Feb. 11, 2000
Berkeley - As the first of a weekly interview with various members connected with the Cal Football program, Associate Athletic Director Kevin Reneau sat down with quarterback Kyle Boller to discuss his rehabilitation from a shoulder injury that required surgery last November. Next week, Reneau plans to interview strength and conditioning coach Todd Rice about the off-season progress of the Cal team.
KEVIN RENEAU: THE THING EVERYBODY WANTS TO KNOW IS HOW IS THE SHOULDER DOING AND HOW THE REHABILITATION PROCESS IS GOING?
BOLLER: Things are going great. I've been getting therapy every day and things are coming along smoothly. I just started throwing Monday of this week. Just short stuff: 10 to 15 yards, to gradually get the full range of motion. About 50 balls a day, four days a week. The plan is to slowly build up until I'm back fully. The main thing the trainers want to ensure is that the muscles around my rotator cuff get back to full strength before I really start throwing the ball around. The AC joint (shoulder) is completely healed and the shoulder feels great. It's now just getting the muscles back to normal.
My shoulder feels just like it did before the injury. I feel like I can throw the ball harder right now, but (trainer) Mike Chaplain wants me to go slowly.
KR: WHAT TYPES OF TREATMENT OR REHABILITATION ARE YOU DOING?
I have a program they've developed for me. I do some light weights that I lift which specifically work on strengthening the area around the rotator cuff. I also do some dynamic strengthening work with the Theraband. Plus there's the throwing of the football and other work in the weight room. I can really feel the difference. My shoulder feels a lot stronger than it did just three weeks ago.
KR: WHAT IS THE PROGNOSIS OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF MONTHS?
BOLLER: Just keep slowly getting back into it. I should be throwing normally four weeks before the start of spring practice. I'll be 110 percent by the spring.
RENEAU: WILL THE INJURY AFFECT YOUR THROWING MOTION AT ALL?
BOLLER: No, I don't think so. Not at all.
KR: DOES THE QUICK RECOVERY SURPRISE YOU AT ALL, OR DID YOU HAVE SOME DOUBTS ABOUT WHETHER YOU COULD COME BACK AT FULL STRENGTH?
BOLLER: No real doubts. I've always been a quick healer. As long as I didn't mess the shoulder up myself, by falling or having it get hit during the recovery period, I'd knew I'd be cool. The first week and a half were tough, because it was difficult to sleep with the pain. But after that, everything started going good.
KR: IS THIS SOMETHING THAT WILL MAKE YOU THINK TWICE ABOUT HOW YOU PLAY THE GAME?
BOLLER: I figure that football is a contact sport and things like this happen. I don't think it will change the way I play. If it's 3rd-and-10 and I'm a yard away from a first down, I'm not going to go into a slide and have to punt the ball away. I'm going to keep playing my game.
KR: HOW'S YOUR WEIGHT AND WHAT DO YOU SEE YOURSELF AT THIS FALL?
BOLLER: I played last year between 195 and 200. With the injury, I got down to about 188, but I'm back around 193 or 194 right now. By the fall, I'd like to be 210 or 215.
KR: HAVE YOU STOPPED GROWING?:
BOLLER: I don't know. I may have a little more in me, but I'm almost finished. In shoes, I'm 6-4.
KR: DO YOU THINK THE FACT YOU'VE GROWN SO FAST OVER THE LAST THREE OR FOUR YEARS HAS IMPACTED ON YOUR ATHLETIC ABILITY AND COORDINATION?
BOLLER: No question. While I've been in a growing spurt, it's had a big impact on my flexibility and I'm just starting to get some of that back over the last year. I'm doing a lot more in the weight room in that area than I was able to do when I came in here last summer. It impacts on my ability to move real quick as I have felt somewhat clumsy. But I feel like I'm getting that back. The work I've done here in winter conditioning shows me that I'm making a lot of progress. It should make be quicker and better moving around in the pocket.
KR: ON A GRADE SCALE FROM "A" TO "F", HOW WOULD YOU RATE YOUR PERFORMANCE LAST SEASON?
BOLLER: I'd say maybe "D+" or "C-", right around there.
KR: CAN YOU EXPLAIN OR EXPAND?
BOLLER: I was a freshman and it was a good year to use as a learning experience, but we didn't reach our goal of getting to a bowl game. I felt like, in some ways, I let down some of the seniors like Deltha because I didn't play that well and we didn't win enough games.
