The question was bound to come up: Just how long has Jeff Tedford known Derek Carr?
Tedford coached Carr’s older brother, former NFL number one overall pick, David, at Fresno State in 1997, a time when a much younger Derek Carr would run around Bulldog practices and toss the ball around with his brother’s quarterbacks coach after practice.
Now, the younger Carr will line up under center for his first collegiate start, and despite his inexperience, Tedford believes that the sophomore slinger will challenge the Bears’ defense, especially since Derek will no longer be “throwing a Nerf ball.”
“Derek is a good player, he’s a student of the game,” Tedford said. “You never want to go to sleep on him either because he is mobile.”
Carr heads a Fresno State offense that returns a 1,000 yard rusher, junior Robbie Rouse, and an athletic receiving corps anchored by sophomore Jalen Saunders. Saunders was the Bulldogs’ top aerial threat last season, leading the team in yards per catch and second in receiving yards.
Fresno State coach Pat Hill has noted his team’s athleticism as one of its biggest strengths, and Tedford emphasized the importance of not letting the Bulldog receivers get behind the Cal secondary. Saunders, Rashad Evans and former Cal commitment Josh Harper are all downfield threats that could test the relatively decorated Bears’ secondary.
It’ll be up to Carr to get them the ball. Except this time it will be the pigskin.
— Four days away from the start of his 10th season at the helm of the Cal football program, Tedford admitted that excitement is up and that there is “more pep” around practice as Saturday nears. The Cal coach deflected any suggestion that his ties to Fresno give this game an extra storyline, claiming it “doesn’t have anything to do with me.” Tedford quarterbacked the Bulldogs from 1981-82 and set several passing records.
— Tedford said that wide receiver Kaelin Clay was at about “90 percent” and participated in contact drills on Tuesday. Clay has been recovering from a meniscus tear.
— Both Covaughn Deboskie-Johnson and C. J. Anderson will play on Saturday, but Tedford stated that it was “up to Coach Gould” if both would get carries.
— Freshman tight end Richard Rodgers “catches everything” according to Tedford. The first-year from Worcester, Mass. should see some the field on Saturday.