Monday, September 03, 2007

SF Chronicle: No trophies for Cal's Week 1 win

Rusty Simmons

A week didn't go by last season without Cal coach Jeff Tedford being asked about the 35-18 loss in Knoxville, Tenn. Even though the Bears won Saturday's rematch 45-31, he's ending the discussions right now.  "It was one game," Tedford said Sunday. "It was the opening game and it was a nice win, but the guys know it counts for only one win. It's important to get ready for the next game." The players appeared to grasp that message only moments after one of their most significant wins. Sure, there were some leaps of joy, some fist pumps and even some hoots and hollers. By most standards, however, the players' celebration was subdued. "It was a huge win for this program, but they didn't give us a trophy or anything," middle linebacker Worrell Williams said. "We didn't win a championship. "We're on a path that includes championships. We can dwell on it and celebrate it after it's all said and done."

About 30 minutes after the win, quarterback Nate Longshore and tailback Justin Forsett entered the interview room. They wore "all-business" suits and spoke more about needing to improve than the importance of the game they had won. "We stubbed our toes a little bit offensively on a couple of drives in the third quarter, and they're not satisfied with that sort of thing," Tedford said. "We didn't tackle as well as we can. They know there are things that need work." Receiver Lavelle Hawkins caught seven passes for 90 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown. That wasn't enough. "We left some points out there," he said. "We made a lot of mistakes, and we were lucky it didn't cost us the game." Williams had nine tackles, forced a fumble and recovered another that he returned 44 yards for the game's opening touchdown. That wasn't enough. "They put up 31 points; obviously, there are a lot of improvements to be made," he said. "We know that championship teams do what they're supposed to do, so we've got to get back to wrapping up and making plays."  "Honestly, I started thinking about Colorado State last night," Hawkins said. "We had some fun, but that's over. It's time to get back to business." Briefly: Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer said a CT scan on injured player Xavier Mitchell came back negative and the injury is being called a concussion. The defensive end went down in the fourth quarter after colliding with teammate Eric Berry on an attempted tackle and was carted off the field on a stretcher. Mitchell was taken to a Berkeley-area hospital but was able to travel to Knoxville on the team plane late Saturday. ... Cal kicker Tom Schneider, who strained his quad during pregame drills, was deemed doubtful for Week 2 by Tedford.

'Til Tuesday

Because of games today, the next Associated Press poll will be released Tuesday. Cal should improve on its No. 12 ranking and No. 5 Michigan will make a big drop after an action-packed weekend.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fantastic. Been wanting to know the post-game report from players and coaches. Understandable high after last year. But even better to focus on room for improvement, for there is room. Both teams came ready to pla this weekend. Both teams could be better. Cal can be better. Fantastic.