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Football: Sunday practice update

As I reported in an earlier post, Jeff Tedford said today that the quarterback position will be competitive this week and didn’t name a starter for Saturday’s game against Washington State.

Here are some of Tedford’s comments this afternoon regarding the quarterback situation:

  • “We need to improve. He needs to be more consistent. He plays real well at times and other times he lets the ball get away. Really, consistency is the key.”
  • “He’s making the right reads. Now it’s a matter of being accurate with the ball. He’s seeing the coverages. It’s just some of the timing and some of the accuracy we need to improve on.”
  • On Maynard’s mental state after Saturday’s game: “It bothers him because he cares. He’s a competitor. He wants us to be successful. He’s a big part of it because he has the ball in his hands. He cares. My take on it is he still is confident and wants to work hard to be the best player he can be.”
  • On whether Maynard should be more consistent by now: “We’d like him to be more consistent than he was (Saturday). He played great against Utah. There’s no doubt the learning curve needs to improve.”
  • On Maynard’s performances against USC and UCLA: “The interceptions yesterday were totally different than the USC interceptions. He forced those into coverage (against USC). These were tipped balls or balls just a little bit high and safeties sitting back there cherry-picking them. The SC thing was him trying too hard. That improved, and then yesterday was a couple errant throws.”:
  • On how Bridgford has looked in practice this season: “He’s looked fine. We have confidence in Allan. That will be a competitive thing to make sure the competition stays strong there. He prepares really well and we have confidence in him.”

Bridgford, meanwhile, said Tedford hadn’t talked to the quarterbacks Sunday so he didn’t know the situation yet in terms of how many reps he will receive this week, etc. But there’s no question he is excited to possibly compete for the starting job against the Cougars.

“I think it would be awesome,” he said. “I’m going to do whatever is asked of me, of course. It’s up to the coaches. I”m just going to work hard and do my thing.

“It gets your blood going, that’s for sure. It would be super exciting and I’m ready for it. I’m going to do whatever the coaches ask me. I’m just ready to have fun out there.”

Even though Bridgford only gets about one-third of the practice reps and has yet to play in a meaningful situation, he seems confident if and when he gets the chance.

“I feel like I’d be ready to play in a game, no matter what,” Bridgford said. “I know the playbook inside and out.”

Center Dominic Galas gave the obligatory politically correct, but also seemingly sincere, response to a possible quarterback competition.

“Whoever is back there I trust completely,” Galas said. “I have 100 percent confidence in Zach and I have 100 percent confidence in anyone else. Everybody is busting their (butts) every day out here, getting up at 6 o’clock in the morning. I have 100 percent belief and trust in Zach and anyone on the team, for that matter.”

A few other nuggets today:

  • Tedford said it was a very quiet bus and plane ride back home Saturday night. “The team was very quiet last night after the game, which is actually a good thing. It means they care. It means they’re bothered by the loss. You could hear a pin drop on the bus and the plane. These guys are invested and they care about what’s going on. I think they’ll be dedicated to come out and have a really good week of practice and try to correct some of the areas we need to improve and be ready to play a tough game.”
  • Tedford said he thought about if anything need to change in the team’s practice habits. “I think we’re fine with practice. I looked at it to see. There’s nothing wrong with the way we practice. We just need to make sure that we focus on practicing fast and we’re concentrating on each drill and we’re doing everything we can to improve every single day.”
  • I asked Tedford if the defense took an emotional hit since linebacker Mychal Kendricks was suspended for the first quarter. But he said the team was prepared for it since Rob Mullins took most of the reps all week. “I didn’t want it to be a distraction and talk to the team about it. I don’t think they thought about that much.”
  • When asked to summarize his strengths as a quarterback, Bridgford said: “I feel like I can make all the throws; smart; I feel like I can lead an offense up and down the field. I’m not the kind of guy who is going to lose a game for you. I can make some throws that will keep the chains moving. Most of all, it’s just understanding everything and having a feel for the game.”

 

 

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.

