Jeff Tedford has a special appreciation for what Fresno State has accomplished in its recent past. Tedford first played there as a record-setting quarterback in the 1980s, then served as an assistant there for six seasons, under coach Pat Hill and former coach Jim Sweeney in the 1990s.
In his final season with the Bulldogs, he got to coach a young quarterback named David Carr. Now the head coach at California, Tedford is preparing to face his former team and another Carr -- Derek Carr. California and Fresno State will open the season Sept. 3 at Candlestick Park in the first college football game at the stadium.
Tedford, Hill and several players representing the teams got together in San Francisco on Monday to begin promoting the game. Tedford recalled throwing Nerf balls to the younger Carr after Fresno State practices in 1997, when David was a true freshman. Tedford left after that season to become offensive coordinator at Oregon before becoming California's head coach in 2002.
"I know I'll probably get a lot of phone calls that week before that game from all those people, but just had great days there and have a great deal of respect," Tedford said at the news conference. "I've told everyone over the years what a great job Pat has done there, in following a legend with Coach Sweeney and doing the things that he has done, and he talked about the loyalty of staying at one place like that, I can't believe it's that long. ... I love Fresno, love the people and the associations I've had there, but obviously my first and foremost thought, and where my passion is, I bleed blue and gold now."
In another interesting tie, David Carr now plays for the 49ers and Derek got a chance to tour the locker room.
"I haven't had a chance to come see Dave play here since he's been with the 49ers, so this is pretty cool," said Derek, going into his first year as the starting quarterback. "I'm already excited for the game. I wish we could play right now."
As for what he expects to see out of Derek Carr, who will be making his first career start against the Bears, Tedford said, "I know one thing having coached David, his brother. I know the passion that Derek has for football. He's grown up in a family of football, around a guy like David Carr, who's had a great career. So I know he has a great deal of passion for the game. He's a great competitor and he has a lot of skill."