Cal senior safety Josh Hill returns off a unit that led the Pac-12 in pass defense and total defense a year ago:
Q. There are concerns that Cal’s defense, having lost so many players who were drafted into the NFL, won’t measure up this season. How do you respond to that and how good can your defense be?
A. We don’t have any concerns. We feel like even we lost a lot of key guys, we feel like we’re going to be better than last year. We have a young team, we have a very experienced team as well. I know the D-line is going to be a lot better. And the secondary. We’re going to surprise a lot of people.
Q. You have played cornerback and safety during your college career and now you are a starter at safety. What do you bring to the field that fans may not have recognized to this point?
A. A lot of leadership. I played the corner, I played the safety, but I wasn’t really considered the leader. Now I am. So now a lot of eyes will be on me. We’ll will have a different kind of swagger on defense. I’ll try to bring that. I like that role because now everything’s on me. If we succeed it’s on me. If we fail it’s also on me. It’s a big role and I’m ready for the challenge.
Q. On Sept. 1, your team will have the distinction of christening the renovated Memorial Stadium. Envision for me the pre-game atmosphere in the locker room and what kind of performance effort that emotion will translate to on the field. Does Nevada have a chance?
A. The atmosphere is going to be crazy. We’re going to have so much energy, we just can’t wait. The chemistry between us is going to be great. Just the new stadium, the whole atmoshere is going to be something I’ve never felt before. We’re going to be the first team in history to be in that stadium. We just plan on making a statement early. You don’t want to be anybody that day. We plan to keep that going the whole season.