Earlier in spring, the name Freddie Tagaloa was never far from Sonny Dykes' lips. If you asked the new head coach who was impressing, the big left tackle was sure to be among those listed, progressing rapidly from week to week.
But if you ask Freddie when his improvement started, you might be surprised.
He wasn't in the locker room. He wasn't listening to something a coach said.
He was, oddly enough, nowhere near football at all.
"I was sitting in my room one night, and you know, me and my sister talked...she said, 'you know, you can really do something great," he said.
"All my uncles played football, and they didn't really get that far."
"I kind of want to be that one. I took hold of that - and as long as I keep holding it, I come in in the morning, I do extra workouts to make sure I can control that."
And those workouts? They're making a difference, according to Tagaloa. "I've lost 20 pounds since spring," he said, before proudly announcing his playing weight of 325.
"Coming off of fall last year, we didn't really get that much movement in the run game, and I feel that this year, our attitude has changed, and we're trying to move things."
The sophomore still has no idea which quarterback will win the competition, though. When asked about the Klindergoff, he responded with a slight lament, saying: "man, I wish I was a receiver. I wish I knew. You'd have to ask like, Bryce Treggs or one of those guys. I'm busy blocking the d-ends. I wish I could look back."
But with so many linemen in the mix this camp, this begs the question - which of the linemen are keeping him the most busy?
"Interior? I would say Biggie [Deandre Coleman] and Moose [Mustafa Jalil]. It's a tie between the two," Tagaloa said.
"As far as outside? This one's kind of hard...they're all good."
Pausing for a moment, Tagaloa concluded, "it's a different guy every day. They hit you with speed, and then you got a bull [rusher]. You got guys like Chris McCain off the edge, Antoine Davis, Todd Barr...then you got B Scar [Brennan Scarlett] that hasn't even come in yet."
"It'll really help me in the Pac-12, with all these different rushers", he said - and in a conference that still sports the likes of Anthony Barr and Morgan Breslin, every little bit certainly helps.
I like to ask every player for someone who they think will break out this season - besides themselves.
Tagaloa was caught offguard by this question and paused for a bit, before finally uttering this: "I'm going to go with Bigelow," he said, a statement that should set the hearts of any Cal fan aflutter. Come August 31st, the Golden Bear faithful will get a chance to see how true it might be.