Cal's ability to run the ball against UCLA made its dormant passing game a little more palatable. So did a 35-7 victory.

But coaches and players are saying they can't have a similar one-dimensional performance on Saturday at USC.

"This week, we have to mix it up," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "There's no way you're just going to live on one phase of the game against SC. They're just too good to do that. We're going to have to try to keep them off-balance as much as we can."

The Trojans don't play the same level of defense they did during the height of the Pete Carroll years. USC has been plagued by missed tackles and big plays and ranks just 100th nationally in total defense. That includes a pass defense ranked 116th out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams.

The Trojans were shredded by Hawaii's offense in their opener during a 49-36 victory and let Washington and Stanford march up and down the field against them during their past two games, both last-second losses.

Still, Tedford says USC's defense provides his offense its biggest challenge so far this season.

"Good question," Tedford said when asked why USC ranks 100th in total defense. "They look the same to me. They fly around and they're physical and they're very athletic."

The Bears rushed for 304 yards on 55 carries Saturday against UCLA. Quarterback Kevin Riley threw for just 83 yards on 9 for 16 passing.

Riley said his footwork was a little off against the Bruins, a problem Tedford says is easily correctable.

"Kevin has made a lot of good throws," he said. "There were a couple balls the other day that he missed a little bit high. It really had to do with his feet. We can correct that very easily, just making sure his feet are right, because they have been most all the time.

"I still have a lot of trust that we're fine in the passing game."

  • Tedford was happy with center Dominic Galas' first career start Saturday -- especially because he didn't get into any wrestling matches.

    Galas started against UCLA in place of Chris Guarnero, who missed the game with a sprained ankle. Tedford said he spoke with Galas on Friday night because the sophomore plays with such emotion.

    "I had to have a little talk with him that it's not a wrestling match," Tedford said. "You have a ball in your hand. There's a certain amount of poise that goes on with what you're doing. He's the kind of guy you could see throwing up in the locker room. He's so amped up and so into it."

    Galas said Tedford told him to remember two words -- poise and focus. Galas wrote those words down before going to bed.

    "I think he was more nervous than I was," Galas said. "He came up to me and said, 'You can't wrestle.' 'Yeah, Coach. I know. I'm playing football.' He just really made sure that I had my assignments. It was good to get a reminder from him, but I knew what I had to do."

    Guarnero returned to practice Tuesday and played with the first team. "We'll see how the week goes," Tedford said.

  • Cal ranks eighth nationally in total defense (254.8 yards allowed per game). The Bears are allowing just 15.8 points per game, 17th in the country. The last time Cal yielded fewer points per game for a full season was in 1968, when it gave up just 10.4 per contest.

    saturday's game
    Cal at USC, 12:30 p.m., CSNBA