had a chance to swing his leg at the D1 level in the first place.

  • covinared

    What Tedford should have done was run the ball to the middle on that 3 and 2 before the kick to give the kicker a better angle if the run was short.

  • Bear Territory


    Not a bad idea, except Cal only had one timeout left and there was over 9 minutes on the clock. I doubt anyone in the stadium thought Oregon would eat all the clock on a drive. So, I honestly don’t think the TO idea would have ever even been considered.

  • rollonubears

    there were two illegal blocks in the back on that punt return for a TD. neither was called. i don’t blame the ST coach at all. i agree. of all the times NOT to run up the middle, we pick that one. he’s already proven he can’t kick from the hash. it was said. i still don’t understand the call though. the holder is the QB. why can’t the kicker be “the man in motion in the backfield.” i’ve seen this happen a bunch, but this is the first time i’ve seen it called.

  • Juancho

    Much respect to this guy. Especially if he’s a walk on and isn’t on scholarship. To deal with the pressure of being on the football team and not getting your school paid for must be incredibly tough.

    Mansion has got to snap out of it. That’s what I’ll be looking for this Saturday. If we can get a good quarterback again we’ll be competitive. Allen and Vereen will look better. Our defense will look better, etc, etc. Hopefully Mansion is getting close to being smooth.

  • covinared

    rollun: motion can’t be forward and must last at least one second prior to the snap.

  • House

    Bear insider poster says JRoss out for the year with broken finger.

    Awful news if it turns out to be true.

  • H8sRed

    Covina – GT made the first field goal at 24 yards, which was a sharper angle than the 29 yarder (after the 5-yard motion penalty) he shanked.

  • robert lerma

    Three-plus hours of sheer anticipation, energy and emotion. What a game to see in person. We enjoyed the heck out of it. Beats anything on TV. I feel for the Bears. They played unlike any other team this year against that machine called the Oregon offense. Too bad the PK missed it. Too bad he missed the one at U of A. Imagine those two wins going into this week’s game against Stanford. This would be getting national attention. In a way, I think what is most difficult about the loss is not that the guy missed it, but that he, himself was the guy who jumped. In an abstract way, this play pretty much sums up our season of missed opportunities and unfortunate luck at the most inopportune time. Now we host Stanford. Beat them with extreme prejudice. Get us to a bowl game Tavecchio. Redeem yourself and move forward like we all have to when we hit a brick on the road..

  • rurata

    It sounds like the missed kick was also partly on the fans. If the long snapper couldn’t hear the cadence, it means the fans were making too much noise. It seems like a common problem for Cal fans, not knowing when to make noise, and when not to. Although, it also seemed like there were a lot of Oregon fans at the game (just judging from the cheers and boos), so maybe it was them making all the noise.

  • rurata

    Well, the penalty, and indirectly the missed kick.
    It is very big of Giorgio to assume all the blame, however, and I hope he has the chance to redeem himself against the Furd.

  • JohnnyCalifornia

    @Rurata Yes, it was the Oregon fans. There was a a lot of them and they were mainly at that end of the field. The visitor section is there and single game tickets are there.

    @Sumbody. It wasn’t honor as much as respect for Cal. Blocked field goals do happen. Chip was just trying to secure victory in the least risky way.

  • Calduke

    I was at the game. I would guess the breakdown
    was 2/3 – Cal fans, 1/3 – Oregon. Oregon fans jumped in and got the single tickets. I guess cal fans didn’t have much interest in the game.

    Pretty sad when the noise level on your home field is loud enough to distract the offense

  • Steve W

    Unfortunately, kickers can decide the fate of a season. In 1991, one of the best Cal teams of the modern era won two games against Arizona and UCLA in the waning seconds on the foot of Doug Brien, who would go on to a successful career in the NFL.

    If he missed those kicks, as Giorgio did 19 years later, no one would have called that a special season. Had Giorgio made his kicks this year, we might be talking about one of the most anticipated Big Games of all time.