Football: Tedford quotables

Quotes from Jeff Tedford and others during interviews for today’s season-preview:




On the fans that are critical:

“What I’ve learned over the past few years is to not pay attention to the e-mails, good or bad. There’s nothing productive that comes out of that. We want to win as bad as anybody.

“It’s a great place to play. Fans are fans. It’s going to be that way everywhere. Everyone is going to have opinions. I find it very difficult to please everyone all the time. It’s impossible. No matter how much you’d like to have that happen, it’s impossible. That’s why it’s a sport. That’s why it’s a spectator deal. People come and say that should have been a pass or that should have been a run. That’s part of the deal. I’ve learned to not put so much into that. The support is absolutely critical for our players and lour environment, without a doubt. But I can’t get caught up in that. We really just need to focus on what we are doing.”


On negative media attention:

“I’ve come to learn over the past few years to try not to look at any of that, positive or negative. No matter how hard you try to do that, it’s almost impossible. Even people with the best intentions will call you and say, ‘Did you read this?’ I didn’t need to know that. You live and learn.


On being a victim of his own early success:

“I guess it’s true. But that’s OK. I wouldn’t change it. I wouldn’t go back and say I wish we would have won just three games the first year, and six the next year, and seven the next year. I wouldn’t change any of it. I’d change last year.”


On not maintaining the level the program had built up in 2006:

“When you get to the top, plateauing at eight or nine wins is not all that bad. You’re not plateauing at five wins. Would we like to win 11 and do all the things we’d like to do? Absolutely. That’s what the goal is. If we would have won five the first year and pleateued off at five, that wouldn’t be good.”


On saying they were six points from 8-4 last season:

“When I say we’re six points away from 8-4, I’m not saying 8-4 is good enough. The message I was trying to get across is there is a fine line between winning and losing. Eight wins is a pretty good season, but obviously the goal is to win the conference.”


On the blowout losses in recent years:

“I think those things that have left the biggest scars. Those things tend to leave, as I’ve found out, a really bad taste in people’s mouths.”


On fans expecting more:

“It’s all based on people taking pride in our football team. It’s OK that people have that opinion and attitude. I’m not bitter about that. More than anything, I’m disappointed at those times that people feel that way. I still love this place and love everything that we have going on now. There’s been a lot of good wins. There have been some bad losses. Ten years is a lot of games. It’s a lot of experiences. Would we like to be 9-10 wins every single year? Of course. There’s going to be some ups and downs – not that it’s OK. But the reality of it says that it happens. All we continue to do is make sure we prepare our very best  With the new facilities now, it’s going to help us in recruiting.”


On quarterback play the last few years:

“I think more than anything, it’s been more about consistency. There are circumstances that go into things. Not that we’ve done everything right.

“We have a new guy in here that people need to give a chance to do things. It’s easy to get spoiled with Aaron Rodgers. There’s not too many of those guys running around. We want our quarterback to play at a high level. But if he’s not playing like Aaron Rodgers, we can’t just sink. We have a new guy there and I’m excited about the spring and the fall that he’s had. Now it’s time to go play and see what it happens. But I have confidence in his abilities.”


On whether he feels more pressure than ever before:

“I don’t even think about that. There’s pressure all the time. That’s just what comes with this job. If I sit around and think about that, that’s time I could be spending time thinking about something more productive. It doesn’t help to sit around and think about what if. What’s that going to do, make me work harder?  We need positive energy and a lot of that needs to come from me, so I’m not going to sit around and worry about things like that. It’s going to be more positive energy on doing the things I need to do.


On the challenge of not having a home field this season:

“It is what it is. All you can do is spend your time thinking about things you can control. All those other things are out of our control. Part of it is what we’ve worked to do to build. There’s going to be no excuses. It doesn’t matter where we play.”


On distractions/challenges this year:

“I think the spring actually was a blessing because it forced us to practice different places and get on busses and do things and stuff like that. That won’t be a part of it. It’s going to be how we play on the field. Distractions, we’re a little used to that – the people in the trees and all the other stuff that’s happened. We just deal with what we have.”


