I’ve been linking our daily series of stories previewing the rest of the teams in the Pac-12.
I had the assignment of writing the preview of Cal, which ran today — here it is.
And that meant at Pac-12 Media Day tracking down Cal coach Jeff Tedford for an interview.
And that also meant an opportunity to ask Tedford about the events of last January, when UW lured two Cal assistant coaches away from Berkeley during the height of recruiting season — a move that got a lot of attention at the time and figures to serve as something of a subplot when the Huskies travel to Memorial Stadium for a game on Nov. 2.
Most controversial of the moves was that of defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi, who UW courted for a week or so before finally getting him to come to Seattle.
Tedford, though, for the most part didn’t pour much gas onto the fire.
“I don’t have any resentment against Sark (UW coach Steve Sarkisian) or anything like that,” he said. “Coaches move on all the time, so that’s not a big deal. The timing was a little bit awkward because you are a week-and-a-half away or so from Signing Day, so that was a little awkward.
“I just wish it would have been a decision made earlier and stuck with it one way or the other. The thing that was a little awkward was thinking somebody was going to stay and then they end up leaving. I just wish it would have happened early because I don’t have any animosity against anybody that wants to further their development or their career for any reason, be it financial or whatever. I’m good with that. But the timing was just a little awkward.”
Lupoi was regarded as having a big hand in luring some of Cal’s most-highly rated recruits to Berkeley, a few of whom headed elsewhere after he left, notably safety Shaq Thompson, who ended up signing with UW.
I asked Tedford for his thoughts on Thompson’s recruitment.
Said Tedford: “”Shaq was going to do what he wanted to do. It’s just that it probably didn’t go down the way that you would hope that coaching decisions on whether they move or not aren’t discussed with recruits until after they make a move, and that’s really the only thing that (bothered him) discussing something with a recruit that you are thinking about going somewhere before you actually go — that kind of caught me off-guard a little bit. But that’s okay. Shaq was gong to do what he wanted to do, anyway. He’s a great player, a good kid, good family, so I don’t have anything against that whatsoever.”
Asked if he had talked to Lupoi since Lupoi left, Tedford said: “No, not really. Everybody was busy at that time, everybody was running around crazy, recruiting and traveling all over and doing things, so it’s really a hard time to be able to huddle up and say goodbye because everybody is on the road and gone.”
Tedford said he doesn’t expect the inevitable media and fan attention on the coaching moves of last year to have any impact on the game between the two teams in November.
“Not at all,” he said. “This is about our team against their team. Like I said, Tosh played for me. I gave him the opportunity to be a GA (graduate assistant), I gave him his first coaching job — this is not about us, we don’t play the game. So this is going to be about two teams, and a game that will probably be a pivotal game in the season being in November like that. a pivotal game in the season, a week-night game (Friday night), which is going to be exciting. But it’s got nothing to do with that (the coaching moves). It’s about two teams between the lines.”