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Football: Washington quotables

By Jonathan Okanes
Sunday, November 28th, 2010 at 11:24 pm in Football, Last game tidbits.

Here’s a partial transcription of what was said after Saturday’s game.

Now, here’s more:

COACH JEFF TEDFORD

On the quarterback position:

“The slate will be completely clean. It’s going to be competitive with all those guys. That’s obviously a focal point, no doubt about it. Your offense revolves around your quarterback and so we have a lot of work to do there. Brock has gained some experience obviously with the games that he’s played in, but it will be an open competition at the quarterback position from now until I assume fall.”

On what the program will do with the time it usually spends preparing for a bowl game:

“We’ll recruit, that’s first. We’ll start evaluating as soon as  possible. I really don’t know. It’s been a long time. I can’t remember the last year I haven’t been a part of a bowl game. I’m not going to be happy about it, I can tell you that. I’m not going to be in a very good mood for the next months. But we need to get back to work right away. It’s not vacation time. It’s work time, and that’s how we’re going to proceed.”

On the suspension of defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi:

“I respect him a great deal. In the heat of the battle, he used poor judgment. That’s no reflection on his character, whatsoever. People make mistakes. I was told to look into it. I did. I appreciate the character of Tosh to be up front. This is no slap on Tosh’s character whatsoever. He’s a great football coach. A mistake was made and I’m sure we will learn from it as a whole. I take responsibility as being the head coach to be in this with him. We will make sure we stand for the right things and move forward.”

On why Lupoi was suspended:

“I have a lot of confidence in who we are and how people do business on a day to day basis. It’s a reminder to everybody what our mission is here. It’s obviously winning games but we’re educators and it’s important that we do the right thing. The university and the conference stepped up and looked into this and it was our obligation to make sure we were honest about things and forthcoming and we’ll move forward from it.”

 

DEFENSIVE  END CAMERON JORDAN

On what’s changed in recent years:

“I think we’ve  always had great talent. The Pac-10 is just that difficult. You never know what you’re going to get. Every team can beat you. That’s what’s so great about this conference. This year, we just had a rougher time.”

On his reaction after the final play:

“I sort of went numb for a second. I looked at the clock and realized there was no time left, no time for our offense for one more throw. I went numb and realized that was the end of my Cal career.”

 

SAFETY SEAN CATTOUSE

On what needs to be done in the offseason:

“I’m always the type of player that thinks we should take things upon ourselves. Coaches can only do so much. My biggest thing will be just trying to have a contagious work ethic from top to bottom, just a true commitment to everything we stand for. Just be a fiery, vocal leader — lead by example. Everything I do on and off the field, I just want to be a complete leader, a complete football player for this team.”

On his reaction to the final play:

“I ended up on the ground. I kind of just sat and watched Washington run on the field. I was speechless, pretty much.”

 

RUNNING BACK SHANE VEREEN

On what went wrong this season:

“It’s hard to pinpoint anything specifically. We have the talent. We have the team. We just didn’t execute at times. Things didn’t go our way at times.”

On his reaction after the final play:

“Walking off the field, it was just a great sense of disappointment and missed opportunity.”

On what he was feeling after the game:

“It’s tough. A lot is going through my mind right now. We really wanted to come out today and win for the seniors and get to a bowl game. It’s tough right now, but we’ll come together. We’re a family and we’ll stay a family. We’ll bounce back from here.”

 

LINEBACKER MIKE MOHAMED

On what he was feeling after the game:

“I’m really disappointed. I’m not ready to put away my pads. I definitely thought we were going to walk away with the win and get to play another day. That’s just the way it goes.”

On whether changes need to be made in the program:

“I’m not sure anything really needs to change. We’ve had great teams over the years. We just couldn’t finish. I don’t know what the answer is. We have plenty of talent, plenty of good players out there. We just have to find a way to get it done. Hopefully, starting next year, they can start to turn that around. It’s unfortunate being my senior year we have a losing season. It’s pretty hard to describe how much that hurts. Hopefully they turn it around next year.”

