Avinash Kunnath: So I'm being joined here by Grant Marek, Cal Rivals, out here in Los Angeles at Pac-12 Media Day. How've you been doing Grant?
Grant Marek: Pretty good. It's a little rainy. I don't know if I like that.
AK: Yeah, this isn't the Los Angeles I know.
GM: This is not what I was expecting.
AK: This is exactly the type of Los Angeles that I wanted to avoid. I came down, and oh, it's San Francisco, except five degrees warmer.
GM: This is a pretty nice venue though compared to the hotel banquet rooms we were in for years.
AK: Anything's better than that.
GM: Yeah, right.
AK: So how's media day been? Who have you talked to today?
GM: It's been good. Had a chance to talk to all the guys. Got a chance to get a question in for the team deal at the beginning [at the press conference], which was good. I think they're handling it pretty well. I think all the responses have been pretty expected. I think Sonny is playing it a little bit more low-profile than maybe I expected, because I think he really feels his team is going to do good things but he's kind of slow-playing it a little bit, which I think might be a good move.
AK: Did Sonny give you any updates about what the season is going to look like?
GM: We still haven't had our one-on-one with Sonny. He's supposed to be coming in a little bit. Some interesting updates I think that are worth talking about: Garrett Hughes and Tak[karist] McKinley are both not going to be part of the program in 2013. Not eligible.
AK: They're still trying to work their way towards [returning to the program].
GM: They're still trying to work their way towards it but they're going to have to go a JC route or go to another program.
AK: So they're out of the picture this year.
GM: They're out of the picture completely. Marcus Manley is with the team. He's already taking classes on campus, already doing summer conditioning, so that's good.
I think the other one that was an interesting one was Kyle Boehm is now a wide receiver ...
AK: Kyle Boehm is a wide receiver now! They've done the conversion!
GM: Yes, he's a wide receiver now. Which is funny because he played some wide receiver during the spring. We talked to Sonny about it. I've talked to Mark Tommerdahl about it, and Mark's like, "Oh don't read anything into that. That's just because we don't have enough guys." But now he's listed as a wide receiver.
AK: So they've decided they're going to put him out there [instead of being a] fourth-stringer [quarterback] or something?
GM: We should've read something into that I guess. That'll be interesting to see how that develops or talk to Sonny about what exactly that means.
And then Chris McCain. It sounds like he's getting back to being academically right again. I talked to Nick [Forbes] and he was kind of telling me that he's made a lot of strides and it's great to see. He wouldn't comment specifically on if he's fully back or part of the team. It sounds like he kinda took a kick in the butt and is really going for it now academically which is great to see.
AK: Excellent. Any updates for the summer, any Cal roster updates? Anyone moved up the depth chart, anyone moved down?
GM: There's been a lot of talk that [Zach] Kline is not the guy, and that I've seen some of people saying that [Jared] Goff is going to win it ... and they've only been doing summer conditioning and the coaches can't watch anything so I think it would be impossible for anyone to move up or down.
AK: They get reports from the strength coach.
GM: Right, exactly. The strength coach is the only guy you can talk to.
AK: The genuine thing is that Goff is looking like the person who's performing the best during summer conditioning.
GM: Right, exactly. I really don't know how that makes any sense.
AK: So this freshman from Marin Catholic has already worked his way up!
GM: I don't think we'll see anything happen really until fall.
Just hearing about some of the 2013 guys that have come in, it doesn't really sound like anyone is really super impressed. I think Khalfani [Muhammad] is still a guy that's going to be in the lineup, but just from a lot of the other guys. You know, Nick [Forbes] was talking about the linebacking corps who we thought they could maybe make an impact. It sounds like they're still pretty raw. So I don't know that I expect a lot of them to do much.
I think [Marcus] Manley is a guy who now that we know that he's going to be part of the team, I think he could be someone who makes an impact. But it sounds like as far as the freshman go, there's maybe not as many potential impact players in there as maybe you would hope.
AK: Nothing from the JuCos either?
GM: No, I mean the JuCos were here for spring, so we know that's kind of a little more of a known commodity. I know [Kyle] Kragen is going to be a huge part of the defense. I think Sione [Sina], now that he's coming back from his knee, it sounds like Nick [Forbes] was saying he expects him to be a pretty big-time impact player, and I think I would too.
So if all three of those JC guys really come through, I think that will do a lot in terms of shoring up the defensive line depth problems.
AK: Any other info you've gleaned from any of the other teams that you've seen at Pac-12 Media Day? Have you talked to any of the other coaches?
GM: No, no interest. Lane Kiffin's kind of a jerk. I think I already knew that in the back of my mind.
AK: It's good to reinforce stereotypes I guess.
GM: I've heard a lot of canned answers today. That's the way that I'll put it.