Hate Mail: Sunshine State in fighting mood
The East Coast bias is the best thing that ever happened to California coach Jeff Tedford -- because without it, the entire country would be talking about what a jerk he is.
Maybe the whole country will be talking about it today. That's my goal. I'm here to inform, you know. That's my agenda. And today, I'm informing you that Jeff Tedford is an unethical fraud, a bad leader and an all-around tiny human being.
|Jeff Tedford's antics against Oregon flew largely under the radar. (AP)|
Sadly, lots of you don't have any idea what I'm talking about. The East Coast Bias is real, although "bias" is probably the wrong word for it. It's more like the East Coast Malaise, or the East Coast It's Late, We're Tired And We're Going To Bed.
By the time Jeff Tedford had shrunk to protozoan proportions on Saturday evening, it wasn't Saturday evening for most of us. It was late Saturday night, and most of us were drunk, asleep or both.
So if you missed it, here I am, doing my job. Insulting Tedford? That's not my job. (That's a perk.) My job is informing you, and here's the information you missed:
Tedford wanted to beat Oregon so bad, he cheated. Yeah, cheated. There's a passage in the NCAA rulebook devoted to what Tedford did, and the passage frowns on it. Calls it "indefensible." When you do something that the NCAA rulebook calls "indefensible," well, that's cheating.
See, Tedford's team was confronted with an Oregon offense that plays fast. It doesn't huddle, and it doesn't spend much time at the line of scrimmage. Most teams that run the no-huddle, they stand around between plays while the quarterback looks to the sideline for help. Most teams that run the no-huddle are trying to prevent the defense from substituting.
Oregon is trying to prevent the defense from breathing.
Oregon wastes no time between plays. No dilly-dallying at the line of scrimmage, either. It's almost impossible for an opposing defense to keep up, so Jeff Tedford cheated.
He had his players fake injuries.
Don't take my word for it. The Oregonian reported Wednesday that "a source within the Bears football program confirmed that [faking injuries] was 'a big part' of the defensive game plan against Oregon."
Hell, don't take the word of the Oregonian for it, either. Watch this video of a faking Cal player. I'm not writing his name because he doesn't deserve the scrutiny -- he was just doing what his coach told him to do. After Oregon runs a play, the player gets up, takes two steps, turns to the sideline for instruction and then commences to act injured. Laurence Olivier, he ain't. This act was so bad, Cal should have been penalized not by the officials, but by the Screen Actors Guild.
And according to published accounts from the game, there were at least four such instances of Cal-Fakery.
The NCAA rulebook is clear on the matter: Faking an injury, the rulebook says, "is dishonest, unsportsmanlike and contrary to the spirit of the rules. Such tactics cannot be tolerated among sportsmen of integrity."
No problem there -- Jeff Tedford has no integrity!
Well, he doesn't. Or he didn't that night. Along with Cal's blatant faking, Tedford pinned the loss on his kicker, Giorgio Tavecchio, who missed a 29-yard field goal after a bizarre sequence in which he hit from 24 yards but was penalized for taking a stutter-step before the snap.
Afterward, Tedford was supportive and classy. Kidding! Actually, he was tiny and vindictive. Tedford said: "There's no excuse for that. We kick field goals every day. There's no excuse for jumping the gun like that. It's poise under pressure, and we didn't have it right there."
Granted, Cal lost by two points and a field goal is worth three. But the kick happened on the first play of the fourth quarter, not the last. And Tedford, known offensive genius, saw his offense go scoreless for the final 55 minutes. After the game, when he looked in the mirror for a culprit, he spotted his walk-on kicker.
Never mind that Cal had produced just 193 yards of offense while its passing game went 10 for 28 for 69 yards under the tutelage of vaunted quarterback guru Jeff Tedford -- whose official bio at Cal exaggerates that he was "integral in the development" of No. 1 overall draft pick David Carr ... although he and Carr spent just one season together at Fresno State, in 1997, and Carr was picked No. 1 overall five years later. Must have been one hell of a true freshman season for Carr.
That's neither here nor there. Most college coaches exaggerate their influence on NFL players who have crossed their path, and Tedford is no different. Apparently he's no different from a lot of the unethical jokers who populate his profession. Truth is, until the Oregon game, I thought otherwise. It's not that I had heard much good in the way of Tedford's ethics, but I had never heard anything bad. The absence of bad, I thought, meant good.
In hindsight, it just means the absence of bad. It just means that the East Coast Bias -- which may well have had something to do with Cal getting shut out of the BCS in 2004 and 2006 -- works both ways. It giveth, and it taketh away.
Don't let it happen here. Tell your friends about the teeny-weeny man coaching the Cal football team. While lots of us were sleeping Saturday night, Jeff Tedford was "dishonest, unsportsmanlike and contrary to the spirit of the rules."