Feb. 3, 2010
BERKELEY - California head coach Jeff Tedford addressed the media to discuss the Cal football 2010 signing class during a National Signing Day press conference held Wednesday in the Hall of Fame Room at Memorial Stadium. Following are selected comments of what Tedford had to say.
"I'm really excited. Every year you go in thinking it's a great class. I would have to tell you, though, this class to me is one that from top to bottom is as solid as any class we've ever had here. There was a lot of focus put on the linebacking corps and the wide receivers, and that was part of it. But I really feel like they're great kids. They have a lot potential, a lot of them, to contribute right away to the program. Our coaches worked very, very hard, and I want to give our coaches a lot of credit for landing this class and then also our players, because I think your players, ultimately, when prospects come on campus, they're the ones who really end up creating the environment for the kids to feel comfortable. Our players and our coaches did a phenomenal job with recruiting these players."
On how current players affect the recruiting process
"They're such a part of it and I make a big emphasis on that with them, that, `Hey, we're having recruits in, we need you guys to step up and create the atmosphere that these guys can look at to see if this is the right fit for them.' So, when it comes to signing day, they're always very eager to see what happened. Just walking through the hall, seeing the all the guys ... it provides a boost for the program to know that, whatever we're ranked in the class ... that's pretty impressive and the kids take a great deal of pride in that as well, and are looking forward to welcoming these guys into our program."
On how significant the relatively late additions [according to outside projections] of players like DE Gabe King and WR/S Keenan Allen are to the overall strength of this recruiting class
"Even though it's a great class from top to bottom, I think it strengthens that class. Gabe King I think all along was a possibility of coming from the get go, but Keenan I think, as some things unfolded over the last couple of weeks, it became a reality that Keenan could be here. He's a great football player and a great kid, and highly, highly competitive. There's no doubt that those guys, they're among the top guys at their position, so yeah, I think that gives the class a little boost."
On when he became aware that WR/S Keenan Allen would be coming to Cal
"Two days ago. They were here last weekend on their official visit, then I think they called back and said that this was the place for him and they felt good about it. But you never really quite know until the paper comes across the fax. They had given us their word that they were coming. They felt great about being here. [I] felt pretty good about it."
On whether Allen will play offense or defense
"He's going to play receiver and play some defensive back in nickel situations ... He's equally as effective on both sides of the football [but] he's primarily a receiver here."
On whether WR Coleman Edmond might also be featured as a punt or kick returner
"Absolutely. When we were making the video for you guys to watch [with signees' highlights], our video guy said, `Who's going to return kicks next year?' I said, `It's a nice problem to have,' because all these guys are very explosive with the ball in their hands. Coupled with the guys we already have here, there's some speed on the field. We'll have to find out as we get into practice who's going to do that."
On whether LB Chris McCain will greyshirt
"We'll see. Most likely, he will greyshirt. He's got a little bit to do yet academically and so the plan was that he would sign and if he makes it, okay, great, but most likely it's going to be next January."
On other elements that contributed to Allen's signing with Cal
"Really it came down to Zach Maynard, his brother, is transferring from Buffalo, and he was here a couple of years ago at our camp and really enjoyed his experience here and learned a lot about playing quarterback. So this was a place, when the coaching change happened at Buffalo, he was looking to relocate ... He looked into what our quarterback situation was and contacted us, and once he got his release and said he'd be interested in transferring here ... well, when that happened, those guys wanted to play together, wherever he went, and they both had very good experiences here and that is kind of how it all unfolded that Keenan got back into the mix mainly because of his brother."
On whether QB Zach Maynard could develop into an option in the wildcat formation with his running and passing skills
"Absolutely. That's one of the things that Zach brings to the table, is the ability to use his legs. Not only is he a productive passer, highly competitive guy, but he's elusive and has very good speed, so yeah, he brings a dimension to the offense of being able to run with the ball."
On the job his coaching staff did to result in this signing class
"All the coaches did a phenomenal job. Each coach, we typically go out by area and then we kind of narrow it down to position. The position coach gets a little bit more involved and the area coach, and so all of the guys really did a good job ... all the guys really did ... it was a group effort. No one ever does it alone in recruiting. Everyone worked very, very hard."
On whether the continued commitment to a 3-4 defense played a part in the focus on recruiting a strong and plentiful group of linebackers
"There's no doubt. You have to recruit to the 3-4. When you're a 4-3 and you make the transition to the 3-4, it's going to take a minute to get the numbers right, and so, now that this is our second year in that, we recruited to the 3-4, which linebackers were a focus obviously if you look at it. That's what we went after and we feel great about the ones who've decided to join our program. We feel that they're all impact players. We couldn't be happier with the group of linebackers we have."
On whether players who arrive together from a specific area present any concern that they could isolate themselves
"No, not at all. These guys are awesome young guys ... They've all been away, so they know how to interact with other people."
On whether CB Adrian Lee will need some development considering how much time he spent as a tailback in high school
"He's one that we're going to have to continue to develop because a lot of his playing days have been at tailback, carrying the football, but he has tremendous speed and he's very physical. So just to get him here and kind of shape some of his skills and fundamentals in the secondary is going to be key. But when you talk about raw talent ... who can run like he can run and has the skills with the football that he has, he brings a lot to the table. He's going to continue to develop as a defensive player."
On whether any of the new linebackers have a chance to get playing time right away
"I think all of them do. When you take a look at Cecil Whiteside and [David] Wilkerson, [Nick] Forbes, [Chris] Martin, all those guys - you know, Martin is coming as that guy who's kind of the Zack Follett guy coming off the edge. The two outside guys are Martin and Whiteside, and at some point will be [Chris] McCain, and then the two inside guys will be Forbes and Wilkerson. Every one of those guys is physical enough to make a strong contribution right away."
