Dec. 12, 2001
This is a dream come true. First off, I would like to thank you all for being here. It's a big step for Cal football, it's a big step for me and my family. I am very, very excited about the opportunity here at Cal. I want to thank Steve Gladstone and his committee. I know that they have worked very hard on this process in a search for a head coach. I want to thank him for the opportunity to come here, and his belief in me that I can get this done. I will not let him down when it comes to this endeavor. I am very honored and privileged to have this opportunity. Not just to be a head coach, but to the head coach at a fine institution like the University of California. I have wanted to be a head coach for a long time, and I don't think that there is a better fit.
I am here to provide leadership, to create an environment for these athletes, both athletically and academically, that they can flourish in. I can tell you this about our team. The way that our team is going to play is our team will be disciplined, our team will play hard, our team will play fast, they will have a lot of fun, but they will do it with class. It will be something that you can always be proud of them for as Cal boosters, alumni and supporters. I have a goal and a vision that the University of California through hard work and dedication can get to where we are competing for the Pac-10 championship and at a national level.
I am going to put together a staff that is going to care for the young men both on and off the field, that are great teachers, interested in their academics, interested in these kids in how they grow up, and that we can make an impression on their character that will last further than just the University of California, that they can take it on into their life. Those are some of the things that we're looking here for at Cal. I am looking for a staff to put together that has quality teachers, that are quality people, that we can all be proud of. I am really looking forward to getting together with the team. We're going to organize the staff and get out recruiting right away.
I do have a commitment to the University of Oregon to coach in the bowl game. I made a commitment to those young men and that coaching staff, and I feel very strongly that I need to finish that commitment with them. Immediately after that, I will get onto the business at hand. In the meantime, I will organize a staff and we'll get out on the road and make sure that we are hot on the recruits. I will be in contact with the coaches on the road throughout the whole process.
Again, I want to let you all know just how excited I am to be here, and how much of a great opportunity I believe that this is, that we can get this turned around and headed in the right direction. I want to thank all of the people involved on the committee. I met with the chancellor and a lot of vice chancellors, and there are great people here. I look forward to an association with the whole department.
About the new coaching staff
Some of the staff is still in bowl games right now. I have talked to most of the staff. I feel very confident that we are going to secure a great staff. I haven't had a chance to talk with the staff members here as of yet. I would like to sit down with them and talk with them about their future. Ron Gould, I know is one that I would be very interested in keeping here. I have spoken with him. This has all happened kind of fast. After this press conference, I am going to get out and get on the phone and get to those people. I feel very confident that they will be a staff with great integrity, with great teachers, and that they care about the kids.
I have talked with (potential offensive and defensive coordinators), and I have a commitment that they want to come, but the details and money issues need to be ironed out. We would like to announce (the new staff), and get them out into the homes (as soon as possible). That's critical: to make sure that they know not only that Cal has secured a head coach, but that we have all of the assistant coaches with great credentials that will be coaching them. So we'd like to get them into the homes as soon as possible.
About balancing time between Oregon and Cal
There is going to be a fine line there. I will be in constant contact with the people once we get the coaches in place and get a recruiting plan in order. I won't be involved in any of the recruiting processes at Oregon, but I will be in charge of the offensive game plan. That is critical to how we play in the Fiesta Bowl against Colorado. I will balance those two, and I will work hard and tireless into the night if it takes that, but we're going to get it done.
About his coaching qualities
I feel like I have made myself eligible to be a head coach. I have worked under a lot of great coaches in some great programs. I would like to say that in the last four years that I have been at the University of Oregon, that it has been a great program and they have treated me very well. I have worked under what may be the best head coach in the country in Mike Bellotti, and I appreciate his support. He has been nothing but supportive throughout this whole process. I have to tell you that when Coach Sweeney retired at Fresno State, he stamped me as the next head coach of Fresno State. I was not ready honestly in my heart and soul to take over the Fresno State head job, because I had really only been a player on the professional level and a coach on the professional level. I had only seen it done one way, and it was that way. I needed to see something different. So, the transition period from Pat Hill coming in and seeing how the players reacted to the new coaches coming in and the new staff, that was invaluable to me. Then, going to Oregon and seeing how we built that program, and the offenses that I have coached and the role that I have had with the offense, now I think that is going to become part of the spectrum as far as going into the whole team. I think that I have made myself eligible to be able to handle this job. I feel very confident that the coaches of the staffs that I have relied on have relied on me and my decision-making, and so I feel like I am ready to do it myself.
