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A Brief Interview With Jeff Tedford

Author note: This post has been a few days in the making but only written up until now (Tuesday night).  Sorry, blame it on culinary school and having to work late nights at restaurants.

Lately, as you know, we've been trying to get a press pass or get media credentials (are those the same thing?) from Cal Media Relations.  Time after time we've been turned down.  However, of all the avenues that we've pursued, there was one last pitch which we didn't try. Me. 

Our usual course of action was to have one of the other Marshawnthusiasts send an email or call the Cal Media Relation dudes and politely asked to meet with them to discuss getting legitimate access to Cal Football.  Basically, we've always dealt with the front-desk; always going to the lower peons and asking for permission to speak to the higher-ups.  But after all those failures, we've decided that I had do the pitch and aim for somebody in middle - somebody above those in Cal Media Relations.  Afterall, I, unlike my fellow Marshawnthusiasts, once worked for the team.  So, I decided it was time that I give it a try.

I've been hesitant to expose myself to Tedford.  Frankly, I'm kinda scared of the guy and I don't know how he feels about me writing about his team and breaking things down for everyone to see.  But I figured since all our previous attempts had failed, it was time for me to take that big step forward and expose myself to him in order to secure an interview. 

So I called one of my ball-boy friends, who put me in touch with the equipment staff.  I explained the situation, and asked when Tedford might be around the Stadium.  It turns out that he was actually around the stadium that day (the day I called), and that I could probably speak to him over the phone for a few minutes. 

That's when my heart started to race.  Holy hell.  I was just about to explain who I was, and that I ran some blog, and that I write about his team like I actually know something about football.  I kept thinking he's going to think I'm an idiot. 

Anyways, I got a bit of the runaround.  A little bit of, "wait, let me see where he is."  To: "okay, call his secretary," to "he's not here right now but leave a message." 

Haha, okay.... leave a message on Jeff Tedford's office phone?  Okay.  Just try not to sound like an idiot, I told myself.  So long story short, I left a message.  I explained who I was.  What I do now (blog stuff, culinary school, etc.), what I did in the past (team stuff), and asked him if I could do a very brief interview with him. Then I hung up and waited.

About 20 minutes later, my phone rang.  It was God. 

I greeted him, and again explained things to him in a little more detail.  I told him he probably doesn't remember me.  He didn't remember me.  I explained that I've seen him at Coach's Tour events and he's given me that "I recognize" you face before, so although he doesn't remember my name he may recognize my face.  I name-dropped the few people who I knew who still work for the team to give myself a little more legitimacy.  God knew who I was talking about and seemed satisfied with who I was.

So then I started asking a few questions.  I really hadn't prepared much so I was fumbling to think of good questions.  I apologize for my lack of preparation.  But I did have my handy interview-mic thing with me (that I use to record my culinary school lectures), so I turned on my cell phone speakerphone, turned on the interview-mic thing, and started to ask away. 

Please enjoy.

CGB: How are the QBs looking?

JT: They're all looking good.  I'm pleased with the progress they are making.  I think we have a very talented group of guys who all are capable of leading the team.

CGB: Is Riley's experience going to give him an edge over Mansion and Sweeney?

JT: Well, anytime you have a guy who is experienced, he's going to have an advantage.  But experience isn't everything.  The quarterback has to be able to manage the game well ... [unintelligible] ... good grasp of the offense, and make all the throws.  If the most experienced player still can't do all those other things, then he won't start. So to answer your question, Riley does have a slight edge but that doesn't guarantee him anything.

CGB: What new elements of offense is Ludwig implementing into the offense? 

JT: I don't want to get into much detail, but he's bringing a lot to our offense.  He and I share the same philosophies and ideas so he's not going to be completely different - not a complete change from what we have now, but he is bringing a few new things to the table. 

CGB: Last year Cignetti changed the pass protection schemes.  Are the pass protection schemes going to be changed again this year?  Is that something Ludwig would do?  Or is that Marshall's call?

JT: Yeah, Cignetti did change the pass protection schemes... [unintelligible].  Right now we're tinkering with things.  I think we are going to change a few things.  These changes, for the most part are changes which Ludwig will implement.  But Ludwig is working closely with Marshall on the offense.

CGB: Speaking of Coach Marshall, does bringing him on board help in recruiting because he's coached in the NFL?

JT: Oh definitely.  Recruits really respond well to the pitch that we have an offensive lineman coach who has spent time in the NFL.  Recruits really like that.

CGB:  Regarding Jahvid,  "Best RB", or "Bestest RB"?

JT:  Bestest.  The players call him: Jahvid Bestest.

CGB:  I've heard rumors that Syd'Quan will be playing offense next year?  Are they true?

JT:  There are rumors that Syd'Quan will be playing offense next year?  [Laughs]  Well, those we can put to rest.  Syd will strictly play corner next year.  We are considering Tyson [Alualu] on offense though.  With our lack of experience at TE, Tyson can actually come right in and contribute and help out there.

CGB: Are you glad to have Tepper back?

JT: Certainly.  It's always great to have back another experienced and talented player.  Tepper has been getting even stronger.  I think he's benching around 390 (pounds) now, and running a sub 4.9 (forty-yard dash time).

CGB:  Who do we have along the offensive line who can fill in Alex Mack's shoes and do a split?

JT:  I think that's Chris Guarnero.  All of our players have been doing yoga and other flexibility exercises.  Actually, many of our linemen can do the splits.  It's actually somewhat of a requirement that our players achieve a certain level of flexibility to play. 

CGB:  Are we keeping Ludwig more than one year?

JT:  No.  In fact, I don't anticipate keeping him through this year.  I've heard of a hotshot QB coach up at Oregon, who'd love to get a chance running the offense.  It could be his big break.  Belloooto, I think his name is.  Bejjotti?  Biscotti?  I'll have to check on that.  But, hey, if I give him this shot, he could go places!  He's got moxie!

CGB:  How excited are you that the treesitters finally came down?

JT:  I don't want to talk about it!  I miss Dumpster Muffin so greatly.  Come back to me, dearest Dumpster Muffin.  Come back to me!  I'll never cut down the trees of our love in my heart!

CGB:  What made you give up on Diante Jackson?

JT: We really did like Diante's skill set and we think he'll be a fine player. But there was this one Internet poster who loved him so much that it scared us away from him. I dunno much about the Internet, but I know that you should never listen to people on there.

CGB: Thank you for sharing your time with me.  Good luck in 2009, Coach.

JT: Go Bears!