On whether these linebackers were identified in part to get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks
"Absolutely. That's a focus, get guys we feel good about cutting it loose with and go get them and be a little bit more aggressive on defense as far as philosophy's concerned, but also have the guys that can get after it."
On how essential defensive pressure on the quarterback is in today's game
"I think you have to have it. As we define our season last year, I think we'd all be in agreement we didn't put enough pressure on the quarterback. Putting pressure on the quarterback does not necessarily mean sacking the quarterback all the time, it just means disrupt the timing of what's going on with him ... We have to disrupt the timing of the quarterback more."
On WR Terrance Montgomery
"He's one of the more underrated guys that we have in our class. When you take a look at him and see what he can do, his natural ability to catch the football, his ball skills ... He has great instincts to catch a football, great hands. You'll see on tape what he does with the ball after he has it in his hands. He's electric with the ball in his hands as far as a returner and a receiver."
On any comparisons he draws between this year's signees on film and previous classes
"This class right now, I remember years ago when Lavelle [Hawkins] and DeSean [Jackson] and those guys came in the class, and you look at the back-to-back highlight reels of these guys, it's very similar to that. That's the type of talent that they have with the ball in their hands. They're very elusive and one of our focuses this year was run after the catch. We wanted to go out and recruit some guys that can do something with the ball in their hands after they catch it, and we feel like we've done that."
On WR Tevin Carter
"He's very rangy. He's 6-3, can really run, has great hands, but all these guys can really run. All these guys are 10.6 [in the 100-yard dash] or under. They're all fast guys and very elusive and not many long, long striders. Tevin is a guy who has range but great speed to go with it."
On TE Jacob Werk and his similarities to former Cal TE Craig Stevens
"He does remind us of Craig Stevens. He's a big, physical guy who plays with great pad level. Sometimes it's hard to find those tight ends in high school these days that have the combination of being able to play at the line of scrimmage and come off a low pad level ,and still be able to get down the field and hone their receiver skills. He's the guy that can do that ...Natural hands, and after he catches it, he's very violent when he runs with it. We feel like he's a guy that we were very, very happy to find and he does remind us of Craig."
On QB Austin Hinder and whether there will be a logjam at quarterback
"He's 6-foot-5, he can do it all. He's a guy who can throw all the balls on the field. He's got very good arm strength; he can throw the deep ball; he throws on the run. When he pulls it down, he can make a lot happen with his legs. He's a guy who needs to develop more physically. Even though he's 6-foot-5, he's still very thin ... But he's highly competitive, comes from great blood lines, he's Jim Hanifan's grandson, so he's been around football his whole life ... But you're going to see, he's a guy who can roll left and make some great throws, he can pull the ball down and run 60, 70 yards with the ball. He's a very talented guy. You always have five quarterbacks. We always try to have five quarterbacks on scholarship. Your hope to always have those guys and strong competition, quality competition, and we do, we have that. And we feel that as these guys grow and develop, the cream will rise to the top and someone will take it over at some point ... Typically, a true freshman doesn't come on and compete right away ... We have quality guys at that position."
On which signed offensive linemen might develop into a center
"Alex [Crosthwaite] could probably play center, or [Chris] Adcock. Adcock would probably be the one if I had to pick one that could do it. Chris is a guy who plays pretty low to the ground. The other guys are a little bit bigger."
On what getting LB Chris Martin does for the program
"Anytime you get a guy that is that recognizable nationally for who he is ... he's an impact player. When other kids see that they can be a part of that ... to put together something very, very special, yes, I think it makes a difference."
On whether TB Trajuan Briggs is the only signee who will play spring ball
"Yes. He's the only mid-year transfer."
On whether anyone else has a chance to play right away
"I think they all do. It just depends on how they make the transition in here and what they can handle, the mental, physical and emotional state in which they come in and how they mature and how they progress day to day through camp is going to say whether they can, but most of these guys are physical enough to do it."
On how the new signees will affect intrasquad competition
"That always helps. Every day when you go out and practice against great competition, it's going to pick your game up a little bit, and so with these young guys coming in, it's absolutely there. There's a lot of competition there in all those positions."
On regional vs. national recruiting
"[Contrary to] the whole national flavor, we still spend most of the resources in the Western region recruiting. When people recognize us [nationally] and we get attention and they're interested in our program, then we will recruit them."
On whether active construction of the Student-Athlete High Performance Center has been a positive influence on recruiting
"The construction probably helps a little bit. I don't think we're going to really realize the effect that it has on recruiting until they're able to walk through the building and take a look at it. At least it's not just a cardboard deal that says this is what we're going to do. Seeing retaining walls and foundations and things like that I think is meaningful, but I don't know that we have really tapped into how that's going to benefit us yet completely in recruiting."
On whether this class is evidence of a new emphasis on a more focused defensive identity
"It's 12 offensive and eight defensive guys, so it's not overwhelming ... Linebackers were a big focus but if you look at the numbers it's skewed the other way, toward the offense. There was no one-sidedness to this at all ... We lose five linebackers next year to graduation, so you have to look ahead a little bit as well ... We want to get better at every position, not just one position or one side of the ball."
On how accurate he feels the recruit services' ratings are compared to his evaluations
"Some are and some aren't. Some of these receivers, like Kaelin Clay and Terrance Montgomery, I don't know if anybody ever watched them on tape because if you watch them on tape I don't see how in the world you could say that they were a two-star at some point. For Trajuan Briggs to be, I think, a three-star, maybe it was because he didn't play his senior year because he was injured, but you watch him on tape and he's as good as any back in the country."