Cal coach Jeff Tedford wanted his team to know the sun would rise even after USC's 48-14 beatdown of the Golden Bears on Saturday. But he made sure his players found out the hard way.
Cal's first team meeting since its embarrassing loss to the Trojans came at 6:50 a.m. Monday. Indeed, shortly after the Bears started reviewing the carnage, out poked the sun.
"It's a little early. It's dark and cold," Tedford said. "But they were attentive, and they really seemed to lock on to what we were talking about."
The primary message was to move on. Sure, the lopsided loss is troubling. But even more troubling for Cal would be to wallow in the misery for too long.
"It takes a day or two to sort of let it sink in," Tedford said. "I think you need to process it and not act like it didn't happen. But it can't be all-encompassing. We need to deal with it, which we did this morning. Now, we move forward. We're 3-3 and every game is a new opportunity. That's how we're going to approach it."
As alarming as it was for the Bears to be so thoroughly outplayed, Tedford stressed that it was only one game. He doesn't believe the team needs to make substantial changes but allowed that some personnel tweaks could be in store.
"We'll evaluate all the personnel, and some guys may get some more playing time based off of performance," Tedford said. "There were some mistakes that were made, and those need to be corrected. But the effort is there. You're
While the Bears appear ready to move on, a dismantling like the one at USC isn't easily forgotten. Cal was coming off a quality win over UCLA, and the Trojans were riding a two-game losing streak, albeit both on last-second field goals.
"We didn't expect that at all," Cal linebacker Mike Mohamed said. "We expected it to be a pretty competitive game that would come down to the final minutes. Everything was working for them and we just couldn't stop them. It just snowballed."
Said center Chris Guarnero: "It just happened so fast. You looked up and it was 21-0. We got ambushed a little bit."
Cal's performance raises questions about where it stands in the Pac-10 balance of power. USC lost to a so-so Washington team and struggled to put away Hawaii and Virginia in nonconference games. The Bears host Arizona State this Saturday, then travel to Oregon State, one of the better teams in the conference.
"It's not over," Guarnero said. "You never know what's going to happen in the Pac-10. It's a great conference. We have a lot of football left. With a bowl game, we still have a chance at a 10-win season."
Ten wins would require Cal to win out, meaning the Bears will have to beat Oregon, Stanford and Oregon State. At least they play the second-ranked Ducks (BCS) and 12th-rated Cardinal in Berkeley.
"It's one game," Tedford said of USC. "You look around football, things happen. Who would have thought Florida would lose three straight? It's one game on our schedule, and it's very important that we learn from it and we prepare and we focus and get ready for this week."