By Jonathan Okanes
Monday, June 15th, 2009 at 2:22 pm in off-season stuff.
Here’s a story I wrote for today’s paper about Cal corner Syd’Quan Thompson, who has been raking in the preseason honors by the various magazines that have been released.
More from Thompson that didn’t make it into the story:
–On the expectations or pressure that may be heightened now with the preseason recognition: “I hear people say I have to ignore the pressure, but I’m not really worried about the pressure. If the pressure is on me, then it’s time for me to make a play and there are more opportunities to make a play.”
–On how he can still get better: “I’m still learning. I think I can learn the offenses more, what they are trying to do in certain situations. I know a lot but I think I can focus in more and really grasp everything they are trying to do. I can also know more about what my teammates’ defensive assignments are, not just mine and the safeties, but knowing where the linebackers need to drop and the linemen if they are in coverage.”
“I think my technique can be more disciplined this year. People laugh when I say that, because they say I had a good season. But there is a lot of stuff on film that the fans don’t see that I can improve on, and I can give more effort.
“Another thing is being a leader. Last year, we had good leadership with our linebackers and Alex Mack. All of our leaders left. This is a time for a new breed of leaders to step in and take that role and lead this team.”
–On his comfort level assuming a leadership role: “When I’ve had to speak, I’ve felt comfortable doing it. I lead more by example. I’ve always had a lot of vocal guys around me. I need to be one of those vocal guys this year. I’m not all the way there, but each day I’m getting more comfortable with my new role.”
–On the potential of Cal’s defense this season: “I think we have something special, even though we lost the linebackers. I think we may be better than last year, even though we had a lot of big names last year.”