About his offense
(We will bring) pretty much all (of the Oregon offense). We're going to be very diverse on offense. We're going to bring pretty much the whole package. It's something that has been a culmination of the CFL, of Fresno State and the University of Oregon. We're going to be wide open, we're going to be balanced, we're going to be able to run the football, we're going to be able to throw the football. We're going to protect the passer, we're going to play smart, we're going to stay away from penalties, and we're going to execute. We have a saying of 'concentrate and execute and get better,' and that is what our motto is going to be. We're going to play four quarters, from snap to whistle, for as long as it takes to win. The kids are going to play very hard. But we're going to be explosive on offense, we're going to be multiple in our sets, whether it be a two back, a single back or no back. We're going to be able to run the football and throw the football.
About winning next season
I sure hope so (that these qualities will be evident next season). That's what we're leaning towards. I think the first issue here is trust level. Myself and my coaching staff need to come in an attain a trust level with the players and let them understand what we are looking for, and that we will play together as a team offensively, defensively and on special teams. Then, obviously to put the system in, we need to get through spring football. It's going to be critical that our kids understand the system completely and understand the fundamentals and the details that it takes to get through the system and master the system is going to be critical to spring football.
About why Cal is a good fit
(Cal) is a Pac-10 school who I think had a great tradition. Now in recent years, the winning percentage has not been there. I have always respected Cal and thought very highly of Cal. I am a California guy with recruiting ties up and down the West Coast that I feel very comfortable with. I am very comfortable with the Pac-10 and what the recruiting battles are in the Pac-10, and what the X and O battles are in the Pac-10. I think it's a great fit, I think it's a great city. I think without a doubt that it is one of the best institutions in the country academically, and that we're going to be able to recruit quality athletes and quality students here.
About the team speed
We're definitely going to recruit towards it, but it can be enhanced through strength and conditioning. That's something that we're going to look at very hard. We need to train our players to where we are improving in those areas.
About Cal's facilities
I think it's a work in progress. When you look at the arms race that is going on, especially through the Pac-10 and around the country, it's critical that you have some facilities so that when the players come here they like what they see. They are 17- and 18-year-old kids, and they are very impressionable. They want to see a nice weight room. They want to see nice facilities. They want to see a great schedule. They want coaches who care about them. They want a chance to get a quality education. I think that most of those things are here at Cal. Do I think that things like our weight room could be improved? Definitely, I believe that. That will be an on-going process from what I understand by talking to the administration that will be in the works.
About Cal's quarterbacks
I think Kyle Boller is great. I recruited Kyle out of high school, and it came down between Oregon and Cal, at the time. Kyle wanted to play as a true freshman, which we could not promise him at Oregon. I think Kyle has tremendous ability, tremendous potential, he's a competitor and he's very tough. He has all the abilities to become a great quarterback. I am very excited about getting to work with Kyle and the rest of the quarterbacks here at Cal.
As far as working with quarterbacks, I have been fortunate to have great players - from Trent Dilfer to Billy Bolich. I recruited David Carr at Fresno and worked with him for a year. Akili Smith, A.J. Feeley, Joey Harrington, they're all great kids, great competitors. So I have been fortunate in that way. But preparation is key. They all have the will to win, but the will to prepare to win is key. That's something that they have to have and that's key. That's something that we're going to make sure that they have, both on and off the field. We're going to be asking our quarterbacks to do a lot, and so it is going to take a tremendous commitment to our quarterbacks, but I feel like I can get that done.
About his role in the offense
Fundamentally, I will work with the quarterbacks every day, do the fundamental drills. As far as the schemes are concerned and the play calling, I will make sure that the offensive scheme is in place that we all agree on and we believe in. I am not going to be huge into the play calling unless I need to be. I want to be on the headsets with them, but I feel like it's critical for me to be able to spend time with the offense, defense and special teams to motivate and to make sure that they understand that I'm not just the offensive coach here. I am the head coach here, and I care about each and every one of the players on the team, and I respect them. They can come in and talk with me at any time, and I am going to be involved in all three phases of the game.
About recruiting junior college players
As far as immediate need, I think we need to go the JC route. I have to evaluate that to tell you the truth. Right now, there is a list being made for me that I have to go over and take a look at where we are as far as scholarship numbers are concerned, position by position, and where our greatest needs are. It's critical that gets done right away. The JC players can be very good -- Maurice Morris is a great player for us -- but they have to be right kind of kid. They have to be able to compete in the classroom here for us as well as on the field.
About the defense
Defense is going to be a multiple attacking defense. I feel very comfortable that the defensive coordinator that I hire will be just that, that he will be able to teach that and get the kids to believe in the fundamentals and play with reckless abandon, to swarm the ball and create turnovers. But also to play smart: that we don't have any stupid penalties and to be in control. We're going to be diverse and we're going to be shifting from front to front. We're going to be able to play nickel packages, we'll play odd fronts, even fronts and get into all phases in the situations in the game because football is a situational game. We have to be ready to adapt and ready to get after them.