Everybody was upbeat as Bay Area college football coaches met with the media Sunday to discuss the upcoming season. Cal coach Jeff Tedford declared that the first day back with his team is “the best day of the year.” The Bears convene as a team on Thursday and begin practice Friday.
The national media has given the Bears high ratings in preseason predictions. The Bears seem especially strong on defense, and Tedford said it is potentially the best defense he’s had at Cal, anchored by Syd’Quan Thompson, ranked as the No. 1 corner in the country in some publications. Thompson is just 5-foot-9 and 191 pounds but he’s very fast and tough. “We put him in a lot of blitz situations because he’s such a good tackler,” said Tedford. In his first start, Thompson was blitzed for long touchdowns by Tennessee in a game in Knoxville. “I didn’t know how he’d react after that game,” said Tedford, but obviously, he took it as a learning experience.
Offensively, the Bears have running back Jahvid Best, who’s getting attention as a Heisman Trophy candidate. “That won’t affect him,” said Tedford. “Jahvid is a team-first guy.”