  • David

    It is very troubling to me that Tedford is still making excuses for Zach’s interceptions:

    POST FINAL SPRING PRACTICE
    Tedford said on one of the picks, it was a play the team just installed this morning. On another, he said Maynard was under pressure because someone failed on a blocking assignment.

    POST UCLA
    “The interceptions yesterday were totally different than the USC interceptions. He forced those into coverage (against USC). These were tipped balls or balls just a little bit high and safeties sitting back there cherry-picking them. The SC thing was him trying too hard. That improved, and then yesterday was a couple errant throws.”

    Zach seems like a good kid who is working hard and doing his best, however he isn’t getting it done and it’s time to see what Bridgford can do.

  • go8ears

    Is it just me or Tedford’s analysis often sounds like a 12 yr old’s?

  • abe

    VERY INTERESTING QUOTE: “I’m not the kind of guy who is going to lose a game for you.”…Bridgford. that just about says it all.

  • tc

    Tedfurd, you sound like a broken record after a colossal loss. How many of those you’ve had??? I think almost every SC game was extremely embarrassing. How do you lose 8 or 9 consecutive against SC, yuck!!! Yesterday was right up there. Tedfurd, thanks for taking us back to the doormat of the league…especially now you have been taking the 2+ million dollar per yr salary and millions spent on the new fb facility/stadium to heart. You’re the best. And Sandi, thanks for setting an example on how to be supportive of your fb coach who have been stinkin up the field for the past 3 yrs and have you thought of who will buy the season tix after the stadium is rebuilt? You think the alumni will buy them? Hahaha, maybe Tedfurd need to lose a few more games, ya?

  • CB

    Yes, I agree, Tedford needs to change things up and should give Allan a go but seriously guys, if you haven’t realized by now, Tedford has never cared for the media. He doesn’t care to offer much detail. And as coach, he can say as little as he wants to make sure the team focuses on themselves and not what others will say about them. The bears have usually tanked when they get too much media attention anyways.

    And come on, why would a coach bash on his own teammates? To say that your players suck to the media? It’s like publicly reprimanding your own children. And when the players hear about them, that’s going to change the team’s mentality and morale. Come on, guys, consider the fact that there’s so much politics going on in-between games.

    And to TC, seriously? Do you not remember that SC had been doing very well under Carroll? Also, those facility plans didn’t just pop out of Cal’s a** within a year. It has been under negotiations for a LONG time. Tedford had been in a long struggling battle with the university to make this happen. He’s just trying to provide a good foundation for the kids to train with. So yeah, Tedford hasn’t been doing great for the past couple years, but at least he’s bringing something to Cal’s future teams. I hope you’re not a legit fan or bear because you’re an embarrassment to us.

    Have some faith, people. Next year Cal will have a remodeled stadium with new facilities. Give it a season when the players have more experience and actually get to practice on a legit football field.

  • jim

    Tedford’s rationalizations are … god … incredible.
    What made the Bears look so incredibly bad, was not just the quarterback debacle, it was also the defense’s inability to stop a mediocre opposing quarterback from piling up huge running stats.
    Nothing was learned from playing Nevada, or Oregon.
    Nothing.
    No adjustments were to stop the only weapon UCLA had: Price’s running. Sure, he got initial yards when he first showed his runs, but there was more than enough time to stop that … but he continued to successfully run, and the Defense (coaches) continued to show that they were inept at their jobs.
    Instead of victories, or at least respectable defeats, the Bears are humiliated, and the coaches humiliate themselves with childish, incompetent rationalizations.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    My mom came home from the store last night with groceries in a paper bad. Daddy said “Don’t throw that paper bag away. I might wear one for the game against WSU.”

    LOL.You guys are bad. You are really bad.

  • LB

    I realize everyone is mad about this loss, and I am too, but where are you seeing Tedford making excuses for Maynard’s interceptions and generally bad play? He said that the picks against SC were different, not excusable. Against SC he was forcing passes into coverage. Against UCLA he was just throwing errant balls. That’s 100% true. Those aren’t excuses. And Maynard has now lost his starting job and the position has been opened up to competition (which historically with Tedford has pretty much meant new starting QB). You might grumble that it is too little too late, but this is not Tedford defending Maynard’s play. This is Tedford taking action, just like we all wanted him to.

