March 17, 2003
On the quarterback situation this spring:
"Reggie (Robertson) is going to get the first snaps, but they will all compete for the job. Reggie and Richard (Schwartz) will get the majority of the snaps and the rest of them will fill in...(Steve) Levy, David Perez, Cary Dove.
Aaron Rodgers will be here in fall camp and then the competition will be open again. Unfortunately Aaron can't be here right now, but he will visit a few times during the summer and we'll just have to increase his learning curve for fall camp."
Feelings on a quarterback missing camp:
"It will be difficult for him (Rodgers), especially to play quarterback in this offense - you need a lot of repetitions. But Aaron is very smart and I feel comfortable that he will spend time during the summer studying and be ready to step in the fall.
Will you establish a sort of pecking order for the quarterbacks going into the summer?
"I don't really think that is important until we get to fall camp and start closing in on the season. No one really has the experience to really have ownership at that position at all. It's wide-open."
What do you hope to see from Reggie (Robertson) and Richard (Schwartz) that will enhance their chances?
"It's a learning process and I really haven't seen much because they haven't done anything in a game-type situation. I'm looking for them to be comfortable with the offense and possess leadership qualities. It's not that they don't have those, they just haven't had the opportunity to really show them because Kyle (Boller) really did everything for us last year. Reggie has been in some games and knows what it's all about; Richard has not been in any.
Reggie is very smart and poised and competitive. I think he is athletic enough to play for us, but we need to work on certain things - such as getting the ball out quicker - with him. I do feel like he can put us in situations to be successful. His arm strength is adequate, but he can work on that as it goes along with a quicker release.
Richard has good size and a good arm. We need to hone in on his mechanics and his footwork. He needs to be a bit more athletic and light on his feet, which he has worked on through our winter conditioning program. Then it will be a matter of decision making. He is really young so this spring will be big for him with decision making and how he will respond to mistakes and how he can comprehend the offense, because he really hasn't had a chance to do that yet. He has good arm strength and throws the ball nice and tight so it's just about decision making and being more athletic in the pocket."
On the running game:
"With the tailback, Joe (Echema) is going to go 100 percent. He has been cleared. Terrell (Williams) won't practice. But this will be a good spring for Joe and for Marcus O'Keith. Terrell is on schedule with his rehab, he did go back in and have something cleaned out last week and he is moving along, but he won't be ready for the spring. We just hope that he is 100 percent come fall. Joe is ready and Marcus O'Keith is ready to go. This should be a nice spring for them."
Is there any one segment of the team where you feel you're particularly strong?
"Not as a complete unit, but the returnees at offensive line are probably the most experienced we have with Mark Wilson, Chris Murphy, Jon Giesel and David Hays. Those guys got most of the playing time last year and that is probably the unit that is the most experienced. I feel good about those guys and now it's just bringing some of the younger offensive guys along in the spring-guys that haven't played much."
On the status of the receivers:
"Chase (Lyman) is still not ready to go. Jonathan Makonnen will be limited through the spring. Junior Brignac will be 100 percent and ready to go, but David Grey is also limited with his shoulder. Makonnen played with banged up shoulders all year long and we don't want to take a chance on hurting him, so he'll do a lot of individual type work. Lyman's injury is not so much a hamstring, but a tendon that was pulled off the bone they had to reattach. It was fairly serious, but he is doing well in his rehab. He is running, but he is not 100 percent."
Does this feel like a rebuilding year? "It does seem that way. That's why I'm anxious to get out there for spring practice. We need to see where the leadership surfaces, where it's coming from and find out exactly where we are. We need to get out there and gage and which position the turnover is going to effect us the most."
Do you feel a like a 'marked man' since everyone knows Cal did well last year?
"I don't look at it like that. I don't think anything is going to change. We are not going to approach anything any differently. I don't think people will look at us any differently either. I've been in the Pac-10 for five years now and I think people know what to expect of us. I don't think we're really going to do anything different. What is new to me is the transition of losing so many players. We are really going to find out a lot about ourselves, and where we are in the next four weeks. We'll also assess the impact the new junior college and freshmen players are going to be for us next year and we don't know the answer to that until we come out of the spring."
On returning special teams players:
"Mike McGrath should continue his special teams expertise. We'd like to see him fill in at the safety or even corner positions. Sid Slater is coming off a knee injury, but he was a great special teams player for us early last year. He should be able to help us on defense more."
Comments on the secondary: "Donnie McClesky was a starter for us and he'll give us some experience even though he is young. At corner we are very inexperienced, no doubt about it. At corner we have James Bethea who got some playing time last year, but after that it will probably be Wale Forester. I think Matt Giordano, a JC transfer from Fresno, will challenge for a safety position with Ryan Gutierrez. We feel like he's (Giordano) an impact player that can help us in the secondary right away. At corner we'll have to find out who is ready to step up and play. We'll have to depend on some young guys."