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Football: Southern Utah preview

Can we learn anything about the Cal football team Saturday against Southern Utah?

Coach Jeff Tedford said the Bears will look inward in evaluating their performance against the Thunderbirds, a Football Championship Subdivision foe.

“It’s about us, it’s about our execution, not making mental mistakes,” said Tedford, whose team fell 31-24 to Nevada in its opener last Saturday, the debut of renovated Memorial Stadium. “It’s not so much about who’s in the other uniform.”

The Southern Utah game triggers a stretch of three Saturdays where many fans may see little drama regarding the outcome of Cal’s games. The Bears are overwhelming favorites against the Thunderbirds, but will be significant underdogs at Ohio State and USC.

Is a 1-3 start inevitable? Are the Bears a sure bet this weekend, but absolutely doomed the next two?

Of course, they aren’t looking at it that way.

“After the loss last week, I don’t think that’s going to be a problem. I don’t think it matters who we’re going to play,” center Brian Schwenke said. “It really comes down to how we play as a team. I think we have the tools to beat any opponent.”

The next three weeks will tell.

Here is my game preview and facts and figures on Saturday’s matchup.

SOUTHERH UTAH AT CAL

RECORDS: Cal 0-1, Southern Utah 0-1.

KICKOFF: Noon Saturday, Memorial Stadium, Berkeley.

TV: Pac-12 Network Bay Area

RADIO: 810-AM

SERIES HISTORY: First meeting.

STORYLINES: Coming off a 31-24 loss to Nevada in the opening of renovated Memorial Stadium, the Bears will try to regroup against the Thunderbirds, a  Football Championship Subdivision opponent playing a Pac-12 team for the first time . . . The Bears expect to make strides in all areas, but specifically their running game and third-down defense . . . The game is a homecoming for four Bay Area players on the Southern Utah roster, including starting linebackers Rickey Clark Jr., of Hayward and Namari Flentroy of Richmond, each of whom had 13 tackles last week in a 34-3 loss to Utah State.

INJURY UPDATE: Cal — DE Mustafa Jalil (knee) is questionable; OT Matt Summers-Gavin (knee), ILB David Wilkerson (ankle), ILB Khairi Fortt (knee), OG Dominic Galas (shoulder), CB Stefan McClure (knee) are out. Southern Utah — FS Tommy Collett (knee) is questionable.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal’s secondary vs. Southern Utah quarterback Brad Sorensen. The Bears’ veteran secondary did not come close to intercepting a pass last week against Nevada’s Cody Fajardo. The DBs will get plenty of opportunities against Sorensen, who is regarded as a pro prospect and threw 54 passes in one game last season. The Bears hope to apply pressure up front, which could force some early or errant throws.

STATS THAT MATTER: Cal has played five FCS teams during coach Jeff Tedford’s tenure, winning by a combined margin of 257-41 . . . Southern Utah had lost 18 straight games when Ed Lamb was hired as coach for the 2008 season. The Thunderbirds are 21-23 on his watch . . . Cal’s 11 tackles for loss (totaling 25 yards) vs. Nevada lead the nation after one week.

Jeff Faraudo

  • Easy Ed

    I hate to be a downer but I don’t give a crap at this point!

  • calbearclaw

    So Southern Utah somehow manages to field a pro prospect quarterback and we have Zach Maynard? Great.

  • rollonubears

    i didn’t realize fajardo was the freshman of the year last year, for his league. that’s kind of a big deal. maybe he’s a dark horse nfl candidate. just proves the point that QB means everything. And further frustrates me that we’ve got 4 able-bodied 4-stars riding pine.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Daddy just said that he is disconnecting his phone because too many of his college buddies are calling him up offering him comp tickets for this double layered cupcake of a game.

    He said his friends are more frustrated than he is because no one wants the tickets.

    HAHAHAHAHA…what a bunch of losers.

  • A-Dubble

    Let’s just fast forward to next weekend so we can see how bad we REALLY are..

  • MikeD

    ya, not much to learn here that will be good/sustainable, but plenty to learn if things go bad. weeks 3 and 4 are where we really see if the chronic sunshine pumping from JT is just a case of his lips moving. I get that he feels he needs to constantly pump a good message, but there is plenty good in motivating a team with a message that they need to strap it on, and that mistakes won’t be tolerated. see Mike Leach and “their fat little girlfriends”. I’m of the belief that JT pumps this sunshine 24/7 into the team, and that the reason they come out flat and uninspired is that they are led to believe that all is well, practices are super, we are well prepared – which in the end is all a large ration of crap.

  • rollonubears

    maybe this is all part of a master plan to spend 4 weeks prepping for u$c. if tomorow doesn’t matter, and we’re getting blown out at the shoe anyway, why not take a crack at the pac12 title by spending the rest of the time prepping for it?

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    BTW what is up with your DC calling out players by name. That is how you lose a team.

    Unbelievable bunch of rookies.

  • David Swartz

    Why don’t you ever talk about baseball or basketball? Oh yeah…

    USC baseball: lost 15 of last 16 games
    USC men’s basketball: lost 19 of last 20 games

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    The USC Trojans are arguably the most dominant program in the history of college baseball: With 12 baseball national championships, USC is far and away the leader in that category (no other school has more than 6). Since 1924, the Trojans have compiled a record of 2,221-1,093-15 (.669) against college opponents, and have captured outright or tied for 38 conference championships. USC’s most notable baseball coach was Rod Dedeaux, coaching from 1942–86, who led the school to 11 of its NCAA crowns, including 5 straight from 1970-74.

    National Championships
    1948, 1958, 1961, 1963, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1978, 1998

    CWS Appearances
    1948, 1949, 1951, 1955, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1978, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2001

    NCAA Tournament Appearances
    1948, 1949, 1951, 1954, 1955, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1984, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    #9 – David

    At USC we say “What is basketball?”

  • 707 Bear

    I leave the 707 for Memorial with one thought: We still have a chance to go to the Rose Bowl.

    Saturdays in the fall means college football.

    Go Bears!

  • gobears49

    Rollonubears,

    Out of the four QB 4-stars riding the bench, three are Elite 11 QB’s, which means they were each judged to be among the top 11 QB’s in the nation coming out of high school.

  • ScottyBear

    Tedford is starting to remind me of Obama. Same old approach, same tired predictable play calling, same results but no new game plan. Talks about his team in the third person, says they need to get better, need to execute, stop making mistakes, bleh bleh bleh.

    My take is Tedford has gotten fat and happy with his $2+ million salary and his new 8,000 sq. ft house in Blackhawk and no longer has the drive to flex his kahunas. So pedestrian and predictable now as a coach. With all the NFL talent he has had at Cal, the past 4-5 years have been a failure, especially in big important games on the road. It’s a beautiful fall Saturday afternoon here in the bay area, and I can’t justify wasting another unproductive four hours watching Tedford’s disconnected product on the field.