    I still back this team. I am still a Bear. As for the rest of you, you can either quit your boo hooing and get on board, or you can go away. This program doesn’t need “fans” who cry about everything and thrive on failure.

  • eric

    LB – did you say the same thing when Holmoe was the coach? The reasoning underpinning your statement indicates that regardless of who is the coach, Cal fans should just take it – who cares if we lose, lose often, and lose in an embarassing manner.

    Let me ask this question – when was the last time you saw Tedford take responsibility for ANYTHING? Do you see him say, “it was my fault – the plays were not well designed, I didn’t make any half-time adjustments, I didn’t play to our strengths, I should have realized that my QB is not improving fast enough and it makes sense to try a new direction, etc., etc.”

  • MoreSanctionsComing

    Hanging around sites where I am hated and unwanted is my bag. Daddy used to lock me in the closet with a bag over my head. He said it was because I was so ugly – that’s why I grew up to become such a pathetic troll.

    LOL. I am sad. I am really sad.

  • Scott

    Totally agree, LB. Like the team, fans should shake off the loss & come out to AT&T this Saturday to help the team beat WSU. Moaning and groaning gets no one anywhere — in football or life.

  • Steve W

    Since Cal football is no longer exciting or relevant, whining on these posts is the only thing that makes it interesting for me. This season, in particular, has been joyless from a spectator’s point of view. Even the Utah game (I was there) was more about Utah throwing up a stinkbomb than Cal exerting its dominance on the field.

    I will be rooting like a demon for Cal on Saturday, but it’s probably in the best longterm interests of the program for the team to lose out for the rest of the season. A 6-6 record and a minor bowl game is a tacit stamp of approval for Tedford and his regime from the AD’s perspective. A 4-8 finish just might wake some people up and decide that a change is needed.

    Either way, it’s clear to me that Tedford has lost control of the program and players. No one is going to be happy next year when that new stadium opens to a sea of empty seats.

  • Bears

    I’ll be there Saturday and have hope the team can come back and win games.
    Would like to see something new at QB.
    Maybe a new starting QB but mix Maynard into the game? The read option is a weapon and he still can help the team but maybe not as the primary QB. Unless of course his play becomes much more consistent and better.

  • Bears

    Losing is never a good thing.
    People at Cal should know if the program is moving in the right direction. If they can’t see what’s going on they should not be there. A Cal fan never roots to lose, in college losing is never good.
    It’s not like pro sports where you get the #1 draft pick.
    Wake up people.

  • PC

    I respect Tedford because he’s unwilling to throw any of his players under the bus. Is anyone here a parent? If you’re a parent and your child screws up, of course you will make excuses for them. As a parental figure, I respect JT’s willingness to stick up for his players and not criticize them in public. You save that for when you get home.

    I think if JT were more harsh on his players in public that would damage the psyche of the team and we would be worse off. I would also question if we want someone like that representing our school.

    With that said, I hope that behind closed doors Bridg is getting the starter spot next Saturday. I think Maynard needs some time to cool off and it might do him some good to be benched for a while. In the 2nd half, he just did not look like he wanted to be out there (due to personal frustration).

  • Juancho

    PC I agree with your points. My one disagreement isn’t really a disagreement, it’s the one time I can remember Tedford throwing a kid under the bus. Tedford threw Desean Jackson under the bus. Remember the “we’re removing the names from the jerseys because no player is bigger than the team” comment?

    I will continue to harp on this. Had the coaching staff (not just Tedford) had the vision and guts to realize this season would be tough and given Bridgford or any backup a series a half Bridgford or the other backup would be in a much better spot to succeed.

    I like Tedford. I think he made our program relevant again. And he played an instrumental role in the new facilities. Hes recruited some amazing players.

    But I do think his cycle here is over. Name the new facilities or field after him. Tedford Field has a nice ring to it.

    As far as leading our football program for the next ten years you’d have to think we could find a better fit for $2.9 million a year or whatever it is.

