Golden Nuggets: Khairi Fortt on the Transition to Berkeley, On and Off the Field

CalBearsOnline.com

Khairi Fortt talks about his adjustment to Berkeley, on and off the field. While he says playing defense in the Big 10 is real physical (no question), the fast pace of the Pac-12 offenses has "everyone flying around."

Uncle Ted spoke with Cal LB Khairi Fortt about the many transitions he has faced over the past year. Here he speaks about the transition in play style from the Big 10 to the Pac-12.

"Fast," he said. "There is so much speed. The Big Ten is not slow or anything. But this is a different type of fast. The pace of the game is faster -- almost more of a finesse game. It's a lot more running than hitting. In the Big Ten, if you're a linebacker, you are smashing into fullbacks. In this league you have to be able to play man-to-man coverage on some of these quick receivers. I like it a lot. I've got some speed too and I get to show it off.

"Even on defense. It's a faster pace. There's not as much time for hitting because everyone is flying around."

Along with Coach Dykes, Fortt also provides some insight into how the Bears defense has changed under Buh's tutelage.

"... I think [Buh] understands the athleticism he has with this defense. It's almost like a hybrid defense. There's a little bit of zone, but a lot of times I'm playing man-to-man because of the trust he has in us being an athletic group. We can keep teams guessing because we're good enough to play man or zone."

Because of his injury, Fortt never had the chance to play in the odd-front scheme of former Cal defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast, who is now directing the defense at USC. And while Dykes acknowledges there is some transition that goes with changing defensive philosophies, it's still football.

"I don't think it's that big of a transition as people make it out to be," Dykes said. "Sometimes the style is a little different. Sometimes an odd front is more attacking and always adjusting. A 4-3 is a little simpler to make adjustments off of. It's a different school of thought, but from a technical standpoint there's really not that big of a difference. You still have to cover the A-gap."

I'm really glad many of these Tedfordisms have stuck around.

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