Football: Bears reflect, look ahead to USC

A few quick notes off coach Jeff Tedford’s post-practice Sunday interview session.

Disclaimer: I was not at the media session, thanks to a flight cancellation on an “AA”irline that will go nameless, forcing me to return home via flights to JFK-New York (with a 3-hour layover), then LAX, then SFO. An 18-hour funfest, and I still had to go pick up my car this morning at the San Jose Airport.

Anyway, here are a few highights taken from Cal’s video of the 11-minute news conference:

— Tedford expressed confidence in placekicker Vincenzo D’Amato, who missed three field goals at Ohio State, including a potential game-winner from 42 yards. “We’ll work Vince hard this week. He kicks very well in practice. He’s hitting the ball clean,” Tedford said. “We’ll work hard from the left hashmark this week.”

— Tailback Brendan Bigelow will “absolutely” get more opportunity in the wake of his 160-yard, two-touchdown effort at Columbus, according to Tedford. “There’s only one ball on the field, but I think he proved . . . we kind of know he’s got big-play potential and he played really well the other day,” Tedford said.

— Tedford gave solid marks to the offensive line for its run blocking, but was not specifically asked about pass blocking (where they allowed six sacks). “They played above average in the run game,” he said. “That was a big, physical (Ohio State) group up front and I thought they did a decent job. They need to continue to improve.”

— Eliminating penalties was an emphasis in the week preceeding the Ohio State game and Tedford said the game was “definitely” the most disciplined performance of the season in that regard. Just four penalties (all on the offense), three of which came on one series. “That was a focus going in . . . eliminate the penalties and I thought we did that for the most part.”

— Steffan Mos shared the punting job with freshman Cole Leininger, Tedford explained, because he wanted a left-footed kicker to try a couple rugby punts so he could get a specific roll. One went well (57 yards), the next not so well (18 yards). Leininger averaged 47.0 on three punts.

— No definitive word on tight end Spencer Hagan, who suffered a right knee injury. Was scheduled to undergo an MRI when swelling subsides. Will provide an update as soon as it’s available. Seems like he will be out for a while, at least.

— Tedford said USC with star wideouts Robert Woods and Marqise Lee will provide a supreme challenge on Saturday. “(They are) very explosive, very fast, physical, break tackles,” he said. “You give them an inch and they can take it a long way on you. It’s going to be challenging to hold those guys in check. (Quarterback Matt) Barkley, as experienced as he is, puts the ball where it needs to be and those guys are great players . . . two of the top receivers in the country.”

— On any “silver linings” that came out of the game, Tedford said, “It’s always discouraging to play that hard and be so close and not come away with the win, especially when the stat sheet says you did a lot of good things. But that doesn’t count. The scoreboard’s the only thing that counts.

“But I’m fired up about who we were (Saturday) and the heart and perseverance and determination in a tough game like that. We just need to make sure we clean up some of the big plays and assignments. There’s a lot there to work with and a lot to improve on. There’s some silver lining because you came away with some confidence that you play in hostile environments against good teams. I thought we played well most of the game.”


Jeff Faraudo

  • F the “stat sheet” Tedford.

    The “stat sheet” has often favored Cal in games they’ve recently lost. That is a major problem, not a silver lining at all. Uggghhh…

  • daredevilfan

    I’m sorry if I’m insensitive, but a field goal kicker only has 2 things to do, 2 things to practice, each day, every day. I understand a miss here or there, and some nerves here or there. But if you can’t hit the broad side of a barn in a game where others are risking their long-term health each and every play and usually playing in a lot of pain, then I don’t have any confidence and I don’t want to take up extra coaching time to try to fix what should already be working. There’s got to be some other option out there.

  • Juancho

    I guess the good news is that Cal has a top kicking recruit coming in next year. That gentleman will probably be starting right off the bat, a la Leininger.

  • ConcordBear

    It will be a battle at PK next year because there is a very good transfer on the roster that can’t play this year because of NCAA rules.
    Vince needs to pick himself up and learn from the problems at OSU. PK is a key position in football and we need a guy to step up there this year to help us win. Hope he can do it and rooting for him to turn it around.
    We’ve been beat up by SC for many years in a row now, hoping for the best but not confident at all.
    Sorry about your long trip home JF, thanks for the updates.

  • Larry

    I want to kick Matt Barkly in the balls.

