The Cal football team is past the halfway point of training camp as the Golden Bears continue to prepare for the upcoming 2013 season and the opener against Northwestern on Aug. 31 at Memorial Stadium. CalBears.com had a chance to sit down with sophomore defensive back Stefan McClure about how the secondary is looking and about returning to action after missing last season due to injury.
CalBears.com: How does it feel to back out on the field after missing last season?
Stefan McClure: It feels pretty good to get out there and compete with my teammates, and fight for that common goal to get to the Rose Bowl. Just working with the defensive backs every day and growing closer together as a unit, it feels pretty good to be back out there with them.
CB: Do you find yourself being cautious or tentative right now when you’re on the field just because it’s been so long since you last played?
SM: I don’t think about it when I’m out there. You can’t play this game timid or scared or you’ll end up getting hurt. I go full speed as hard as I can go and just pray that nothing happens.
CB: Which of the young guys on defense have impressed you the most?
SM: They’ve all been looking good and competing, but Cameron Walker has been looking good and Khalfani Muhammad on offense. Those guys have stood out to me the most.
CB: What’s it been like working with the new defensive gameplan?
SM: I love the new defense. The way we’re flying around, we’re getting guys to move around more as a unit. We have a good scheme. Coach Buh is going to call the best plays, and then it just comes down to us executing those plays. Every call is a good call, we just have to fly around and make it work. Get guys to the ball and we’ll be a great defense.
CB: Cal lost some key guys from the secondary last year. Do you feel any pressure going from missing last year to becoming a key player on defense this year?
SM: It’s not tough; it’s what we all want. We all want to have our number called and be able to step in there. We got some young guys in key roles on defense. It’s going to come down to the DBs. We have to respond to the challenge and rise to the occasion. It’s going to be a big year for us.
CB: Have the rigors of training camp been wearing you down at all yet?
SM: Not the rigors of camp. I love all this football stuff. It’s the rigors of classwork and balancing summer school during camp. You want to be able to focus on football, but at the same time I’m thinking, ‘Man, I have to write a 5-7 page paper.’ It’s something the whole team has to go through and we just work through it. We all support each other through it.
CB: What do you do to try to keep loose and relaxed during camp?
SM: Usually I try to just eat right. Hydrate, eat, kick back and watch a little TV.
CB: What changes have you noticed with the team’s attitude and outlook since camp has begun?
SM: We were disappointed with our performance last year, our record showed that. We had a disappointing season. We’re focused and determined to turn this program around under the new leadership of Coach Dykes. The amount of talent we have on this team, we want to show that with a record that will get us competing for a Pac-12 title and a chance to play in the Rose Bowl.