Funny thing about some of the offensive gurus of the Pac-10. They're scratching their heads over their offense. At UCLA, Rick Neuheisel has installed Nevada's "Pistol” offense as a way to move the chains. At Arizona State, Dennis Erickson has a new coordinator and a retooled approach. Then there's Jeff Tedford at California. Heretofore known as a molder of quarterbacks, he has experienced a run of pedestrian play behind center that has only added to the enigma around Cal.
So here we have the Bears: They come off an 8-5 season. Not so bad, you say. But the losses were all in double digits, including a composite score of 114-16 against Oregon, USC and Washington. "We definitely had some big losses,” says receiver Jeremy Ross. "We all remember them. But we're just trying to forget what's behind and keep pressing on towards the goal.” Oh yes, the goal. For the Bears, longest away from the Rose Bowl (1959) in the Pac-10 among the charter members, that's Pasadena. But recent seasons haven't done much to reinforce that Cal will get there anytime soon — the sentiment of those covering the Pac-10.
League media forecast the Bears seventh, after picking them second five of the previous six years. It's the dimmest view of Cal since the first two of Tedford's nine seasons in Berkeley. "We have a burning desire to get to the Rose Bowl,” Tedford insists. "Our players do, our coaches do, our fans do.” Tedford is 67-35 at Cal. If you assess consistency, longevity and accomplishment, that might rank better than any Bears coach since Pete Elliott, who ramrodded that last Rose Bowl, and immediately before him, legendary Pappy Waldorf.
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