September 3, 2007

Nguon's Notebook

With the first game of the season out of the way, Cal football coach Jeff Tedford and his staff can now start to see some of the team's strengths and begin to work on some of the team's weaknesses. One of the major issues to jump out of the 45-31 victory over visiting Tennessee Saturday evening was the points given up by a Bears' defense that's replacing three critical players from last season - including Pac-10 defensive Player of the Year Daymeion Hughes. After critiquing tape of the game on Sunday, Tedford had his fair share of comments about how Cal performed.

One of the more evident things to stand out after the contest was over was the physicality aspect of the Bears' 14-point win. Cal controlled the line of scrimmage, and in general, moved the ball with ease - which was surprising to many pundits.

The Bears' defense on the other hand, having to go up against the no-huddle offense of the Volunteers, were a little more susceptible. Cal gave up 271 yards through the air and another 111 on the ground. Obviously, one of the big questions posed to Tedford in practice on Sunday was the matter of how well he felt the Bears' tackled, which was a huge factor in many of the Vols' big gains during the course of the game.

"The tackling is really just a game thing," Tedford said. "We did make some tackles that was a product of drills work but there is a fine line between risking injury and playing live in practice. That's something I feel we'll get better as we get more game experience. But I feel for a first game we did pretty well."

Tedford also noted that the intensity his team showed was a lot more revealing in comparison to last season's opener against the Vols.

"Watching tape there was great effort," he said. "Guys were flying around, making plays. There's room to get better in certain places but the effort was excellent."

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