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Interview With A Hydration Technician

Water.  The cause of and solution to all the world's problems.  For years, man has tried to improve upon its brine-esque taste.  There was nobody who could successfully improve upon it until one man came along.  A man of such amazing intelligence and water-oriented smartness that he became known not just as a HydroTechnician, but THE HydroTechnician.

We're not talking about that guy today.  No, we're talking about his lamer, stupider successor.  Because the sequel is always worse.  Today, we're talking to Hydro Jr., GiantFan5.  He is currently employed as a HydroTech for the Cal Football team, mixing Gatorade and kicking field goals on the side (because we need to try every alternative!).  He had a lot to say about football, our Most Beloved Patron Saint Of Refreshment, and the evils of processed sugars.


"GiantFan5 starts his standard pre-practice waterharvest" via

Check out the interview behind the fold.

1.  What's it like following in the footsteps of HydroTech, one of the truly great HydroTechs of Cal Football history?  Is there a lot of pressure?

Oh, yeah, every day.  Its very tough to follow a great Hydration Technician like Hydro, and the reputation he has here at Cal.   It really just makes you want to be better at your job every day, and carry on that tradition.  I don’t think I’ll ever surpass him here at Cal, but I hope I can follow in his footsteps and with God’s help, contribute to this team to even a fraction of an extent that he was able to.

2.  Have the players complimented your Gatorade making skills?

Complimented…not so much.  They are definitely vocal about when the Gatorade is off, however, which can happen one of two ways: 1) When we use too much Gatorade powder, which makes the Gatorade taste WAY too sweet and 2) When the bottles haven’t been washed properly, which makes the Gatorade taste like Dial dish soap.  Fortunately, neither of these happened very often, mostly because I am awesome at my job.



3.  Tell us what one of your typical days during spring camp was like.

During a typical practice day, I would get out of my lecture at VLSB and run all the way up to Memorial at 2pm (a great way to get some exercise).  After clocking in, I head up to the training room, check in with my boss, and start filling six 10 gallon jugs of water and four jugs of Gatorade (each of which is half filled with ice), filling an ice chest with injury ice, and gathering the training equipment and around 54 water bottles and caps.  I load all that onto our Yamaha golf cart and drive that through the concourse, down the ramp, and through the North entrance.  We then split the water and Gatorade between the two sidelines and the end zones, so it is more convenient for us to fill up.  After we set everything up on the field, we usually have 15-30 minutes of down time, so we hang out with the kickers, throw the ball around, and help the equipment managers field punts and field goals while the kickers warm up.

Once all the players are down on the field and have warmed up, we go with the guys to their position groups.  Each HydroTech is assigned to a specific group, and we stay with those groups for the whole practice, except for the 7 on 7 and 11 on 11, and special teams periods.  During the practice itself, it is mostly a matter of trying to keep an eye on all the guys in your group to be sure they all have ample opportunity to get hydrated.  Depending on the drills that the group is doing, some coaches will tell all their guys to stop and get water in between drills.  There is obviously a great deal of concern for the health of the guys, and all the training staff and coaches do  a great job balancing the need to push the players to improve, and the need to keep everyone as healthy as possible.



After the players finish practice and have done their final stretches and gone back up the locker room, we gather up all the coolers and bottles, dump any excess down the drains on the field, and load everything back on to the cart and take it back up to the training room.  There, we wash out all the bottles and jugs that held Gatorade, so they don’t get sticky, and make sure everything is cleaned and put away for the next team that uses it.  Some people might not realize it, but a lot of our practice equipment (e.g. bottles and jugs) are shared with other sports, like softball, rugby, and soccer, who also use the training facilities up at Memorial.

4.  Which unit did you start off working with?

The first unit I ever worked with during Spring Ball was the O-Line.  It can be pretty intimidating for a newbie, since these are some of the biggest guys in the biggest group on the team, and they have a ton of blocking schemes and other things going on in their drills that I really have no understanding of at all.  We usually have 2 people assigned to work with O-Line, since it is a big group, and they frequently break into 2 separate groups for various drills.  After working with the O-Line a few times, though, I got to know Coach Marshall and the players as a really cool group of guys that I am really excited to watch next season.  I still don’t understand the blocking schemes, though…



5.  Based on what you saw at practice, who do you think will be QB?

Wow, this is a really tough question.  As has been said by numerous reporters, both Riley and Mansion looked up and down all spring, and I didn’t see any obvious separation.  Sweeny definitely surprised me, as I underestimated his abilities since he is still a young player, but I wouldn’t say he was so spectacular that he would leapfrog both Mansion and Riley to start in the Fall.  Riley had his good and bad moments, Mansion had his, and both looked very capable of leading an offense on the field.  I guess what I’m saying is to believe what you read, and what Tedford says: it really is kind of a tossup at this point.  There was nothing I saw at closed practices that would really cause me to lean toward one guy or the other.  If you forced me to pick today, I guess I would pick Mansion, because he looks like a stronger, more traditional pocket passer than Riley does.  But that is really only the subjective observation of a relatively inexperienced football observer.