    It’s disrespectful to start bifurcating us fans into those who are “real” fans and those who aren’t again. We had enough of that last year. Just b/c you voice your frustrations doesn’t mean you stopped being a fan. First of all in my case love for Cal starts at the university, regardless of any sport program. They could cut all sports and I’d still love my bears.

    You can root like hell for them to win. Hell I’d love Tedford to shut us all up and take us to the Rose Bowl next year. As far as moaning not getting us anywhere – as a Raiders fan I can tell you this, it got Jamarcus Russell out of town finally.

  • manus

    PC: If you are a GOOD parent, you DO NOT make excuses for your child if h/she screws up; all you do is enable bad behavior by doing so.

  • Juancho

    I think Maynard could be a great backup for the Bears. Let’s hope the kid is mature enough to see that maybe it’s time to give Bridgford a turn.

    I also think we shouldn’t immediately jump to all the “how will Keenan Allen” react to all this comments. He’s not dumb. I’m sure he sees it even more clearly than us. If Keenan can put up these numbers with Maynard – if Bridgford can be a consistent and accurate passer imagine what it could do for Keenan’s draft stock.

    Bridgford was amazing in high school. I believe he played in the US Army all star game. He is accurate and at least in high school had great anticipation on his throws.

    I love the fact he said he knows the playbook inside and out. He’s a big strong kid. Let’s hope Bridgford is the guy to start getting this turned around.

    As frustrated as I am with Tedford I just want our team to win again and compete for the Rose Bowl. If I had to bet money I would say Tedford cannot lead this resurgence. But let’s hope I’m wrong.

    As far as tickets for next year. If the team wins I’m there. And before anyone attacks me for being a fairweather fan or what not – it’s a simple matter of economics. I’m not magnificently wealthy enough to spend all the money I’d like. Plus those are dollars that could be going to a top ranked basketball program, or baseball.

  • jabes

    Juancho — if you can’t afford season tickets, that is understood. Just go game by game. This year will not be a large season ticket year, and there will be seats available.

    All — this goes beyond who is the QB next week. Jeff Tedford has simply not adapted his coaching to compete for the Pac-12 title. This has been evident long enough to not expect a turn around, so it’s time for a coaching change.

  • rollonubears

    The long-term contract was a mistake. I think most people thought it was a good idea at the time. I was torn. In retrospect, a deal that would have guaranteed JT gets to coach one year in the stadium he helped build probably would have been a better plan. I believe there are still 4 years left on the deal though, and unless JT wants to quit on his own, I don’t think it’s prudent to buy that out at 10mm or whatever it would cost. Of course, if some wealthy old blues want to, that would be fine, but I still think we should give this guy a chance to do what he can in the new digs. At least for a year or two.

    At least we’re not looking at Barry Zito money. Now THAT is a bust.

  • stay golden

    I’m curious to hear what Pendergast has to say about the poor showing from his defense. Containment on the edges has been consistently bad all year long.

  • Jude

    Haven’t been watching Cal football for a while….moved on after the Ayoob, Longshore & Riley insanity.

    What I had really admired about Tedford that he seemed to do the right thing, regardless, and that seems like a distant memory now.

    Tedford used to welcome local (HS) coaches, local players to visit Cal…..that started to go quickly after national success ( A. Rodgers). Close all the practices, leave a message with his secretary and you can be assured that you’ll never get a response. He must have started to believe all the hype or something.

    After his son’s got into Cal…and I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have got in if he wasn’t the Coach, my admiration stopped. Even if they were great football guys, I thought he’d have wanted them to do it on there own.

    Now I see the typical dual threat shotgun QB, with very little of the precision quarterbacking skills that I’d come to admire from Tedford. Looks just like all the other college football teams that came with the spread shift.

    As far as the defense in the UCLA game…well “What was that?”

  • Disappointed Bear

    Is it just me, or didn’t other see that the Bears looked as though they’d prepared for some other team than UCLA Saturday? IMHO they looked totally unprepared to play that game on offense and defense. I’m really puzzled. Is this getting to be the norm?

