Cal offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin Talks QBs, Tre Watson's confidence, Malik McMorris's Stuff

BERKELEY -- How did Beau Baldwin get down to two quarterbacks? Is the offensive line really as thin as it looks? He talks about that and more.

BERKELEY -- California offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin goes in-depth on his offensive line, running back Tre Watson's confidence, the development of Drew Kobayashi and Logan Gamble, the explosiveness of Zion Echols and what kind of "stuff" Malik McMorris brings to the table.


"Right now, we're in a spot where we're in practice 10, and it's definitely new terminology. There's just a lot of newness to what we're doing, but I think over the course of the spring time, we've shown a lot of want-to, to continue to grow in what we're doing. Our guys, like anything, all make mistakes. We all make mistakes. We all have to learn. None of us are finished products. But, our guys, you're seeing out here right now, they're out here, continuing to work on things. They'll take things from practice that weren't perfect, and they'll work on them. I'm excited about the fact, mores o because of the mindset of our guys, and the work ethic towards, as we keep going, as we keep grinding through. I consider spring ball, it's still only a third of your practices before Game One. On top of that, they'll do some of their own stuff, their own player work between now and fall camp. As long as they continue to want to, which they're doing a great job of, want-to to grow, in every way, then I'm excited about where we're going to go."

On the Cal offensive line's depth, or lack thereof (see our premium depth chart here): "It's thin, in terms of bodies, but honestly, I don't notice that, through the course of practice. We don't try and do anything because of that. Those guys, sometimes you've got a guy who will rep a series, and he's got to come back in and jump in at a different position the next series, depending on who all's healthy that day. They're grinding. They're grinding, and I think we're doing a lot of good things, in terms of working together as an offensive line. In other words, a lot of times, I don't feel like I've been this far with different groups, in terms of some of the things we're doing from a running game standpoint. That takes five guys, and you start adding tight ends and our fullback-ish position, so not only five guys, but six, seven guys, working together. I think they're doing a great job of, a lot of times, doing things in unison, for a group that, whether you want to call them thin or not, they're moving the line of scrimmage at different times, in different drills. Again, nothing's perfect. We're going to keep working on it, but I'm excited about the progress that I'm seeing."

On what he wants out of the offense, in terms of pace/tempo: "We'll see. I don't want to show all my cards, right here, right now. We'll get a feel for that as we keep going. We'll get a feel for what fits us. It might be different, come next fall, than I'm thinking, even right now. We'll get a good feel for that, and that's what these practices are for."

Has anyone other than Ross Bowers or Chase Forrest taken 11-on-11 reps: "Yeah. Max [Gilliam] has taken some reps, and Vic (Victor Viramontes) took a few reps early in camp, but it's hard. It's hard to get reps for more than two guys, at that QB position, especially when they're battling and grinding it out. You start thinning that out, and you're not getting the proper reps that you sometimes need when you're eval'ing, especially when you have a competition going. There's no doubt that it was coming in as a full-on competition, but then, early on, we felt like Ross and Chase were at a level, at a one and two type level, where they needed to compete, or really, you want to say 1 and 1A, or 1A, 1B level, and they needed reps, and we needed to get that data on film. But, again, Max, Vic, Collin, they're still getting a ton of the individual reps. They're still doing stuff. They're still involved. They're doing great. They're still being evaluated with every individual drill, with every route on air they throw, with every one-on-one, no matter what it is. Everybody's being evaluated."

What have you seen when you look at the tape from the 80-play scrimmage on Saturday: "Again, like you would expect, you see some sporadic moments of positive things. You see us, at different times, finishing on some things, and finishing in the red zone, and you see at other times where we're just making some plays that I would call unforced errors. We have to get past the unforced errors. I've never gone through a season in which you don't turn a ball over. That just never happens. I've never gone through a season in which you don't miss a block, or even drop a pass, whatever it might be. So, those things happen. But, if you start increasing on some of the things that aren't even forced errors, you're in a bad spot, in terms of, 'OK, we came back after the scrimmage, and these plays were negatives, but why were they negatives?' If a bunch of 'em are negatives, kind of like I talked about last time I was here, if a bunch of 'em are negatives because we're blowing routes, or we're not getting in the right spot in protection, or we're not going through our read progression, that needs to be corrected, but if you start having too many of those, as you continue to go, you're going to have a tough time. No matter how talented you are, you're going to have a tough time winning ballgames. Those are the sporadic moments. We weren't bad. We cleaned up a lot, from Friday to Saturday, we took a huge jump in that way. We talked about those plays."

