In what should be a surprise to few of us, Best has declared that he will enter the NFL Draft. Here's a sampling of what he had to say during yesterday's teleconference.
On how much his injuries at Cal influenced his decision
"They played a small role. If anything the injuries kind of aided me staying more than anything, but they played a small factor in this decision."
On whether he could have improved his NFL Draft stock by coming back to Cal for his senior year in 2010
"I felt like I can definitely improve it, but nothing is guaranteed, and right now I have an opportunity so I have to take advantage of it."
On whether he received any advice from previous Cal players with his decision
"I talked to a couple of the guys - I talked to Justin [Forsett]. They just kind of gave me advice just to do `what you think is right, do what you think is best for your family.' After sitting down with my family, we feel like this is our best option."
On what part of his game he feels like he needs to improve upon as he enters the NFL"He just kind of played a neutral role. He didn't pick a side for me to leave or stay. He just kind of put everything out on the table for me and my family, and weighed the pros and the cons for both situations. He just wanted us to be knowledgeable of what we're getting into, and then he let us make the best decision and what we felt like the best decision was."
"I feel like strength is the part of the game that I need to improve on. Then throw in the fact that I felt like it's a more physical game that I've got to get ready for. But every year in any kind of sport, you have to get better every year so I've got to get better just like everybody else has to."
On the feedback he received from Cal head coach Jeff Tedford on his decision
On the feedback he received from the NFL and where he thinks he might be go in the 2010 NFL Draft
"Right now, it's too early to tell. If I go out there and perform bad at the combine, or at pro day, then I shouldn't expect to go in the early rounds. But, if I go out there and perform the way I should, then I should expect to go in the early rounds. It's all predicated on how I perform."
On how much he expects to improve his stock at the NFL Scouting Combine or pro day with his speed
"I think I can improve my stock quite well if I perform the way I should."
On what he's looking for in his 40-yard dash time
"There's no specific time. I'm not going to put a time out there that I can't get to, but I'm just hoping to run my fastest and to the best of my ability."
After the jump we have Tedford's comments on Best's departure, next year's running game, and how Best will play in the NFL. We also have more on the decision and recaps/analysis of men's and women's basketball's games against Stanford.
On the Cal program after Jahvid Best's departure
"Everyone knows the impact that Jahvid has on a program. We wish him well. It was a decision that he's made with his family, and we support him 100 percent. He's done a great job; he doesn't owe us anything. He's done a great job for this program, not just on the field but off the field. He's been a great representative of this program, and he's going to be a big success at the next level. Any time you lose a Heisman candidate or somebody of that caliber then you have to replace them. That's the job going ahead is trying to develop the rest of the guys that we have."
On Cal's current running backs led by Shane Vereen
"Shane Vereen is very comparable [to Jahvid Best]. I think those two guys really did a nice job of complementing each other. When Shane is healthy, he has a lot of the same characteristics that Jahvid has. We're really fortunate to have him. Given the other guys - Covaughn [DeBoskie-Johnson], Dasarte Yarnway's coming back, Isi Sofele and the new recruits that we have coming in - I think that we're going to be very solid and have some depth at that position. Of course, all those guys need to improve as well. I'm anxious to get started with that and [running backs] coach [Ron] Gould does a great job every year of preparing these guys. I'm confident that we're going to move forward just fine."
On whether Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson is a "slam dunk" as the team's No. 2 running back behind Vereen
"No, that's not a slam dunk by any means. Through spring, through summer, through fall camp, it's going to be wide open for competition. We really haven't seen Dasarte do much this year because of his injury. Going through the springtime, the competition is going to be there in that position for sure. I'm anxious to get that going. I think we do have some guys that are very versatile, while everyone needs to improve. There's no one that is kind of where they need to be. But, they are all great character kids and all eager to work. I think it's going to be a great spring with competition at that position."
On how he would like to use Vereen and the other running backs in 2010
"We like to kind of stay pretty much like we always have. We've been very fortunate to have two backs - be it J.J. [Arrington] and Marshawn [Lynch], or Marshawn and Justin [Forsett], or Justin and Jahvid [Best], or Jahvid and Shane [Vereen]. We've always been fortunate to have two backs, and that's really the goal that we don't put too much on one guy. The development of our younger guys is going to be very important, so we do feel comfortable and confident to go in the same pattern that we've gone before, which has been very successful with our running backs."
On Best's injuries at Cal and whether those are concern at the NFL level
"No, I don't think so. His injuries have been ... a dislocated elbow is something that can happen at any point. It's not something because he's not durable. The fall that he took in the Oregon State game is part of football. That has nothing to do with durability. Jahvid is very tough. Jahvid over the years has proven that he can play being banged up a little bit. Just look at what he did with the dislocated elbow. He came back in two weeks and played the rest of the season, and played great. Jahvid's a very tough guy. People will understand that about him that he's able to carry the load and he's able to bang in there. I don't know that that's going to be a concern anymore than it would be for anybody else that had those same types of injuries."
On the loss of Best's presence in the locker room
"He's not really the verbal leader, but he's so well-respected. There's no question he's a big part of this team and who he is as a person. But every year things move. The seniors move out, other guys move up. That's just the way it goes. He's kind of put in that category. We're going to miss him; we love him. He's not only a great player, but he's a great person and great to be around. But, he's not a guy who's really verbal. He leads by example. I really admire him for what he's done, especially this last year with all the attention that was put on him and how he handled it. He was so team-oriented and he has a great deal of respect from his teammates, and he always will. Jahvid has a home here forever. We want to make sure that he understands that and knows that he can come back at any time, and he's always going to be a part of this team."
- Although Best said that some unfinished business "kind of made me want to come back," Tedford should have no problem replacing Best with Cal's wealth of talent at running back. After having two of his three seasons at Cal cut short by injury, Best was motivated to finish a whole season at Cal. Though his back is still bothering him, Best expects to be fully healed for the scouting combine at the end of next month.
- Cal dominated from start to finish in what Zhang called "the best game I've experienced at Cal." The margin of victory was the largest over Stanford since 1986. Stanford coach Johnny Dawson said Cal did a great job of disrupting Landry Fields.
- Except for some time in the early second half when guys "got to standing a little bit," Monty was pleased with his team's performance. He is especially encouraged by players adopting their roles on the team, instead of everyone trying to be a scorer. He said their roles open up opportunity, like when Omondi had a few put-backs under the basket.
- On the other side of the Bay, Stanford overcame some miserable first half shooting to down the Cal women 79-58. Boyle said she loves her team's energy and competitiveness, but admitted that had some trouble against Stanford. Cal's poor shooting limited their ability to press as Stanford moved upcourt. Despite getting some good looks in their uptempo set, players weren't making their shots.