 

QUARTERBACK BROCK MANSION

On whether  he was frustrated the game plan didn’t call for him to do much:

“I wasn’t frustrated at all because we have a great running game. Whenever you have a chance to give (Shane Vereen) the ball, there’s potential for great things to happen. I knew the game plan and I liked the game plan.”

On what he will in the offseason as a returning senior:

“I’m going to lead with my actions. I’m going to try to not do too much talking because that doesn’t get you very far. I’m just going to take it upon myself to do what it takes to move us to the next level.”

On whether changes need to be made:

“There are so many plays to be had. It’s tough to say there needs to be change. Every time you break the film down, it’s a foot there, an inch here. There are plenty of opportunities and plenty of plays to be had.”

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  • Mike

    Instead of starting recruiting immediately, Coach Tedford should spend a week or so thinking about how he did things early in his tenure at Cal, and what has changed over the last several years. Returning the philosophy to that of five or six years ago could work wonders.

    I remain a supporter of Coach Tedford.

  • jeff

    oh my goodness, this goes in the wrong direction. We have an offense coaching problem. With no passing attack, teams stack the box with 8 or at times 9 players and we still run? Are you kidding me? How is that supposed to work?

    We did not design the offense to use the players that we have. Nothing was put into place to get the ball to our open field play makers in space.

    Frankly, it felt like I was watching a Tom Holmoe coached team in this last game.

    Yes back to the drawing board with respect to the quarterbacks. But really back to the drawing boards with respect to the entire offensive system and the position coaches (quarterback and receivers). Our quarterbacking and receiving arguably was next to last in the Pac 10. Only WSU was worse. And when you think about how bad it was at UCLA, to be worse than them is really saying something.

  • Mike

    Jeff, you misunderstood me. I was talking about general coaching philosophy, the way things were done. I was not referring to specifics of the offense or the defense. As to fitting the philosophy to the players, I think that’s what was done in the early days, I don’t think that’s what’s being done now. The O-line is a great example. There seems to be talent, but maybe they are being asked to do things outside their ability.

  • Kevin Thomas

    Tedford and some of the players quoted here must be living in fantasy land. The team obviously does not quite have the talent to compete in the PAC10. The biggest deficiency is in the offensive line. You knew the team was in trouble, when during pre-season practice, they tried several players at several different postions, and did not name a starting unit until it was time for the first game. The coaches couldn’t decide on a starting unit, because the lineman were not very good. And the indecicisiveness continued into the season. They did not block well for the run, and Vereen did not break many long gains. Their pass-blocking was atrocious, not being able to hold their blocks long enough for receivers to get open. Riley and Mansion were running for their lives most of the time. Look at all the penalties on the offensive line this year. When the QB’s did have time, they couldn’t hit receivers, or the receivers dropped the ball.

    The offense is way too complicated. The QB is almost required to change the play at the line of scrimmage, usually resulting in a busted play. One thing I liked about Sweeney was he usually ran the play that was called in the huddle, and the offense looked a little smoother when he ran it.

    The receivers aren’t very good at getting open. The special teams are awful. Anger shanks about 25% of his punts, and outkicks his coverage another 25% of the time. Other teams kick the ball out of the endzone on kickoffs, and we are lucky to get one inside the 10 yd line.

    Finally, Tedford historically is successful the first few games, and then his teams get worse as the season progresses. Cal just laid down for Stanford and for Washington. Tedford just can’t get his teams up for games at the end of the season. Washington just wanted that last game more than the Cal players did. Simple as that.

  • Dan

    Jeff’s right (above) – as has been exhaustedly pointed out here by many posters, the offense is both too complicated and yet too unproductive. It is the wrong kind of complicated, being challenging for the players to learn and master, for months and years for the Cal players trying to learn to perfect it. Compare to Oregon, which is complicated at the split second of each play that puts pressure on the opposing defense. The Duck players learn that right in games pretty quickly, and each play is about one or two reads only.

