There is no Pac-12 coach more interesting than Mike Leach. Beyond the civil war allegories and pirate references, he also is very upfront and honest about his team's problems. As is customary, he met with reporters this week to discuss last week's game and discuss the upcoming matchup.
(How do you fix [the offense]?) "We just need focused people. Rather than have fragmented focus, right now we’re a team that if we face any adversity we get discouraged. If you don’t embrace adversity you’re never going to improve. … Nobody would be a college football player if they hadn’t overcome adversity, defeated other people on the depth chart and did a whole lot of things that are difficult that other people aren’t doing … We’re in a situation where we don’t embrace adversity and understanding that there’s no real satisfaction unless you do something that’s difficult. If you go out there and if we were to play some junior high school team and pound them, would anybody be satisfied with that? Would that be fun? Would there be any sense of accomplishment? No, there wouldn’t. So adversity is required for that. Well, we’ve got to be a team that embraces adversity, and right now we’re a team that if it’s not easy we want to flinch and flounder. We’ve got to change that. Part of it is changing the way we think and part of it is we haven’t really had the strength from our senior class we should get there, so we turn to our younger guys to develop them and they’re a ways off."
I like the sound of that. If the Bears can build an early lead and disrupt the WSU offense, we might be able to get them to fold. Of course, Cal has yet to score first in any of its games this season, so it may be a challenge for the Bears. Referencing Cal's breakthrough against UCLA, someone asked if WSU can replicate that performance this weekend.
(On Cal breaking through last week) "I don’t know any parallels there or not. Cal does what they do, we do what we do, we’ve been here a few months and they’ve been there 10 years or whatever it adds up to. What I do know is we’re a better team than we play. When as a team, collectively, we believe we’re a good team, we will play better. There’s way too much salesmanship going into, you know, ‘oh but really you are a good team. Oh, yes you are.' That’s a bunch of crap. At some point a guy’s got to get out there and say 'I worked hard at this and it means something to me and I’m going to prevail over my opposition,' rather than all these little boosts and dustoffs and pats on the back everybody feels good, we’re crazy on that thing. We’re more concerned about relationships and people being happy than performance. Until we put performance in front of all that, it’s going to take a while. We can make the decision and do it today, or we can drag our feet. But right now, our players, coaches and everybody that it’s meaningful to, we need to get those other guys on board. Either that or get them out of here."
Naturally somebody asked about bobblehead day (which is worth the price of admission at Saturday's game).
(On the Mike Leach bobblehead doll) "I would like to meet the caveman that invented a bobblehead because it’s obviously been around a long time. I’ve never had a bobblehead I recall, maybe one handed out at a baseball game or something. No, actually, somebody gave me a Billy Martin bobblehead. Shoot, if it’s good enough for Billy Martin, it’s good enough for me. It’s flattering, I just don’t know how somebody would have thought of such a thing."
And now for the links:
- Kameron Jackson collected his first Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week award. Maynard was nominated for the offensive player of the week award but Josh Nunes won instead.
- The Bears opened as 7-point favorites over the Cougs.
- Cal climbed to 8th in Uncle Ted's latest Pac-12 Power Rankings.
- Cal was Uncle Ted's team of the week in his week 6 weekend rewind.
- Faraudo ponders what Cal's win means for the program. It certainly won't mean much if Cal loses this weekend.
- Jon Wilner recaps the weekend and calls Cal's performance the bounce-back of the season.
- Zach Maynard was named Cal's Muscle Milk Student Athlete of the Week.
- Faraudo reports that Marc Anthony's injury during the UCLA game was an aggravation of a knee bruise.
- The Big Game has been picked up by Fox. The game will kick off at noon.
- CalBears.com checks in with Bears in the NFL. Tony Gonzalez scored the 99th touchdown of his career while Shane Vereen reached the end zone for the second time in his young career.
- Despite his struggles, Connor Halliday will remain the Cougs' starter for this weekend's game.
- Projected starting shooting guard Ricky Kreklow underwent surgery on his right foot. The transfer from Missouri will be out 6-8 weeks and miss several games.
- The Bears fielded two teams at the West Coast Rugby 7s Invitational. Each team finished with a 4-1 record.
- The Bears lost 6-2 to Penn State. All six of the Bears' previous losses had been by a single point.