This reflects the essence of Coach Jeff Tedford's message to the Golden Bear Club at his post spring practice appearance.
Coach Tedford indicated that he is not satisfied with a 7-5 season. He said that he did not come to Cal to simply produce winning records. He is interested in conference championships. The 2002 season was just the first step towards that goal.
To illustrate his point, he cited a conversation that he had with several players who came back from Christmas break a bit out of shape. He reminded them that they should not rest on the laurels of the best turnaround in Cal football since Pappy Waldorf. There is still a lot of work to do to achieve the goals he has established for the program.
In a wide-ranging discussion, Coach Tedford touched on several other issues relating to Cal football ranging from what happens in the 25 seconds between plays to a recounting of the recruitment of WR Devin Stearns.
Coach Tedford's description of what transpires between offensive plays was a clear indication of why intelligence is a critical trait that must be exhibited by every quarterback who plays for him.
For example, every pass play that is called contains multiple assignments. The quarterback must know every assignment. In addition, when the quarterback reaches the line of scrimmage, he must be able to read the defense looking for specific keys. Once he has made the read, he must make the correct throw.
In response to a question about the health of the team, Coach Tedford indicated that every player should return healthy in the fall with the exception of RB Terrell Williams who is mending slowly from his injury last fall.
Coach Tedford also stated that he was pleased with the progress the team demonstrated from the beginning of spring practice to the final scrimmage. He was particularly thankful that the team suffered no significant injuries during the five-week session.
He said that the strength of the team is the offensive line. Andrew Cameron, Ryan O'Callaghan and Marvin Phillip give the line some significant depth.
In discussing the quarterback position, it was clear that no decision has been made regarding who will start the first game. However, he was effusive in his praise of Aaron Rodgers.
As he has stated in the past, Coach Tedford said that he is committed to playing the "best player" at each position.
When the discussion turned to recruiting, he described two recruiting battles in particular, that for J.J. Arrington, in which he out dueled Oregon for Arrington's signature (his demeanor made it evident that was a satisfying "win" for Coach Tedford over his mentor, Mike Bellotti) and Devin Stearns, in which Coach Tedford and Coach Kiesau were able to overcome late and sustained efforts by Coach Jim Tressel of Ohio State and Coach Rick Neuheisel of Washington to secure Stearns' signature. Coach Tedford said that Stearns was on three separate phones speaking to the coaches at 11:00pm the night before signing day. Coach Tedford said that he and Coach Kiesau had no intention of hanging up until after the other two coaches had finished their efforts to recruit Stearns. Coach Tedford summarized Stearns' recruitment by saying that even though did not intend to recruit any more wide receivers, he felt it necessary to go after Stearns because he is such a great athlete.
In other comments about recruiting, Coach Tedford said that he has no plans on recruiting outside Cal's traditional western base unless an athlete expresses specific interest in Cal. Also, he said that he is quite pleased about the inroads he made in keeping Northern California athletes from going elsewhere. It was clear that he places a high priority on successfully recruiting our "home territory".
As for 2003, Coach Tedford said that he would be focusing his efforts on offensive linemen. He is looking to recruit 5-6 Olers.
After Coach Tedford's remarks, it was time to watch the recruiting film. Here are a few impressions…
Aaron Rodgers – a quick delivery, a strong arm. He looks like the real deal.
Matthew Malele – a mountain of a man who can run. He is going to be a star.
Thomas Decoud – a tall, athletic player (perfect to guard the big receivers in the Pac10)
Sam DeSa – Among the incoming WR's, Coach Tedford indicated that he is the furthest along in terms of possibly playing this fall.
Cary Dove – what an arm – this guy is going to be good
Noah Smith – fast, faster, fastest
Devin Stearns – he just glides down the field eating up chunks of yards with each step. Think Sean Dawkins with speed.
Garrett Tremblay – a tall LB who can really hit.
J.J. Arrington – this guy can run – he will make an instant impression.
Garrett Cross – a big target – he should be in the two deep right away
Ray Tago/Ryan Riddle – these guys will immediately upgrade the defensive end position. Coach Tedford said they are expected to make an immediate contribution.
That's it until summer camp opens on July 29th…………
Go Bears! Beat the Wildcats!
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