Cal hoping to rebound from opening loss

Associated Press Modified: September 7, 2012 at 2:19 pm •  Published: September 7, 2012
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BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — After christening newly renovated Memorial Stadium with a season-opening loss to Nevada, California coach Jeff Tedford shouldn't have a difficult time keeping his players from overlooking Southern Utah this week.

Still, it could prove to be a tricky task for the Golden Bears.

The Thunderbirds are in their first season in the FCS Big Sky Conference and are coming off a 31-point loss at Utah State despite having what Tedford calls "a big-time pro prospect" in quarterback Brad Sorensen.

Cal also is limping into the game and will be without starting right tackle Matt Summers-Gavin, who injured his left knee in the loss to the Wolfpack. The Bears are banged up along their defensive line as well.

Then there's the back-to-back road trips to No. 14 Ohio State and second-ranked Southern California looming after Saturday's game against Southern Utah.

Center Brian Schwenke doesn't think the Bears will have an issue keeping their focus on the Thunderbirds.

"After the loss I don't think that's going to be a problem," Schwenke said. "That may help, keeping that in our minds. It doesn't matter who we play. It really comes down to how we play as a team."

Cal didn't play very well against Nevada in its first home game since 2010.

The Golden Bears, who spent last season playing at AT&T Park in San Francisco while Memorial Stadium underwent a $321 million facelift, fell behind by 14 points then allowed the Wolfpack to drive 61 yards late in the fourth quarter for the winning score.

That left many fans and boosters disappointed and several placards that read "Welcome Home" were discarded in the gutters of neighborhoods surrounding the stadium after the game.

Tedford said he and his players were equally upset and hopes Cal uses the loss as motivation for the rest of the season.

"We can't forget about that but we need to take it and learn from it and improve from it," Tedford said. "That's the focus that we're taking."

Improving offensively won't be as easy without Summers-Gavin.

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