October 30, 2007

Exploring New Territory

California head football coach Jeff Tedford is treading on new ground this week - never before in his six years as the head coach of the Bears, has he had to endure the pain of a three-game losing streak. Making it even more painful is the fact that there is not one single factor he can point to as the root cause for the Bears' national championship aspirations and Pac-10 conference title demise. Tedford says it is a variety of demons his team has to overcome on Halloween week if they are to be more successful in the future.

"First of all, we've been penalizing ourselves and turnovers the last three weeks have plagued us - we need to be smart with the football. Last week [in the loss to Arizona State], we didn't protect the passer all that well, we need to protect the passer a little bit better," says Tedford, identifying the most glaring problems facing his team.

Although the Bears are out of both national and conference title contention with the loss to the Sun Devils, they are still alive for bowl game contention, needing only two more wins to make that a guaranteed result for the season. But the reduction from national title to conference title to just making a bowl game has been a difficult process for Tedford and the Bears in the month of October.

"We have to take pride in the season. We're 5-3 and there's still positive things to be done. We're not going to win the national championship but there are bowl games," says Tedford, who reflects that the higher expectations for the program are better than the apathetic alternative. "The expectation [to do well] has got so great when you lose two or three games, I guess that's a gratifying feeling [to know people are concerned]."

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