Cal Football and Big Game legend Mike Mohamed was on hand to take in the recent spring game. He was kind enough to spare a few moments for an interview. In case the crowd noise makes the video hard to understand, here is a written transcript:
CGB: How's life after Cal?
MM: It's good. I'm running with the Denver Broncos right now. And it's a whole experience in itself. Just finished my first year. And it's fun. Having a good time.
CGB: How did Cal prepare you for the pro game? Is there a big transition? Where you really prepared technique-wise? Physically and mentally?
MM: Yes and no. Playing at a good D-I school like Cal is going to prepare you. At the same time, you are stepping up a level. There's always technique to learn. I feel like even at the NFL, you're always trying to get better.
CGB: You had a chance to play under different coaches, different coordinators. What do you think about how Coach Pendergast has done?
MM: Coach Pendergast's system is awesome. I only had one year in it. But, I loved it. He was in the NFL for a while. So using a pro-style defense in Cal. I think it shows on game day.
More interview after the jump. Thanks MikeyMo for being so awesome!
CGB: What was the difference responsibility-wise with being outside/inside? With Coach Pendergast using a more pro-style scheme, did you have more responsibilities inside?
MM: Yeah, I think so. Being a inside backer, you have to make a lot of calls, a lot checks. You're the quarterback of the defense. You're out there running the show. And there's a lot of responsibility. A lot of freedom with being inside. You have to get everyone lined up.
CGB: So these young guys are pretty amazing out of high school. Fast, strong, talented. But how long does it take to catch up to the speed of the game where you're just reacting, not thinking?
MM: Yeah. For me, I think where you're just playing ball. It took me a good year of playing. Obviously, you catch up to the schemes pretty quick. But where you're just reacting, that took me a year.
CGB: That worries me because you were one of the more instinctive linebackers we've had.
MM:(laughs) I appreciate that. Not to say that you can't go out there and be successful. But for it to be 2nd nature, yeah, that took me a good year. Maybe for others it's shorter or longer.
CGB: Now, you had to go up against Tedford's offense in practice every day. Other schools use negative recruiting against Cal by saying Tedford's offense is too complex for college players or even more complex than pro schemes. Well, you've been in college and in the pros, what do you think about that?
MM: Well, not ever having studied (laughs) the offense, I can't tell you that much. But from a defense point of view, I think that's pretty ridiculous. For an offense to be too complex, I think that's pretty far-fetched. We've got a ton of smart guys come through here and they do just fine. I don't think that's an issue.
CGB: Well, the other thing they bring up is that academically, Cal is too hard. There's no support. Not enough tutors or advisors What would be your response to that?
MM: That's definitely not true either. There's a ton of support. There's tutors. And advisors. And study groups. There's an unlimited amount of support. Yes, it's a little bit of a tougher school than others. But at the end of the day, when you get that degree it's worth it. If you're doing poorly, it's your own fault because there's an abundance of resources.
CGB: Thanks for being so patient with us, Mike. You're a class act and we wish you well in the pros.
MM: Thank you. No problem.