In the first two weeks of the season, a few unfortunate patterns have developed for the Golden Bears. On Sunday, Jeff Tedford spoke at length about two of them: the team's slow starts and penalties.
On the slow starts Tedford said, "That's what we addressed today, (and) practicing throughout the week to get started fast, so it (becomes a) habit for us in the game."
One reporter asked about the "listless" feeling that the team came out of the gates with the last two weeks to which Tedford quickly replied, "I don't get that feeling. Listless, I don't get that."
He acknowledged that it might be hard for the team to be energetic and passionate when positive plays were constantly being wiped out.
As many fans are frustrated with the Bears' performance, it's clear that Tedford isn't happy either. "I think we have great potential to be a very good football team if we can stop shooting ourselves in the foot," he said. "It's not just the negative yards – it's also the positive plays that get taken away."
"It's an illegal procedure here or there, a hit right at the whistle that gets called. We have to play smarter."
"I'm not happy about those mistakes, but if we learn from them, then there's (at least something of value there.) If we don't learn from them, then they're just repetitive, and that's not going to win games for us."
During the game against Southern Utah, there was a heated exchange between Tedford and quarterback Zach Maynard following a disappointing red zone sequence. On Sunday, Tedford dismissed that as "Nothing, just game stuff."
With the team set to face iun six days their toughest opponent so far, Tedford spoke on the Buckeyes, saying "They have talent across the board. They have very physical offensive and defensive lines. Their linebackers and secondary are fast, a typical big time team. It's going to be a great challenge for us."
Tedford was asked about differences between Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller and Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo who gave the Bears fits two weeks ago."Not at lot different," he said, "(Miller's) athletic, he's fast, and very physical as well." Tedford emphasized the team's need to maintain outside containment against Miller.
"In order for us to go there and be successful, it's got to be about what happens today, what happens Monday, Tuesday, every day. You don't just go there on Saturday and expect it to just kind of happen for you. Really, the message is to start fast in practice each day, to focus on execution. We'll practice with a lot of noise this week, we'll have a physical practice on Tuesday, and work our way down from there, but we have to start fast and have great practices all week."
"We're fired up [to go to Columbus]. Playing in front of that huge crowd and all the tradition that's there, it's a great opportunity, a great experience for the kids. I'm fired up about it."
MRI results for linebacker Chris McCain and tight end Richard Rodgers have not come in yet. Rodgers was spotted using a walking boot and crutches on Sunday.
Penn State transfer Khairi Fortt's availability for Ohio State is still uncertain. The same is true for right tackle Matt Summers-Gavin. The latter is day to day, and sounds more likely to play than Fortt.
Offensive lineman Bill Tyndall, who filled in for Summers-Gavin this week, played well according to Tedford.
On Cal's pass defense, which has been inconsistent, Tedford said, "I thought there was fairly good coverage the first week [against Nevada], and they were making tight throws and nice catches. This last week [against Southern Utah] was a lot dink and dunks, not a lot of big plays. We need to get our hands up and bat some of those balls down.
One obvious factor in playing at Ohio State will be crowd noise, but Tedford didn't seem fazed, citing the artificial crowd noise the team will deploy during practices.
The 9 a.m. (PT) start in Columbus does not concern Tedford because the team regularly practices at that hour.