Pac-10 Q&A: California coach Jeff Tedford

Posted by’s Ted Miller

Make no mistake: California coach Jeff Tedford and his team are massively disappointed by their performance at Oregon.

They entered the game ranked No. 6 in the land. With USC’s loss at Washington a week before, they had become the new Pac-10 favorite, which meant they were a national title contender.

Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Jeff Tedford said his players were eager to move on from the disappointing loss to Oregon.

They departed as 42-3 losers. Ouch.

To cut to the chase, there was nothing positive — nothing — from the performance.

But the Golden Bears don’t get to sit around and feel sorry for themselves. USC is coming to Berkeley on Saturday.

That isn’t such a bad thing. USC gets a team’s attention. No time for wallowing in disappointment.

Fact is, Cal still measures as one of the most talented teams in the nation. So, of course, does USC.

The winner won’t have to travel too far to reintroduce itself into the national picture.

The loser? Well, that might be a different story.

Considering no team has won the Pac-10 after an 0-2 start to the conference slate, it seemed like a good time to check in with Cal coach Jeff Tedford.

What did you take away from the film of the Oregon game?

Jeff Tedford: We didn’t execute very well. There were chances to do things and we had 10 guys doing it and one guy maybe he doesn’t quite do his job. It’s really important when you play a great team, who is doing really well that day in their home stadium, that you have to execute and make some plays. We didn’t. It was evident that they played great and we didn’t. That’s what happened.

Some of the Oregon defensive players said after the game that the Cal offense was predictable, that they knew what was coming: Did you get that impression and is that a concern?

JT: If they feel like they know what’s coming, then yes. Sometimes you are going to know what’s coming and you’ve got to stop it. Well, they did a good job of stopping it. You have to give them credit. They were obviously well-prepared for the game and made a lot of plays. At some point, it comes down to your guy against their guy and they did a good job of winning those battles.

How did quarterback Kevin Riley play?

JT: He made good decisions. He didn’t turn the football over. He missed with some big throws that we felt like we had the opportunity to make. But he’s playing solid. He’s running the offense very well. It’s a team effort. We need to protect him better. We need to catch the ball. We had a couple of dropped balls. But Kevin is doing fine.

Defensively, were you a little surprised that Oregon’s passing game seem to materialize out of nowhere?

JT: Yeah. I knew they had the capability. I knew [quarterback Jeremiah] Masoli is a good player. They did a nice job of throwing high-percentage, controlled balls for him. But he made some great throws. He put the balls right on the money on the sideline. He threw it down the sideline on one of the touchdowns right on the money. I know he had the capability of doing that and they were clicking. When they get that thing rolling, when he’s doing that and they are doing that, it’s a tough offense to stop.

From what you’ve seen from your guys, do you feel they have bounced back and are focused on redeeming themselves versus USC?

JT: On Sunday, I felt like the guys were anxious to move forward — learn from that one and put it behind them. I think we’re veteran enough to know that you can’t continue to think about that one when you have USC coming into town. You have to be 100 percent focused on the task at hand.

What’s your impression of Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley?

JT: He’s a great player. He can do it all. He’s mobile, he’s got a great arm, he has touch, he can throw the long ball, he’s got zip, he’s tough and obviously very smart. That is why he’s playing. He’s a great player, and he’s got a lot of talent around him.

What about the USC defense: How is it different than past years?

JT: It’s not really. It always looks the same. They always have great players who can run. A great front. Athletic linebackers. Veteran secondary. They’re as solid as can be. They’re as good as you are going to see in college football.

Is it a good thing that after such a tough loss a team like USC, which always gets guys’ attention, is coming to town?

JT: No matter who we were playing, our attention would be there. But obviously, ‘SC is a group that everybody knows what they are about. There’s always a lot of energy about the game with ‘SC. The fans are energetic. The players are energetic. It’s a great college environment. I think a lot of the enthusiasm will be there surrounding the game.

Kyle Bunch

Partnerships for R/GA Ventures. Raised in California, adopted by Texas. Opinions expressed here are mine and they are fantastic.

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