Once again it was a strange feeling today to wrap up a week of practice on a Tuesday, but that’s what the Bears did for the second week in a row as they get ready for Thursday’s showdown against USC. Cal will have a walkthrough at AT&T Park tomorrow evening before spending the night in San Francisco and playing the game on Thursday.
Obviously, a lot was asked this week about last year’s game in which Cal fell behind 42-0 at the half and lost 48-14. The Bears have been trying to balance using that feeling as motivation while still putting it behind them and focusing on this year’s team and this year’s game.
“I’ve never been in a game like that where it got away so early,” Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. “They made every play they could possibly make and we didn’t. It got away from us early. That was definitely a long day. We definitely want to make sure that doesn’t happen again, that we start fast. That’s going to be key.”
Wide receiver Marvin Jones said the Bears should use last year’s showing against USC as a learning experience.
“It reiterated to us that we have to come out on all cylinders and play like that for four quarters,” he said. “At halftime, it was more a feeling of surprise, of us trying to figure out what were the things that led us to that point. We can take that game, especially the first half, and use it as motivation going into this year’s game.”
Quarterback Zach Maynard wasn’t with the team yet last year and said he didn’t watch it because he was doing homework. But half-brother Keenan Allen told him all about it.
“The defensive guys are really upset,” Maynard said. “They want to get back at Woods. They want to shut him down.”
Safety Sean Cattouse said last year’s game serves as motivation but it only one of many reasons to get up for this game.
“It’s a new season and all about us this year, just doing things right this year,” he said. “You want to get ramped up to get the taste out of our mouth from last year. It’s a motivation, but it’s probably not the biggest thing.”
A few other nuggets:
- Tedford hadn’t heard too much about the firing of Arizona coach Mike Stoops but offered this reaction: “It’s part of the business. You hate to see it happen anytime, somebody you know or somebody you don’t know.”
- When asked who the third cornerback would be if Marc Anthony can’t go Thursday and Stefan McClure starts alongside Steve Williams, Tedford said redshirt freshman Adrian Lee is “one of” the candidates.
- Thursday marks the halfway point of the season and Cal will be playing just its second home game at AT&T Park. “We’re going back to somewhere that’s supposed to be familiar but it’s really not,” Tedford said. “We’ve only been there once. Once we’ve played a couple games there, it will probably feel a little more like home.”