On getting the student-athlete center built and Memorial Stadium renovations done:

“We worked hard to help build this. I think our success over our time has helped create the enthusiasm to do this. It’s going to get better for people long after I’m gone.


On the personal significance the facilities upgrades have for him:

“When they demolished the stadium and I walked through the North Tunnel and I saw everything tore down, it was a little emotional for me. I didn’t know I was that emotionally tied to it. You go through your day-to-day without really thinking about it, then you walk through the tunnel and see the whole place torn apart, you see it will never be the same again. I started thinking about all the times I walked through this tunnel for practice, for games, all the things we’ve done in there. It will never be the same gain. It hit me that it was really happening. I’m not a big nostalgia guy. But that caused me to kind of reflect. It will never be like it’s been. It will be a lot better, but there are a lot of memories of that place.”


On his emotional attachment to Cal:

“All of the emotional involvement that I have with this place now and how much I care about what goes on here is really deep. Whatever people may think, nobody wants it worse than I want it, to make it all happen.”




On Jeff Tedford’s place at Cal:

“I think Jeff is uniquely equipped to be the head coach at Cal. We are so fortunate to have him lead our football program. He is that right combination for us of obviously highly proficient football coach, along with all the things that are highly important part of our mission, vision and values to the campus in terms of the growth and development of student-athletes, the value of student-athletes pursuing their degree and achieving their degree, in terms of student-athletes being high-quality representatives of this great institution.

“I’m very proud of the fact that our student-athletes are representing this institution in a first class, high character way, and a lot of that in football has to do with Jeff’s leadership.”


On Cal’s program in the context of college football scandals this offseason:

“It certainly stands in contrast to unfortunately some of the more visible things that have happened in collegiate athletics. But it’s not right for any of us to be holier than thou because we are dealing with 17 to 22-years-olds. But the fact that our football program does stay out of the news, that our student-athletes do behave in a way that is consistent with not only Jeff’s values but the values of this campus, is no mistake. We all work tirelessly to ensure that we bring the right young men to this campus and that it’s very clear to them as to what is expected.”


On balancing off-field and on-field coaching duties:

“I think in a competitive environment like college football, there is a lot on the line, and it’s not just pride. It’s big business and there’s no way to get around that. The expectation is that our coaches will do it all. As competitive as we all are, winning is important, achieving is important, excellence on the field is important. We need to maintain a high level of competitive success, but you’re certainly going to be judged on those other things as well. I think anybody would tell you that a coach and athletic director that are not paying attention to the values of academics, integrity and character, is not going to be at Cal very long. Those are the things that Jeff has done very, very well.

“As a campus and a university, we are educators first and foremost. We can’t deny the reality of the economics. But that doesn’t mean we throw out any other values. It’s one of the things I love about being here. Those values are omnipresent. They permeate. They impact every decision we make.”


On Tedford raising expectations so early in his career:

“There’s no doubt that when you achieve success like Jeff did very quickly, we all get spoiled. The bar gets raised very quickly and anything less than that seems like a disappointment. But being educators and taking the long view and really taking any big picture view of what Jeff has meant to not only the football program, but the athletic program and this university, oh my goodness — absolutely tremendous. The fact that he has achieved competitive success and done these other things at a really high level – absolutely masterful. We as a community need to recognize that and be very thankful of the fact that he does lead our football program.”


On how Tedford has dealt with the ups and downs in recent years:

“If you look at Jeff’s career, he’s had huge success everywhere he has been. As we go through the ebbs and flows of a program and it’s something that’s maybe less than those first three years, any competitive person is going to have difficulties, is going to struggle. But what I’m so impressed with about Jeff’s response is it’s always solutions-oriented. It’s always been, ‘What do we do now to change this.?’ I can’t tell you how pleased I am sitting here today talking about this.”


