Tedford not surprised by Best
Here are some quotes from Cal Coach Jeff Tedford from his news conference in Berkeley:
On how complete the WSU win was:
It was [complete] but we still made a lot of mistakes. That was the major emphasis as we met as a team on Sunday were all the details we need to improve on if we expect to be a contender. We just didn’t play well enough. Sure the game turned out in our favor but there is a lot of detail we still need to pay attention to.
On if Jahvid Best’s performance on Saturday was a surprise:
Well, I’m not surprised. You see it every day in practice. Last year as a true freshman in camp you saw glimpses of him making huge plays. He was just getting acclimated to the offense last year when he got hurt. So now that he is an every down back, it doesn’t surprise me. He is the type of guy that can get in the open field and when he does, he can go the distance. I think one of the key things, that gets overlooked a little bit maybe, is the willingness and physicalness of our receivers [to block] downfield. Combined with Jahvid’s speed to break long runs, our secondary blocking that our receivers are providing [has allowed the big plays].
On Best improving as he gets more experience:
Yeah, you would think with every play. There are certain times when he gets tripped up in the hole where he could read his block a little differently. But I would say there is no question he is going to continue to improve.
On Best handling national attention:
I don’t really think that is an issue with Jahvid. Jahvid is a very down to earth guy and he focuses on getting better every day. He is all about team. He is not about individual recognitions. I really don’t believe that is an issue with him.
On preparing for the Maryland game:
Well, there are challenges, no question. They have changed some things schematically, especially on defense. Flying across the country provides challenges. But we’re going to try to get acclimated, get our body chemistry acclimated to East Coast. We are going to do it while we stay here. We’re playing on grass, we’re going to practice on grass. There are a few things that we have to pay attention to no question.
On what he learned from playing Illinois in 2003 in a 9 a.m. game:
We have to get our body clock going a couple of days early to make sure that when we wake up it’s not something new for us. So same type of schedule pretty much. We’re going to change a little bit on Thursday night this year but besides that it’s pretty much the same as when we played Illinois.
On Maryland’s team:
Offensively, [they have] a big time running back, a big time receiver and a very physical offensive line. Their running back is physical. He is fast. He is one of those guys that if he can get to the secondary, he can go the distance. Their receiver is a big physical guy that’s fast as well with big play potential. Defensively, the scheme is a little different this year than it was last year. They play a three-man front now and we’re still trying to learn a little about that. There is not a lot of history of it there with them, in terms of that. They have good players. Good defensive line, very good linebacking core. One of their safeties is outstanding. For the most part they are a good football team. I know they are going to be ready to play. They kind of stubbed their toe a little bit last week and they are going to be very motivated to play us for sure.
On keys for the team after two games:
That we continue to develop. That is the key. Walking away from the game, I was very disappointed with our kickoff coverage team. But after looking at the tape, on one of those we had the guy stopped between the 20 and 25 year line. He just reversed field. It was kind of a broken play, he broke out and reversed his field. On the very last one, we just didn’t cover very well. We did a little bit better this week covering. We need to continue to improve the tackling on defense. We need to catch the ball better on offense. We have got to have more production out of our passing game. There is a lot to improve on. A lot of it is detail. Just foot placement, hand placement, head placement. You name it there is a lot to improve on.
On any surprise regarding cornerback Syd’Quan Thompson’s performance:
No, I’m not surprised. He is a veteran. Not only is he a good athlete but he is a great tackler. He is a student of the game. He takes a lot of pride in studying his opponent. So, I’m not surprised. He is a quality corner, no doubt.
On Thompson as a leader:
Syd is a leader by example. Syd’s not going to say much. He is a pretty quiet guy but he is a hard worker. Again he’s focused on the team. Syd’s not about himself. He’s about doing whatever it takes to make this team successful. He’s one of those guys that’s pretty quiet but I think that everybody respects what Syd does.
On Maryland’s RB Da’Rel Scott’s similarities to Best:
Well he weighs a little bit more, a little bit more physical this way. He has great speed. I don’t know exactly what his speed is but he broke one the other day and took it down the sideline. There is no question he is a great back.