6.  Based on what you saw at practice, does Best look 100%?

Ah, this one is a bit easier.  Although last time I saw Jahvid on the field was just before the Spring Game on April 18th, he was already out of the ankle brace thing and starting to run.  I saw him running for Coach K and the Head trainer on the sidelines so they could analyze his progress, and they seemed happy with how he is doing.  So based on that small sample and Javhid’s strong work ethic, I’m completely confident he’ll be 100% for Fall Camp, and I’m very hopeful that he can stay healthy for the whole season and have a shot at the Heisman in the Fall.

7.  Based on what you saw at practice, which WRs do you think will start?

Bearing in mind that Michael Calvin has been out with an injury and Verran Tucker missed a lot of Spring Practice, I think that Boateng and Jones are the top 2, from what I saw.  Marv looks like he is a good, physical receiver with great hands, and Nyan is very solid when he can hang on to the ball (an area he still needs to improve).  Beyond those first two, things become less clear to me.  Lagemann looked good, certainly, but with my newness to observing practices and not working with the wideouts every day, it was harder for me to judge who was best behind Marv and Nyan.  (Interesting side note: Boateng’s nickname is "Bo," which can occasionally get confusing, considering we have a quarterback named Beau.  But maybe that’s just me)



8.  Based on what you saw at practice, who is going to be our best player on defense?

Just so many good players on defense: Mychal Kendricks, Syd Thompson, Tyson Alualu, to name a few; Cal can be really strong on the defensive side of the ball this coming season.  Of all the guys I watched, though, I think Cameron Jordan has a chance to be our best defensive player.  He is so fast, and so strong, I think he can be a really great player for the Bears.

9.  Do you have to wash down the Golden Statue of HydroTech every day?  Or is it just every other day?

It’s actually only once a week, since they moved the statue from just inside the training room down to North Tunnel.  People don’t see it as often down there, so we can let it go a little longer between cleanings.

10.  What makes you good at your job?

My attention to detail, my willingness to do whatever my bosses need me to do, and the fact that I am a quick learner make me good at my job.  My boss said that in the past, he has occasionally had to really badger HydroTechs to clean up after practice and do a good job, and that he is really glad that isn’t the case with my co-workers and I.  I was able to learn the job really quickly, and although learning everyone’s name is still a work in progress, I’ve been able to pick that up pretty quickly as well.



11.  What position has looked the best to you?

I’m going to have to go with Defensive End.  Having both Tyson Alualu and Cameron Jordan at DE makes that position really strong.  And from what I could see this spring, the DE’s and the rest of the defense had an edge over the offense (which I guess is expected for the spring).  Having Alualu and Jordan on our side almost makes me pity opposing offenses.  Almost.

12.  What player has looked the best?

Brian Anger.  It sounds weird, or almost even insulting to the rest of the team, to say that a kicker looked the best of everyone, but Anger made amazing punts look so routine every single practice that I have to give him credit.  He is really an amazing talent.

As far as non-specialists go, Marvin Jones looked really good to me.  I worked with the receivers somewhat frequently, and I was always impressed with his ability to catch anything near him, even balls that were underthrown where he had to fight Syd Thompson or Darian Hagan or other defenders for the catch.  I think Marv was really good this spring.

13.  Which coach do you like working for the most?

This is a tie between Marshall on the O-Line and Tosh Lupoi on the D-Line.  Marshall is just an eccentric, hilarious old guy, who I think will be my best source for memorable stories and quotes while I’m doing this job.  Lupoi is a super-passionate, enthusiastic younger guy who creates a real feeling of family among the D-Linemen, which is an environment I really enjoy working in.  Cal is really lucky to have both these coaches.

Bonus answer to unasked question: Frank Cignetti yelled and swore at me once when I mistakenly handed him Gatorade instead of water.  He was NOT my most liked coach.


"Giantfan5 has an avant garde refreshment technique" via

14.  Are you as much of a diva as Hydro?

Absolutely.  The best always have an air of confidence, and know that they are the best.  Hydro and I are no different.