Coach Jeff Tedford spent 30 minutes on a media teleconference Monday afternoon fielding questions on an array of topics.
There was no blockbuster news on any front, but Tedford sounded eager to begin spring practice on Tuesday, March 13.
Spring workouts will run through April 21, when the Bears will hold either a spring game or loose scrimmage. The event will be open to the public and likely will be held at Witter Field above Memorial Stadium.
Asked if he’s had the chance to unwind and recharge his batteries since the end of recruiting, he said his wife Donna convinced him to take a hike Sunday with the family dogs.
“She recruited me to hike up half of Mt Diablo. She tried to kill me,” he said, laughing. “It was nice. I do feel recharged. To be able to take a deep breath and decompress is always good.
“What a beautiful day. It was an awesome hike.”
Here’s what the Bears’ coach had to say on a variety of other topics as he begins his 11th season in Berkeley:
On the team’s quarterback picture: “Not much different than it looked before. We have one more guy — (freshman) Zach Kline who enrolled at semester. Brock Mansion is gone, Zach comes in. Zach Maynard and Allan Bridgford are the first two and we’ll divvy up reps between the other three as we get going.”
On what he wants to see from see from starter Zach Maynard this spring: “If you take a look at the second half of the year, Zach played really well. He was smart with the football, didn’t turn the football over. That’s what he needs to do, understand the speed of the game. Through his experience, he understands how to manage the game.”
On persistent rumors that Maynard is having academic issues and could be ineligible sooner or later: “There’s nothing there as of now that would say anything different. He’s just like anybody else on our team.”
On whether Kline, the former San Ramon Valley HS star, can compete for an active role as a true freshman in the fall because he’s enrolled in classes already: “Anytime you have the ability to sit in meetings and comprehend the offense and get out and throw the ball and run the offense, be in the huddle, so on and so forth, you’re a lot further ahead than if you try to do it in August. I have no idea (where he fits into the depth chart). He is a true freshman. There’s some other guys ahead of him. While he’s a gifted guy, we have to be careful not to put too much pressure on him. He’s a talent. He’s working really hard.”
On concerns the expectations for Kline are too great: “I absolutely have a concern about that. There’s such a thing as putting too much on a kid early. I want him to come in here and concentrate on what he’s doing, digest the offense and do his best without all the expectations, especially in this day and age with everybody who has such a say in it as far as social media goes. He’s a very good player, but he’s got to go through the paces. It’s a different game at this level. We’ll see how it goes.”
On the primary objectives of spring ball: “We need to replace some guys on defense with some of the guys on defense. This is where the youth needs to step up and take over. It’s their turn to kind of take the lion’s share of the reps and really develop. At the d-line position we need to solidify that . . . same thing on the offensive line.”
On who will replace graduated left tackle Mitchell Schwartz: “Well, we have Tyler Rigsbee, Bill Tyndall, Matt Summers-Gavin, Matt Williams and the freshmen. Christian Okafor, I’m so anxious to see what he can do; Freddie Tagaloa as well. Another guy I’m really interested to see is Brian Farley.”
On whether incoming freshman Freddie Tagaloa, the 6-foot-8, 312-pound OT from Salesian HS, might have a chance to compete for a starting job in the fall: “As far as his ability and athleticim and size, he has all that. We’re going to have to see as far as the learning curve. Freddie’s a very smart guy, a very gifted guy. If there’s anyone who has a chance to do it it would be him.”
On who will replace Giorgio Tavecchio at placekicker: “Vince D’Amato is the guy right now who has inheried that position. He’s worked really hard. He’s just like one of the other positions, it’s his turn to step up. We’re anxious to see what he does through the spring.”
On how he will utilize tailback Isi Sofele and wideout Keenan Allen during the spring: “We’re pretty sure we know what Isi can do. This is a big spring for Brendan Bigelow, Darren Ervin and Daniel Lasco. Same at wide receiver. We recruited five freshmen and they’re obviously not here yet. But we have Maurice Harris, Bryce McGovern, Jackson Bouza and Stephen Anderson. Keenan will get very limited reps.”
On whether he expects 2012 will be Allen’s final collegiate season: “We haven’t talked about that. Obviously, he’s played very well for us the first two years. He’s one of the top receivers in the country. I think he’s focused on what needs to happen now. We really haven’t gotten into that topic. I’m sure we’ll have that discussion through the summer so I know what’s on his mind and he’s able to handle it properly, whatever it may be. We have to see how it plays out. Right now he’s doing great and happy and working hard.”
On the strong performance of ex-Cal linebacker Mychal Kendricks at the NFL combine camp: “It was great. It was so nice to see the test results . . . his 40 time being the fastest, his vertical jump and his broad jump. He just did a wonderful job. To watch him do all of his linebacker drills and catch the football, he looked excellent. I’m very proud of Mychal. He’s worked very hard to be where he is.”
On whether renovated Memorial Stadium is on pace to be ready for the Bears’ season-opener Sept. 1 against Nevada: “Everything I know is it’s going to be game ready for the first game. I know they’re working hard. We’ve been fortunate to have really good weather. There haven’t been a lot of delays. All I know is we’re going to be ready to play football and there’s going to be fans in the stadium.”