Husky Player and Jeff Tedford Quotes

Following California's 56-17 win over Washington, Husky players and coaches were bleakly searching for answers. First off, however, Dawgman.com had a brief moment with California coach Jeff Tedford and got his thoughts on a couple of aspects of Saturday's game.


Dawgman.com: "Was it based on anything you saw on film of the Huskies that led you threw so much early on in the game?"

Tedford: "No. It was just that we wanted to mix it up a little but and not try to get into a lot of long yard situations. Not only did Joe (Ayoob) do a nice job of throwing the ball and doing some things there, but he ran the ball pretty well, made some big plays on 3rd down with his scrambling ability. And those are the things that we saw when we recruited Joe, and so I think the sky is the limit for him, he's going to get better each week."

Dawgman.com: "Obviously it was a blowout for a third consecutive year. However, were there any aspects about Washington that you think have improved from last season?"

Tedford: "Yes, I think they throw the ball better now. I thought Isaiah (Stanback) did a nice job of standing in there for the most part, and threw some nice balls. Their receivers made some nice big plays over the top, some tipped balls that they came down with. But yes, I think Stanback is a guy that is much improved.

WR Sonny Shackelford: talked about the team morale. "To be honest with you, I don't know. I just got out of the locker room, just got out of the meeting with Coach Willingham, but speaking for myself, I am still high. We've still got the rest of the season. A lot of the guys in my row are like that. Isaiah Stanback's locker is right across from mine, and his morale is still high. A lot of guys are just trying to get ready for next week. We're just trying to forget about it and go on to next week and get a win."

As for the rest of the season, Shackelford said, "I feel like this team is capable of anything. We have great players on offense and on defense, and we have great coaches. Coach Willingham is one of the best coaches in the nation, if not the best coach in the nation. We just have to get our act together, and believe in what they are teaching us and what we are supposed to do."

LB Scott White also talked about what lies ahead. "I am going to do everything in my power to try to keep this team tight and keep the morale up. It's definitely a concern. There were certain plays where you could just feel the energy in the stands just leave, and energy on the sidelines just leave. It was sometimes the same eerie feeling that we felt so often last year.

"I'm out here playing a game, and trying to win a game. If you have pride, you're going to come out and play hard to win the game. The coaches have been preaching to us to start games fast and end them faster. We couldn't have started the game better. We could have put our stamp on the game, but we didn't do the things we needed to do.

"Speaking for myself, I thought that the punt (when punter Sean Douglas was tackled by defenders) that play was THE turning point of the game. I just felt it on the sidelines, the energy was gone."

White feels like the season be salvaged. "I feel like it, man. I can't speak for the other guys, but I am here and I am committed to whatever coach Willingham is talking about. I'm dying for a win. All these guys on the team are dying for a win. For the most part we've got to buy in more so into the program and what the coaches are asking of us.

I take it back to the 2003 season when we had huge meltdown at UCLA and had Nevada come in there. We had another game get off to a bad start. We can't come in next week and sleepwalk against Idaho, because they are very capable of beating us."

Manase Hopoi gave credit to the Bears. "Cal kept going after it. We made mistakes and they made us pay for it. We missed tackles and they made us pay for it. They execute well, they're a great team."

Of Cal QB Joe Ayoob, Hopoi said, "I think he got the feel of the game he started feeling pressure and he was breaking the pocket. We got after him and tried to rattle him in the first half but he began breaking contain and making better decisions. At Frisco City he was a (JC) All-American, so I know they didn't recruit him for nothing, you know?

"Now he's experienced and confident. He gained confidence as the game went on. We gave him too much leeway. We didn't rattle him enough like we should have. They had good blocking schemes, and protected their quarterback. They did a great job of mixing it up."

Evan Benjamin believes the answers will come. "I think we know what we need to do. We need to come out next week for practice and make sure we do it. I know a lot of guys who are tired of this. We've got to start this in a new direction, starting tomorrow. We got them into situation where it was 3rd and long or 3rd and five, and I thought our defense played well at times but we can't keep giving them free shots down the field. We can't keep giving up the big play."