  • BlueNGold

    I am not a football coach, but if ZM is as competitive and takes it all as personally as JT says he does, he might actually benefit from some honest and serious competition at the QB spot. Perhaps having Bridgford or someone else right behind him waiting to take his place might awaken some of his competitive instincts and get those juices flowing more than the last 4 games would indicate has been the case so far this season. I certainly don’t see how it could make things any worse.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    ASU had a coach named Dirk Koetter. SC fans were thrilled he was the coach. His offense never changed. My contact at SC was our DC and he said ASU week was the easiest one for prep.

    Koetter is gone but Teddy is still with you guys. I wonder how many of the Pac 12 DC’s see him as Koetter’s replacement.

    Say what you want about Oregon but no one has figured out that offensive scheme. Say what you want about Stanford. They throw in just enough of a wrinkle to keep all of the defenses honest. You guys have been unimaginative and irrelevant for years.

    Back to the cellar.

  • johtwe

    How Tedford saw the picks, was how I saw them. USC–he was forcing the ball into coverage, not checking down, not looking off his primary target. UCLA–Reads were fine, he was inaccurate. The inaccuracy will not be solved by next week.

    The little we have seen of Bridgford, we was throwing into coverage (albeit accurately).

    Touch choice.

    The other issue that I had during the game was safety play. It seemed like the scheme was to have the DL and linebackers stuff the RB and the safety would clean up the quarterback if he kept it. For the most part, it appeared that the safety (Cattouse) was unblocked, but simply was not in position to make the tackle on the QB. To me the safety has two responsibilities: 1) Help on the long pass; 2) Clean up on the runs, when the runner breaks through the front seven. Hence the name “safety”. I miss Conte. He was awesome “cleaning up”.

  • http://deleted calfaninaz

    jc: tedford threw desean jackson under the bus after the 2007 season.

    he threw tosh under the bus after the fake injuries w/ oregon. he is the head coach…how the hell did he not know they were faking injurieS?

    not only is tedford a HORRIBLE coach and qb developer. HE IS A COWARD.

  • Greid

    The Tedford Contract buyout issue is a difficult and expensive one. I’m just thinking out of the box….Maybe Cal can force a reduced buyout using the following as leverage:

    If Tedford does not agree to a reduced buyout, hire a new Head Coach, assistants and staff and begin a new era. In the meantime, keep Tedford as “Head Coach” in name only. He will be a desk jockey with no input into the team. He will be made irrelevant in college football for the next four years. I’m certain Tedford has enough wealth, self pride and desire to coach again that he will come to the bargaining table.

  • Greid

    Just like “Rollonubears” and many other seasoned fans, I fell out of my chair when Sandy signed the last contract extension with Tedford. We were already questioning Tedford’s coaching decisions and skillset.

    I’ll admit I drank the Tedford Kool-Aid at the beginning. But I would not have signed that last extension.

    We should all remember who got us into that outrageous Tedford contract —> Ms. Sandy!!!!

  • Randybear

    QB Change? DON’T COUNT ON IT!!! Once JT chooses a guy, THAT’S IT! Remember how badly Ayoob ran us into the ground? Week after week, as matters got worse, no change was made. Only after Ayoob got hurt did Levy get a chance …. and he went 2-0! (See also: Tavecchio, Giorgio).

  • Greid

    To all those debating Tedford’s decision not to replace Maynard with another Tedford recruit sitting on the bench:

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and thinking the outcome will be different.

    Every Tedford identified, recruited, and coached QB since Ayoob seven years ago has exhibited the same inabilities. What makes you think anyone on the bench is going to be miraculously different?

    You are focusing on the symptom and not the cause.

  • Calfan

    Definitely not getting season tickets next year. This year was a rip-off, with high prices and only five games scheduled. The one saving grace is that the Wazzu and OSU games, weak games in the past, will be crucial if Cal is to go to a mediocre bowl.

    Tedford is now the preeminent QB failure guru. In the past, his QBs did well in college but failed in the NFL: Smith, Carr, Harrington, Boller, etc. Now, failing starts in college for Tedford qbs: Ayoob, Riley, Marion, Maynard and counting.