    Tedford’s offense has issues both philosophically and strategically, in addition to actual play calling in the games. It is predictable, unimaginative, too complicated with all the sets and shifting, too slow to get the play in, called, to the line and run. No way to vary the tempo by speeding it up, no way to provide an advantage to the offense.

    How does this offense create mismatches that tilt towards Cal, especially when playing comparably or slightly more talented teams? It does not.

    Factor in bad QB & Oline play, receivers running routes that are usually well covered and too frequently dropping balls that are catchable, this whole offense frustrates to no end. There is nothing unique, special or exceptional about it. The rest of the conference has it figured out, and when the opposition is comparable or better, or better coached, well we have seen the usual blowout loss as evidence.

    It’s all about coaching, whether it is philosophy, strategy, approach or play calling. The players are asked to execute a complicated to learn, easy to defense, bad plan.

  • BlueNGold

    Kevin Thomas- you said:
    “Finally, Tedford historically is successful the first few games, and then his teams get worse as the season progresses.”

    Actually, over the last several seasons, the first few games of the season have been against mostly inferior out of conference teams (Tennessee and Nevada being exceptions). Cal’s big problem recently has been its inability to compete with the better teams in the Pac 10 conference.

  • Bobby

    How does everyone know the offense is too complicated?

    Because Brock Mansion off-handedly mentioned that former Cal players in the NFL said Cal’s offense is complicated?

    How about the fact that JO consistently said this offense is more or less the same one that Cal has used since Tedford arrived? Or that no other players have said anything about the relative level of complication now, as opposed to say 2002-2008, when our offense usually clicked on all cylinders?

    I believe we have a predictability problem. That falls on Ludwig’s shoulders to a certain extent. If we have some deficiencies on offense, figure out a way to scheme around them, or get position coaches who have a different approach than our current ones.

  • Dan

    A couple other thoughts.

    1) Execution- The players always say it was a lack of execution, as has Tedford many, many times. On all these scores of unsuccessful plays in every game, it’s always about the lack of execution- Sean Cattouse says it above, Brock Mansion says “it’s a foot there, an inch here”. I have heard this over and over and over from Tedford (blaming players) and also repeatedly from the players- no doubt drilled into their heads by the coaches.

    The players are no doubt being taught to become men and take ownership and responsibility, which is a good lesson for football and for life. No doubt, a good deal of truth in this. But to continue, I have read it said so very many times that on every play it’s one guy not executing, frequently just one guy, a different guy, on every bad play. Other than that is the nature of football, there must be something wrong with Cal’s plays. I mean I’m sure Oregon players screw up plenty, but one player not executing must not tank their plays like it does for Cal. Re-think the plays?

    2) Tedford Taking (His Share of ) Blame – I NEVER see Tedford saying it’s his fault, I mean really ever stepping up and sincerely saying he is the issue. It’s really mind numbing and mind boggling. The players come and go, the OCs and now DCs come and go, assistants leave and new ones come in- the constant here is Tedford. His disappointing and under-achieving teams have now spanned many classes and coaches. Where is his class and leadership that so many of his supporters claim he has?

    Even Mike Singletary stepped up recently and said all blame for lack of success is on him- and he’s right. Again, I NEVER see Tedford do that. He has taken very small slices of blame after each of the recent successful seasons and vows to look at every inch of the program to fix what needs fixing. It seems he can only accept that a sliver of this is on him, that a sliver of this requires any change or improvement from him. He has come up with lame little things, not necessarily bad, perhaps some good, but clearly he misses the forest for the trees.

    Something big is amiss here. Short of him making some VERY large, and correct, changes, this isn’t going to change. Very big, like Mike LEach as OC big. I’m not literally saying bring in Mike Leach (but why not if you could) but somethign that shows big changes are needed.

