By Jonathan Okanes
Wednesday, February 20th, 2008 at 3:28 pm in off-season stuff.
A couple of tidbits during this down time before spring practice heats up (less than a month away now — spring practice starts on March 17):
–Incoming freshman running back Covaughn DeBoskie is one of five finalists for the Watkins Memorial Trophy, given annually to an “exceptionally talented African-American male athlete who, by their example, help promote high academic standards and a commitment to community service.” The winner will be announced Saturday at a special ceremony in Los Angeles. The other finalists are Matthew Daniels of Atlanta, Brandon Moore of Trotwood, Ohio, Kenneth Page of Columbia, S.C. and DeVier Posey of Cinncinati.
DeBoskie, from Chandler, Arizona, already graduated from Hamilton High School and is enrolled in spring classes at Cal. He will be able to participate in spring practice.
–I’m sure many of you read the story I wrote for last Sunday’s paper, focusing on the personal effect last season had on Jeff Tedford. Some points were touched on that didn’t make it into the story. Such as:
Tedford said he felt the most pain for the players. But he also said he felt bad for the fans as well. “To know our fans got right there — No. 2 and 12 yards away from maybe being No. 1 or whatever — and then for us to hit some really hard times, I’m sure was frustrating to everybody,” he said.
Tedford said there were a couple of reasons he didn’t seek out advice during the slide in the second half of the season. He didn’t think anyone could really give him better persepctive because nobody else knew the program like he did, and even if he got some credible suggestions, he didn’t feel like he could implement anything in the middle of the season. “Maybe I’m hardheaded, but other people don’t know what our problems are,” Tedford said. “They don’t know what we’re dealing with. People think they know what the issues are sometimes, and only we really know what the issues are.
“And even if I did call som eone, it’s hard to implement something in midseason. You don’t just switch gears all of the sudden in midseason. That’s something I was kind of wrestling with midway through the second half of the season. Do we press the panic button and start to change the way we practice all of the sudden? We’ve done things the way we’ve done them forever and we’ve been fairly successful with it. Why all of the sudden shold we change everything that we’re doing?”
Tedford said he may call a play “here or there,” but new offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti will be the playcaller. Tedford said it will be similar to the 2005 season, when offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar called the plays but Tedford chimed in as well.
–It appears Jahvid Best, James Montgomery and Shane Vereen are a step ahead of Tracey Slocum in the battle to get reps at running back. Tedford said Slocum will still compete, but has to get in better shape. Slocum should get an opportunity to increase his stock during practice because Best is out and Montgomery will be limited coming off knee surgery.