That's the real question going into this week. How will the Bears stay positive and gameplan for success when everyone around them is telling them they don't stand a chance? Tedford, Hill, and Schwenke discuss what Cal needs to do to ignore those expectations and perform well Saturday.
On Bridgford starting this week:
"Last week you're throwing it every down, trying to get something done. Earlier in the year when he played, he had a dropped ball. The situation the other day was you're throwing it every down and you gotta make sure you're taking chances and getting rid of the ball."
I am actually optimistic about Bridgford playing. He hasn't had any real opportunities to show his stuff, and that's why his numbers are so poor. I think a pocket quarterback such as him is a much better fit for our offense than Maynard is.
What do you expect from him Saturday:
"I don't know about numbers."
"He's an accurate passer. Timing and protection and all the things that go into, and guys getting open, that's all part of it. If he plays we'll see. We have confidence. He works hard, he's very prepared going into games, so that's yet to be determined."
He's not going to do much at all if he's on his back all day. Hopefully we'll be able to run the ball, and set Bridgford up with some easy play actions plays to get his confidence going.
Keenan won't play. Treggs is still dealing with injury. Same with MSG. They're all day to day.
"Their team speed has really improved. They've always been fairly fast. I remember when I was there, we had decent speed. But it seems like they have speed all around the board now. Their team speed really stands out.
Their running backs and their style of offense is really efficient."
"Their quarterback, not only is he big and throws the ball well, but he's extremely fast. "
"And then they play great defense. Their offense gets a lot of attention, and deservedly so, but their defense is excellent. "
I haven't seen Tedford talk this glowingly about another program all year. I don't really like this mentality. I think you should respect your opponent and give credit where credit is due, but don't place them on a pedestal. I think that sends the message to your players that they aren't good enough to play with these guys.
On Bridgford having to keep with the Oregon offense:
"There's enough anxiety for someone to go in and play the no. 2 team in the nation, without putting anymore undo anxiety on him. He just has to play within himself, be smart with the football and not turn it over."
100% true. I think our offense lives and dies with the run game on Saturday. Oregon has proven to be susceptible to the running game in the past.
How do you slow this group down?
"Main thing is to contain the run the best you can. They do the same thing, nothing new. You just have to find the right play against what they do and we think we got that covered. "
"It's the same thing, just different fast guys. "
"I don't see too much difference, I just saw SC make a lot of mistakes. It wasn't so much what Oregon did, but what SC didn't do."
Love Hills attitude here. He knows these guys are good, but he isn't letting the hype pysch him out in anyway. And he has a good point, this is the same Oregon offense, with essentially the same kind of players, he has played against for three years now. In order to slow this offense down, we need to stop the run as much as possible, and force Mariota to drop back, go through progressions, and play like a prostyle quarterback. 90% of the time this guy is throwing to wide open receivers, let's see what he can do when he actually has to read coverages, look off safeties, and throw the ball into tight areas.
On Barner's tendency to bounce it outside:
"Yeah, from watching film, you can tell they like running to the perimeter. That might be something they try to do against us. You have to be ready for anything. You can't expect that that's the only thing they're going to do."
Oregon likes to extend plays to each sideline. Whether its throwing a screen to a wideout or running a sweep play, Oregon likes to utilize the entire width of the field. This allows Oregon to spread out defenses, but it also allows them to easily tire out the opposition.
Is there extra pressure on your offense to be as efficient as you possibly can against this Oregon team?
"We definitely have to be at our best. Oregon's offense is really explosive. In order to help our defense were going to have to be literally at our best."
We need to put the ball in the endzone against these guys. If we're settling for field goals the entire game we'll get blown out.
On Bridgford starting this week:
"He hasn't gotten much of a chance. He's a great quarterback just as any of our guys are. Whoever plays, I honestly couldn't tell you, I feel comfortable with either of those guys back there."
The strength of Oregon's defense:
"They bring a lot of pressure. My thought is that, with that kind of offense, you can throw something at the other offense. They don't really have much to lose because that offense has done a good job driving down the field.
They're not particularly special on defense. Just another group of guys compared to the rest of the PAC 12. They do a lot of stuff that you have to be ready for. I think a lot of the time those stats are from the end of the game when they're up by 40."
I never really thought about it that way, but Schwenke does have a great point. It's pretty easy being a defensive coordinator when you're always up by a large margin. Oregon loves to bring a lot of heat at the quarterback, and they can get away with it because they're always up. USC burned them deep a few times last week because of how aggressive they were playing up front.
On Cal running the ball against Oregon:
"I think we can definitely run the ball against these guys. I have a lot of confidence in our running game against these guys. We just have to make sure we get it done and take care of the pressure that they're bringing."
The run game will be a major key to this game. If we don't average 5 yards or more on the ground, I think we don't stand a chance. We need a big game from CJ, Bigs, and Isi.