"It is a very big week for us as you know with California. They are a very good football team which had an opportunity to win last week against the #1 team in the country. They came up a little bit short there, but they are solid in a lot of different areas. They are #1 in both offense and defense in the conference. They have a lot of experience back on both sides of the ball. It's going to be a great challenge for our team to go up to their stadium and play. Our team is getting better week by week. We are finding ways to win and this is a week where we need to be in pretty tip-top shape to play against a very good Cal football team. From an injury standpoint, there's nothing real significant. We think Mike McCloskey will be back this week. We sat him out for last week's game. He will practice this week and see how the week unfolds for him. Justin London played last week. The plan for him was to play some in the game and he did play well, given the plays that he had. We are going to anticipate more playing time for him. Those are the two things that had any significance from last week. We are pretty close to being full from an injuries standpoint. It couldn't happen at a better time in the conference race, which is this week against Cal."
Sometimes when a team loses a big game like Cal did last week, they come out angry and play with a lot of emotion. Other times they will come out flat. Are you preparing for the angry Cal team this week?
"Well, we are hoping they're falling flat. They're a good football team and they are well coached. I mentioned that they have the best defense and offense in the conference right now and they look that way on tape. They are a good football team. I would bet that they are probably angry because they had a good opportunity to win that football game last week and they want to get themselves back in the win column right now. That's a great challenge for our program. We have won the last four games and we are excited about the direction we're going in. But we know that this is a very good opponent and the best opponent we have faced so far this year. We are going to need to play a very good football game."
I don't think you are really going to stop these guys. You want to slow them down. You want to keep them out of the end zone. He is a very solid quarterback and one of the more experienced, and one of the better ones, in our conference. He is going to complete some passes. In the running game, they have Arrington and a couple of other backs like Marshawn Lynch. They have done a great job of generating some run offense. They are very balanced on offense. Our job on defense will be to keep them from scoring opportunities. But they are going to do what they do. They do a great job of moving the football."
USC exploited them on special teams. Do you feel that's an area where you can capitalize?
"There were a few mistakes on special teams that USC capitalized on, but they were unforced issues, from Cal's standpoint. They are going to shore up those issues for this week's game and we are going to do what we've done, which was pretty good in special teams last week, and continue to improve in that area. And have another great performance going into this week."
Is this a week where you have to tell the defense that they are going to get their yards and to make sure you don't get demoralized?
No, that is not what I would like to tell my defense. My defense will be better prepared. They are going to play hard. We have some experience back with Justin London being a little bit more back in the fold. We'll put together a good plan to be effective against this offense. This offense that we are facing is a very good offense. It has a lot of experience and their quarterback is a very good player. I don't think you are going to shut down their quarterback. But what we have to do is shut down the big play capability and play good, solid defense and make they earn everything they get."
If there are any weaknesses in Rodgers, what do you see?
"I really don't see any weaknesses. He does a nice job of checking into plays that are positive plays for them under blitz situations. He has tremendous poise. He is very accurate and he has good receivers. He's a solid performer."
If London plays a lot, will Spencer Havner move back to the weak inside linebacker position?
"Spencer plays two positions for us. He'll continue to play those two positions. Justin will play more this week. We won't determine whose going to start yet in that position. We're trying to go through a week of practice to see where we're at in terms of how he's feeling and the other depth that's being developed."
What's the status of Craig Bragg and his shoulder?
"He's out for this game."
Has he not progressed at the rate you expected?
"He's not ready to play. He's out for the game."
Are you going to try to employ a ball control type of strategy on offense?
"We're going to try to move the football. Point blank. That's it. We have to move the football and get the football in the endzone. That's the goal what we're trying to do offensively. And we're trying to do the opposite for them, to restrict them from moving the football, and for us to score more points. So that's what our goal is. We can't do anything other than what we can control. Our plan is to go in there and play our best football, and we're going to have to do that on both offense and defense."
The yards that Arizona accumulated on the ground, how was a result of poor tackling?
"Good question. Half of those issues were tackling. Some of them were we got blocked and they created some opportunities to generate some run game against us. And the other issues were we didn't tackle very well. That's one of the top agendas this week to get those shored up going into next week."
