Game Talk: Cal vs. Arizona

Cat Tracks caught up with players and coaches from both Cal and Arizona to get their thoughts on the game.

Mike Stoops

"We got beat by a much better team in all areas. They beat us in all facets of the game; offense, defense, and special teams. Cal has good players and they play the game the way it is supposed to be played. They have excellent coaches. Our kids did some good things but were not consistent on either side of the ball. Inconsistency really hurts our team."

On the play of Richard Kovalcheck

"Richard was okay. He did some good things. We had a few drops, but our passing game has to improve and we have to protect our quarterback more. We need to get better at receiver, in our protection, and at the quarterback spot. We need to improve in all facets of our passing game."

On the penalties

"Penalties led to points for them but none for us. We have been our own worst enemy."

On Cal being in the same position three years ago as Arizona is in now

"It takes a lot of work everyday to get better. We can't waste any time. We have the talent to compete, but we still have to do some recruiting to bring in more talent to help our current players. They say that the most dramatic improvement is between game one and two. I am hoping that this is true for us between years one and two."

On the play of Antoine Cason

"Antoine got back in the groove tonight. He did some good things for us."

On the play of Darrell Brooks

"Brooks played exceptional as usual and made some great plays in the backfield for us. If there is a better safety out there, I would like to see him."

On the injuries

"We had no significant injuries from tonight."

On the play of Cal QB, Aaron Rodgers

"Aaron Rodgers' precision and accuracy was second to none and he has great vision of the field."

On if Cal is the best team they have played

"They are definitely legit. They always play hard and have a great team. Right now our players are just behind some of these other teams physically and mentally. Always being in the Big Ten and Big Twelve I never had the kind of respect for the Pac Ten that I do now. This conference deserves a lot of respect because it is tough to play in and the coaching is great. Probably as good as anywhere I've been."

Offensive Coordinator Mike Canales

On if Cal did anything different from what they expected them to do

"They are a damn good team. They did exactly what we thought they were going to do and they were still able to do it. They are a legit top ten team and we will be there one day, too."

On what they did to effect the play of Kovalcheck

"They threw people in his face all game but Richard was still able to do some good things. He checked off a few times which was good to see. He has put a lot of extra time into watching film and he handled things pretty well. It was tough for him to get his first start against such a great team but he will continue to do better."

On if he will start next week

"Oh yeah, he'll be our starter against Oregon State."

Quarterback Richard Kovalcheck

"It felt like a battle out here. Everyone was giving it there all. We just didn't get things done."

On the pressure the Cal defense put on him

"They were bringing the heat - it was tough. I just need to make things crisp, but we will look over films this week and find the problems. We just need to look to the future and look forward to everything turning around. Our offense didn't do what we needed to do."

Safety Darrell Brooks

"They are a terrific team. They run very specific plays and execute them perfectly regardless of what you throw at them. Their quarteback is really good and he played well tonight. We didn't play well enough."

On what the team can gain from such a bad loss

"The first thing is that we are not going to take anything away from them because they are a legit team. Right now we are in a transition phase. We are still learning and will continue to learn. We all believe in Coach Stoops and we are going to work even harder. We are a young team that is only going to get better."

On how being a leader on the team he will help to keep his teammates' heads up

"We will keep playing hard and will continue to play for ourselves and Coach Stoops. Regardless of what anybody is saying about us outside of our locker room, we will maintain. There are very few teams that have beat is - we beat ourselves."

Running Back Mike Bell

"We are just so close. It is hard to explain. It's on the tip of my tongue but I can't get it out. We just have to keep believing because it is going to happen soon."

On the play of Kovalcheck

"Rich played really well. I was surprised because he played better than we thought he would. It's tough your first time out, but he handled it well. He made some mistakes but played hard the whole night."

On where to go from here

"We just have to persevere. We have four games left and we are going to keep working because we know we can win all four games."

On the penalties

"There are so many things you think about during the course of a game that you forget the little things. We come out early in games thinking about what we have learned during the week and get fluttered. After that, we relax and start to play the way we are supposed to and can play."

Tight End Steve Fleming

"Hats off to Cal. We just didn't play well on both sides of the ball. You got to look to the future. It is a familiar place for the seniors, but things are changing."

Cornerback Antoine Cason

On his interceptions

"I knew the interceptions would be a boost for the offense and defense and it would get the crowd in the game."

On what to expect the rest of the season

"My mindset is week-to-week and we can win games. We just need to make some adjustments."

Cal Head Coach Jeff Tedford

On the hit and condition of wide receiver Jonathan Makonnen

"There were a lot of hard hits in the game. Arizona is a physical football team. Jonathan is going to be fine. We sent him to the hospital and he had an MRI. Right now it looks like he'll be fine. He wanted to play in the second half, so he's feeling okay."

On his team's offensive performance

"We stopped ourselves a lot today. It's discouraging to have tipped balls. I give Arizona credit. Stoops has them playing hard and they hustled. In the second half we weren't as good offensively. We don't like to settle for field goals."

On Arizona's defensive pressure

"Arizona's secondary and linebackers played hard and defensively they are physical. J.J. (Arrington) ran hard against them. Our offensive line did a good job of opening some holes for him."

On Geoff McArthur's breaking the school record for receiving yards in his career

"It was great to see McArthur get the record. He played well tonight and he is an important part of our team. We're happy for him as far as the record goes."

On California's defensive performance

"Defensively, we did a tremendous job. We contained Mike Bell and that is a feat in itself. He is an excellent running back."

On shutting out the Wildcats

"We've been close to getting shutouts a number of times and we have ended up giving points away. That is a tremendous tribute to how hard the guys played - they deserve it."

Cal WR Geoff McArthur

"It felt awesome to get that touchdown. There is no way that you would be able to tell me that I would be the leading wide receiver of all-time. I never thought that Cal would be this caliber of team. We are playing good and we played good this game."

Cal QB Aaron Rodgers

"We were not very strong tonight. But, it is nice to know that we can come out and get a victory still. We need to put a full game together next week against Arizona State. That is something that we have not done all year."

On the play of the Bears' defense

"Our defense has been playing great all year. We are a top ten defense. Our special teams are also helping us shut teams down. We'll take what our defense gives us. We can handle the short stuff down the field or we can take it over the top."

On the injury of his teammate, Jonathan Makonnen

"It really ticked us off when the crowd was cheering him getting hurt. That really fired us up for the rest of the game."

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