Jeff Tedford knows there's no use in avoiding all the talk about the Heisman trophy and California star running back Jahvid Best.
It's hard not to link college football's most coveted award with a running back who averaged more than 8 yards a carry a year ago, has the game-breaking speed that makes him a threat to score from anywhere on the field and the character to ensure the lofty talk won't go to his head.
"He realizes that the team's success is first and foremost," Tedford said. "If there's any personal accolades that come along with that then so be it, but he is so well-respected by his teammates, and he respects his teammates and knows that the team is No. 1. He is so sincere about it that I don't have any problems with trying to keep it hush-hush with the Heisman or anything like that."
Best was a front-row witness to the Heisman hype machine two years ago, when a fast start by Cal put receiver DeSean Jackson into contention for the award. Then came an epic collapse, as the Golden Bears went from being on the verge of being No. 1 in the country to losing six of their final regular season games, ending any talk about any awards for Jackson.
So Best knows that the only way the individual accolades will come his way is if the team is successful.
"If you've got a guy going around saying he's the best man on the team, then you can't build trust with your teammates," Best said. "So, that's not what I want to do. I'm just going to make sure I do what I can to be the best for the team. The biggest thing is winning. Nobody really wins the highest honor on the team. But if we win, my chances will go up, so I will do the best I can."