Jeff Tedford still believes that his decision to fly cross country the day before an early start against Maryland had nothing to do with California's flat performance in a loss. With another 9 a.m. PDT start coming this Saturday against Minnesota, Tedford showed he's not too stubborn to change his ways. The eighth-ranked Golden Bears (2-0) will fly to Minneapolis on Thursday afternoon, giving them all of Friday to get acclimated.
"I don't want to be hardheaded about it," Tedford said Tuesday. "I'll see if it's better. I don't think there's ever an issue with going a day before the game." This will be Cal's sixth game that started before noon Pacific time in Tedford's tenure at Cal, but the first time he has flown out on Thursday instead of Friday. The Bears won the first four games but the decision to leave Friday became an issue before last year's game at Maryland. Cal arrived in Maryland on Friday night, went straight to the stadium for a walkthrough, ate dinner and then went to bed. The players woke up and went straight to the stadium. The criticism only intensified after Cal fell behind 21-3 one play into the second quarter on the way to a 35-27 loss to the Terrapins.
"I think whatever the announcers say on TV is what gets in everybody's mind," Tedford said. "We went to Maryland last year and our guys were bright-eyed. We didn't play well. Because the announcers, all they could say was, 'It's early, it's early, it's early,' everybody thinks it's early. ... We were sleeping but it wasn't because of when we flew in there or anything like that. I really don't believe that."
While Tedford dismissed the time change as a factor, he does think that maybe his players felt rushed and could use a little time to relax in the hotel the day before this year's game against Minnesota (2-0).
The Cal players who went to Maryland last year said they don't know how much of a factor the early start was in their performance. They felt the East Coast humidity took more out of them then the early wake-up, but acknowledge there are adjustments that need to be made.