Cal Player: Humidity Got Us
[I am a believer in transparency, so here is the deal: The following quote was said by Cal linebacker Zach Follett, not the Cal tight end, as I had earlier posted. There is a representative from either school who types of quote sheets from the opposing locker room after the game. I spent all my time with Maryland, obviously, and not with Cal. I typed up the quote sheet from Cal and put it on the blog. But the quote was inaccurately attributed to Cal TE Tad Smith instead of LB Zach Follett. The reason I know it was wrong is because colleague Steve Yanda spent all his time with Cal, and he just called to tell me. Unfortunately, the AP story, which runs in many papers across the country, has the quote inaccurately attributed to Smith instead of Follett. I regret the error and confusion.]
A lot was made of California’s decision to arrive on the East Coast at 4 p.m. on Friday, exactly 20 hours before the ball was kicked off at Byrd Stadium. Coach Jeff Tedford said the Golden Bears could not do a walk-through Friday at Byrd Stadium because of the rain, so they used Maryland’s practice field. But another factor that Cal tight end Tad Smith talked about was the heat and humidity. The temperature was in the 80s at kickoff and I thought it felt a little muggy outside.
“It was tough,” said Follett. “The offense was not firing in the first three quarters and the defense was playing a little sluggish. To tell you the truth, this humidity was tough. With this heat and humidity, I was over-heating in the game but I think once we got our second wind as a defense in the second half, it was easier to feel more grounded. I don’t think the trip did anything to us. This was a tough heat to battle. We are not used to this humidity and they kind of had the advantage there.”
Cal linebacker Worrell Williams said the travel and the heat, “all that psychological stuff, subconsciously, it plays a factor.” And when asked how Maryland compared to the team they had watched on film, Williams said: “They were 10 times better” than they were on film.
This looked like a typical Cal team yesterday. Once they start looking good, people fill up the bandwagon just in time for the Golden Bears to lay a giant golden egg. Over the past few years, we’ve been waiting for Cal to seriously challenge USC in the Pac-10. That didn’t happen. And when Cal climbed to No. 2 in the rankings last season, they hobbled to a 1-6 finish, doomed by chemistry issues and a variety of factors. I had reservations about climbing aboard the Jeff Tedford train this season, even after the sound performances in the first two games. But I thought this could be the second or third best team in the Pac-10. Now I would go with Oregon to finish second in the conference.
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