  • Steve W

    Greed, you are absolutely correct. Bridge ford will come in and look like, well, Brock Mansion, a deer in the proverbial headlights. But at least we will know that SOMETHING was attempted. And we won’t have to see another lame roll- out to the left with balls sailing over the receiver’s heads and into a defender’s arms.

    The season is already lost. Let’s give Bridgeford a chance to grow towards the next few seasons. I say start Bridgeford and try and run the ball down WSU’s throat. Let him attempt a few short throws and build his confidence. Of course none of this will happen because Teddy is too stubborn and too unwilling to admit his mistakes.

  • Greid

    Steve W:
    I’m with ya…give Bridgeford a chance. The season is lost – time to try new things.

    However, as a fan base, we need to stay focused on the real issue: Time for Teddy to move on.

    Any ideas for a replacement?

  • Mike

    I was there at the Rose Bowl. We were pathetic. It was absolutely how shameful how bad we were. It was inexcusable how poorly prepared we were, given the results against Nevada last year. Tedford’s record in L.A. is, if I’m not mistaken 1-10. That is completely unacceptable. I think the guys have stopped listening to Tedford and I think he is not the great tactician that I thought he was. It’s time for a new voice on top.

  • jabes

    The long term contract was an understandable move. Stability is good for college teams, and the struggles for JT at the time looked like they were against the trend not becoming the new normal. If JT was not signed, and bolted for another job, most of us would have thought it was a bad move and the stadium improvements may not have happened.

    Now, Sandy needs to replace JT to show that Cal is serious about competing for football titles.

  • rollonubears

    wasn’t there a blue and gold basketball game yesterday? how did they look? did anybody go?

    if bridgeford doesn’t get into the wsu game, i’m selling my tickets for the oregon state game.

  • rollonubears

    bridgford. i keep misspelling, but that’s understandable given how little he plays.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    I love how your WR Allen just called out and trashed you fans for riding his bro. HAHAHAHAHA…your program is out of control. I have never seen or heard of a player doing that but what does it matter. He will get away with it because Tedford is a coward who refuses to discipline him.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    I also love how your backup RB just twittered that there are deep political issues on the team which have lead to the losses. I guess that’s more information than the beatwriters will ever get from following the team. You guys are right back to the bottom of the Pac.

  • Steve W

    It’s funny that no one seems bothered by MoreNC’s posts anymore because he is drowning in the chorus of disassatisfied Cal fans who now agree that Tedford has lost control of his program and his players.

    You have lost your shock value, bro. And I think you made up that crap about the twitter.

  • David

    Unfortunately the Twitter thing is true

  • Juancho

    Can someone paste in here what they tweeted?

  • Rollonubears

    Here’s the thing. He’s upset because he thinks people are being too hard on his brother. The reality is, fans aren’t being hard on Maynard at all. I have no doubt he’s giving it his best effort. I’m mad at jt for leaving him in when he’s struggling and giving nobody else a chance to right the ship. The same thing with longshore, as cam Jordan tweeted. We the fans, alumni, and the players, are sick of a coach who refuses to give guys a chance. When you hear boos, just like in the longshore era, and the Riley era, it’s because we are booing the coach, not the player. And if you see maynard out there again, especially after
    Making more mistakes, don’t take offense zm or ka, it’s for jt.

  • go8ears

    “KAAdeuce1 Keenan Allen
    Hero when its all good,but when sh*t goin bad you are the only one to be blamed,jus make sure yall don’t jump on the bandwagon when its good”

  • Kent Wilson

    Funny to see fans talk about Bowl chances…Cal only has 3 wins against FBS opponents…remember Presbyterian victory does not count towards Bowl eligibility. Cal needs 3 more wins (7-5 record) to gain a bowl berth…not looking likely at this point.

  • Juancho

    Keenans tweet isnt too bad. I was afraid it was worse than that. Its understandable.

