The sound of silence shoots through Cal postgame

Jonathan Kuperberg

PASADENA, Calif. — Left hand in his pocket, right arm leaning on the podium, Jeff Tedford stood silently Saturday evening, wearied and forlorn. Asked about a quarterback change for next week after current starter Zach Maynard threw four picks in Cal’s 31-14 loss, the head coach chewed his gum and paused.

Chomp. Pause. Chomp. Pause.

He chewed, but he didn’t exactly bite.

“We’ll see,” he said. “We’ll look at the tape and make a determination.”

There was no fiery demeanor, no declaration of confidence, no nothing. Just a silent coach and a silenced team on what should have been a silent Pasadena evening.

UCLA was down six players after a a brawl in its last game. UCLA was downtrodden after getting embarrassed 48-12 on national TV. UCLA will soon be down a head coach, with Rick Neuheisel not likely to last another season.

Instead it was the Bruins’ pistol offense that was doing the firing.

UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince was running past Cal defenders, and running back Derrick Coleman was running through them. Coleman powered his way for 80 yards and three touchdowns, but Prince was the crown jewel. The junior signal caller ran for 163 yards, effectively eluding the Bears’ secondary and linebacker corps.

The pistol can stun someone at first, but Cal had seen the weapon before. The Bears torched the Bruins, 35-7, last year and said they were prepared after studying tape during the week. Tedford said that the UCLA offense on Saturday “wasn’t a whole lot different” from last year, and defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast said the offenses were “identical.” Safety Sean Cattouse even lamented after the game that the team had a plan for Prince.

Yet when it came to execution, Cal would miss one-on-one tackles and misread plays, spending a large chunk of the game chasing down Prince’s No. 4 robe. Behind nearly 300 rushing yards, the UCLA football team effectively came back from the dead. And it was the Bears that were digging their own grave.

“The quarterback killed us today,” Tedford said of Prince, though he could have been referring to Maynard.

Three of Maynard’s passes were caught by UCLA safety Tevin McDonald, who had more catches than Cal’s No. 2 and No. 3 wide receivers combined. Maynard is pretty inaccurate, but he was able to toss the ice pack cleanly on Neuheisel’s hot seat. Barring an incredible end-of-the-season run or upsets over USC or Stanford, he will still get fired at the end of the season. Only now, after the Bears tossed Saturday’s game away, it seems the glow of his hot seat has dimmed and the calls for him to be fired midseason have been silenced.

Saturday was supposed to be the last straw, the final blow for the Bruins’ season and Neuheisel’s tenure. Cal defensive lineman Trevor Guyton called it “a game we should have won.” Guyton wasn’t all that talkative either after the game, but his silence spoke volumes. He sniffled as he shuffled his way up to the podium. If he looked down when he answered questions, it was not for lack of interest; rather, it was because his eyes were watery.

The senior was asked about UCLA’s intensity, and he took a deep breath before answering that the Bears clearly did not match it.

“Something wasn’t right,” he added.

When something goes wrong, Tedford is the first to admit it — “Turnovers killed us,” he said. But maybe he’s also the last one to know — he still said he will need to review tape before deciding on next week’s starting quarterback.

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  • Anonymous

    Guyton said it all – “Something wasn’t right”.  I had that figured out after the first quarter.

  • Anonymous

    You guys might be too hard on Maynard.  Here’s a guy who can throw on the run but he’s a happy feet pocket passer who has a clear visor.  We need to shade his visor so DBs can’t see his eyes; we need to get him to throw on the run; and we need to run him as much as he passes.  Tedford should be canned for stubbornly trying to make Maynard into a pocket
    QB.  If you look at Prince, he sucks as a pocket QB.  He beat us with his running and staying on the move.

    As unbelievable to UCLA fans as it might be, Tedford makes Neuheisel look good.  Maybe it’s the case of Dumb and Dumber and we got the latter.

  • unbearable

    “We’ll see,” he said. “We’ll look at the tape and make a determination.”

