As usual, Tedford and Riley held their Tuesday press conference today. Here are some highlights from Tedford:
On things that will be discussed [after the loss to Oregon] as opposed to Xs and Os
"Back then [in 2007], I just focused on Xs and Os. They were tough losses that we had two years ago and instead of me spending time motivating the team and looking for things in the locker room that were maybe getting us down, I spent all my time trying to come up with plays and things like that, to try to, `OK, now we'll do this, we'll go out and win and everything will be fine.' So I learned a lot as a coach that year that there's a lot more to it than just Xs and Os. To keep your team motivated, to keep their confidence up and keep them together is a big thing.
On how to approach the Trojans' offense
"That's the thing about [Barkley], is he's not doing it on his own. He's a great player, but I think he can go into a game with a lot of confidence knowing he has a stable of tight ends, great receivers, great offensive line, four or five tailbacks, great fullback, so he's got a lot of talent around him that can make plays for him. He just has to do his part, really. But it's tough. They're going to make their plays, there's no question about it. They are great players but we have to gang tackle. Their tailbacks are really good and their offensive line's really good. We have to gang tackle, make sure we get after the football, try to cause some turnovers. That's the key, is to try and get SC to turn the football over, because if they don't turn the football over, they're very difficult to be successful against."
Here's a quote from Riley.
On whether more-experienced players are propping up the less-experienced players
"Absolutely. The younger guys, it's probably the worst loss of their life, me included. You start thinking about that when you haven't been there before, when you haven't lost before, when you have high hopes to win the Pac-10 and a possible national championship. Winning the Pac-10 is not out of the picture at all, so the older guys who've been through it will talk to young guys and tell them to just forget about it. You learn from, you move on. That's all that you can do."
After the jump I have some highlights from Pete Carroll's press conference as he prepares his team for Cal. After that I have links with updates on Stafon Johnson's injury, issues both USC and Cal face heading into this weekend, an update from Jorge Gutierrez on some of basketball's newcomers, and more.
Q. Why is Kevin Riley playing better?
COACH CARROLL: Experience. You know. He's a full time starter. He's been in the program a long time and he was in and out of the lineup last year. He's just taking command of the system. He's very disciplined about what he's doing. He's a good thrower, good athlete. He can take off and run when he has to.
They have a great system. They've got great guys around him. So he's got all of the things that give you a chance. More than anything it's just being in the system. Now he's the real deal. He's the guy.
Q. Is scattering the box enough to stop Jahvid Best or are you going to need more secondary help?
COACH CARROLL: You got anything in mind for me? Could use a little help. You have to whenever you have a breakaway guy like that, you have to be really disciplined. Regardless of how you deploy your guys, whether you're coming after them or if you're loading it up with secondary force, you have to be in the right spots. You have to be consistent. You make a mistake and it just blasts down the line of scrimmage and he's gone.
We'll do a variety of things. We'll try to figure out the right times to be aggressive in the running game, and the right times to pressure the quarterback always with the intent of staying in connection with him and not letting him get loose. He can just score from anywhere, so. It poses a tremendous challenge.
They've figured him out. They know how to move him all around. They use him as a receiver. He motions in and out of the back field, runs into it, catches balls. They do everything with him as a highlighted player should be used. They're doing what we would think would be exactly the right stuff which makes it really hard to center in and focus on him. That's the whole idea of moving him around.
He's capable of doing all of that. He's a very, very well versed back. He catches the ball like a wide receiver running routes out of the back field so he gives you all of the problems of a three receiver offense and two-back offenses at the same time when they're in the huddle.
- Conquest Chronicles is posting the latest info on Stafon Johnson. After a seven-hour surgery to repair his damaged larynx and vocal cords, he is expected to make a full recovery. As of this afternoon, he is awake and communicating nonverbally. It will be about six weeks before doctors ask him to attempt to speak. They believe he will be able to return to football eventually. My throat hurts every time I read details about that incident...
- Injuries have plagued USC's secondary this season, but Barkley's shoulder is rapidly improving. He says he still feels "some tightness."
- At least one coach had a worse weekend than Tedford...
- Much to the disappointment of their fans, Cal and USC seemed destined for hiccups every year.
- Tedford said the only way for him to get past Saturday's loss is to prepare for USC. Excuse Me for My Voice has a great response to those in the "fire Tedford" camp.
- Best fell to 6th in ESPN's Heisman Watch.
- Point guard Jorge Gutierrez talks a little about some of basketball's new players.
- CalBears.com interviewed soccer's junior midfielder Hector Jimenez.