Sometimes, after games, Cal coach Jeff Tedford will enter the locker room, make a hard right turn and walk all the way down the aisle, near a window against one side of Memorial Stadium, to heartily congratulate an offensive lineman on playing well. Then he'll find quarterback Kevin Riley, or a defensive player, and offer similar praise. This is the same stoic, reclusive Tedford who savors holing up in his office to watch video?
Other times, during practices or at the start of the fourth quarter in games this season, he has stood in the middle of a scrum of Cal players. As they exuberantly bounce up and down, Tedford raises his voice - loudly, vigorously, passionately trying to stoke his players' emotions. This is the same calm, analytical Tedford who hides behind dark sunglasses and speaks in even, measured tones? As he prepares for his 100th game at Cal on Saturday - he's 66-33, one shy of matching Pappy Waldorf for most victories in the school's modern era - Tedford clearly has grown into the job. He's no longer simply a strategy-obsessed, onetime offensive coordinator, singularly consumed with the chess-game moves of football.
Now, more than ever, Tedford embraces the human element. He's making an unmistakable effort to connect with his players, from those postgame words of encouragement to occasional before-practice chats about their academic workload.