    Dude, weren’t you at the game? You didn’t see him throw 4 frkin’ picks?!!!!
    When is 2 (3 or 4) picks not enough to bench someone, you moron!!!

    • Anonymous

      Yea, and it wasn’t the first time he did that.  The SC game is still fresh in my memory.

  • Mick Vernon

    “Tedford is the first to admit it”??

    What we saw on Saturday are the SAME problems which have plagued Tedford’s program (almost) from the start and *certainly* in the last 5 years.

    What Tedford *admits to*, though, is excuses for the QB play and it doesn’t matter WHO the QB has been; from Ayoob to Longshore to Riley to Maynard it is ALWAYS the same refrain of “Somebody else’s fault”.

    What Tedfraud *admits to*, though, is blame to the assistant coaches and to the players themselves.

    The fact is that it is NOT the fault of assistants nor is it the fault of the players nor EVEN the endless string of failing QB’s themselves because the faces change but the problems do not. No, it is TEDFORD’S fault and until he starts taking the blame himself for the poor training, poor game-planning, God-awful execution and horrible decision-making, things aren’t gonna change. Ten year’s in, it is clear that he WON’T do that and that he has not one clue about how to run a successful program.

    It is time for Tedford to admit that this job is more than he can handle and that continuing to pick up his $2.3 million paycheck amounts to grand theft.

    It is time for Tedford to resign. He has pocketed $25 million (or thereabouts) from his tenure at Cal and that should be enough for ANYONE and more than enough incentive for him to do the right thing.

    Goodbye, Coach. Don’t let the door hit your loser ass on the way out.

    • Anonymous

      You forgot to include inattention to detail as another Tedford trait of incompetence.

  • Mike P

    If Tedford truly goes back and watches the tape, we should see Bridgford next Saturday.  I saw the game live and then watched parts of the first half on tape; with a decent O line and those receivers, why can’t Tedford just admit he made a mistake, and begin to correct it?

    • Anonymous

      Cuz he’s a dick.

  • Meh

    Tedford needs to leave.  Bring in a young hungry up and coming coach who will inspire the team and bring some passion back to Cal Football.  Tedford is being treated with kid gloves.  I don’t want him on the sidelines next year at Memorial stadium…and I don’t want his little new facility bonus Sandy promised him. 

    TEDFORD GO AWAY!…..please?  Maynard, you and your bother can exit as well.  UCB is too good for JC transfer losers. 

  • Sshafikh

    Why do you (by you, I mean all reporters who cover Cal) never criticize Tedford? Why aren’t you outraged for the team’s lack of preparation? It’s time for everyone to ask in unison for Tedford to be dismissed. yes, we know that Cal is likely to be favored in the next two games but enough is enough.

    Fire Tedford

  • Anonymous

    Maynard should have been pulled early.  He is just not accurate.  Time for a change.

  • Good research!

    Of Neuheisel, you write: “Barring an incredible end-of-the-season run or upsets over USC or Stanford, he will still get fired at the end of the season.” An upset over Stanford would be truly incredible, since UCLA and Stanford already met on Oct. 1 (Stanford won, 45-19). I’m betting against UCLA making it to the Pac-12 championship game.

    • Anonymous

      If UCLA makes it to the Pac-12 championship game, Pac-12 will look so bad that it stands to lose sponsors.  It already looks bad since Colorado and Utah can’t beat such a chump team like Cal.

  • Anonymous

    Put Keenan Allen on the Podium, lets see what he has to say about his brother. College football is all about giving athletes a chance to shine with hopes of making the pro’s. Maynard has had his chance. Maynard will never make it to the NFL, UFL, CFL, or Arena Football. Tedford is ruining the lives of other QB’s that should at least be given a chance. Don’t even consider Seniors, their season and college career is almost over, Cal will not be invited to a Bowl game, so each QB should get a shot at the remaining games. Tedfords loss saved Neuheisels job at UCLA, in doing so let us hope that Tedford will be gone soon.