April 14, 1999
On how spring practice is going despite missing such players are Matt Beck, Skou Sanyika, Jerry DeLoach, Jeremiah Parker and Nate Geldermann, who are sitting out spring practice with an assortment of injuries. All the players are expected to be ready for the start of fall practice in August:
"Basically, we're doing the same things we do all the time defensively. There are a number of kids who are getting a number of reps that they may not get because of some of the people who are not practicing. It's very difficult to say anything good or bad at this time. I think the key issue with us on defense is that we come back and are healthy in two-a-days in August with our best players and that they have a good attitude. Attitude, work ethic and those types of things will determine how good or bad we are."
On Cal's depth in the defensive secondary:
"I think we're in good shape at cornerback. I think we have a number of candidates that have played in the Pac-10 or can play in the Pac-10. I don't see anyone who is a bona fide NFL first round draft choice. We have good numbers with good college football players. (Redshirt freshmen Jameel) Powell and (LaShawn) Ward have a legitimate chance to play in the this conference as they become more responsible and learn the correct way to do things within the system. Athletically, they can compete to play. It's just a matter of how fast they learn how do things correctly.
'I think Damian Marzett and Pete Destefano will clearly be the safeties, if they are healthy. We have some concerns in terms of depth there. Destefano will stay at free safety and we'll shift Marzett to strong safety.'
On how good Cal's defense will be in 1999:
"Other people talk about how great our defense it. We're not. One of the biggest fears I have is that the players walk down the hallway and go home and go see mom and dad, and they say, 'Boy, what a great defense you'll have.' All that means nothing. I've seen great players play very poorly. The work ethic and responsibility is not a given. It will take a great effort for us to perform effectively. I have no idea whether we'll do that or not. That scares me to death. I don't like hearing it. I don't like them hearing it."
On how the offense has looked so far during spring practice:
"We're heading in the right direction. We're a long ways from being where we need to be, from being what I would consider being a dominant Pac-10 team. We're making some strides. It's a good thing that we get to work against Lyle's (Setencich) defense in full-speed contact drills because it makes our team better."
General comments on personnel -
"The question you all want to know the answer to is 'who will come out being the top quarterback out of spring drills?' I would say Sam Clemons has the lead right now, but we still have seven days of practice left. We're looking for development of all of the characters that are in the cast right now. "
"Marcus Fields, our tailback, has done a good job. He's a little banged up right now, so he'll probably take a day off of practice to rest his legs a little bit because we only have two backs in practice. Ryan (Stanger) has done a good job as our fullback, and he's a one-back. We're in a one-back set right now because of a lack of personnel. So those are our two backs that are consistently on the field for us right now."
"Joel Young has done a good job. He's probably been one of our most consistent bright spots in the receiving corp. The other guys are coming along. It's a young crew, so they're developing daily. Eddie Macha pulled his hamstring yesterday, but he was coming along, doing some good things. We should have a pretty decent crew right there."
"Coach (Ed) White has done a really good job of building a unit there, getting them to play harder, putting the schemes in. We're pretty much at ground zero on offense as far a terminology and schemes going in. The offensive line has come along quite well. We look for much more improvement in the days that lie ahead in spring practice. Our right tackle, Langston Walker, does a good job. He's in there every day. We moved Kevin Doherty to center. Brandon Ludwig is our left guard. You have to have good centers. Kevin will play guard and center for us. John (Romero) will play center when he returns from his (shoulder) injury. It will be good to develop Kevin at the center position. The O-line is so critical. We won't move the ball one inch if we don't have a solid O-line."
"Brian Surgener - he's a tough kid. I saw him get put out at practice. He put a little ice on it and came back in and played hard. Marcus Helfman is the same type of kid. He got his shoulder dinged a little bit, rubbed some dirt on it and came back in. We have two tight ends at camp right now who are taking every rep. If they're not both in on a play, one of them is in all of the time. They're doing a good job. I'm pleased with the effort."