In just 24 hours? "Oh yeah. Took a huge jump. You'd be surprised. 18-, 19-, 20-, 21-year olds, man, it can change a lot in 24 hours. That's just the way it is."

What about what you saw today: "It was somewhat sporadic. I thought we had moments, and then, the two-minute drill at the end was challenging for us. It was a challenge for us. It was a challenge for me. It was my first two-minute drill in a while, truly calling it and getting back in the swing of things, so we all look at that, we've got to learn from that. I have two or three calls that I would want back in that, but our guys have got to look at it, and [say], 'OK, we got in this two-minute drill; it didn't go exactly like the way we wanted, in certain spots, but are we going to learn from it?' because, man, there's a ton of great stuff. I love it. We'll run two-minute drills as many times as we can, between now and the start of the season, because you can learn a lot from those drills, in terms of time management, what to do with the football, get out of bounds, all of that good stuff."

What was the commotion at the end of practice: "A couple GAs went at it, man. McFadden and Ramsen [Golpashin], they went at it, and it was good stuff. The defense got after 'em. I guess McFadden's the better athlete of the two. I know Ramsen doesn't want to hear me say that, but [McFadden] came up with it, man."

What happened: "They caught a punt off the Juggs machine. We used to do that with coaches, too. I don't think I want to do it anymore, but they caught a punt off a Juggs machine, and one guy caught it, and one guy didn't, so offense was running gassers." running back Tre Watson: "I think Tre's one of those guys, he's just so versatile. I've had really good backs in the past at different times, but I still felt maybe they were lacking in a certain area -- really good back, but maybe their hands were average, or a really good back, but they struggled in pass pro, or they did a lot of other things, or they ran a stretch play and they got outside, but didn't necessarily run between the tackles -- whatever it might be. Tre truly has so much versatility, in terms of being that every-down back. You can call a lot of different routes with him, you can even split him out at receiver, and he looks very natural, doing that. Then, you can run stuff inside the tackles -- he can handle that well. He can get to the edges well. From a pass pro standpoint, he's competitive. He's got a little bulk to him. I know you guys know that. Sometimes, you might see him, but if you've seen him truly up close and personal, he's got some bulk and some base to him, so that base that he has allows him, in pass pro, too, to handle some things. He's one of those guys, one of those backs, who, I don't have to look at a play chart and go, 'I want to get someone else in for this.' He's going to fit whatever we're trying to call."

He's confident in his own pass-catching abilities: "Absolutely. Tre is a very confident young man, I'll say that. That's a good thing. It's a fine line you cross between, but man, I want him on that edge, that competitive confidence. Absolutely, he believes if you throw the ball to him, he's going to bring it down."

Is he in your ear about wanting touches: "He's not too bad. He's funny. He does, he makes me laugh -- they all do. That's a good group. He occasionally wants some touches, and who doesn't? Right? But, no, he doesn't handle it that way, in all seriousness. It's not selfish, in that way. Yeah, he wants touches, because he's a competitor, and he wants the ball in that moment, but at the same time, I've never heard one thing out of any of them. That's tough, too. There's seven guys. Most of the time, we're single-back, occasionally we get into some two-back stuff with both of them on the field, but most of the time, single-back, and they all are very, very, very locked in. You see them excited, when someone else is making a big play within our group, or just the offense, in general, someone else making a big play. They're really pumped and excited about that."

