On February 16th, the BearInsider hosted a recruiting event presentation. Supposedly one of the Cal coaches would be there to give comments about recruits while portions of their recruiting videos were being shown, as well as take questions. In previous years this coach has been Jeff Tedford. This year BearInsider didn't mention who the coach would be. I figured it wouldn't be Tedford because if it was him, then that's something they would have advertised. Nevertheless, I found the prospect of listening to one of the coaches interesting enough to the point where I'd want to go. So being the super-spy that I am, I donned my fake mustache, thick-rimmed glasses, and hit the road for Berkeley.
Upon arriving at the super-secret location (Bancroft Hotel), I immediately felt very out of place. It wasn't because of my fake mustache, and thick-rimmed glasses, though. No. It was something else. Everyone seemed to have graying hair - if any at all. Everyone had wrinkles. To be more concise, everyone appeared very old (except for Turkey! He's a very young and dapper looking chap). Apparently only 50+ year old guys really care about recruiting. At least I had the beer gut to fit in.
Intrigued about learning more about the lives of 50-year-olds, I did some reconnaissance and surveillance.
I first thought it'd be appropriate to see what kind of food they offered these older fine gentlemen. So I wandered over to the drink table. Sodas. And... sparkling cider. Yum. And for hor dourves? A spread of the finest cheeses, fruits, and desserts in the land (the desserts were actually quite comparable to the fine desserts I make myself for school and work). I could get used to pretending to be 50ish. Ah, and then the main course came out of the kitchen: BBQ chicken on skewers. Delish! I must obtain that recipe for use in my own culinary creations!
Out of the corner of my eye, I could have sworn I saw CBKWit. But alas, I was mistaken. That fine looking gentleman I thought I saw was merely my own reflection in a mirror. Damn I look good with a mustache and specs.
Continuing my reconnaissance and surveillance, I observed the behavior of these 50ish year old men. They were talking. Interesting. I'd talk with them too if I had something in common with them other than my beer gut. Ah hah! I do have something in common with them. My love for Cal Football. I confidently strolled up to an aged, refined, wine-sipping gentleman who must have been 30 years my senior prepared to ask him about Cal Football. I introduced myself. "Hi, I'm TwistNHook." His reply: "You're the dumbest Cal fan on the internetz." I sulked away.
Determined to return home with some substantial information about these interesting Cal fanatics who like to stalk high school kids on the internet (sickos), I went up to another aged, refined, sparking cidar-sipping gentlemen. I introduced myself. "Hi, I'm HydroTech." His reply: "I'M GONNA SUE YOU!" Not good. I walked away.
Third time is the charm, right? I walked up to another gentleman with a beer gut enough for the both of us. This time, I just said "Hi." His looked at me and replied: "How about the Cal basketball team?" CAL HAS A BASKETBALL TEAM??? Bewildered, I just walked away. Basketball? Really? When did this happen?
As 7 pm approached, I took a seat at the very front of the audience. I didn't want to miss a word of what was said. The lights dimmed and gentleman who introduced himself as MoragaBear began the presentation with some short clips of the Army All-American Bowl. Interesting. Next. I was dying to hear from the Cal Coach.
With that, the real meat of the program started as Tosh Lupoi took the stage! Standing ovation! Rivals.com recruiter of the year! Also one of the Cal players who sweats the most during practices (you learn interesting weird factoids like this when you're under cover working with the team).
Tosh began his presentation with recruit highlight reels. He provided comments during the clips. Avinash is working on that post and it will be posted later. After the highlight reels were done, it was time to ask Tosh some questions. He said he didn't have a wife or girlfriend, and that after this he was going to watch some more film, so he could take questions all night. Sweet! I began preparing a long list of technical 3-4 defense questions to ask him.
Anyways, here is the information from the question and answer session of the event. I did not necessarily write down all the questions, so much as just get the information in the answer. These are a combination of the notes that I took along with Avinash.
(1) Chris Martin calls the coaches every day asking about the playbook. He's always wanting to learn more and get more information.
(2) Mike Mohamed will be a starter this year, but everything else on defense is going to be pretty open.
(3) Austin Hinder is practicing. Because only one QB is on the field at a time, it's very tough for QBs to see playing time. Thus, Hinder has a tough chance at contributing early. He will have to commit to the weight room.
(4) Zack Maynard is "hungry." He calls wanting Tedford to quiz him on the playbook.
(5) Cal tries to establish relationships with recruits. Other schools "mass recruit." Cal does not do this.
