Jeff Tedford Looks Ahead to Spring Practice
April 1, 2002
BERKELEY - Below are selected quotes from head coach Jeff Tedford from his press conference heading into his first spring practice with the Golden Bears. Cal's spring session runs April 1-27 in Memorial Stadium, concluding with the spring game on Saturday, April 27 at 1 p.m.
This is going to give us, as a coaching staff, an opportunity to see where we really are. There is always so much lifting and running you can do, but now its going to be time to see what we do when we get out on the football field.
About the transition to a new system
My expectation was that there were going to be a couple of guys that weren't going to conform to the things that we were going to ask them to do. And that's not the case, which I am very pleased about. I'm very pleased about the attitude of the players, their dedication and their attention to detail as far as being focused on being in places on time and doing their best. They have really done a nice job of that through the winter workouts. It's an ongoing process, and they understand, though, that the disciplines are going to be followed through with. There have been some cases where you get tested a little bit, but they understand now that we're going to follow through with the discipline part of it and that they need to toe the lines, and they have.
About the requirements as a Cal football player
The main thing is to be on time, be prepared and to do your best. Those are simple issues that they should be able to abide by. But things like being to every workout on time, being at every class, being to training table every night on time - all they've been expected to do so far are those things. And when they've been late to things, they've had 6:30's, they've had commitment times, and we've followed through with that discipline. With the academic part of it, if they've missed class, if they've missed anything with academics, they get strikes, where they end up losing game tickets in the long run. And so the list has not been very long, which I am pleased about. So they're all buying into what's going on, they're all excited about what's going on. I think mainly, the schedule that we provided for them has created an environment where they can get better and flourish. Without the mandatory 6:30 workouts, our afternoon workouts have been much more conducive to training, where they feel like they're getting better everyday, instead of just getting by. And so they work out in the afternoon, they go right from their workouts to their academics here. The coaches check their academics and they go right from there to training table. It's a schedule that they've really enjoyed and they feel good about. Everyday they're excited, they feel like they're getting bigger, they're getting stronger, they feel great about themselves right now. They've done a nice job of training in the winter conditioning leading up to spring practice.
On injuries heading into spring practice
The only one really would be Lorenzo (Alexander). Lorenzo has a slight hamstring pull, and he's a day-to-day guy right now. I would not expect him to be 100 percent the first day of practice. He's stayed around for spring break, and they're treating him, and he said he was feeling much better the other day. As far as what that means, as to being able to get out on the field and run, I don't know about that. I would look for him to break in slowly.
About the practice schedule
There will be three different tempos of practice: reaction, thud and live. Reaction is where we will be flying around, but we won't be hitting anybody. It's more fundamentals. Thud tempo will be more full speed, but don't take your back to the ground. There, we will allow cut blocking, so our people get used to cutting, and our defense gets used to playing against it. And of course live tempo is like a scrimmage. The schedule will be Monday, Wednesday and Friday for practice. The first Saturday will not be a scrimmage, and the next two will. Then, we conclude with the spring game on the 27th.
On his goals for spring practice
A couple of the objectives of spring ball are to work as a team and to gain some confidence - to make sure that everyone knows that we're in this together and that we're able to practice together with those tempos that I just talked about, so that we can get something out of practice. That's one of the goals of practice. The next thing would be to understand the terminology and the nomenclature of the offense and defense and special teams. Every day is going to be a learning process, and we're well aware of that. Our philosophy is going to be that we're going to put everything in at once, everything in the spring. So, the whole offense will go in during the spring. There will be a lot of mistakes made, there's no doubt about that. But when we come back in the fall and we go back over these things, at least they will have heard the terminology of the offense. So, a main goal is for them to understand the terminology, to understand the schemes of the offense, defense and special teams. The next thing would be to understand how fast we need to play, and the effort that they need to give to make us successful. So we will be very driven through spring ball in the days that we have pads on. It's going to be very up-tempo, and they're going to be expected to fly around and practice very hard.
About the schemes
On offense, we have multiple (sets). We have many formations, we have multiple personnel, substitutions. Football is situational, so you need many different personnel groupings to deal with those situations. That's how spring practice will go as well. In spring ball, another goal would be to find our best players, to find out what our depth chart is, because we don't know what our depth chart is. You can look at the tape of last year, but unless you understand what they are being asked to do, you can't really evaluate it. Because so much of football is mental, (the question is) how do they respond to coaching? Now you'll find out what we tell them in the classroom and how they can put that into effect on the field mentally and physically. So our offense will be very multiple, many formations, many substitution groupings. Defense, the number one goal there is to stop the run. A lot of people will be put up at the line of scrimmage to stop the run. In order to do that, you have to have some guys on the corner that can play. So we're going to have to evaluate what's going on in the secondary for sure. We're going to have to understand that we're going to put pressure on the quarterback, but we're going to have a lot of guys up there in the box to stop the run. Then, on special teams, we're going to make sure that the team understands that's a critical phase of the game. We have to put our best players on it, and we have to evaluate our best players to put on special teams. They have to understand that we're going to play smart. They're not going to have a lot of penalties, they're going to play smart, they're going to play fast, they're going to play hard. Those things go into all phases of the game, but especially on special teams, where you're asking a lot of different players to come together, offensive guys and defensive guys together. That's what you're going to see.
About the difference between the new system and the old
Through the teaching of the offense, they're certain things that have to change, and there are certain things that don't have to change. If a tackle and a tight end are working together on a block, some in the trade call it a trade block, or a triple block, but as long as they know how to do it, that's not something new that they had to learn. But as far as the nomenclature of the whole offense, the formations, there is some carryover, but some of it can't be. They're used to the west-coast style of play-calling here, which this offense is not. So certain types of terminology with formations, protections, run schemes, hole numbering, protection numbering, those things will change. There's certain carry-over that you can use. So, our coaches have been instructed that anything that can be carried over, for simple communications issues, should be carried over. So hopefully that will cut down some of the learning. What I've always told the players is that if I can't tell you why we're doing that, then we shouldn't be doing that. So I don't want them to memorize the offense, I want them to understand the offense. I want them to understand the concept of what we're trying to get done. Especially when the quarterback calls the plays, he should know what the backs-flare control is. Not because he memorized it, but because he understands what it does in the scheme of things. The concept of what we're going to do on the offense, defense and special teams is critical for the players to understand. Hopefully the system will allow them to do that. Once they understand the system, hopefully we can call any play and try to take off from there.