"I thought he did a nice job. We were so far ahead from last year when he was new into the system. We were able to do much more on offense this spring, and move along much more efficiently. You could tell his experience from last season had really paid off with the speed of the game and the management of the game. He really improved through a year. Spring was very effective for him."
On the main things they addressed this spring and what still needs to be resolved going into camp
"Going into the spring, it was really important that a couple of the offensive linemen were able to step up. The tight end position, as well. We really felt good about the spring that Richard Rodgers had. He's a 270-pound tight end who can run down the field and is very athletic catching the football. I felt like he really improved. With the departure of Mitchell Schwartz, who played a lot of games for us, it was really important to get that position solidified and evaluated. Along the front, as well, moving [Brian] Schwenke to center; he did a nice job in there. Evaluating some of the young tailbacks was another one. [Brendan] Bigelow, being one that really didn't get a lot of action last year from that spot, it was really critical to have a very physical spring for him because he missed two years in high school with his knee [injury]. He had a very productive spring; he was very physical. He's really gained a lot of confidence in his knee and looked great through the spring. On defense at the safety position, to have guys like Avery Sebastian and Alex Logan really get a lot of reps after losing both safeties from last year. They were productive through the spring. Our kicking game, Vince D'Amato, it's going to be his first year after Giorgio [Tavecchio] left. We really wanted to put him in a lot of pressure situations to kick and he did a nice job. The key going into camp is going to be the development of the young receiving core - Darius Powe, Bryce Treggs, Cedric Dozier, Chris Harper, Kenny Lawler, Jeff Coprich. Those guys are going to be key. The learning curve is pretty quick for those guys. The punter, Cole Leininger, after Bryan Anger left, to have a freshman punter is also going to be a big focus going into the fall."
On what kind of team Cal can be in 2012
"I really believe that in spring football, we were very physical and we really improved throughout the spring, which is the main goal, to have individual and units improve. I thought we really did that. I think if we can stay healthy and the receiving core comes along, because that's going to be really the spot that we're going to be the youngest, that we have the potential to be a very good football team. We obviously have to replace a couple of guys on defense. [Losing] Mychal Kendricks, the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, and D.J. Holt, those two guys, we moved David Wilkerson and Nick Forbes to the inside. Robert Mullins and J.P. Hurrell are all inside. Their productivity is going to have to step up. I think all in all, given the experience of our quarterback now, and his productive and his management of the game through the second half of the season, we have the ability to be very productive."
On the transition to moving to a playoff system
"We talked about this a lot in our Pac-12 coaches meetings. There are so many different opinions and ways to do it - an in-bowl situation or an out-of-bowl situation, based on rankings or whether it's a four-team playoff or an eight-team playoff. One of the sentiments was that the eight-team playoff would probably give everybody an equal chance. I don't know if you're ever going to have a situation where everyone is happy. Somebody is always going to feel left out by a situation. If we're going to do the playoff system, let's do it whole-heartedly and go after it. The selection of whether they have to be conference champions, which makes a lot of sense. Who is going to be the at-large selections, whether a conference gets two teams, but I think there's a lot of questions that need to be answered still before that happens."
On if there is less room for an at-large team in a four-team format
"I would think so, yes. When you take the BCS conferences and the champions of those conferences, there's obviously less room for other people being the at-large teams.
On if a four-team format should be just champions
"Yeah, I think everyone came to that conclusion, that it should be conference champions. There's a lot of give and take with that too because not every conference has a conference championship game. You can do well all season long, stub your toe on the conference championship game and not be in that playoff, which that wouldn't be too good. I think there are a lot of questions that need to be answered on it, but I would be leaning toward more the eight-team than the four-team."
On The Big Game being played in the middle of the season
"I don't particularly like it. Playing Stanford in the middle of the season is going to feel really odd for our fans I am sure. When you have traditions that go towards the end of the year, everyone expects that. It is definitely going to have a different feel. As they explained to us with all the complications of putting the thing together, this may happen from time-to-time. It just happens that it is Stanford and us this year. It could happen to someone else next year depending on the scheduling. There are so many variables with Thursday and Friday games and being on the road or not being on the road for two weeks, like this year we don't have a bye. We are the team that is not only playing Stanford midyear but we are playing 12 games straight. They told us it is going to alternate, we just happen to be that team this year. There is always a challenge the week of the Big Game for Coach Shaw and I because there are so many different events that go on during the week. Hopefully we can be efficient with that and limit some of those."