Tedford, Meyer share football friendship

California head coach Jeff Tedford understands why Urban Meyer returned to coaching.

BERKELEY, Calif. – When Jeff Tedford and Urban Meyer played a couple rounds of golf together in February while attending a Nike function, they talked about everything. Well, almost everything.

"This year we did not talk much shop," Tedford said. "This year there was not a lot of football (discussed), as you can imagine."

The friends will face off as opponents for the first time Saturday, but have known each other since they struck up a relationship while visiting the St. Louis Rams in the early 2000's.

Tedford was in the beginning states of shaping a dramatic turnaround at California, while Meyer was the head coach of Bowling Green at the time, his undefeated BCS-busting season at Utah and two BCS championships at Florida still years away.

"Urban and I are good friends. He's probably one of my better friends in coaching. I have a lot of respect for him," Tedford said.

"We've become good enough friends that we talk family and things like that."

Because of their relationship and shared profession, Tedford is in a better position than most to understand the intense demands of the job.

"The stress levels and the anxiety is high, but it is part of the job and you got to deal with it," Tedford said.

"I've dealt with it a lot over the years, and it is real. I can tell you that. It is real."

Meyer dealt with a health scare after the 2009 SEC championship game, considering retirement before deciding on an extended leave of absence. He would leave Florida the following year, citing family and health concerns, only to take the job at Ohio State last November.

Tedford said he understand why Meyer decided to return to coaching, as the two share a similar mentality, one that draws satisfaction from the game that makes up for the long hours and missed family moments.

"There's nothing like it," Tedford said. "In my mind, there is nothing like it.

"It's intense and it's stressful, but you love it. That's why you do it, is for the competition and to put the kids in a position to be successful."

And while Meyer's return came with a much-publicized contract with his family, requiring him to eat better and spent more time away from the office among other criteria, there are limitations on how long a man in charge of an FBS football program can be away from it.

Tedford's breaks come in the summer, when he forces himself to take vacations, but even then he has to receive daily status reports.

"To manage football, the workouts, the recruiting, the discipline, the academics, all the things that go along with it, there is hardly a time where you can disconnect. There is never a day that you're not thinking about something that is going on here," Tedford said.

"Everyday I'm going to call in and make sure everything is ok, then move on with my day. I'd rather do it that way than sit around wondering what may be going on."

Mixed News On Injuries
Cal will be without starting right tackle Matt Summers-Gavin (left knee) for the second consecutive game, but should have outside linebacker Chris McCain (shoulder) available after he practiced Tuesday.

There were mixed messages regarding tight end Richard Rodgers (foot), as Tedford said he was "probable" to play at Ohio State during his weekly press conference, but minutes later during the Pac-12 teleconference said that the sophomore missed practice and would try to begin running Wednesday.

Quick Hits
Linebacker Khairi Fortt's Cal debut will not come against his former Big Ten foe Ohio State.

"He has not been in a scrimmage-type situation yet, so he will not play this week," Tedford said.

Dan Greenspan is the publisher of Cal Sports Digest and covers the Pac-12 for Fox Sports/Scout.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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