March 17, 2000
Berkeley - Each week leading up to spring football drills, Cal Associate Athletic Director Kevin Reneau is sitting down with a key member of the Golden Bear football program and doing an interview on subjects of interest to Cal fans. This week, Reneau spent time with 6-2, 275-pound nosetackle Jacob Waasdorp. He was a first team All-Pac-10 selection a year ago and could bid for All-America honors this fall.
KEVIN RENEAU: HOW HAS YOUR OFF-SEASON GONE THUS FAR AND WHAT ARE SOME OF THINGS YOU ARE FOCUSING ON TO GET READY FOR NEXT SEASON.
JACOB WAASDORP: My main focus is working on the little stuff, getting back to fundamentals. As a sophomore, I had a tremendous attention to technique. Last year, my technique was OK, but I depended a lot on my improved weight and strength and my natural quickness. This season, I want to get back to some things that I might have been neglecting.
KR: WHAT TYPES OF THINGS ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT:
JW: Things like hand placement and having my elbows too wide when I'm coming out of my stance. If my technique isn't good, my hands might miss my target on the offensive lineman. It's the little things that can make you that much better.
KR: WHAT ABOUT YOUR WEIGHT? YOU'VE COME A LONG WAYS FROM WHEN YOU ARRIVED AS A FRESHMAN.
JW: I was only about 230 to 235 pounds when I graduated from High school. I was able to get close to 245 pounds by the time I arrived at Cal, but I've obviously steadily gained weight. I'm 275 pounds and that seems like a really good weight for me. I don't want to gain so much that I lose my quickness. I know I may need to gain some more to play at the next level, but right now I think 275 pounds is an ideal weight for me.
KR: WHAT ARE YOUR BEST ASSETS AS A PLAYER?
JW: It's probably my quickness, both in terms of having really quick feet and making quick reads. I also have very good leverage. I think it goes back to when I wrestled in high school. You learn how to use leverage. If somebody is pushing hard, you sometimes guide that power to get them off-balance. It works the same way in line play.
KR: HOW DO YOU RATE BILL DUTTON AS YOUR DEFENSIVE LINE COACH?
JW: He's the best defensive line coach in the nation. He's just a perfectionist. I see him in his mid-60s and how hard he works. I say to myself 'If he's running at that high a level, I have to get my ass in gear and work that hard as well'. I've watched tapes from some of the best line coaches in the NFL and I'm telling you, Bill Dutton is better than all of them.
KR: WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT FOOTBALL?
JW: I like the contct. It's a violent sport and I like being in the middle of the action. Some offensive linemen don't come off the line of scrimmage. They just position block and I don't like that. If they stay too high, I'll put my helmet in their midsection.
KR: WHAT ARE YOU LIKE OFF THE FIELD?
JW: When I was younger, I had a really bad temper and I was always doing stupid things to get into trouble. But I think I've changed. Somewhere along the line, something clicked and I began to realize I had to change my ways. I try to treat people with kindness now. It's probably a maturity thing. Every now and then my temper flares up, but it takes a lot. Mostly, I'm pretty mellow these days.
KR: ANDRE CARTER SAID PLAYING ALONG SIDE YOU FOR BOTH YOUR SENIOR SEASONS WAS ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS HE IS RETURNING THIS SEASON RATHER THAN GOING TO THE NFL. HOW DID YOU REACT TO THOSE COMMENTS?
JW: Andre and I came in together in the same class and were almost like brothers. I remember when we used to do hand quickness drills in the Unit III dorms when we were freshmen. We've just forged a relationship. Everybody knows he could have been a first round draft choice, but he saw a chance to come back and help us dominate. That shows what kind of person he is. And it will help me. When pro scouts look at film of Andre, they're also going to see me.
KR: WHAT KIND OF SEASON DO YOU FORESEE IN 2000?
JW: Every year, I have a real positive outlook. I think we have a real chance to be very successful. We just have to click on both sides of the ball. The offense has struggled, but I think the second year under Coach (Steve) Hagen and having two really good quarterbacks is going to make a big difference. From a talent standpoint, I don't think our offense is that much difference than anybody else in the league. It's just a matter of confidence. If they start getting some confidence, the sky's the limit for our team.
KR: HOW DO YOU KNOW ABOUT ERIC HOLTFRETER AND WHY DO YOU THINK HE'LL HAVE AN IMPACT AT QUARTERBACK?
JW: He and I are old buddies from my hometown. We played high school football together and he's going to surprise some people.
KR: WERE YOU SURPRISED TO BE NAMED FIRST TEAM ALL-PAC-10 LAST SEASON?
JW: I was a little surprised on one hand and I was definitely happy. But I have a lot of confidence in my ability and I actually was disappointed that I didn't receive any Pac-10 recognition after my sophomore season, since I thought I played better than some of the linemen who got the honors. I got some good feedback during the season last year. The offensive line coach at Washington (Keith Gilbertson) sent me a nice letter during the season about how well I was playing, so that was nice.
KR: WILL YOU BE A MORE VOCAL LEADER THIS YEAR?
JW: Probably to some degree. I think I've been around long enough that I've earned by say. And hopefully, the guys will respect me enough to listen. However, I want to make sure it is a positive thing. My senior year in high school was a really tough time when I attempted to speak up and I said some wrong things. I don't want that to happen again. I think it's a matter of some of our seniors, myself, Andre (Carter), Surge (Brian Surgener), Chidi (Iwuoma) and the other guys showing by our example of how hard we're working. I think all of our guys are working a lot harder than in the past. I have a good feel for this team.
KR: TELL US ABOUT YOUR PHYSICAL CONDITION RIGHT NOW.
JW: I had two minor surgeries in consecutive weeks in mid-December, one for my knee and one for my shoulder. I'm probably about 75 to 80 percent back now. The goal is for me to be 100 percent by the start of fall camp. We still haven't decided how much work I'll do in the spring. We'll leave that to the medical people, but for sure I'll be fully healthy for the season.
KR: WHO ARE YOUR BUDDIES ON THE TEAM?
JW: Guys like Andre, Surge and Nick Harris are good friends. But really everybody on the team I consider a good friend. If they need me, I'd be there for them.
KR: HOW IS SCHOOL GOING?
JW: School is something that hasn't come easy for me and I found myself just surviving the first couple years. But, my attitude is definitely changing. Sometime this last year, I figured out that I just needed 16 classes to get my degree and I made a pledge to get that degree. I'm majoring in American Studies, but I'm not sure if I'll continue with that or not. I've developed some interest in sociology and even the arts, so I don't know what my final major will be.
KR: WHO HAS BEEN MOST SUPPORTIVE IN YOUR FAMILY?
JW: That would be my mom and my brother. My mom had it hard, going through a divorce and some of those issues, but she has always been there for me. Like I said, I wasn't the greatest kid. I had some anger because of the divorce and that made it hard for her. But, we made it through and it made us closer. My older brother Jason has been like a father to me. He's actually my step-brother, but he's my brother in may eyes.