Football: Wednesday practice update

Great night tonight up in Sacramento at the Grid Club. To those who were there, thanks as always for having me. Always a lot of fun.

Much of the talk earlier today after practice had to do with Jeff Tedford’s quest to become Cal’s all-time wins leader, which he is expected to do Saturday against Presbyterian. Tedford tied Andy Smith for the all-time lead with 74 wins after Cal beat Colorado last Saturday.

Tedford has become very familiar with Cal’s history over the years, from Andy Smith to Pappy Waldorf to others. He said he regards “Pappy’s Boys” as especially significant because some of those players are still around and he speaks at their reunion every year.

“Every year I go to speak to Pappy’s boys at a reunion which is one of the most special things I’ve ever seen,” Tedford said. “Typically when you’re on a football team, you always say you’re going to stay close the rest of your lives but it never happens. For Pappy’s boys to stay together like they have over the years is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.”

Tedford said he’s only kept in touch with a couple former teammates from his playing days. He said he’s trying to encourage his former players at Cal to stay connected to the program after they leave.

Former players like Donnie McCleskey, Chase Lynam and Wendell Hunter have paid visits to the football office and Tedford said the staff is “making that more of a priority to try to reach out to all those guys and make sure they are staying close.”

“We’ve come full circle,” he said. “Typically guys leave for a¬†few years because they’re trying to do their thing. Now, we’ve been here so long, they’re starting to come back. It’s nice to see how they’ve grown and now they’re off to their other careers.”

As far as breaking the all-time wins record, Tedford reiterated that he hasn’t thought much about it yet but admitted he probably will after the fact.

“It’s an honor, obviously,” he said. “All-time is a long time. But it’s more to do with all the players that have played here over our time here and all their accomplishments and all the assistant coaches. I feel fortunate to be the head coach here and thankful to be the head coach here. But this is really about this year’s team.

“I’m sure it may (hit him) once I sit down and think about it and let it sink in. But this is so much about right now and this team and what our goals are right now.”


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.