Do you do that with more live tackling in practice this week?
"I don't think it has to be live. I think we're going to do what we do on our Tuesday/Wednesday practices, which are our heavy practices. We're going to just emphasize getting our technique done a little bit better. You can't beat your guys up in the midway point of the season. You can't go back to training camp work ethics this point in the year. We're just going to emphasize the issues we're not doing very well, and get those things corrected going into this week."
How much of the problems in your run game was losing Mike McCloskey?
"Another good question, but you can't put a measure on that. The biggest thing that you miss with McCloskey is the continuity that you have with your five guys. To say because he didn't play was why we were so unsuccessful, I don't think that's the answer. It's a number of issues. We didn't play well in a number of certain areas. That's going to happen from week to week. You just don't want that to happen too often. This week we need all five of those guys, including the tight ends, receivers and fullback, to be the best that they can be against this very good defense."
With Tab Perry not catching a pass this week, is there anything he's doing that he should work on, like getting open more?
"We'd love for him to get open more. He had a couple of opportunities in the game to make some plays. On one, he slipped and fell. And the other one he had a dropped. Marcedes Lewis was the go-to guy as the game unraveled and things started to go in a particular direction. Marcedes was getting a lot of attention. That's going to happen. That's our offense. It's going to utilize the most efficient player to generate the most production. It happened to be Marcedes' turn. Are we down on Tab? No. We're not down on Tab. He just had a couple of opportunities, and it didn't work out. I'm sure he's anxious. He's going close to home this week. So he's going to be anxious abou proving hmself and getting himself ready to have a big day. In this offense, it can happen to any one of those five skill guys."
Did you think Tab would have a bigger impact on the offense by this point?
"He has just as much impact as any of those other five guys. It's not an offense that's heavily geared toward any one receiver. That's not balance to me. Relying on one person so much. This is an offense when it's all said and done that's very balanced. It spreads out the ball to all five, six, eight different receivers, including backs. That's the type of offense we're working toward, to make the defense defend the field. He's going to get his opportunity in the future. He just has to be ready when it's called upon."
What's your opinion of Marcus Everett's performance?
"He's getting better and better. Marcus Everett is getting more and more comfortable. He's a very talented kid. He's familiar with our offense now. He understands what his position is in this offense. And he's been a bright spot with his development."
Can you tell us about keeping Maurice Drew out for most of the second half? Will it benefit him this week, getting him some rest?
"We're fortunate enough to play a young back that I was very high on from the very beginning, and it was an opportunity in the second half to see what he can do. Chris Markey is who I'm talking about. We feel that he's a very talented player. At this point in the season we're going to need some young players to step up and be able to fill some of those shoes. I was very, very happy how he played in the second half. It was encouraging. We have a very good duo with Maurice and Manuel White, and now we have a third we know we can use to get us some more punch on offense, too. So we're in a pretty good situation at tailback."
How impressed are you with what Coach Tedford has done at Cal?
"Very impressed. He's a great coach. I've known him for a while. He's really turned that program into what it is today. My job is to slow him down, to do what I need to do to get our program in a position that it is. It's going in that direction right now. That's why this is a great challenge for UCLA, going up to Cal and playing them up at Cal. I know our players will be excited about that opportunity."
Will Ben Enanuel have to play better?
"We all have to play better. That's everyone on defense. We're going to have run the ball better this week. And we're going to have to throw it as well or better this week. And we're going to have to protect the quarterback a little bit better this week. And we're going to have to shore it up on run defense a little bit better this week. And we're going to have make sure they don't get big plays in the passing game this week. You get my point. There are a lot of things that we can get better at. I don't think there's one particular individual. We all can do a lot of things better, and this is a great week for that opportunity to happen."
With the kind of game Marcedes have, is that the type of game you should get from him all the time or with the balance, is it just going to be once in a while?
"It should not be once in a while where he would have a game like that. But given those opportunities he will have a game like that. It's just depends on the defense plays us. That's exciting to see. He's going to draw attention this week, given the week he had last week. But if he still has the same opportunities he had this week as he did last week, he'll have another game like he did. We'll see how that plays out."