On advantages to having three byes in a season:
It gives you time to heal. It gives you time to get a jumpstart on an opponent after a bye. It gives you time to get your young players involved in what’s going on. Normally in a bye week, towards the end of the week you have your young guys scrimmage, which you don’t often have chances to do throughout the season.
On the progress on the High Performance Center:
I was amazed at how much they did in one day. We left and in one day all the trees are down. Will it affect our recruiting? I think it will. We can say with confidence and clarity that there is progress being made. We can say that this recruiting class will realize that in their time here. I do think that it will make a difference as we move forward. I am thankful for our student athletes and that they are going to have a new facility. I am grateful for the administration and all the people that have spent the time and money to get this done.
On dealing with the whole tree-sitter situation:
There have definitely been distractions. But I think you get used to it after awhile. All the nuisance, all the gates, all the different parking. When people come from out of town on an unofficial trip you always have to explain what’s going on. It’s not your normal unofficial visit. You don’t just walk up. There are other things going on here. It’s something you have to address all the time.
On wide receiver Nyan Boateng:
Nyan knows that he need to improve and wasn’t consistent enough to be the starter. I don’t think that he was disgruntled and I don’t want it to come across that he was. He understood that he needed to improve to get more playing time. He’s done that. He is conscience about getting better and being more consistent. He’s done that in practice the last few weeks and it was nice to see him get a few catches last week. He is blocking great. He had some great hits against Michigan State. On the broken play against Washington State, Kevin would have never scored if it wasn’t for Nyan blocking downfield. He is giving great effort. He is continuing to learn. He has a great attitude. I am really happy with his performance so far.
On the importance of fullback Will Ta’ufo’ou:
Vital. There is no question in our run game the fullback plays such a big part. Will is so smart as to what goes on. He is very physical. Along with the tight end, our linemen and receivers, it’s a complete effort and that’s why we’re breaking those long runs. Will is instrumental at the point of attack.
On remembering Ta’ufo’ou from high school:
Yeah, we were talking about that and how many yards he gained as a high school player. We said that was about 40 pounds ago. He was a walk-on that earned a scholarship. Obviously he has become more physical and he is a great blocker that catches the ball well too. He understands his role. He understands he is a blocker.
On whether he was surprised by Sean Young returning for a sixth year:
Yeah, I was a little surprised by it. He has had some pretty poor luck here as far as he has been injured ever since he has been here. I think that he recognized that there would be an opportunity for him to be a strong contributor. He has always shown signs of being a guy that can make plays but he has never had the chance because of his injuries. It’s really gratifying to see that his hard work has paid off and he is contributing to the team. He is our leading receiver right now. He is doing a great job.
On Sean Young as a leader:
I think Sean is providing a very positive leadership at that position. Even though he has been here forever, he goes out to practice and works hard every day. He doesn’t take anything for granted. That’s part of the whole deal is to have the end of your career at the tip of your nose. To get another chance it kind of revitalizes you a little bit. I think that is where Sean sits right now.
On the three new starters on the O-line:
They are doing an okay job. They can still improve. Alex [Mack] and Noris [Malele] are doing a good job. Who I’m really happy with is [redshirt freshman] Mitchell Schwartz, who is playing well for a first-year player. They all have room to improve. They don’t make every block. They make some assignment errors every now and then. Until they play a perfect game they can always improve.
On the excessive celebration call at Washington:
I did show our team [the call] on Sunday, because I want them to understand don’t put it in the officials’ hands. Just don’t do that. It is a judgment call as most calls are judgment calls. I think the intent of the rule is not to call attention to yourself and separate yourself from the team. I don’t think that Jake Locker was calling attention to himself whatsoever. I think he was excited to make a big play. He jumped up immediately and celebrated with his teammates. I would have been very upset if they would have called it against us. Now is it the rule by the letter of the law, yes. But I just think that is a judgment. It’s unfortunate.
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