|Cal's full attention is on winless Washington|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 03 December 2008 23:32|
After all, the Golden Bears were the last team to lose to Washington - and nobody in Berkeley wants to remember that dismal point in last season's miserable downward spiral.
``It was really an embarrassment for us,'' said Cal linebacker Anthony Felder, a Seattle native. ``To lose in the fashion we did, it's really difficult to explain. ... I remember the defense getting beat up pretty much the whole day. I think even if we were trying to forget about it, the coaches wouldn't let us this week.''
With essentially nothing at stake for the Bears' (7-4, 5-3 Pac-10) bowl hopes or conference standing two weeks after beating Stanford in the Big Game, coach Jeff Tedford might be worried about how his team would respond to such a low-stakes coda to the regular season.
g by the Huskies, Tedford isn't worried.
``The last time we played these guys, they embarrassed us,'' Tedford said. ``That's the only time someone has run the ball against us like that in our time here, and they did it with ease. There's going to be a lot of motivation to redeem ourselves.''
Although Cal could finish the regular season unbeaten in seven games at Memorial Stadium, the Bears' 1-4 record away from Berkeley is the reason they'll probably finish the year across the Bay at the Emerald Bowl instead of competing for the Pac-10's top prizes.
But the Bears aren't close to repeating last season's collapse, when they lost six of their final seven games and backed into the Armed Forces Bowl. Cal fell out of this season's conference title race with close road losses to USC and Oregon State in mid-November - a much more respectable fate than last season's debacle at Husky Stadium, in which the Bears appeared to lose the will to compete.
``Our leaders need to step up and make sure we don't get trapped, because that's what happened last year,'' said fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou, who's among Cal's several seniors playing their final game at Memorial Stadium. ``We went in there thinking we were going to win.''
After losing 19 straight games to Washington prior to Tedford's arrival in 2002, Cal had won five straight against Washington before last season's flop.
tremendously entertaining 31-24 overtime victory for the Bears, with the Huskies scoring on a 40-yard deflected pass at the end of regulation before Marshawn Lynch rushed for the winning OT score - and then celebrated by driving in joyous circles in a golf cart on the Memorial Stadium turf.
That memory was pretty much erased by last season's loss for most of the Cal seniors, and they're eager to replace it with something good.
``Last year when it happened, I don't think we were ready mentally,'' Felder said. ``To lose that way to Washington, that's not something you ever want to do again.''