May 8, 2012
BERKELEY - Cal head coach Jeff Tedford took part in a Pac-12 Football Coaches Media Teleconference on Tuesday following the conclusion of spring practice for all schools in the conference.
Following are selected comments of what Tedford had to say.
On his evaluation of quarterback Zach Maynard during spring practices
"I thought he did a nice job. We were so far ahead of last year when he was new into the system. We were able to do much more on offense this spring, and move along. He was much more efficient, and you could really tell that his experience through the season had really paid off, with the speed of the game and the management of the game. He really improved through a year. Spring was very effective for him."
On the main things Cal accomplished during spring practices and what still needs to be resolved going into fall camp
"Going into the spring, it was really important that a couple of the offensive linemen were able to step up. The tight end position, as well. We really felt good about the spring that Richard Rodgers had. He's a 270-pound tight end who can run and get down the field, and very athletic catching the football. I felt like he really improved. At left tackle with Tyler Rigsbee, [and] with the departure of Mitchell Schwartz, who played a lot of games for us, it was really important to get that position solidified and evaluated. Along the front, as well, moving [Brian] Schwenke to center; he did a nice job in there. Offense line was one [area]. Evaluating the tailbacks and getting some of the young tailbacks to grow up, [Brendan] Bigelow being one that really didn't get a lot of action last year from that spot, it was really critical to go into this spring and have a real physical spring for him because he missed two years in high school with his knee [injury]. He had a very productive spring; he was very physical. He's really gained a lot of confidence in his knee and looked great through the spring. On defense at the safety position, to have guys like Avery Sebastian and Alex Logan really get a lot of reps [after] losing both safeties from last year. They were productive through the spring. The kicking game, Vince D'Amato, it's going to be his first year after Giorgio [Tavecchio] left. We really want to put him in a lot of situations under pressure to be able to kick and he did a nice job. Going into the season next year I think the key going into camp is going to be the development of the young receiving core - Darius Powe, Bryce Treggs, Cedric Dozier, Chris Harper, Kenny Lawler, Jeff Coprich. Those guys coming in are going to be key. The learning curve is pretty quick for those guys. And then the punter, Cole Leininger, after Bryan Anger has left, to have a freshman punter is also going to be a big focus going into fall."
On what kind of team he expects Cal to be in 2012
"I really believe that spring football was physical. We really improved throughout the spring, which is the main goal, to have individual and then units really improve. I thought we did that. I think if we can stay healthy and the receiving core comes along, because that's going to be really the spot that we're going to be the youngest, that we have potential to be a very good football team. We obviously have to replace a couple of guys on defense. Mychal Kendricks being the [Pac-12] Defensive Player of the Year and D.J. Holt, inside, those two guys. We moved David Wilkerson [inside] and Nick Forbes is playing inside, and Robert Mullins and [J.P.] Hurrell, those guys are inside. Their productivity is going to have to step up, but I think all in all given the experience of our quarterback now, and his production and his management of the game towards the second half of the season, if we could start the season like that, I think we have the ability to be very productive."
On college football's proposed move to a playoff system
"We talked about this a lot in our Pac-12 coaches meetings. There are so many different opinions and ways to do it, be it an in-bowl situation or an out-of-bowl situation, based on rankings or whether it's a four-team playoff or an eight-team playoff. One of the sentiments was that the eight-team playoff would probably give everybody an equal chance. I don't know if you're ever going to have a situation where everyone is happy. Someone is always going to feel left out or slighted by a situation. If we're going to do the playoff thing, then let's do it whole-heartedly and go after it. The selection of whether they have to be conference champions, which makes a lot of sense. And then who is going to be the at-large [selections], whether a conference gets two teams, but I think there's a lot of questions that need to be answered still before that happens."
On if there is less room for an at-large team in a four-team format
"I would think so, yeah. When you take the BCS conferences and the champions of those conferences, then there's obviously less opportunity for other people, which would mean the at-large teams."
On if a four-team format should be just champions
"Yeah, I think everyone came to that conclusion, that they should be their conference champions. There's a lot of give and take in that too because not every conference has a conference championship game. You can do well all season long and stub your toe in the [conference] championship game and not be in that playoff, which that wouldn't be too good. Again, I think there are a lot of questions that need to be answered on it, but I would be leaning toward more the eight-team than the four-team."
On the Big Game being played in the middle of the season
"I don't particularly like it. Playing Stanford in the middle of the season is going to feel really odd for our fans I am sure. When you have traditions that go towards the end of the year, everybody kind of expects that. It is definitely going to have a different feel. As they explained to us all the complications and putting the schedule together, this may happen from time-to-time. It just happens that it's Stanford and us this year. It could happen to someone else next year depending on the scheduling. They're so many variables with Thursday and Friday games, and being on the road or not being on the road for two weeks, like this year we don't have a bye. We're the team that is not only playing Stanford midyear, but we're playing 12 games straight. It's going to happen. They told us that it's going to alternate. We just happen to be that team this year. There's always a challenge the week of that Big Game for [Stanford head] coach [David] Shaw and I because there's so many different events that are going during the week. Hopefully we can be efficient with that and limit some of those."