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Football: Bears, Longhorns ready to play

The two coaches who will lead Cal and Texas into Wednesday’s Holiday Bowl sat alongside one another at a morning press conference, and Mack Brown of the Longhorns opened with a humorous but frank monologue.

“It’s really unique in this press conference that you’d sit next to the opposing coach and everybody says, `What do you think of their quarterback?’

`He’s great.’

`What about their receivers?’

`They’re really good.’

“I can’t answer things about the other team,” Brown said. “I think it’s the only time we’ve ever done this. Most coaches aren’t speaking the day before a game to each other, much less braggin on each other when we get up here.”

So, with that bit of honesty as a backdrop, I can tell you both coaches were polite, cooperative and detailed in their answers during a 37-minute podium interview session, then took a few more questions in smaller groups afterward.

But there wasn’t any dirt thrown around on the eve of kickoff.

   – Both teams appear to be as healthy as they’ve been in some time. Brown and Cal coach Jeff Tedford both said all of their players who weren’t previously ruled out for the season are ready to play.

   — Tedford is weary of continuing questions about the 2004 controversy involving Brown and the Rose Bowl. It was a long time ago, he said, and it’s not a topic of conversation with him or his players.

“I think most people have let it go,” Tedford said. “While the fans still have some bitterness about it, the guys on our team right now were 10 years old when that happened.”

Well, 12 or 14, anyway.

“I’m hoping (fans) are intense about the game, not sitting there in their seats saying, `Back in 2004 . . .’ I’m going to yell louder right now. It happened a long time ago. It was unfortunate, but we’re in a whole new day.”

   – Cal and Texas have not played since 1970, but this is not the first time Tedford and Brown dueled as coaches. Tedford was offensive coordinator at Oregon in 2000 when the Ducks played the Longhorns in the Holiday Bowl.

“They were loaded,” Tedford said.

An NFL scout stopped by Oregon’s practice one day and Tedford asked him how the Longhorns were looking.

“You don’t stand a chance,” the scout told him.

Oregon won 35-30.

“I’ll never forget that,” Tedford said. “I let that scout know every time I see him, too, for scaring me to death like that.”

Tedford has gotten no pro scouting reports this time. But does he feel the Bears are on more of a level playing field with Texas now?

“We’ll see,” he said. “It’s going to be interesting because you watch them on tape and you see a lot of really   good things. It’ll be interesting to see how we match up with them.”

 – The star of that Oregon victory over Texas was quarterback Joey Harrington, named MVP after throwing for two touchdowns, running for one and catching. It drives Brown a little crazy that Harrington now works for the Longhorns  Network.

   – The Longhorns are 4-0 all-time vs. Cal, but were ranked in the top-10 nationally each time. The combined score of the four games: 134 to 18, with two shutouts.

   – Tedford hopes the Bears don’t show game rust at the start of things Wednesday night.

“After a month, we may start out a little slow,” he said. “But we can’t afford to do that against a team like Texas.”

In fact, a fast start could perpetuate the momentum each team took into the break following the regular season. Cal has won three of its past four games, Texas has dropped three of four.

   — Texas freshman cornerback Quandre Diggs, the brother of San Diego Chargers standout Quentin Jammer, will have big brother’s locker Wednesday night at Qualcom Stadium.

   -- Asked about the importance of the Holiday Bowl to both teams, Brown said, “For both of us, it’s a whole lot better to be 8-5 than it is to be 7-6. It looks better, smells better, tastes better.

“Neither one of us is playing for the standards that we like to play for. But we still have teams that are much better than last year and obviously want to win the game.”

Jeff Faraudo

  • rollonubears

    Not a lot of hype for this game, or any of the bowl games this year. Seems kind of strange. I hope we win, but from the lack of coverage here, and in all of the papers, i’m thinking i might be the only one watching.

  • nickle

    Bowl game coverage has been seriously disappointing.

  • RobBEAR

    Don’t know about your locations but last night in The Gaslamp District in SD, it was about 20:1 when comparing Cal fans to Texas ones. Hope this fires up the team coming out of the tunnel. GO BEARS!

  • CALiforniALUM

    I wonder if the sheer number of bowls is starting to erode the product of post season play. One can’t also wonder whether college football’s recent issues (Penn St, Ohio St, USC, Auburn, Oregon etc…) have caste a long dark shadow over the bowl season. Can you tell me who won the Belk Bowl this week? Did you even know there was a Belk Bowl? Why not just make the Belk Bowl just one more OOC game and only let deserving teams play in the post season (and yes, teams that barely clear .500 season records don’t add much to the post season).

  • Rocko

    What we have is an unranked team – CAL against Texas which is ranked something like 23rd. They are both 7-5 teams. It is what it is: a mediocre bowl. Outside of the Bay Area and Austin, nobody cares. Yes, there are too many bowls. However, a win by CAL will help our recruiting more than Texas, which already has four times the commits as we have.

  • SteveNTEXAS

    I am totally shocked that there is absolutely no interest in this game in Texas. I have 400 UT attorneys on my facebook and perhaps another 100 UT non attorneys. Normally before every game even preconference out of state cupcakes – there are hundreds of Texas posts. I hate going through the feed on those days.

    Now there are NONE. There was one reply to to a post I made on another page about rooting for Cal over Texas but I don’t understand this.

    I suppose much of this is because of the dismal season UT had. There are actually calls for Mack Brown to resign but those are in the minority. I can’t further explain why this game is being totally ignored. The Cowboys are mediocre- the Mavs are horrible – there is not much else going on and many Texans are not working or have enough time at work to take an interest.

  • SteveNTEXAS

    Frankly I always dreaded the day Cal played UT. I was rabid vs Mack Brown in the years after 2004. I wore my Cal hat around when I was campaigning for the school board. I knew I would catch HELL if Texas won and honestly Texas has had a better team most years. The upside is Texas sucks this year and Texas fans are quiet about beating anyone.

  • Uh Huh!

    Hey Steve:
    My cousin in Austin played for TX football and I have been writing him letting him know how badly I and other Cal fans feel we MUST win this game as revenge for 2004. I haven’t hardly gotten anything in response. I think they view us as a mid-major at Haas. Why bother.

    Rollon: I disagree with you about not a lot of hype. This is the most important Cal football game EVER!

  • rollonubears

    CalAlum, I agree with your reasoning. I’m wondering if NCAA Football fatigue, in general, is setting in. It starts at the top, with an uninspiring re-match for the national championship game. Playing the rose bowl and all the other big games on january 2nd also makes little sense to me. I’ll be driving home that day and will miss them all. I actually forgot that the game was tonight, until yesterday. I do hope the players are fired up for this one, and it’s great to hear that the fans out out there in full force. Go Bears!

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Cattoused ya’ll!

  • Will

    Oh hey, this thing actually works on Chrome now!:

    MoreNCS_are_ignored and sanctioned! troll post blocked

    LOL owned!

  • MoreNCsarecoming
  • SteveNTEXAS

    MY son is President of UT Dems and he can confirm the lack of interest.

    It is not because they view Cal negatively -its because they are already disgusted with their season. No one cares about the Houston Astros either.

  • Will

    Any bets on whether Moren will be posting on NYE again, despite Greasemonkey?