The University of California football team continues Pac-10 play this Saturday when it travels to Oregon State, with kick off set for 1 p.m. (PST). The Golden Bears have won three straight games and are currently ranked No. 20 in the nation. Cal held its fifth press conference of the 2006 season Tuesday in the Hall of Fame room at the historic Memorial Stadium. Head coach Jeff Tedford and numerous players attended to speak with the press.
On DeSean Jackson:
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"With his explosive speed, it's something you really have to take notice. If you leave him one-on-one, he's got the quickness and the speed to make some big plays, not only as a receiver, but in the kicking game. You really have to make sure you stay in your lanes and cover the kicks well, or if he hits a crease, it's a big play. His speed, athleticism and quickness make you very cautious about leaving him one-on-one. He did a nice job last year, but we're able to get him the ball a little bit better this year."
On playing in Corvallis:
"It's difficult. It's a tough environment there. Their fans do a nice job, it's very loud. We've always had a difficult time playing there. It's not the loudest place in the conference, but it's a hostile environment, no question. They play very well at home. It's tough to go on the road there. They came into our house last year and not only did they beat us, but they were more physical than us. That's something that doesn't happen to us too often, to have a team be more physical than we are. This year, our guys are looking forward to having another chance to play them."
On Nate Longshore:
"The transition he's making from week to week, he sees the field better, he's throwing the ball on time, he's extremely accurate with the football and he's putting the ball in places where people can catch it. He's doing an excellent job of preparation mentally with the game. Physically, he's throwing the ball very well. He's handling the huddle and the offense really well. Each week he continues to get better and he is very young still. He still needs to continue to improve, but he's doing a nice job so far. Last year we were anticipating the same thing. Unfortunately, he got hurt, but he's always showed promise and a lot of potential."
On the Oregon State running game:
"They ran the ball effectively against us last year. Typically they have a big physical line, and they do a nice job of coming off the ball and creating some edges, bending the edges on you. That's where they've been able to get some yards against us. They do a nice job with the run game. They have good players, physical players and very good running backs."
On the Cal receivers:
"Coach Dunbar [offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar] is doing a nice job of spreading the ball around. We're trying a formation where they're all getting a little piece of the action. If you can keep them motivated, keep them going, making plays, it seems like they're a step quicker. They're really into the game, doing a great job, they're happy for one another, they're really flying around. It's nice to see. All three of those guys are very talented guys. For us to get them involved in the game plan is very important for us."
On offensive lineman Mike Gibson:
"Mike played very solid. He did a nice job, both in the run game and the pass protection. He played very well for his first time as a starter. I think that gives us the ability now, when Scott (Smith) and (Andrew) Cameron come back, it really creates some depth for us at tackle. Mike is a guy who is so athletic; he can put himself in the position to get things done. He's done a great job of learning the offense. If there's one thing that allows him to play right now, it's been his ability to learn the offense. Physically and athletically, he is very good."
"Thomas has been playing very well. He's really been filling the alleys. He's done a great job of tackling. Bernard (Hicks) came in and played pretty well last week. There's not a huge drop off there. We have a lot of faith and confidence in Bernard. But it's always nice to have both of those guys healthy and ready to play, because Thomas has really been playing well. We have confidence that Bernard will be just fine."
On cornerback Daymeion Hughes:
"I don't know how you play much better than Daymeion's playing right now. It seems like every time they throw the ball his way, he's either getting his hand on it or intercepting the ball. He studies the game so well. When the ball comes in his direction, he has a great instinct to go get it. He's physical enough to where, if they bring the receiver down and try to block the safeties, he's going to stick his nose in there and make plays on the run game. He's doing an excellent job of covering guys. I would find it very hard to think that anybody could play much better than he's playing right now. He was pretty solid last year too. He made a lot of plays on the ball last year. He's an all around good player."
On Marshawn Lynch:
"Marshawn has developed and grown quite a bit. He's become a much more physical runner, understanding to put his pads down when he needs to. He's more physical than he was as a freshman, which is pretty typical of any young running back. He really understands everything that we're doing. He rarely makes mental mistakes. He's really caught on to the offense very well. He really does a nice job. That's where he's matured the most I think, instead of bouncing around, to be able to put his pads down for a yard or two when he needs to."
On the Oregon State defense:
"They have a solid defense. They've been very good against the pass. They lead the conference in pass defense. They do a nice job of getting up and pressing the receivers and making it very difficult. They're very sound in what they do. They stack the box, making it very tough to run the ball inside on them. They're a downhill defense; they're going to attack you. They don't sit back and wait for things, they run downhill at you. They're very aggressive. They do a nice job of plugging the gaps. They're very solid on defense."