California is coming off a disappointing 7-6 season, which saw the Golden Bears lose six of their final seven regular season games. Regardless, it was the sixth consecutive winning season for Head Coach Jeff Tedford. Along with Stanford and San Jose State, Cal took part in the first annual Bay Area College Football press conference. Each head coach addressed the audience to start the press conference, and Tedford made it brief. He was done within a few minutes.
Jeff Tedford at Bay Area CFB Presser -- Listen to Audio
While each school brought three players, no trio was busier than C Alex Mack, LB Zack Follett, and LB Worrell Williams. But Coach Tedford was still the top crowd-puller, drawing excess of seats to his media table.
“We can’t wait to get out there,” said Tedford. “Last year, we didn’t finish the season as well we would have liked. I think our guys really took that to heart over the spring. New leadership has surfaced, and they’re very hungry to get back to work.”
One unit ready to take on the new leadership role is the linebackers.
“It makes you realize, hey, this thing, this magic carpet ride that you’re riding can be over instantly if you slack,” said Williams. “Leadership comes with the job; you got to be able to provide it during those types of times. Anybody can provide leadership when you’re winning.”
The bulk of the talent on this team sits on the defensive side of the ball. The depth and leadership is at linebacker is one of the main reasons the Bears will utilize the 3-4 defense this year.
“With the media and all the hype we’ve been getting as far as such a bad year last year. We’re going to be coming into games as underdogs, hopefully, teams look at underestimating us,” said Follett. “But that wouldn’t be wise. We definitely have just as much as talent last year, we’re just younger.”
Tedford noted the inexperience on the offensive side of ball specifically at wide receiver and running back.
“We lost three great receivers last year we have guys coming in this year that we are excited about,” said Tedford. However, he said the RB duo of Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen is very talented and diverse. “They can do it all”.
Mack leads the most experienced unit on offense. After the debacle of last season, there will be no looking head this year for the preseason All-American candidate and the rest of the Bears.
“I think last season we were kind of plagued with worrying about what the whole picture was going to look like,” said Mack. “So, what I try to focus on now is worrying about one game at a time. I think we got down on ourselves and started with that slide. Every game matters, every game is fun to win, it comes down to lets win the first game. In the Pac-10, everyone is good.
Camp begins next week, and the Bears open the season August 30 against Michigan State from Memorial Stadium. The game will be televised live on ABC at 5 p.m. PT.
Coach Tedford on not having names on jerseys -- Listen to Audio
Coach Tedford on Michigan State as well as the tree sitters -- Listen to Audio
©Copyright 2008, Scout.com. All rights reserved.