(6) Tosh Lupoi went out to North Carolina during last year's signing period to talk to the North Carolina recruits about playing together. In other words, Tosh visited this year's recruits a whole year earlier. (Tosh's answer was a little unclear but I believe this is what he meant)
(7) Chris McCain is not on campus now. He is a January 2011 admit. He will play OLB. He wants to play on defense, as opposed to tight end.
(8) Cal is aware of some younger brothers of current and former Cal football players. [Names of recruits that the coaches are recruiting cannot be disclosed]
(9) Cal didn't pursue some big name local recruits because their academics were a concern.
(10) Cal has 31 players in the NFL. Alabama has 26. Cal sells this stat as evidence that not only can you go to a better academic school, but you have a better chance at going pro.
(11) Deandre Coleman is 6'5" and 312 lbs. His ideal weight should be 302. He's very powerful, and has potential to play in the NFL.
(12) Vachel Samuels and Steve Williams are "chomping at the bit" to get some playing time.
(13) Keni Kaufusi can play inside and outside on the defensive line.
(14) Question: Will Cal be more aggressive on defense next year?
Answer: Personnel dictates aggressiveness. Cal didn't have the players in 2009 to be really aggressive. Lupoi states that we do need to figure out ways to pressure the QB anyways, whether that's bringing a few more guys or blitzing a cornerback. (emphasis mine)
(15) Cal is bringing on a walk-on kicker.
(16) Regarding Cal's losses this past year and getting hurt by opponents' passing game: Against Oregon State, Cal was trying to stop the run and was getting hurt by the air. Same against USC. Some times there were mistakes. Some times the players were there and in position, but just didn't make the play. You can't beat yourself up too much when the players are in position but just don't make the play. (emphasis mine)
(17) Tad Smith's college career is over.
(18) Part of every official visit is a physical. The height and weight of recruits are recorded.
(19) Cal coaches have visited the Pittsburgh Steelers twice in the past few years to meet with Dick LeBeau. The coaches do a lot of self-scouting of themselves. They debrief each game, season, and phase.
(20) Regarding the effectiveness of the wildcat: by displacing the QB, the defense must account for the QB still. They might have to take a man out of the box if playing man coverage, or they might have to shift if they are in zone. QBs are still eligible receivers so the defense is basically losing a run defender. Cal will power block out of the wildcat which further gains a numerical advantage at the point of attack. See the Stanfurd game for great power blocking out of the wildcat.
(21) Chris Conte and Chris Moncrease are guys competing for the safety spots.
(22) Video games affect how recruits learn. Coaches have to consider utilizing them to help players learn if that's the way they are used to learning.
(23) Regarding recruits decommitting from Cal: being that there are more and more early commits, you're also going to have more and more decommits. However, some coaches encourage decommitting [for various reasons]. Sometimes, you'll hear some news later on which may confirm why some coaches might have changed their mind about recruits. Lupoi gave obvious emphasis that this may have occurred with a/some of Cal's recruit(s) (hint ... hint). (emphasis mine, "hint" is Lupoi's)
(24) Regarding the Otis Yeltson rumors: he's had a history of coming to Cal and Oregon for camps. It's not like he just came to Cal out of the blue. Any rumors regarding inappropriate recruiting, or quid pro quo is false. Otis Yelverton been part of the family process for those NC recruits and they've been closely knit for years.
(25) Regarding Utah players saying the Cal team was poorly conditioned: Lupoi doesn't think so. The coaches follow their recipe of success. Cal is 5-2 in bowl games under Tedford.
(26) Tosh Lupoi grades every defensive play for technique and effort.
(27) Cameron Jordan must commit to fitness. He was almost 300 lbs against Miami in the 2008 Emerald Bowl. He's now 284. He's matured and is really committing to the conditioning.
(28) Most teams typically recruit kickers as walk-ons because they're such as risk in terms of whether their game will translate to the college level.
(29) Jeff Genyk will recruit the mid-west due to his connections from that area.
(30) Chris Martin worked hard to work Owa Odighizuwa but there was not a lot of interest in return.
(31) Regarding Bay Area recruiting: it's pretty weak this year, and in past years. Not a lot of national players. Cal looks at all of California and all the high schools - even the little ones.
(32) Regarding negative recruiting: Cal tries to learn from its recruits what other schools are saying negatively about Cal to dispel those rumors. The coaches focus on its support system for athletes, academic gameplans, SLC and Cesar Chavez center, and a Cal degree. The coaches also tell the recruits what it really means when other school's coaches say "you're not going to make it at Cal because it's too hard" (or other similar statements). Cal coaches tell the players that the other coaches are saying the recruits aren't smart.
(33) Charles Ragland has to continue develop and grow into his body