Because of all the coverage of the NCAA Tournament and a declining news hole, there won’t be much in the paper this week about Cal football. Ah, thankfully we have the blogosphere. I’ve been trying to get a notebook in the paper about new running back Trajuan Briggs, but that’s on hold for awhile. In the meantime, here is what Briggs had to say in our conversation after the first day of spring practice last week.
On finally getting back on to the field (after missing all but one quarter of his senior season in high school because of a fractured ankle):
“It was exciting. There was a lot of adrenaline going today. That’s the first time I’ve had a helmet on since August. For it being such a long time, I felt like I was out there for my senior year. But also, that’s why I came here early.”
On why he enrolled early at Cal:
“I came here early for football, for the chance to play, but also be on top of my academics. Even if I choose to leave early, I’ll leave with a degree.”
On why he switched his commitment from USC to Cal:
“I felt it in my spirit. It started out as just a house visit with Coach Tedford and Coach Gould, just to catch up. They changed my mind. I honestly deep down wanted to do it, but it was so late that I just felt like I couldn’t do that.
“I remember telling Coach Gould that night, ‘ I’m sorry, good luck with the season.’ My mother told me that I’m always doing something to make other people happy. Why don’t you make a decision to make yourself happy? I started thinking about it. If I was going to do something to make me happy, I would come to Cal. I called Coach Gould around 6:30 the next morning. He was about to get on the plane. If he hadn’t answered that phone, I’d be at Southern Cal right now.”
On what happened on his visit to Cal
“I came up that morning. I told him I wanted to come and he got me a ticket. I took an official visit by myself. I felt like after being here two or three days, I could call this place home. I loved the palyers. It was so down to earth. I felt like I didn’t have to put on a front or be super-serious about anything. They know when it’s about business and when it’s not.”
On how Tedford and Gould “changed his mind.”
“Talking to Coach Tedford and Coach Gould, I honesty realized deep down that I had a way stronger relationshiyp with Cal than SC, even being a commit there. Me and Coach Gould would talk on the phone for hours. The running backs coach at SC, we never talked on the phone. If we did, it would be a flat conversation. I started wondering if I could really talk to this man for the next four years.
“The coaches here just speak to you, about life and anything. I really learned that relationship is a big deal in anything you do. That’s what really changed my mind. I noticed that my mother and my grandmother loved them, they really enjoyed their company. It felt good inside.”
On Cal’s logjam at running back:
“Being up here, I felt like every running back that we have contributes something different. Everybody has their own special set of skills that contributres greatly on the field. I felt like being around a bunch of great running backs is going to make me even better. I’m learning from them and also learning the same things they are learning.”
On how often he’s heard the comparisons to Marshawn Lynch:
“A lot. I was walking down the street one time. I have a sweatshirt that says ‘Beast.’ This guy was like, ‘Marshawn Lynch.?’ I was like, ‘No.’ Everybody says I’m just like Marshawn Lynch. Those are some big shoes to fill. He’s bigger than me. Honestly, I feel there is some comparison of the physical running. I feel like we probably have that physical brut running. There are some comparisons.”