  • H8sRed

    Kent – your repetitive posts on this subject are beyond annoying, especially since I’m not the first to correct you. If you don’t know the rules, quit trying to cite them. A win against ONE FCS opponent counts towards bowl eligibility. A win against a second FCS opponent does not. So Cal needs to go 6-6 to go to a bowl game; although given their less than stellar play and the fact AT&T is at best a neutral site, who knows if they’ll get there.

  • Kent Wilson

    Teflon Teford as I like to call him is finally catching some heat! I have been stating for at least 3 years now, that Tedford team have consistently UNDERACHIEVED in terms of on field performance each year since 2005.

    On this same message board I have mentioned numerous times how Tedford led teams are not living up to expectations. I kept reminding fans that despite winning 8, 10 and 9 games in ’05, ’06, and ’08, that there was a troubling trend that Cal did not have one single victory over a team in which Cal was the underdog. In additiona, I noted that Cal typically would have two losses against teams in which Cal was conisdered to be a solid favorite. Thus having a 8-4, 10-3 or 9-4 seasons looked great in the Cal record books, considering the schools relative lack of success for its football program…the local media and many fans, continued to hail Tedford as the 2nd coming of Knute Rockne and were giddy of bowl appearances of the likes of the Las Vegas Bowls, Insight Bowl, Kraft Bowl, etc. Meanwhile, I kept thinking that Tedford had a 5 year period (2004 to 2009) when he had assembled the best talent that the football program had ever seen…and yet the on field performance never lived up to the expectations. The 2007 season reprsented one of the worst coaching jobs in the past decade on a national level. That Cal team featured 12 future NFL players and yet finished the regular season at 6-6. I’d argue that only Florida’s Urban Meyer’s 2010 season rivaled such a clear waste of talent.

    But I am going to review each of Teflon Tedford seasons…and you decide how the program has evolved.

    2002:
    Tedford 1st season…finished with a 7-5 record. Team was 3-2 as a favorite, but was 4-3 as an underdog. The four wins as underdog included surprising victories over 13.5pt favorite Michigan St. 11pt favorite UW both games on the road. Cal did suffer two bad losses to Air Force and Arizona where Cal was favored to win both games by double digit spread. Overall, 2002 has to be considered an excellent start for new coach Tedford.

    2003:
    Team finished 8-6 which included a thrilling victory over Va. Tech in the Insight Bowl. Cal was a mediocre 4-4 as a favorite, but to be fair…all four losses were to teams in which Cal was only a slight (1 or 2 pt) favorite. As an underdog, Cal was an outstanding 4-2…which includes Tedford career signature win over #1 ranked USC in triple overtime. Overall, the season is consider a success and Cal is a program widely considered to be on the rise. Tedford is starting to be able to recruit to talent to Berkeley.

    2004:
    Cal finished 10-2…and probably gained more national respect in the only regular season loss to #1 USC, in a game in which Cal dominated both lines of scrimmage but lost the game due to special team play. The loss of USC was Cal’s only game as an underdog. Cal finished 10-1 as a favorite. The lone loss as a favorite was to Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl. Tedford clearly did not have the Cal team ready to play as they were disappointed not to receive a Rose Bowl invitataion. The Holiday Bowl also showed signed of questionable game planning for Tedford (observers have 2nd guessed Tedford decision to feature a passing attack despite losing its top 3 WRs for the game). Overall, the 2004 season was the most successful for the Cal football program in the past 50 years and Tedford deserves much of credit.

    2005:
    Cal finishes 8-4 in a year in which they were favored to win 10 of the 12 games they played. Cal goes 8-2 as a favorite and losess both games at underdogs to USC and Oregon. Overall, Cal season is below expectations, but their remains strong optimism around the program as Cal is starting to recruit top level talent in greater numbers.

    2006:
    Cal finishes 10-3, in a year in which Cal was favored to win 12 games. Once again Cal losses in its only game as an underdog (vs USC). Cal finishes 10-2 as a favorite. The loss to Tennessee to open the season, was embarrasing, but forgivable given the fact that Cal was starting a new QB. The loss to Arizona ended up costing the Bears the elusive Rose Bowl invitation. Overall, the season is a bit below expectatins because of the unexpected loss to Arizona and the lack of a signature win (Tennessee or USC). However, Tedford continues to recruit top talent and Cal is still considerd a nationally relevant program.