On the new facilities:

“One of the things the athletic department and university has been working during Jeff’s time at Cal is the upgraded facilities, and it’s here. What Jeff did without those facilities early on was absolutely spectacular. Now, he’s going to have the opportunity not just to sell it, but to use it — to have our student-athletes have the advantages of actually using the building. We’ve already seen the past two years. We’ve had top-15 recruiting classes.”


On Tedford’s job security:

“His job security is lock solid. Taking the long view, Jeff’s leadership in our football program is a huge part of our ability to have a successful football program that also is a big part of our overall success, both financially and competitively for the entire department.”


On this being Tedford’s most challenging season:

“Let’s get into the season and see what happens. There are a lot of moving parts. What I’ve been so impressed with  is that Jeff has really set the tone with the team. There is always something here to overcome. But in terms of going to AT&T, he’s set a great tone with the guys, which is wherever we go, as long as our fans are there, that’s our home field.”


On criticism of Tedford’s $2.3 million annual salary:

“What you pay a football coach or any coach in the marketplace is what you need to do to recruit and retain the right person. Their ability to put a successful team on the field is a lot about their abilities and everyone else’s ability around him and the institution’s commitment to the program. Jeff Tedford is making a market rate salary as a football coach in the Pac-12.”


On watching Tedford’s affection for Cal grow over the years:

“He cares immensely about this place. That’s grown. I think the other thing is he’s learned how to lead. His leadership has evolved. Leading a football program is absolutely enormous. From day one, you don’t know everything. He’s really grown and he’s always very self-reflective and always solutions oriented. Jeff’s always looking for how to get better — personally, as a staff and as a team.”



RUNNING BACKS COACH RON GOULD (the only coach on the staff who has been at Cal during all of Tedford’s 10 years)


On how Tedford has handled the ups and downs:

“I think he’s done a great job handling adversity. He looks at himself first, to see how he can improve, which encourages all of us to do the same. He’s always been self-motivating. When you see your leader do that, it’s something you look up to and really respect.”


On Tedford being a victim of his own early success:

“When the bar is so high and those expectations are so high and then the bottom falls out, that can rub people the wrong way sometimes. But we expect to keep going. There’s a lot that goes into winning. But there’s also a lot that goes into losing. You have a lot of unfortunate circumstances that arise.”


On watching Tedford’s attachment to Cal grow over the years:

“He came in with both feet in. He didn’t have one foot in the boat and one foot out of the boat. His passion for the university, passion for Cal football each year has gotten stronger and stronger. He’s not going to go half-speed at anything. If he decides to do something, he’s going to do it full-hearted. That’s just who he is. He’s always going to try to put his best foot forward.”


On how Tedford has changed over the years:

“Overall, I’ve seen a lot of growth in Coach Tedford over the years – how he relates to his staff. He’s done a lot of self-reflecting. He brings up a lot of great ideas. I’ve seen him grow over the past 10 years, as a coach. He’s constantly changing, he’s constantly looking at different things – how to run a program, how to run an organization. He’s aCEOof a company here. He’s constantly making sure everything is going in the right direction.” 




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.

  • rollonubears

    i thought tedford was making 4mm a year.

    i feel like the criticism has really gotten him down over the years. it seems evident in some of his responses, especially the “long after i’m gone” comment.

    i just wish he’d play to win, and stop playing not to lose. that’s a pretty common criticism of all fans.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Man I got to hand to you JO. You asked Teddy some tough questions. I liked it. The answers were weak but not the questions. I bet you won’t be invited to see many practices.

  • MoreSanctionsComing

    Man I got to backhand you, Moren. You said some dumb things. I hated it. Nobody cares about your opinions. I bet you weren’t invited to begin with.

  • ConcordBear

    As a fan I’m not interested in Tedford stories about pressure. The guy is our head coach and we all expect him to lead the program to the top. Simple as that.
    There are always going to be people making loud noise, people jealous or upset about how much football coaches get paid but who cares. That noise should not even register because it’s noise you see around every single sports team in the country from little league to the NFL.
    If you are a coach you will be second guessed unless you win.
    I just want to see a controlled and pissed off Tedford and team this year. I want to feel a sense of urgency from the program along with smart competitive play. IMO, those things are the story the majority of fans want to follow and read about.

