After dominating the trenches in spring camp, senior Defensive Tackle Kendrick Payne was gracious enough to consent to a sidelines interview. Just in case the audio isn't clear (it was loud on the sidelines), here's a written transcript:
CGB: What's it like working with the new position coach, Coach Howard?
KP: It's cool. Definitely a good guy. Lots of hand technique. I'm really liking the fact that he has a lot of NFL experience. Especially with this being my last year. He's helping me focus on some things that I need to be successful at the next level. It's definitely going to pay dividends.
CGB: You've gotten over your shoulder issues?
KP: Definitely. Really been focusing lately on taking care of my body.
CGB: You had a chance to come in under the old strength and conditioning coach, how is it difference with Blasquez and how he approaches things?
KP: Really no difference with strength and conditioning stuff. It's all the same. But you could tell last year, (Blasquez) he really loves what he does. He definitely keeps on guys. There are some days where you're not into it and need some extra motivation. And he never lets you take it off. You can definitely tell how we're moving and how we're looking. He's definitely been good.
CGB: As a senior, you're going to be one of the leaders on the defense. Who are some of the other players you know who will be vocal leaders, keep guys motivated and in line?
KP: I don't know so much about vocal leaders. Robert Mullins is a guy. I'm really glad he came back for his 5th year. He's a really mature dude. He's been there. It's great that he came back and it will help us out a lot. He's been through it, on and off the field.
CGB: Is it hard to organize the time between academics and athletics? Especially as a young guy?
KP: Oh yeah. Especially coming out of high school. It's tough. Especially for me. But it was worth it. I'm going to graduate May 19th, so next semester I can focus all on football.
CGB: Some of the other teams like to talk about how there's no academic support at Cal. There is no help, no tutors. Is that true?
KP: Not at all. That's what makes us Cal. There's a lot of support from everyone. Even Coach Tedford makes it a priority. It's definitely been a struggle. But I'm very appreciative of this program and how much of an emphasis they put on the academics. That's why I chose to come here.