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Q&A with The Band is Out on the Field

This weeks Cal Game has a lot riding on the line. Obviously not as much as it would have 3-4 weeks ago for both teams but for SC there is still a chance for a BCS bowl birth. this week we have our Q&A with the our SBN colleagues The Band is out on the Field

Everyone thought that this would be the year when Cal came out of the gates hot with a big win against Tennessee. A lot has happened since then so outside of the obvious disappointment of high expectations where do see the direction of this team going?

Well, certainly during the current skid, the team has been going in an unexpected direction. In the end, though, I think everyone has become resigned to the fact that they just aren't that good. The offensive - despite still having more stars than any other offense in the country has absurdly regressed - first due to partially to Longshore's injury and partially due to his regression as a QB. At the same time, they are a team that dominated one half against Oregon and one half against ASU. They still are very good, but perhaps not a very good team.

It is pretty clear that DeSean Jackson hasn't had the most explosive season as some expected. Is that because of what is perceived as conservative play calling or have opposing defenses figured him out?

I look at it like this - in the games teams have played him straight up he has killed them, most obviously Oregon and UCLA. In the other recent games he has been double and Lavelle Hawkins has killed them. Considering that our quarterback play has been pretty inconsistent for four weeks now, our receivers have played pretty well. Certainly the playcalling hasn't allowed DeSean as many opportunites as anyone would like, but no one doubts that he is a great, great player.

Cal seems to have fared pretty well since Marshawn Lynch went pro. How has Forsett fit in as the go to guy in regards to the running duties?

Forsett has been great, but there is a key difference. Last season with Marshawn, we could count on the running game being their even when the offensive line wasn't dominant. With Forsett his performance really follows the performance of the o-line. Against UCLA they were manhandled, and he really did almost nothing. But against Oregon and Tennessee, especially in the second halfs, he was unstoppable.

Anyone who has been following Cal the last five years knows we having been a running team, despite the national perception. Lynch was the best in a long line of good running backs - consider that his predecessor rushed for 2,000 yards, and that Forsett already has more TDs than Lynch has last year and could pass him in yardage as well.

The Cal loss to UCLA was tough one to swallow for many of us. Coupled with the loss the week before to Oregon State is Jeff Tedford being looked at with a little more scrutiny in regards to the performance of this team?

Yes and deservedly so. While everyone agrees that Tedford will be our coach for as long as he wants to be, I don't think that should make him above scrutiny. The UCLA was poorly coached. The coaches seemed to be outcoached again in the second half against Arizona State. Obviously, the quarterback situation fuels a lot of the scrutiny, but it isn't the only reason.

The offense has been absurdly conservative over the last four games. In the first halfs against UCLA and ASU, the passing game has been clicking, yet there hasn't seemed to be a killer instinct. Tedford has always had a tendency to sit on marginally comfortable leads, but that really has been a problem all year. We almost let both Colorado State and Arizona come back despite holding big leads early.

Staying with Jeff Tedford for a moment, what is the opinion of Tedford possibly going to Michigan should Lloyd Carr be fired and is that realistic option given his record this season?

We have heard this every season and frankly it is getting rather old. I think that it has been three offseasons since he even entertained an offer (following the 2003 season) so I don't think anyone at Michigan should be getting excited. Tedford to Michigan is perhaps the least credible rumor yet - This is a guy who flatly rejected the chance to coach at Washington three years ago and turned down the Falcons job where he could have molded a pre-dogfighting Michael Vick five season ago. He certainly could have been coach at Florida or Notre Dame or Alabama if he wanted the job.

He is a coach who could succeed at Michigan, as he does have a vaguely Midwestern smashmouth sensability, but there is no way it will happen.

Who do you think should start on Saturday, Longshore or Riley regardless of health or experience.

Riley without a doubt. Longshore has claimed to be healthy three straight weeks and played like someone who was injured all three weeks.

Riley obviously is best known for the ill-advised run at the end of the OSU game, but honestly he was the only reason that we had a chance to win that game in the first place. Riley showed signs of being a future superstar, and made numerous throws and reads that Longshore simply doesn't make.

Longshore is still only a junior and Riley only a redshirt freshman. While the more interesting competition will obviously happen in the offseason, a bad loss to the Trojans could open up the QB competition for the last two weeks of the season and bowl game.

Finally, it seems that the tree people are getting more than their fair share of coverage. Do they have a legitimate gripe or are the attempting relive the activism of the 60's?

They really don't have anything legitimate. Their main claims - that the trees are "ancient" oaks and the site of Native American burial grounds are laughably inaccurate. Their only authority comes from their association with other groups fighting the stadium plan - the city and the homeowners behind the stadium. That part of the case will likely be decided clearly in the university's favor in some form of trial.
But as of right now, there is a court order to remove the tree sitters and only four sitters currently remain in violation of the law.

The other key thing to note is that they have yet to actually delay the stadium renovation plan which wasn't scheduled to begin until a year from now at the earliest. The only delay has been the "high performance athletic facility" construction. But to compensate, the university is actually accelerating some of the stadium renovation plans.

Good Luck On Saturday Kevin!