  • milo

    Tedford gets paid for the pressure and stress, that’s part of the job. He understands this.

    Regarding the rest, Tedford is the right guy for Cal. He runs a clean program, the kids tend to graduate (as much as the general student pop). His academic game plans seems to work.

    Think about this, the dopiest thing Marshawn Lynch did at Cal was drive an utility cart on the turf during a game.

    I’m not saying that’s all Tedford but his system has to help more then not. Clean program, no sanctions, no sleazeballs (Kiffin, Orgeron, Erikson, Neuweasel).

    As long as the program is clean, no weirdness and no consecutive disastrous seasons it’s better to keep JTed. With the right QB, Cal can win 9-10 games.

    I don’t ’10 was disastrous, more sad and below average play and bad luck.Disastrous is Holmoe, poor play and being blown out the majority of all games.

    Cal was bad but 3 made FGs from a winning season. Also JTed gets his tree sitter cushion of 2 years.

  • rollonubears

    i like this positive attitude going into the season from everyone. only thing that’s getting a little long in the tooth is the whole “6 points away from a winning season.” we were also 6 points away from being 12 points away from a winning season. good teams win close games. we blew too many opportunities to win last year because we weren’t a good football team. and other than one game, those “made field goals” would have given the ball right back to a team with a far superior offense and plenty of time to score again. i don’t buy the close game thing. i’m stoked about this season, though, and think we can do very well.

  • CALiforniALUM

    This is the biggest debbie downer interview I’ve read in some time. Just take a second look at the questions asked:

    > On the fans that are critical
    > On negative media attention
    > On being a victim of his own early success
    > On not maintaining the level the program had built up in 2006
    > On saying they were six points from 8-4 last season
    > On the blowout losses in recent years
    > On quarterback play the last few years
    > On whether he feels more pressure than ever before
    > On the challenge of not having a home field this season
    > On distractions/challenges this year
    > On getting the student-athlete center built and Memorial Stadium renovations done
    > On his emotional attachment to Cal

    I didn’t learn a damn thing from the questions or the answers. These questions have all been asked and answered before.

  • nickle

    CALiforniALUM, I learned that Tedford and the company have built up a lot of tolerance for BS questions.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    These questions wouldn’t be asked if your program wasn’t on a slide and chock full of one disappointment after another. Debbie downer does what Debbie downer is. Daddy read these questions and said – “Bravo”! He has been one of your fans for over 60 years. Even my mom as gracious as she is said there was nothing undeserving about these questions. She was very surprised that someone of Teddy’s caliber could be saying they were six points from 8-4 season.

    BTW I read where one of your former top recruits and players got busted for pimping. Here is the link.


  • B

    “only thing that’s getting a little long in the tooth is the whole “6 points away from a winning season.” we were also 6 points away from being 12 points away from a winning season. good teams win close games.”

    Well, not really – think of it from a statistical standpoint. We know random variation happens. Sometimes FG’s go in, sometimes they don’t, penalties, a missed assignment leading to a big play, shanked punt, etc. Any of the many “luck” factors can easily change the outcome of a close game. So, the closer the game, the closer to random the outcome will be. Good teams are more likely to win than lose, but random variation becomes a significant factor. Of the 4 close games Cal played last year, they went 1-3. Take random variation out, and they probably should have been 2-2 and bowl eligible. So at least to some degree, Tedford has a point. On the other hand, taking out the bad outcomes and then looking at the results and saying you should have been 8-4…that’s bad statistics. Of course things look better when you take out the bad things that happen, but it doesn’t make it an accurate way of looking at things.

  • rollonubears

    you can’t pull random variation into the equation, because you can’t quantify the pressure that goes along with being in a tight game, nor their ability to handle it. it’s not just about talent. some teams deal better with situations where the game is on the line, even if they’re less talented. last year, we, like every other team that blew a chance to take down a major opponent late, choked. that is more on the coach than tedford wants to admit, and it’s why i’m tired of hearing how a few games could have gone either way. it’s taking way too much for granted—ability and heart last year’s team just didn’t have.

