BERKELEY-This being a bye week, Tuesday's Cal practiced focused mainly on conditioning, but afterwards, head coach Jeff Tedford chatted with BearTerritory for a few moments on several topics, the first being former Bears quarterback Aaron Rodgers' stellar performance on Monday Night Football in a 20-17 loss to the rival Chicago Bears.
Tedford's former star pupil went 34-of-45 for 316 yards and a touchdown and wasn't sacked a single time against Chicago, cementing his status as one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.
"I did see some of it, and he looks, he looks really good," Tedford said. "There's no question about it: he's got such great command of what's going on. He's got that quick, accurate release. He's running, and in my opinion, he's the best in football."
Rodgers was a magician in the pocket, escaping to run for 20 yards-more than the out-for-the-season Ryan Grant's replacement, Brandon Jackson. He kept the Green Bay Packers close despite 18 penalties. The Pack even led 17-14 late in the fourth quarter, largely due to Rodgers' leadership in the face of adversity. Tedford chuckled when asked if he wished Rodgers had stayed for his final year of eligibility.
"Of course!" smiled Tedford.
But the Packers-Bears contest wasn't the only game Tedford was watching on Monday. In the afternoon, he completed his study of the game tape from UCLA's upset over then-No. 7 Texas.
"They did a nice job of running the football," Tedford said. "They're phyisical and their defense flies around; they're very athletic on defense and they made a lot of plays there. Those (Texas) turnovers, some of them are self-induced and some of them are forced."
The Bruins benefitted from five Longhorns turnovers in the game, cited by many as the key to the UCLA win in Austin, Tex.
"Akeem Ayers intercepted a pass, and he's a great player," Tedford said. "They put him all over the place, and he just does a real fine job at whatever he does. They're athletic."
Stay tuned for BearTerritory's coverage of today's press conference on the future of the Cal Athletic Department, and some comments from Tedford on how the football program has tightened its belt to help with the financial crunch.