Sept. 25, 2003
BERKELEY - When number 40 sets foot on the field, one of his biggest critics is himself.
Outside linebacker Wendell Hunter says that every week he tries to perfect a different part of his game. This constant drive for improvement helped him earn Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week honors for his performance last weekend at Illinois.
Whether it is speed, handwork or pass coverage awareness, Hunter is always striving to improve his skills, as well as the skills of those around him.
"If I notice something a teammate can do differently, I will let them know. I'll just give some constructive criticism, as well as taking some myself," Hunter said.
Head coach Jeff Tedford said that Hunter's ability and speed help make him a great competitor. But it is also Hunter's commitment to staying in great physical shape that allows him to do his job on the field. According to Tedford, Hunter is able to make 10-15 tackles per game because he prepares himself well, which puts him in the position to make the most of his performance. But the coach is also impressed with the model Hunter sets for his teammates.
"Wendell is a very intense guy. He isn't very vocal, but he provides leadership through his actions," Tedford said.
As a junior, Hunter has contributed a timely investment in this Cal program. With his knowledge and experience, Tedford notes that Hunter can help his teammates become more productive. With two years of playing experience under his belt, Hunter realizes that teammates are, indeed, looking up to him, and so he makes a conscious effort to set a good example.
"Mostly, I just try to be myself," Hunter said.
Hunter will be leading his team into Pac-10 play this weekend against third-ranked USC. For this match up, Hunter says the emphasis will be placed on cutting down on the amount of mental errors, making good tackles, and executing every play. Hunter senses that with the oncoming of conference competition, the attitude on the team is that of excitement and anticipation.
"Everyone is really eager to get that first win, and to make a statement in Division I football," Hunter said.
By Janet McKnight