  • ET

    Like John Madden has always said “Winning is the best deodorant”. The Bears start winning and all will be good. Little or no improvement, Tedford will be gone at the end of next season. The rest is just talk, or typing (including what I’m typing now)

  • rollonubears

    i’m thinking there’s a chance he turns things around this year, we dominate next year, and then he ends up leaving on his own, either to another team, or to the nfl. seems ridiculous today, but just a few years ago, that was the fear. if he leaves after next season (2012), it’s going to be because someone buys out his contract. i’m pretty sure if he’s going to be fired, he has at least this, next and the following seasons, unless he puts up holmoe-type numbers. the contract is pretty big for anyone but the angriest and wealthiest alumni to buy out, and most of their portfolios have been decimated since tedford took over, so buying out a contract is a pretty tall order.

  • milo

    Cal was bad in ’10 as the record 5-7 shows…but they weren’t stinko bad. The Bears got blown out in a few games but played Oregon straight up. A few breaks, better play, different personnel and I think 7-5 was possible. To me it just shows things were crappy but can be addressed, wasn’t a complete collapse. Otherwise I agree, winning fixes things.

  • BlueNGold

    Mom and daddy must be so proud that their offspring has devoted his/her/its life to searching the internet for material to talk trash about Cal football with. They must sigh and roll their eyes every time you bring up the subject. That must make you feel really special.

    As for Tracy Slocum, if he wanted to spend his life pimping, he should have enrolled at u$c.

  • B

    “you can’t pull random variation into the equation, because you can’t quantify the pressure that goes along with being in a tight game, nor their ability to handle it. it’s not just about talent. some teams deal better with situations where the game is on the line, even if they’re less talented. last year, we, like every other team that blew a chance to take down a major opponent late, choked. that is more on the coach than tedford wants to admit, and it’s why i’m tired of hearing how a few games could have gone either way. it’s taking way too much for granted—ability and heart last year’s team just didn’t have.”

    Eh, on the one hand, random variation is always present, and absolutely needs to be considered. To say otherwise is just silly. On the other hand, we have a tiny sample size where we’re drawing subjective conclusions to fit a narrative (and, of course, we’re biased by selective perception)…I’ll go with the former.

    “Cal was bad in ’10 as the record 5-7 shows…but they weren’t stinko bad.”

    Well, the evidence doesn’t really suggest that. Check out Sagarin’s ratings. Cal played one of the most difficult schedules in the country, and also got unlucky by point differential. Sagarin’s points predictor (which is based on solid research/evidence) thought they were the 27th best team in the country. And yes, the points predictor heavily punishes blowout losses. The team was better than the record suggests – both because they played a hard schedule, and because they got unlucky. Close games are still largely a product of luck.

    Agree completely that winning fixes things, though.

    (By the way, don’t feed the troll)

  • B

    To highlight why I discount all the pressure talk and think it’s just people trying to explain what is mostly random variation, look at Cal over the last two years. In close games this year, they were 1-3. Last year, they were 3-0 (I don’t consider the Utah game close, Cal scored at the very end to make it look closer than it was). Was there some huge fundamental shift in the team? Probably not. It’s not entirely random variation, but it does support the notion that it’s largely random variation.

  • bobsac

    Jeff Tedford has passed Waldorf in wins at Cal. With three more wins, he will be #1 all time in wins, passing Andy Smith. I hope he has a long career & spends it all at Cal. Looking at the past history of losing seasons for decades at Cal, the critics need to relax and enjoy the Tedford era. During the past 90 years, only Andy Smith in the 1920’s & Waldorf from 1947-1952–before his teams started losing–have put together better seasons than Tedford. We are lucky to have him.

    And it is an honor to have a clean program.

  • H8sRed

    Very well put, Bobsac.