    2007:
    Cal finishes at 7-6. Going 6-4 as a favorite and 1-2 as an underdog. This is the year Cal starts the season at 5-0 with victory as a road underdog against Oregon on national TV. Cal rises to #2 in the polls and then it all blows up. Starting with freshman QB Kevin Riley allowing to be tackled in bounds with no time outs when the team was in FG range. Tedford was criticized by national “experts” by not reminding his freshman QB to avoid being tackled in bounds or by taking a FG attempt on the final play. Team implodes with in-fighting over Tedfords’ handling of QB (playing the ineffective and injured Junior QB vs. more effective frehman QB. Team did not ever recover and arguably the most talented team Cal program has ever compiled ended a disappointing 7-6. Overall, just a poor on-field performance for Tedford and his staff. One of the worst performance for such a talented team in recent memory. 12 Cal players from this team went on the play in the NFL.

    2008:
    Team finished 9-4. Cal went 9-2 as a favorite and lost both games in which they were an underdog. (sounds familiar). The loss to Maryland on the road was another embarrassing loss on nationnal TV for the Tedford Bears. The only other loss as a favorite was to Arizona and Cal was only a slight favorite. So, this season, is a bit disappointing because of the lack of a signature win and the embarrasing loss to Maryland.

    2009:
    Cal finishes 8-5. Cal was favored in 11 games…and won only 7. On the positive Cal, did win a game as an underdog for only the 2nd time in 5 years. Cal defeated Stanford when Stanford was heavily favored team. Overall, a very disappointing season because of winning only 7 games when Cal was a solid favorite for 11 games.

    2010:
    Cal finishes 5-7…but Cal was favored in only 7 games and they won 5 of those 7 games. Cal suffered another embarrassment on national TV when it lost to Nevada. Cal was 0-5 in games in which they were the underdog. Cal wsa only a slight favorite against Nevada, but by losing decisively to a non-BCS opponent only damaged the Cal reputation. Another season that ended below expectation for Tedford.

    2011:
    Thus far Cal is 4-4 and has been favored in 5 games. Cal’s loss this past weekend, was the first loss as a favorite. Cal has lost all 3 games when they were an underdog…although Washington was only favored by 1 point over Cal. Overall, this season is shaping up to be very similar to the past 6 seasons.

    Overall, my assessment of Tedford is he had excellent initial 3 years as the head coach fromm 2002 – 2004. But if you look at EVERY year since 2004, you can argue that the ON-FIELD performance has been BELOW expectations for each season. To be fair, you have to give Tedford credit for raising the expectations around the cal football program as Cal was typically favored to win 11 of 13 games between 2004 and 2009. Clearly Tedford has been able to assemble players that have the talent so the program is exepcted to win 85%+ of their games.

    However, in my assessment, its clear that Tedford has been able to lead these teams to perform at levels that consistently match their high expectations.

    After his 10+ year tenure as Cal’s head coach, I think we have seen enough of his coaching skills such that it unlikely to believe that Tedford can lead a Cal team that will consistently live up to high expectations.

    The question I have for Sandy Barbour and the Cal administration, is do they really want to pressure of a football program with high expectations?

  • Dan

    Kent W @ #49- very strong post. Man you must be exhausted but hopefully feel a little better for venting a bit and making a compelling point.

    I do think you have one major oversight or omission in the strong case you are making. You really don’t detail the absolutely humiliating and inexplicable blowouts against the SCs, Oregons, now Stanford, amongst others. It’s one thing to lose, but to be so absolutely uncompetitive is unforgivable. That ia the newer part of this equation over the past 3-4 seasons that we never saw before. Tedford lost a lot of disappointing games that a good coach would have won, but they were virtually always close and competitive.

    As I have written on here many times over the past 4-5 seasons, NOONE does less with what he has than Tedford. I used say that was true within the conference. That now could be true in all FBS. Truly disappointing, frustrating, pathetic. I don’t know he takes all that money in good conscious anymore.