On Echols and Derrick Clark: "They're both doing a good job. They're a little different, in what they both bring to the table. Echols has probably got more reps to this point, in terms of just fitting in to some of the things we're doing, but DC has gotten some, as well. They'll continue to grow. You're on campus for a short time, at this point. You're still young, within a college football player, so they'll continue to get reps, and I've been very pleased with some things. Echols, really, last scrimmage, and he has a few other times, really shown some ability to burst, get the edge, and he can do some things, in terms of changing speed and change-of-pace with what you want to do, and kind of shock a defense sometimes, with his speed and quickness." Gamble and Kobayashi: "Both of them are working. Both of them, and this is what I'll tell you, both with Drew and with Gamble, they're both grinding out here, and they're probably getting more reps than you'd expect, and sometimes, more reps -- I hate to say it -- than they should, from a standpoint of, not even where they sit [on the depth chart], but you want to rotate some legs, and we just don't have the bodies to rotate the legs. What I mean by 'should,' is that we only have so many bodies. We're tight at receiver. It's one of those positions where we've just had enough guys injured that they're grinding with that. They just both need to continue to grow within what we're doing, offensively, so they're not thinking, and so they're just reacting, and on top of that, just gaining some strength. They need to gain some strength. They need to continue to build their bodies, so when they're in those moments where they do have to grind, they do have to go eight plays in a row, they do have to beat a Pac-12 defender, that they have that kind of strength and that endurance, and do it repeatedly. That's their biggest steps, in my opinion."

How long did it take to get comfortable with the roster: "It didn't take me long, at all, but that's a compliment to them. These are quality young men, and I credit the last staff. The type of personality, the type of character that they brought into this place, you sit there and talk with them, meet with them, have conversations with them, you can just get a feel, right away. These are quality young men. I keep using the term sponges, because they just want to absorb what you're telling them. They want to absorb: 'What are we looking to do here, Coach? How are we looking to attack?' -- whatever it might be, on offense, defense, [special] teams, it doesn't matter. Because of that, it didn't take long, at all."

Is there familiarity there between these personality types and the types of players that you recruited at Eastern Washington: "No question, no question. We were big on character, in terms of, that was what we felt like was a big reason for our success, long-term success. I think you can have short-term success with talent and skill, but you won't have long-term success, for a number of years, unless you have the right, true character, and the right, true culture in the locker room. So, yeah, there was definitely a lot of similarities to just the type of great young men that were there, that I'm already seeing here."

Double-training guys on the offensive line, but Jake Curhan seems like he's been the one guy who's stayed put (at right tackle): "He's doing a great job. He's battling. Again, there are certain guys that, these are some of the most reps they've taken in a row, so I keep using the words 'battling' and 'grinding,' because no matter how many plays we end up running out here, no matter how thin we supposedly are at certain positions, they're grinding it out, and he's one of them that's doing that. I just appreciate that work ethic, and that mindset and that attitude."

Have you left him at that spot? "Coach Wood (Steve Greatwood), sometimes, when I get in play calling mode, or this or that, I couldn't tell you where he is, but coach Wood has been doing this a heck of a [lot] longer than me, and understands what he's doing. I trust -- not even trust; I know -- that he's going to have the right five guys out there at the right spots, and I'm not going to think about that. He knows exactly what he's doing."

How would he describe his offense: "It's a work in progress. I never give it a name like that. I've never called it a name. You can call us 'multiple,' and that's probably what I've said over the years, but you could look at some of the things that we were doing in 2012, and they were different than in 2013, and they were different than what we were doing in 2016. I just try and do the best we can and stay multiple enough to keep defenses off-balance the best you can, and then, also, I believe you want to be able to fit to where your strengths are. No matter how hard you recruit, no matter how well, a lot of times, things change. You can miss in recruiting, you can have injury, and all of the sudden, what is your strength, your best 11 on the field, might be a different type of personnel than it was a year before, no matter what. So, the ability to be multiple, and to do that, allows you to get the best 11 on the field, and get them into the right positions to have the most success."

Will that extend to the quarterbacks lining up under center: "I don't know. We'll have to see. We'll have to see. Who knows? We'll find out -- where are we at? North Carolina? -- we'll find out there, if we're under center."

On giving Malik McMorris more plays to learn, beyond just plays where he's used explicitly: "I just want Malik to be very versatile in what he's doing. I don't just consider him a fullback and I'm going to give him two plays. To me, he's got some stuff. He's got some legitimate stuff to his game, and brings some things to the table, so I want to create ways which we can use him in. When I say, 'Learn everything,' you can learn all of the stuff that we're doing in that tight end, movement tight end, fullback position, not just these two plays in this role. He brings a lot to the table. He's still got to earn it. We've still got to see him, you know, but if you're talking to me right now, does he have some stuff that we can use to be effective offensively? Yeah. You'd have to be blind not to see that." Top Stories