D.J. Holt & our Lindsay Brauner! - Lisa Rosen, CGB Chief Cinematographer
We interview former Cal linebacker D.J. Holt about his escapades at Cal with Cameron Jordan and being a student-athlete at Berkeley.
LINDSAY: How do you feel about the decision to not have Coach Thompson come back? How much did you feel he developed you as a person and as a player?
DJ: Personally, it really doesn't matter how I feel about their decision to bring Coach Thompson back. But as far as me being a player and having him as a mentor, it was tremendous. I couldn't have done it without him.
LINDSAY: I wanted to ask you about your recruitment to Cal. How big of a role did Coach Gould play in bringing you to Cal?
DJ: Coach Gould definitely played a huge role in my decision, coming to Cal. He's big on academics, and he told me, this school is definitely not for just anybody. It's for the student-athlete. So that made me really think about it. it was between Cal, USC, and ASU, and I definitely chose Cal because of the beautiful weather, the location was still close to home, with me being from Los Angeles, and they were a good football program on the rise, and academics. Academics are amazing.
LINDSAY: There were a lot of issues regarding academic and mental discipline that led to a change in the coaching regime. How disciplined would you say your team was in those regards, and did you see any signs when you were at Cal that your team might be slipping on both fronts?
DJ: I definitely didn't pay any attention to that. Our coaches had us really focusing on the task at hand, which was getting to a bowl game, and winning a conference championship, and as a team we were very disciplined. every team, you're going to have your mess-ups, guys who need a little help, guidance, push. But for the most part, I feel like our team was pretty disciplined, with class checkers, meeting with tutors every day, when we could.
LINDSAY: Was there a difference in the type of relationships players had with Coach Pendergast compared to Coach Gregory? Was one of those guys more hands-on or involved with players' academics or personal development off the field?
DJ: I think both of them were focused on academics, we talked about that a lot, coming from the head coach. Clancy has been in the NFL, and he treated it as a job, whereas Coach Gregory was more like a father.
LINDSAY: Did you have a favorite scheme or play that always made your eyes light up when you heard the call from the sidelines?
DJ: I definitely did. Depending on the week, or the team, we had particular plays for that team, and I loved it. But sometimes they wouldn't call it, and it would make me upset. But it's a team game. But I definitely have a few plays that I can think of off the top of my head. I mean, it's like a kid in a candy store. I'd get so excited.
LINDSAY: In your opinion, what set Cal apart from other schools across the country?
DJ: Both school and football-- it being a top institution, and a really prestigious football program as well. To be able to balance school and football sets us higher than most schools. You have Stanford which is just as good in that area as Cal, but not many schools can have good academics and good football at the same time.
LINDSAY: What was your favorite moment on the field at Cal, and off the field as well?
DJ: Definitely, on the field, there were a few. But definitely 2009, when we beat Stanford, that was the most memorable. We stormed the field. Michael Mohamed picked the ball off Andrew Luck, and it was a hard-fought game. After the game, the fans stormed the field, and the Stanford fans were crying. Off the field, there were so many memories, but I'd say, in the locker room, every day, week in and week out. We laughed, we cried together, there was so much emotion in there, but we were brothers-- a band of brothers. We were all one. Every day I laughed in the locker room. I would look forward to going to the locker room, just hanging out with my boys.
LINDSAY: You guys had such good friends your year, and the year above you. You, Cam, DJ Campbell. You guys were the Three Musketeers!
DJ: And to this day, we are. When you first get there, you're trying to find friends, you're trying to find your way. You spend all day with those guys, and you're kind of forced to be close to them.
LINDSAY: So you wouldn't have been otherwise?
DJ: Maybe, you know, Cam is definitely a good guy, so is DJ. But each team is different. You have guys coming in, guys leaving, guys growing up and maturing, and some guys, in certain cases, they get more immature. But for the most part, each team is different, people with different aspirations. But it was cool, an amazing experience. I wouldn't trade it in for anything.
LINDSAY: As best friends, do you and Cameron have anything, any accessories, that might match?
DJ: We definitely do. We have a few things, actually, but the one that sticks out is the Gucci belt. The story with that is he bought a Gucci belt, and it was the wrong size. I came to New Orleans, and he bought another one, but we wasn't going to return that one, so he just gave me the Gucci belt. We wear it. I wear it. And sometimes he happens to be wearing it at the same time. So, matching Gucci belts. Best friends.