    You can look at the last play of the UW game, and see by contrast what is missing from Tedford. Sarkisian goes for the win, pushes all his chips onto the table. Maybe he got that from Pete Carroll, maybe it’s all him, but he was daring enough to go for it, to play to win instead of playing not to lose. Perhaps he realized that his odds weren’t great in OT as his offense also hadn’t set the world on fire last Saturday. Who knows, but I was loving his call, I loved the guts and confidence in his team it shows. And it worked. I guarantee you that every returning UW player is fired up coming back next week and next season playing for Sark.

    What do you think Tedford does there? He kicks the FG- every time. We’ve seen it with all his risk averse, wimp calls time and time again. His players have to see that and embrace his play not to make a mistake, play not to lose approach to football. I’m over it, the players have had their football souls sucked out little by little.

    He continues to suck the life out of his players, out of the program, out of the fans and out of Memorial Stadium.

  • Dan

    Totally agree w/ Mike about taking some time- but I disagree about what he was doing earlier in his tenure to what he is doing now. My guess is that it is all very much the same. CHANGE is needed here. Think about that.

    Tedford needs some distance from this whole thing for a week or two- or three. Putting his nose right back to the grindstone is what he’s said after each of the past disappointing seasons. It hasn’t worked at all.

    With a little distance and a little time, perhaps some hope for some perspective. Otherwise, the definition of insanity. You can’t just work harder doing the same (wrong) thing, which is what he always does and it DOES NOT work.

    Clearly, he is just reinforcing what we all suspect- the guy doesn’t get it and isn’t going to. Man, this is just even more depressing.

  • Steve W

    I keep reading that the offense is too complicated for the players to grasp. I seem to remember a juco quarterback coming in 7 years ago and picking it up very quickly. Aaron Rodgers essentially had mastered that offense with the equivalent of a redshirt freshman’s time in the program. And he was successfully completing long passes to Jeff McArthur and Chase Lyman, guys who didn’t get a cup of coffee in the NFL.

    Two years later, a relative stiff like Nate Longshore was regularly completing bombs to DeSean Jackson and Robert Jordan. It leads me to think the problems of late are not so much the offensive scheme, but the personnel and execution.

    There’s just no excuse for a 4-year player in Tedford’s program to play as poorly as Mansion played in those last 4 games. I have to believe that the ability to see the entire field and check down to your secondary receivers is a coachable trait to some degree. It just wasn’t evident with this guy, and it must not have been evident in Beau Sweeney given that he never got onto the field. And maybe we don’t blame it all on the quarterbacks, either. I iso’d a couple of times on Marvin Woods and noticed that he was getting zero separation from one-on-one coverage in the Washington game. The kid makes some spectacular catches, but his ability to create space from a defender is certainly questionable.

    I don’t think Tedford is spending near as much time as he used to coaching up the players. I specifically remember when he spent countless hours changing up Rodgers’ throwing mechanics to build him into the number one draft choice he became after the 2004 season. Did he spend that kind of time with Brock Mansion or Beau Sweeney? I doubt it. Did he bunk in his office every night during the season the way he did those first few fruitful seasons? I doubt it.

    I think our head coach got too comfy with that $2.8 million annual salary, and the results showed. If JT has any pride, he will take some of his salary and spread it around to find some top quality, fiery coaches like Nick Holt at Washington and Nick Aliotti at Oregon. Tedford needs to bring in a proven young innovator, pay him top dollar from his own salary and promise him the program within a period not to exceed five years. Look no further than what Mike Belotti did with Chip Kelly if you are looking for a model to follow.

  • Sean

    Dan,

    That had to be the best post I have seen….Perhaps so because I agree with it 100%. Having been a former player at Cal (years ago) and been in the film rooms I can tell you that the young players really don’t know what the issue is because they lack perspective. I guarantee if you watch a film session with WSU (or any unsuccessful team) they are seeing the same issues as Cal is. On every play (even when they work) someone doesn’t execute. Very few run plays actually hit the holes they are designed to. Football is a dynamic game played by humans. Occasionally blocks are going to be missed and sometimes the other guy is going to win on a play.

