Tedford Holds Pre-Spring Press Conference
March 7, 2007
BERKELEY - The University of California football team begins spring practice Monday, March 12. In 2006, the Golden Bears posted a 10-3 record and captured a share of the Pac-10 Conference Championship. The year culminated in a convincing 45-10 victory at the Holiday Bowl. Head coach Jeff Tedford, the first Golden Bear head coach in history to have three bowl victories to his credit, held a press conference on Wednesday to talk about the spring practice season, which begins on Monday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
On his goals for spring practice:
'Our goals are to incorporate some of the younger players into the rotation and stratify the depth at certain positions. Cornerback is one where there are a lot of guys who haven't had any game time yet. Syd (Thompson) is doing a good job at the one corner, but we have to find out at the other corner between Charles Amadi, Brandon Jones and Darian Hagan. Defensive line is another spot where you have two young defensive tackles, (Derrick) Hill and (Michael) Costanzo, who need some experience, some game time and some practice in the spring. The two young tailbacks, (James) Montgomery and Tracy (Slocum), finding out how they're stratified as far as the depth behind Justin (Forsett). The quarterback position is another one where who the second quarterback is going to be or who's going to compete for our starting job. Nate (Longshore) obviously has a grip right now on the starting position, but to find out between Kevin Riley and Kyle Reed, who's ready to take that next step. It's really a spring to find out what some of the young guys can do. Pretty much everywhere we have to look at that type of thing. I don't think we have a full group that is battle tested in every area. We don't have a full group that's returning. We have players here and there who are returning, but as far as full groups are concerned, it's going to be a big spring for that.'
On quarterback Nate Longshore:
'I thought Nate played very well last year. I thought he did a great job. I felt like his decision making was very good for the most part. He's gained a lot of experience. I thought he did a nice job of handling game-plan situations. I'm very impressed with what he did, how he learned and progressed through the season. Obviously there are things he wants to get better at, as everyone needs to get better at something. He's working on trying to shed a little bit of weight so he can improve his mobility and his escape dimension. He's working very hard at that. He was pushing over 240 last year around the bowl game. We're going to try to keep Nate down between the 225-230 range and keep him at that weight. Before he broke his leg, he was in that range and he was moving very well.'
On Riley and Reed competing for the starting quarterback job:
'We'll see how far the young guys come. If they're getting to that level of comprehension of the offense, what we're doing and game planning, then it could be. Nate has a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge in what's going on. They're both talented physically. It really comes down to their ability to run the offense, understand what we're doing, put us in position to be successful offensively and to run the show out there. There's a lot to it, managing the clock, managing field position and just the whole management of the game and the offense. They really haven't had the chance to do that yet and that's where they are right now.'
On the physical attributes of Riley and Reed:
'Kyle is a big, strong, fast guy with a nice arm, competitive and tough. He's got a lot of great physical attributes there. Kevin's fairly mobile, not as mobile as Kyle, but Kevin has a pretty good understanding of what's going on for a young guy. He throws great balls and has a great presence in the pocket. He's pretty calm back there where things are happening around him. He keeps his eyes down field. Kevin hasn't really had a chance yet. Kyle's been here for a couple years so he's had a chance to do things. It should be very interesting to see Kevin competing this spring. He only had maybe a week last fall in camp to really do anything in our offense. I'm really impressed with his grasp and the carryover he had through that year.'
On the plan for spring practices:
'We're just refining this spring. You always look to get better in certain places and be more efficient. You're always looking for new ideas, something that may fit a wrinkle here or there that may fit with what you're doing. The shotgun was the major difference in what we were doing last year. I thought we did an excellent job with that. Alex (Mack) did an excellent job. Last spring we weren't very efficient with that, but they worked very hard over the summer.
On possibly changing Mack's position:
'We may, we have to find the right combination. It's going to have to be the right combination to move him; he's an all-conference center. We're not going to move him out of there unless we can find the combination to make us the best offensive line we can be.'
On special teams:
'It's about finding new body types and new people to fit into the roles on special teams, which we will try to get done this spring with some of the younger guys. Last year we were in a different position. We didn't even have a punter really in spring football. It's nice to know that the punting game is good and Schneider's back. It's about finding depth and finding backups at some of those positions. It's really important to evaluate the people we have behind them to find out if they're the future or not.'
On running back Justin Forsett:
'Just keep doing what he's doing and he's going to have the chance to do it more often now. He's been a very dependable guy for us, hopefully we can keep him healthy and he can play a major role.'
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