Washington State's Thursday walk-through is over so that means the preparation for California is pretty much over as well. We have some on that and how it relates to what coach Paul Wulff had to say at his short news conference as well. Read on.
• The theme this week, at least in Wulff's presser, was execution. It started with a question I had about how teams were defending the Cougars in the red zone. Has it changed since the UCLA game? Are more teams zoning down there? Wulff said it all had to do with what teams do best, adjusted a bit to what the Cougars do on offense. All that matters, though, is execution. Make the right pass, the catch, the block. Not holding. Finishing drives and converting them into six. ... I then asked about Andrew Furney being named a Lou Groza semifinalist. Wulff said Furney has earned it, getting better and better in everything he does. Sure he missed a close one last week, but he's been nearly automatic. It's something that is showing throughout the program, Wulff said, that the younger players, the Furneys, the Marquess Wilsons, the C.J. Mizells, are good players who can compete at the Pac-12 level. ... Wulff said Toni Pole is wearing a collar to keep his head from moving too much side to side and he has to get used to it. You can see it at practice, he looks as if he's added 15 pounds of muscle to his neck. As a guy from the Bay Area (Union City), this game is important to Pole, so I would expect him to play. ... Wulff was asked about Cal offensive coordinator Jim Michalczik, a former teammate of Wulff's at WSU, and his flirtation a couple of years ago with the same position at Washington. Michalczik took the job when Steve Sarkisian took over, but backed out nearly immediately when Tom Cable (fixed) was named head coach of the Raiders and moved there. After Cable was let go, Michalczik headed back to Cal, where he's had a long tenure working under Jeff Tedford. Wullf and Michalczik's coaching battles go all the way back to 1993 when Wulff was at Eastern Washington and Michalczik was at Montana State. ... The final question concerned Cal's 1-2 punch at receiver, Keenan Allen (6-foot-3, 205 pounds) and Marvin Jones (6-3, 202) both of whom are NFL guys according to Wulff. They are arguably the best duo of wide receivers in the Pac-12, Wulff said, and Cal gets them the ball in a variety of ways.
• That's it for tonight. We'll be back in the morning, though it may be from the plane as we're en route to the Bay Area early tomorrow. Until then ...