Cal football head coach Jeff Tedford doesn't give many interviews, so you have to appreciate the chances you get with them. He went on the Razor & Mr T. show, and thankfully didn't have to deal with the clueless Ralph Barbieri. Tom Tolbert was happy to oblige with a productive and solid interview.
You can listen to the MP3 by clicking here. Here is the full text of the main interview questions after the jump, and my reading between the lines of these comments.
If he'd be reluctant to give incoming RB Brendan Bigelow who looks incredibly fast and explosive on tape frequent carries because he's just a freshman:
"Absolutely not. We've been very fortunate to have great tailbacks during our time here and have two of them to compliment each other. And this year Ise Sofele is going to be the starter; he's pretty much unproven but he has a lot of talent and ability so we have confidence in him. But we're going to need some of the young guys that are coming in step up and contribute to the team, and it's no different than the first day Marshawn Lynch walked on campus and contributed right away. Jahvid Best contributed right away. So we're hoping this running back class can do that. And you're absolutely right, Bigalow is another Jahvid Best. He's got that type of speed, he's lightning. He's coming off an injury so we're hoping he's healthy when he gets here."
Reading between the lines:
Winning the turnover battle (12:15 mark)--Tedford, like many coaches, emphasizes ball control and ball handling, and has a daily drill in practice that's used to emphasize ball control. The Bears have generally been very good at holding onto the ball.
The loss of Mike Mohamed (14:50 mark)--Tedford will miss him, but does believe D.J. Holt and Mychal Kendricks can step up in their roles. Kendricks could be one of the best linebackers in the nation and is likely to be a highly sought after NFL Draft pick, and how well he can make the defense function can go a long way toward dictating the success of Cal's defense in 2011.
Playing Presbyterian (15:50)--Cal tried to schedule a team like Wyoming & San Jose State for their final matchup, but it fell through. Obviously there's no good spin on playing a team like this, so check out this post on why Cal ended up with Presbyterian over at CGB.
How USC sanctions have affected California recruiting (16:45)--Recruiting has definitely hurt the Trojans, and scholarship limitations are likely to hurt them in the near future, but they will still gather many of the biggest talents. And of course Cal has always struggled with playing USC, having not beaten them since 2003.
Recruiting tools for young kids (18:00)--Education, playing time early, and a chance to go in the NFL are the three early factors in deciding whether a recruit end up in Cal. The success of Cal players in the pros has definitely helped the Bears.
So Tedford's interview is pretty much like most of his interviews--inconclusive. But this one at least provides more details than most of them, and a lot of good information about the state of the Cal program. Just don't expect the Bears to be a gangbusting team on the rebound next season. They'll have to prove it on the field.
(HT to Behind The Steel Curtain for finding this.)