If we want to go to a bowl game this year or the Rose Bowl, I'm going to have to pick up my game a lot. I'm going to have to work hard in this off-season, watch a ton of film, and get better.
KR: WAS THE JUMP FROM HIGH SCHOOL TO THIS LEVEL AN EYE-OPENER FOR YOU?
BOLLER: Definitely. When I was a senior in high school, I thought it was going to be easy to go in and play Pac-10 football. But, what it comes down to is that there is so much you have to know, so much you have to think about, and perform at the same time. It can be overwhelming at some times. But, you just have to get through it. That's why last year was valuable. Each game, you learn more and more. Confidence is a big key. I don't think I played with as much confidence last year as I need to have. Next year, I expect to have a lot more confidence. I really think I needed to play last year, even with the inexperience. I've only been a quarterback for one high school season, so I just need to play and get that experience. By having this year under my belt, I can guarantee you next year will be much different.
KR: THERE WERE A LOT OF PROBLEMS WITH THE WIDE RECEIVING CORPS LAST YEAR. DID THAT PLAY A BIG ROLE IN SOME OF THE PASSING GAME PROBLEMS?
BOLLER: A little bit perhaps, but I don't put any blame on anybody else. I don't have any room to criticize with the way I played. Using the receivers as a scapegoat doesn't work for me. I made my fair share of mistakes compared to what they did, so I don't want to avoid responsibility. The thing that is important is being able to establish timing with your receivers and we didn't have as much opportunity to do that last year as we would have liked. At each level, timing becomes more important. I look forward to getting out this summer with our receivers and being in the passing leagues and getting down our timing. Last summer, I didn't really know what I was doing or trying to accomplish in the summer. It should be like night and day this summer.
KR: HAVE YOU BEEN AROUND THE NEW JC RECEIVERS OR BEEN ABLE TO THROW WITH THEM?
BOLLER: I can't throw with them yet, but I've been out there to watch. They seem to be catching the ball real well and I'm anxious to get out there throwing with them on a regular basis.
KR: WHEN WILL YOU START THROWING WITH THEM?
BOLLER: It shouldn't be too much longer. Probably the first of March, if things continue to go well with my rehabilitation.
KR: HAVE YOU IDENTIFIED ANY ONE THING THAT YOU WANT TO IMPROVE ON NEXT SEASON FROM LAST YEAR?
BOLLER: Being more fundamentally sound. If you get your fundamentals right, your game is going to go along with it. It's really the whole thing. I need to keep learning, keep studying defenses and coverages, watching film.
KR: WILL YOU BE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE FULLY IN SPRING FOOTBALL PRACTICES?
BOLLER: They're talking about holding me out of contact drills, but we'll keep talking about it. I'll be at 110 percent so I don't see why I wouldn't be full go. It's still under discussion.
KR: HOW ARE THINGS GOING IN SCHOOL, PARTICULARLY WITH THE INJURY?
BOLLER: It's hard to manage everything. Going to school and playing football is like two fulltime jobs, but I'm making the adjustment. In this new semester, it's a little easier as I can take more time to do my school work, make sure I get everything in when it's due and, if I have questions, I can go to the teacher's office during regular office hours.
KR: WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS THIS SUMMER ONCE SCHOOL IS FINISHED?
BOLLER: I'll be staying up here. I'm hoping to find a house with some teammates. There will be summer passing leagues and passing tournaments on Wednesdays. I plan to get a summer job. And I'm planning to take a class or two in summer school.
KR: WHAT ABOUT THE OFFENSE THIS SEASON? AFTER HAVING A SUBPAR SEASON LAST FALL, WHAT CHANGES DO YOU SEE?
BOLLER: There will be a change in that we'll start performing better. I think last year was a learning thing for all of us. Coach Hagen was new, I was new, a lot of our players were new. I see a new attitude. Coach (Ed) White seems to have his guys on the offensive line really taking things seriously. It's going to be up to the players to be dedicated and put in the time to be successful. I see a whole new offense next year, in terms of being productive. We'll be torched in the newspapers, saying that we'll be 10th in the Pac-10 offensively, but that doesn't matter. There's going to be people who really doubt us, but they'll jump on the bandwagon once we start rolling.