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Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Pac-10 Q&A: California coach Jeff Tedford, part II

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Part II of a Q&A with California coach Jeff Tedford.

Read Part I here.

The offense as a whole has a lot of guys back: Where do you expect to see the most improvement this spring?

Jeff Tedford: We have some guys back but are still young in certain areas. We really have only two receivers who've had any significant game time: Marvin Jones and Jeremy Ross. Besides that, we're very, very young there. Our depth at tight end is very young after Anthony Miller. Our fullback is completely new and our tailbacks, after Shane [Vereen], all those guys are new. [Sophomore Covaughn DeBoskie] played a little bit but after him you have [sophomore Isi Sofele] and you have Dasarte Yarnway, who was hurt all last year and Trajuan Briggs who came in as a mid-year transfer as a freshman. So we're young. That's an issue for us. On the offensive line, some guys need to step up and get in the rotation as well. So I don't think of us as real experienced. I know we have a couple people back but we are not deep with experience.

Besides the obvious starters, who do you expect to step up on offense with a much bigger role than in 2009?

JT: Spencer Ladner at tight end is a guy who should do that. Brian Schwenke played as a true freshman last year on the offensive line. He's competing for a starting spot. Dominic Galas also on the offensive line. Our fullbacks are all new -- Will Kapp, Eric Stevens and John Tyndall. The receiving corps, we're going to have to rely on some guys who are coming in. Some of the recruits coming in who are going to have to be in the rotation. It would be nice to see Michael Calvin step up at receiver and be healthy. He's a guy who's been injured every year. Alex Lagemann continues to grow and develop [at receiver]. But we're going to have to count on some young guys at that position.

Were you surprised when defensive coordinator Bob Gregory left to become an assistant at Boise State?

JT: I was, yeah, I was surprised. I think it was a personal decision, about the time in his life with his kids and his family. It was a move to have some more time with his family. I was not expecting that. But everything happens for a reason. I think it's probably working out great for Bob, I'm sure he's happy where he is. And I think we really landed on our feet with Clancy [Pendergast]. He's been a great addition to our staff. I think everybody is happy about it.

What will be different with Pendergast running the defense?

JT: We're probably going to pressure the passer a little bit more. That was one thing we didn't do a great job last year was pressure the passer, which kind of lends to 111th-ranked in pass defense. You've got to disrupt the timing of the passing game. So to get more pressure on the passer will be key. That's going to be the obvious thing.

Give me some new names you expect to break through on defense this spring.

JT: Guys like linebacker Chris Little, noseguard Kendrick Payne, linebacker J.P. Hurrell, [defensive backs] Alex Logan and Steve Williams and Vachel Samuels and Chris Moncrease -- all those guys are back-end players I think are going to do a nice job. Deandre Coleman on the defensive line, Keni Kaufusi on the defensive line. Those guys are redshirts from last year who are really good players. We're really anxious to see those guys play.

Defensive end Cameron Jordan has a lot of potential: What does he need to do to fulfill that potential?

JT: To be able to cut him loose and get him one-on-one at times. I think he gets double-teamed quite a bit in a three-man rush with eight dropping and three rushing. I think if you can get Cam one-on-one, he will be much more effective. But I think his maturity -- his physical and mental maturity -- has been something that has been a work in progress. I think he is poised for a very good season.

It's likely you won't get as much preseason attention this fall: Do you think your team may benefit from operating under the radar? Do you think they might be motivated by some not seeing themselves at the top of the conference?

JT: Yeah, I do. I think that would be just fine -- for us to earn where we need to be and not just go off of on-paper stuff. That's going to be the mindset here. We're going to do everything we can everyday to reach our full potential, whatever that potential may be. We've got a lot of work to do. I think it will be motivating for us to strive to be at the top of the conference and not have all the press clippings. There's so many things out there and so many people patting you on your back and expectations that I think us just flying under the radar and saying, 'OK prove it.' That type of thing will be good. And we'll see where we go from there.