    The only time during film session that failure doesn’t come down to execution is when multiple players are getting physically beaten (i.e. when you play FCS schools). In other words the player took the correct steps, made the correct call, but simply wasn’t fast enough or strong enough to make the play. Given Cal’s high talent level over the years, they are not going to have multiple players getting physically beaten play after play.

    I want to add one other fact to JO’s article relative to talent. If you followed the players on that 2007 team that lost 6 of the last 7 games, there were actually 13 future NFL players if you counted the next couple of drafts.

    The bottom line, Cal hasn’t had a talent or recruiting issue. Sure there will be up and down years, but Cal has plenty of speed, size, and skill to be a better team than it has been. Dan, hit it right on the head. I’ve seen practically every snap since JT has been the coach and I cannot recall one fake punt or FG. He has only sampled “no-huddle” offense a couple times when it wasn’t expected. he uses “trick plays” only when it is safe. He coaches like he doesn’t trust the players. I think that is the primary issue. Cal plays like a team with very fragile confidence (i.e like teenagers). When things are going well, Cal has the talent to roll over you. But if you fight back you never know what you’re going to get from Cal.

    I think only way for Cal to get back on track under JT’s direction is for them to find a QB that he trusts. JT can only coach with superior players, especially at the QB position. He isn’t the type of coach that can do what Mike Riley at OSU can do and get players to play above their heads.

    Someone above mentioned how bad Cal’s OL was. Do you realize that every OL starter at OSU was a walk-on at one point, yet Quizz still gets his yards and the QB has enough time to complete passes.

    Lastly, I want to echo Dan’s point about taking responsibility. Has anyone paid attention to what Mack Brown and Nick Saban have been saying after they’re “disappointing seasons”? They said the blame falls on themselves. This from coaches that have won three national championships and at least won their respective conferences multiple times. Right now Cal has more players in the NFL than Alabama or Florida over the last 10 years. Yet the program has not won the conference and only won moer than 9 games twice.

    JT we’re tired of hearing about the facilities and/or lack of execution. Let’s see you get the most out of the talent you have. If you can’t find a QB to execute YOUR OFFENSE. Then adjust the offense to utilize the skills you do have.

  • John lesea

    ” Execution. A man out of position, a missed assignment here and there– overall a rough season” he told the Media.
    “We planned to have fun this year and not be so serious” he had said.
    Wow, at least another five years at $2.whatever mil.
    Sounds like “fun”.

  • Julian Young

    Tedford somehow lost his mojo. Whatever happened to the Tedford that OPENED the game with gutsy touchdown call ala Baylor game?!! Bring him back man!!

    “Bears Open Game With TD Cal’s Kyle Boller to Terrell Williams to David Gray for a 71-yard pass play was the first Cal TD scored on the first play of a game since Sept. 4, 1999..”

  • Calduke

    I hope Tedford’s expressed desire to get busy on the recruiting trail means recruiting of an OL coach and Offensive Coordinator

  • Dan

    To the many on here that say that Tedford needs a new OC- do you actually think that Tedford thinks his OCs have done a poor job the past 3 years? Both Cignetti and Ludwig are Tedford buddies. They were hand picked by Tedford. Do you actually think that the way they have both called games differs from what Tedford himself would be calling? I don’t. They call plays just like they were called prior to their arrivals.

  • George Watson

    I used to be a bid Tedford fan, but no more. This season was lamentable and it will just be the same thing again next year. Tedford has become the problem, no longer the solution, playing favorites, for example, at QB who can’t play – Ayoob, Longshore, Riley, Mansion – being unimaginative at offensive play-calling (tt’s his offense where the buck stops) and his inability to prepare his players properly for games like the Washington one and to make in-game half time adjustments is now bordering on the embarrassing. The best you can see is mediocrity because the Pac 12 isn’t going to get any easier. Time for a coaching change. Period.