Jeff Tedford admitted today that his “24-hour rule” is more like a 48-hour rule when the Bears lose.
Tedford says his players are allowed 24 hours to enjoy a win and 24 hours to think about a loss. After that, it’s time to move on. But the last two weeks — the heartbreaking loss to Oregon and the crushing defeat in the Big Game — probably required some extra time to recover.
“It’s usually a little longer than 24 hours,” Tedford said. “By tomorrow, we’ll be fine.”
The Bears can’t afford to mourn Saturday’s loss too long. They face a must-win situation this weekend against Washington in their regular-season finale. At 5-6, Cal is either going to qualify for a bowl game or see it season abruptly come to an end.
On one hand, the Bears can clearly use bowl-eligiblity as motivation. On the other hand, they have to make sure the pressure of the must-win scenario doesn’t hinder their ability to play loose against the Huskies.
“This is what this week’s about,” Tedford said. “All the lifting, running and everything we’ve done since last January comes down to this week. It’s all about preparation. It all comes down to how you prepare and how you practice. If you prepare well and you practice well, then there’s nothing to be nervous about. You go out and you play, and you play your best.
“We have one Monday, on Tuesday, one Wednesday, one Thursday and one Friday for one opportunity. That’s what it’s about.”
Tedford talked with reporters at length this morning on a variety of subjects, including his memories of Memorial Stadium. I’ll have more on it later in the week, but he told one interesting story about the FieldTurf being installed at the stadium, that the deadline to raise the money for the turf almost came and passed and the project was saved at the last minute.
Tedford was also asked about quarterback Brock Mansion, whether he considered replacing him with Beau Sweeney after Mansion was plagued with mistakes on Saturday.
“Brock has to play through some things,” Tedford said. “Hopefully, you learn from those experiences and the next game he makes better decisions. Just setting his feet is the key. He was off balance on both (interceptions). He made the Cardinal sin. A quarterback doesn’t throw across his body. As wide open as a g uy looks, the angles are what gets you.”
Tedford said he makes his quarterback decisions based on what he sees in practice, and Mansion has definitively been outplaying Sweeney in practice. He said Sweeney has “struggled” in practice and Mansion has not.
“Brock right now is clearly our best quarterback and gives us the best chance to win. He’s going to be the guy.”
Tedford said Mansion has done some good things at times but just hasn’t been able to string it together consistently.
“I really believe that’s youth and that’s experience. He’s competing hard. I think he continues to improve. Every time something goes wrong, you can’t just yank him out and put somebody else in. You have to paly through some things.”
While talking about the advantage a bowl game brings in terms of extra practice time, Tedford said it will be a chance to take a look at the younger quarterbacks on the roster. Tedford said redshirt freshman Allan Bridgford and true freshman Austin Hinder will both be in the mix come next spring.
“Obviously, as we move forward, without having a senior quarterback, the quarterback position is going to be key to be evaluated,” Tedford said. “So it’s beneficial to have a couple extra weeks of practice.”
Tedford said Hinder played well during a scrimmage the team had for younger players during the bye week at the end of September.
“He did some nice things,” he said. “He showed some athleticism. You can tell he throws the ball well. His maturation is going to come from understanding the offense and being able to play with confidence and cut it loose.”
Tedford also said Bridgford has been throwing the ball well in practice.
- Wide receiver Jeremy Ross is definitely out this week because of the broken index finger on his left hand. Ross said he should be back in time for a bowl game if the Bears qualify. Tedford called Ross “maybe the most improved guy on the team.”
- Corners Marc Anthony and Darian Hagan, who each missed the Big Game, each practiced today. Monday’s practices are simple conditioning practices with no contact. Both Hagan and Anthony practiced last Thursday but didn’t end up playing.
- Cal has a handful of special events planned for the final home game in the current configuration of Memorial Stadium.
- Defensive end Cameron Jordan is on the final watch list for the Ted Hendricks Award.