  • Will L

    Coach, working hard with D’Amato is not the issue. It’s playing aggressive, bold, play-to-win football. You wonder why people keep asking about the 4th and 1 decision to punt? Because it was such a timid and even irrational decision: 1) guy missed badly from the left hash 2X and he was already looking like he had zero confidence for the third one – while you saw it as putting faith in him, it’s akin to allowing a pitcher to be hung out to dry, don’t put it on him anymore; 2) there’s more than 4 minutes left, 3 points will not win the game and could even lose it. Seek to close out a game, not put it in the opponent’s hands; opponents love that kind of second chance, same with Big Game 2009; 3) why call TO to freeze own kicker?; 4) why burn the clock — if you don’t have ability to burn it to under 1 minute, it’s to your disadvantage to do it — just like against Nevada we ran on 3rd and long, and burned valuable clock so that we had very little time for a comeback. Coach — play to win, go for it, let’s try and beat the Trojans, not play to keep it close and then put it on the Trojans make a mistake. That’s not very bold or imaginative football. The fear of losing is what’s causing us to lose every time. I hope you realize that’s why people keeping asking. It’s not about Vince D’Amato, it’s about you not being bold and ultimately not being confident in your offense to gain 1 yard. Have more faith, coach.

  • CalBearister

    “We’ll work Vince hard this week. He kicks very well in practice. He’s hitting the ball clean,” Tedford said. “We’ll work hard from the left hashmark this week.”

    Is it just me, or does anyone else think someone should clue Coach Tedford into the fact that some guys just don’t have the mental toughness to take it from the practice field to game day? I mean isn’t this the same thing he says about every underachiever who costs the team games because Tedford won’t bench them?

  • Juancho

    San jose state got a vote in the top 25 poll. Coach macintyre is going to be the next brady hoke and get plucked away to a major program. Amazing what hes done in san jose.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    You left out the “go for it” quote, Jeff (the travel, no doubt).

    “When its 28-28 on the scoreboard and there are four minutes left to play, we are going to go for it. We wanted to put some points on the board.”

    Tedford’s go for it means something different than what we were thinking at that 4 minute mark.

  • Rollonubears

    There is no changing this coach. I really thought he had become a new man in this game, until that call. Now i’m convinced he will never change. I longer have fun watching cal football. The best you can hope for is for the team to win in spite of the coach. That’s not worth 3million bucks to me.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Rollon, the Giants won a WS in spite of Bochy. Crazier things have happened.

    And don’t look now, but freshman Turek may start at left Tackle for U$C against Cal. I can’t imagine Clancy not taking a page from Stanfurd and using pressure to counter the dynamic WRs of the toejams. There will be at least some enjoyment coming Sat.

  • daredevilfan

    What’s the matter with you Coach Tedford? His response, “nothing what’s D’amato you”? Am heading up to SC game this weekend, hoping Tedford catchs the flu and Gould can take over….

  • Rollonubears

    Wisdom, that’s a great point, although bochy was incredible in the playoffs. Finally playing small ball. It was like bizarro bochy. Just like tedford at oh state. Until that horrible call.

  • Yoda

    Wisdom Cow, the Giants won a World Series in part because Bochy managed that team perfectly. You are not better at baseball strategy than he is, you just think you are.

    Tedford isn’t proclaiming confidence in D’Amato because he has any. He’s doing it because he doesn’t have a replacement he can put in at kicker. And that’s on him, but don’t confuse the two things folks.

    Tedford has basically lost his balls and that decision not to go for it was just the latest example.

  • Juancho

    Wisdom my wise and bovine friend. As a youth baseball coach i feel strong about this. Bochy nanaged that team perfectly.

    He rode the hot bats by alternating burrell and ross et al. He made the tough decision to not put zito on the playoff roster.

    And his management of the pitching staff snd bullpen was nearly impeccable.

  • tokuno

    Why, on 3rd down preceding the final missed field goal, did the play go left to plant the ball on the left hash mark?
    If Tedford was even considering a 4th down field goal, wouldn’t it have made sense to stack the deck and run a play to the right side?

  • Juancho

    Good point tokuno. Ohio states best defensive player is their defensive tackle. So why they were hell bent on running up the hill with everyone not named bigelow confused me.

    Ive been a broken drum in this. But had tedford rode the hot hand and given bigelow the second half we win the game. He was afraid to ride the hot hand. You gibe bigelow the ball if you run that third and 1. In coaching you ride the hot hand. If you lose you do so with guts. You give yiur best players the chance to win it.

    You dont give your worst player all the responsibility to not lose it. Damato.

    Daredevil i noninate your post for the first ever beartalk blog awards.

    Jf how soon can you start dishing out awards.

  • daredevilfan

    Tokuno, great point, that left hash was a disaster, and “at a minimum” he should have run the 3rd down play to avoid that.

    Juancho, thanks for not making fun of my 3rd grade humor. I thought it might be fitting for my blog-buddies.

  • Juancho

    Here are my grades through the first three games.

    Qb- no significant improvement or regression. Gumby had a good game last sabbath but the first two weeks were scoops of rocky road.