"Even though Ayoob started (last week) 0 for 10, he's a Division I QB and will be able to throw the ball. And I thought that their line executed well. They're physical, but they're also not something that we haven't seen before. But we've got to look ourselves in the mirror, we've got to come out next week in practice and against Idaho and keep those mistakes to a minimum. But when teams are down like we had them today we've got to keep them down. Once we had momentum we needed to roll with it. But we didn't."

Benjamin feels the team is closer to victory than today's score indicates. "It might not look like it, and many people would look at that score and think otherwise. But a lot of guys on this team are thinking, man, we were really close to taking that game away from the. Like coach says, we've got to start fast and finish faster. We're all experienced guys, we've got to just execute."

WR Craig Chambers talked about how tough losing has been. "It's been really tough. You get hyped for every game thinking you're going to win and then get disappointed when you don't. We've got to out this behind us and focus on next week. We let them pull away from us. It kind of reminded me of last year when we were in it and then they pulled away from us.

"They beat us and they beat us bad. You look back at certain points of this game, and we could have easily won.

"We've got to stay as a team. But it's rough, and after a game like that it's hard to keep your chin up but you have to because you have to realize that it's still a long season ahead of us."

Chambers was asked about why isn't he playing more. "I think a lot people think that I wasn't working hard or something like that. It's the same thing with the coaching staff last year-- I had to set the speed. It seemed like this week they gave me the ball more and I did more with it. I really focused on running my routes, not harder, but making it look like I was running harder. It actually felt slower, but I was putting more steps into my strides, and after other people caught the ball I would run and block for them. So it's kind of hard to say what put me on the field this week. Whatever I did, I am going to try to do it again next week… Some people are just concluding that I am a lazy person. Which I'm not."

" …It depends on practice, as coach Willingham is really big on how you do in practice… He emphasizes practicing hard and finishing. It's something we need to learn, because obviously it's a problem.

Chambers talked about his Mom calling KJR last week to complain of his lack of playing time. "I probably shouldn't talk about that. I scolded her a little bit for it. She understood she should have checked with me beforehand. But it's hard to see your son, especially your baby boy not being out there, especially when he did alright last year. She asked me what was going on, and I said I didn't know. So she probably thought it was time to take things into her own hands."

Of the students behind the bench wearing the FREE CHAMBERS shirts, Chambers said, "I thought it was funny. They had a couple of chants going on. I thought they were humorous more than anything else."

CB Matt Fontaine talked about what needs to happen. "We have to win one before we win two. We can't start anywhere else but with the first win, and the first practice on Tuesday. Idaho is a must-win football game."

So how good is the Cal offense? "Very good. Give all the credit in the world to those guys. They're young, fast with great hands. Their QB gets them the ball. They have such a great running back. They can spread the field and open the running game a bit up."

QB Isaiah Stanback said, "We've got to learn to finish. Cal is a good team but we've got to learn to stay on top of them when we're ahead…. Cal comes after the QB, and we get one-on-one coverage, and we tried to take advantage of it."

Of the first quarter TD pass to Sonny Shackelford, Stanback said it was a designed play. "There was a certain formation we ran against Air Force, and we only ran a couple of plays out of it. We knew that was all they had to study. So we tried to simulate that play, give it a pump, and go over the top. And that's how we got it."

So what is Stanback's role in leading the team out of this predicament? "Every team is built around individuals… It's easy to say that you're going to (have a gut check), but you really have to believe what you're saying. I was just trying to do my part and give people confidence. I'm still working on my leadership skills. Coach (Willingham) wants me to get into guys' faces more than I do, but that's not who I am… But it's something I'm working on."
Offensive Coordinator Tim Lappano was disappointed in the running game. "When you can't run the football like we didn't today, it's not easy. It's hard. We've got to go back and figure out, two-back or one-back, some ways to run the football more effectively than we did today.

"We didn't knock anybody around today. We took a step back in the run game today. I don't think anybody got it done in the running game today. We got out of position with our feet, and when you're out of position like that you start holding onto people."

Of Craig Chambers, Lappano said, "He's a talent and a good football player. He's physical at times. He's got good size and can get the ball. We knew that we were going to face some bump today. They didn't bump as near as much as we thought. We had some picks and rubs and things and they backed off a bit. That was our plan to get Craig in the game.

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