So I drove over to SF to catch our fearless leader at at Gordon Biersch Brewery. The food was good, the beer was better; I sat with Turkey and Since 1997 (who scoped out most excellent seating arrangements) and was joined by my son. The audience of about 100+ Bear fans was about 50% old blues, and 50% not-so-old blues, including some families with kids (did the kids have to pay $20? I didn't ask.) Tedford arrived on scene at about 12:30 and launched into an overview of the status of the program before accepting questions. After the jump, to the best of my recollection (yo, if anyone who was there disagrees, correct me if I'm wrong).
So Tedford was relaxed and easy-going in this setting, as well he should be, considering the crowd. Interestingly, right off the bat, he acknowledged that the strength of the program has been at the tailback position. He feels that based on the camp so far that we can continue to build on that success. He also gave a shout out to Basquez, the strength and conditioning coach for the work he's done getting the players ready for the season.
Tedford expressed that the defensive players are even more comfortable in the second year of coach Pendergast's scheme. However, he did acknowledge that we lost three great players on defense to the NFL, but mentioned that we have talent to fill those positions. He didn't exactly say the defense would be even better, and in fact most of his discussions revolved around the offense.
According to Tedford, Giorgio has yet to miss a field goal in camp, and that the special teams unit is working well with Genyk in his second year. He also acknowledged Tavecchio's short kick-offs in the past, but said that now he's consistently booming them deep. Tedford also mentioned, with a chuckle, that Anger will try try to see how many punts it takes him to punt one into the bay from home plate. <He didn't directly address my fear, the ST coverage, and no one asked about that>.
He stressed (unnecessarily in my mind considering the audience) that we need to make both Candlestick & AT&T home turf for our Bears, but he also mentioned that the team has adopted an "us against the world" attitude, and that they don't care where they play, and that only "team matters" where ever they play.
After this overview, he opened the floor to questions, and this was the more interesting part of the event, in my mind.
1) Play calling will be done as a staff, with Tedford calling 80% of them. That was what the audience wanted to hear, no doubt.
2) I asked "If Maynard had continued to separate himself from the competition" and received a revealing non-answer to the effect that, no Maynard is still the number one, but now Tedford is really comfortable that Allan Bridgeford is fully capable of leading the Bears to victory if Maynard is injured.
3) Morning practices will continue, as this gives the players some time to decompress in the evening; started with a joke about what we would all do back in the day in college if we didn't have a class until 10:00AM?; i.e. sleep in (hey coach, that's not what I was thinking).
4) Game routine during the season: they will practice in Berkeley the day before, stay in a SF hotel the night before the game.
5) Tedford was asked about the strengths and weaknesses of the offensive line, and he responded that there were really only strengths. He said that he's really happy with the five starters, and that the only issue now is finding who are the best three subs because injuries are all but inevitable, and that he is concerned about depth.
6) Asked about who can contribute right away, he stressed that there many players in this talented class that might see action right away, not necessarily as starters, but on special teams to keep the defensive starters fresh.
7) Tedford was asked about the impact of the HPC on recruiting, and he responded that it has had a significant effect, given that we had a highly ranked recruiting class even though we were 5-7 and last year.
8) Asked about the depth on the receiving corps he named Marvin Jones - Keenan Allen - Michael Calvin as the 1-2-3, but said that Clay is the speedster that could open up the field for all of them when he recovers from injury. He expects him to play this year also noted that Coleman Edmund has played well; said that this was a strength of the team (no duh).
9) Can we expect anything different this year? Yes more designed QB runs and option plays to keep oppossing defenses honest. On the other hand, he doesn't want Maynard to get hurt, since he's not a big guy (6'2", 185 lbs) hey I weigh more than that, but I can't run for sh*t.
10) Asked about what the toughest games would be in the upcoming season, he singled out Oregon and Stanford (in that order), and then backtracked a bit to say that all the teams with returning starters at QB will be difficult. He also said that Tuel of WSU is the most underrated QB in the Pac-12 (I agree completely, damn Tedford is one smart dude).
One thing that I can't place in the right order (but when he said hit me like a hammer) was that it's so much easier working with Michalczik and Kiesau, and said something to the effect that "I don't have to waste time describing what needs to be done, we are on the same page as far as terminology". OK, if some other coach said that no big deal, but given Tedford's uber-gentlemanly persona, this struck me as a slap at Marshall.
Anyway, these are my impressions. Thanks to Sincey & Turkey, I relied on your real-time (SC!) postings to jog my grey cells.