    Rb- through week three i give the unit a -1 compared to last year. Bigelow did a lot saturday. But on the whole week 1 and 2 were pretty dissapointing. I think compared to last year we expected isi and cj to come out on fire.

    Oline- also -1. Way worse than last year. Injuries. Players shuffling positions. Not much push for the run game. And gumby has been under pressure all season. Not to mention the horrible ball snapping.

    Wr- +1. So far so good. I didnt expect this much from harper. I predicted powe would be the best as a freshman. Keenan has been his reliable self. Compared to last tear were better so far.

    Te- no difference. All tgat talk of the patriots visit was a good pr move. But thats it. Rodgers has potential. But he reminds me of anthony miller in that he looks a little heavy. You compare him to toilolo or ertz down at the university that gelped bring a decade of war and its night and day.

    Fb- no difference.

  • Juancho

    D line- -1 so far. Had more pressure and anility to stop the run last year. Coleman has been a non factor. Moose jalil played better than him last year.

    Lb- -1. Kendricks has t been replaced and lots of injuries to boot. But loads of young talent. Camporele like i predicted is essentially out of the rotation. Give the youngsters the experience. Happy with mccain so far. We need guys who show fire snd keep their teammates acvountable.

    Cb- -1. Steve williams has really regressed. Hes gotten picked apart. Anthony looks good still. Hill looks the same. But williams regressing and no stef mcclure and were a little worse off.

    S- no noticeable difference. Though i wonder whats up with avery sebastian. Cant believe hes still not playing. Whats up there ?

    Special teams- -1.

    Jeff faurado- +1. Theres no question jeffs been really flying around out there. The constant posts hit the spot. Even expanded to include more sports.

    Blog commenters- were at +1 as well. More activity this year than last. And less personal attacks.

  • rotfogel


    D Line hasn’t been that good so far, I agree.

    The passes completed against Steve Williams were perfectly thrown balls, nobody could have played defense against those…he did get a potential game winning pick.

    Alex Logan had one really bad play, but he hits hard and can be an enforcer type player.

    Richard Rogers is very much like Vernon Davis, now I see what Tedford saw in him (he will have big days, hopefully this week).

    Really like what I am seeing out of Brennan Scarlet, it’s easy to see why the coaches are high on him, he’s going to have a great career.

  • Oldcalfan

    Maybe these losses and potential beatdowns (USC, Oregon,Stanford and UCLA) will get Tedford fired. That could be the best thing that happens this season.
    If Tedford turns it around (highly unlikely) he will deserve some credit.

  • Juancho

    Fyi i tried to go to dennys to try that build a burger. The one i went to in san francisco isnt particupating. So someone else is going to have to take on that research.

  • A-Dubble

    Its USC game week. Where is Moren?? Oh yeah that’s right……

  • The Wisdom Cow

    A slighty rebuttal, I’m fine with Bochy being “perfect” in the playoffs, but the 2010 season? Seriously? Rowand, Tejada, and Guillen? It so closely mirrors Tedford’s gimpy Longshore season it does hold a reasonable comparison.

    Too many people are results driven regarding decisions. Had Tedford gone for it and failed, many would have questioned it, but the decision would still have been correct. Just as going for the field goal, and making it, would have been wrong, and likely still resulted in a loss.

  • Eric

    So my Cal buddy who teaches at Toledo University attended the game. This is what he wrote:

    “The OSU band play our fight song and wrote Cal. It was pretty cool.

    After a few days of thought, we played a good game though it seems the Buckeyes were a better team. We lost the game when Tedford wussed out and went for that damn FG. Even the buckeye fans were shocked we didn’t run the ball.

    The coaching is really bugging me. Of course, I’m preaching to the choir.”

  • MoreNCsarecoming


    Kudos. For once a UCB state fan speaks the truth.

    In the 2004 USC game we win the game but the UCB state fans get on the internet and proclaim victory in everything except for the final score.

    Stats mean nothing except it gives losers a chance to couch the real truths.

    Your coach is old and tired.
    Your program is a disgrace.
    Your fans are the most ignorant in the Pac 12
    You are closer to being as bad as Colorado than you are being as good as UCLA or UW.

  • BlueNGold

    There is an interesting article on yahoo sports today (Wednesday) about the poor records among college place kickers so far this season. Apparently its happening to a lot of teams. Seems that the completion percentage is way down from last year, and much worse than its been for several years.

  • Adubble

    MoroN you didn’t go to U$C. Why do you insist on using the word WE to describe the winning team in 2004.

    Your trolling is old and tired.
    Your life is a disgrace.
    When USC loses, you are the most ignorant fan in the NCAA.
    You are closer to being as much of a doosh as Lane Kiffin than you are to being a weasel like Steve Sarkesian.