Several of Cal's new coaches sat down with GoldenBearReport (formerly BearTerritory.net, which is now forwarding to california.scout.com) to talk about their initial assessments of the team, recruiting, and the bizarre life of temporarily living in an Emeryville hotel.
1. How does Brendan Bigelow fit into this offense?
"You turn on the Ohio State game, you turn that on, watch just those first couple plays, and as a coach, you can turn the tape off after that. The kid has it," says Ingram, who just finished watching game and practice tape for every Bigelow snap last season. "His action was limited in games as a running back. He has so much more talent that hasn't even been put on display. This'll be so much simpler for him, we're gonna be able to put him in so many more situations to succeed."
2. What about the quarterback situation? Is there a chance Cal starts a freshman -- redshirt (Zach Kline) or true (Jared Goff) -- next season?
"We started a 17-year-old kid (at quarterback) two years ago at Louisiana Tech," Franklin says. "To me, what I tell guys, you're either a football player or you're a freshman. If you want to be a football player just come and play ball, and be a man, and compete. If you want to be a freshman, be a freshman. We're not afraid to play freshman."
3. So, are tight ends going to end up just being blockers?
"The thing about our offense, we get a bad reputation that we don't play tightends," Likens says. "At Louisiana Tech, we didn't have one. We're not going to play a tight end just to say we put a tight end on the field. If they can't help us win, we won't play one."
4. Is this offense going to work in a BCS conference, and what's the learning curve like?
"Football's football, regardless of what the geography is," Franklin says. "The transitioning of kids learning how we do what we do is based on their receptiveness, how fast they want to be good. If they think they've got all the answers, the transition is going to be a little longer. The formula: we know it works, it works every time. Just have to get these kids to believe it. Hopefully they'll buy in fast."
5. And the special teams?
"I watched the film and the punter's a young guy, but he's very fundamentally sound. And then we have a first team all-league kicker. We've got a good base here," Tommerdahl says. "As for who's on the field: It's just too important a part of the game, why wouldn't you put your best players out there, especially in a league like this? I think we have to become technique freaks. I can sit up in my office and draw up every scheme imaginable, but if we're not fundamentally sound, the schemes are useless. The margin for error in this league is paper thin, so we're going to use everybody. Almost every player on our roster will be touched on special teams, the offensive linemen, defensive linemen, every coach except the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach will be involved in coaching special teams. You're going to see middle aged men running down the field."
I really like what these coaches have been saying so far, especially Tommerdahl and his commitment to special teams. It sounds like the team will undergo a complete rebuilding process this spring.
- Uncle Ted is handing out Christmas gifts to Pac-12 teams. Atop Cal's Christmas list is a consistent quarterback.
- Dykes sat down with several Cal reporters for an informal Q & A. He said all practices will be completely open to the public. Other highlights: he'll be open with injury reports, he is not in favor of tough OOC schedules, and he and his family plan to live in Berkeley because he feels it's important to be part of the community.
- Andy Buh has officially been hired by Cal. He will continue to work with Wisconsin until the Rose Bowl and he will report to Cal the following Monday. Buh is accustomed to a 4-3, but is flexible depending on how players perform in his evaluations.
- Cal signed defensive ends Kyle Kragen and Sione Sina. Both junior college transfers will enroll this January.
- BearInsider reports on the Buh hiring.
- In terms of money spent per win, Cal was one of the top-10 worst teams over the past three seasons.
- ESPN ranks the top-15 coaching hires this offseason. Cal and Dykes were 15th.
- Tyrone Wallace made his first start of the season as Cal defeated UCSB 68-59. The lead had ballooned up to 22 before Cal slowed down late in the second half.
- Monty was pleased with how Wallace played, particularly with his rebounding.