Spring Football Practice Underway
March 28, 2005
BERKELEY - Below are selected quotes from head coach Jeff Tedford from his press conference heading into the opening day of Cal's spring practice.
Have you seen much of QB Joseph Ayoob?
I really haven't. I'm really excited today to see him on the field for the first time. He's been out there throwing for the guys and things like that. We're going to be patient in the spring, because we are going to feed him a lot of information. We'll work a lot on his fundamentals and mechanics and make sure that he is sound that way. I'm really excited to get out there today and get both him and Nate [Longshore] involved in the offense, see where they are at. He can do it all really, he's very athletic. He's got a strong arm and can throw all the balls on the field: the deep ball, he has touch, he can zip it in there. He's very elusive, has a great escape dimension, and he's also very tough; a great competitor. That's one of the first things that we look for, that competitiveness and toughness.
Are junior college players with two years of extra experience attractive to you in the recruiting process?
Yes, I think anytime, that little extra bit of experience, being on the field and taking extra reps, always gives those guys a little edge over true freshmen coming in. They've played at a level up, and for the amount of success that [Ayoob] showed at City College of San Francisco, that really says a lot about him. This is a whole new deal, however, all that is behind him. This is a whole new experience and challenge for him, and for everyone on offense to put it all together.
How big of a difference is there between the offense that Ayoob ran at CCSF and Cal's?
They did pretty much the same stuff. He was in the shotgun a lot at City, and we're not, but he also took a good amount of snaps from behind the center; he's not exclusively a shotgun quarterback. They ran some spread formations. Their offense is different than ours. We're going to ask him to do a lot of things from the line of scrimmage, so the mental part of the game is going to be the biggest challenge going into the spring.
When was the first time that you heard about Ayoob, and when was the first time that you saw him?
He took over probably midway through his freshman year. After he had a couple of very nice games, I heard about him after that season. We watched some tape of him and watched him through the spring. The end of his freshman year was the first time we heard about him.
Does Ayoob remind you of Aaron Rodgers in any way?
Joe is a little bit more elusive, always on the run, making some plays with his legs, where Aaron didn't do that as much. He's definitely as accurate as Aaron. I'm just really looking forward to the day when we can see him behind our center calling our plays, throwing the ball downfield. I think those two guys have something in common, and that's the competitiveness that they share. They're both very tough competitors and that is very essential to what we're doing here.
With a quarterback like this, you probably never thought you'd depend on a sophomore running back like Marshawn Lynch.
There's no question that we will depend on the whole corps of running backs. Marshawn, to start it off, and then Marcus O'Keith, Terrell Williams, those guys, they're all good players, as well. Marshawn gave us a little taste of what he brings to the table last year. He's a tremendous talent. We're excited about getting him in there on an every-play basis now.
Has Aaron Rodgers talked to Joseph Ayoob a lot about what to expect:
No, I don't think so. Aaron's got enough going on. He may talk to Joe. I don't know if they've talked much or not. Aaron's been around a little bit working out, but really hasn't been around here a lot. Aaron will show up to a couple practices, and Aaron's the type of guy who always wants to help someone. I'm sure if he sees Joe or Joe's having trouble with something, I'm sure Aaron will be there to give him a little moral support.
Can you compare the hype and the expectations of those two quarterbacks coming to Cal?
I don't think you can even compare those two as far as expectations. Aaron came out and no one really knew who he was. We were still at a point as a program where it was a wait and see type of thing. I think winning games last year set the bar even higher for the expectations of this program. For Joe to come in, he is highly decorated coming out of junior college. There is a little more expectation on him as far as the public's concerned. As far as us as a program, we understand there's a process involved w this thing to mature and fit into this offense. There's no expectation that he has to do anything today. It's a competition between him and other quarterbacks. We'll see who ends up being our guy. I would that there is a little more expectation from the peripheral on him than there was on Aaron.
Are you going to have to remind yourself that Aaron was different than everyone else in terms of learning your system in a sense that was there anybody close to learning things as fast as he did?
Yes, not just with Joe but with everyone. We talked this morning as a staff and reminded everyone as a staff that this is spring football and there's a process involved here. We're not the team that we were last year. We lost 26 guys, 26 lettermen last year. There are a lot of new faces out there. There are going to be mistakes made in spring football, but that's what it's all about and we all have to understand that as coaches. This is a learning process and the only way to learn is to let the guys make mistakes and to make sure that we communicate and we teach. When we go out on the field today it's not going to be the same team that left last year. They're not there. It's not to say they won't be one day, but it's not going to be today.
Now that you've turned the program around, is your approach any different going into spring football?
No, not really. Every year, there seems to be a new challenge. This is our fourth year. The first year we came and nobody really knew what to expect. The next year we lost all those guys and then it was, 'Okay, wait and see how these guys fit in.' We still had enough leadership there to carry us through. Then we went into last season with a lot of expectations. 'Now we're in the top 15 or 20 or whatever we are ranked.' It was how to deal with expectation. Now we lose a whole other group but it's different from losing those 24 that first year because there was still a really good foundation of leadership. Now we're very, very young. It's a whole new challenge right now. As we enter this spring, I'll have a different outlook only in that this is a different team than it's been in the past. Each year it just seems to be something, and that's how the different approach goes about. Are we teaching any differently? No. Are we doing anything different in that way? No. This is a different group than the first, second, or third year.
Regarding the status of receiver Chase Lyman:
I called about Chase an hour ago. There's no information yet, but hopefully there will be within the week. We thought we were going to hear last week. We called and they said they were still discussing it. We should hear this week.
Whether Chase Lyman returns or not, wide receiver is a position where youth will be served, correct?
Yes, there is no doubt about that. We lost him, [Geoff] McArthur, [Jonathan] Makonnen and [Burl] Toler. All those guys were experienced guys for us. They were productive. They led by example everyday in practice and provided that leadership. Now they're young. It's their turn to step up and they will. People always seem to step up. Let's not forgot to mention the new recruits that are coming in such as Jesse Canada, DeSean Jackson and Lavelle Hawkins. All those guys coming in are very talented.
On the enjoyment of coaching and watching kids develop when they get their shot:
You see them mature. This year we are very young, but I can see the maturity happen everyday. We practice at 6:30 in the morning and you can just see the maturity taking over. We had our conditioning sessions at 6:30 in the morning. Now we can get into spring football. By the end of the next 15 days or after our 15th practice, this team will be more mature than they it is today. That's the pleasure. That's gratifying as a coach.
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