Last year California finished 4-6 overall and 2-3 in the Del Rio. That’s not a typical season for Cal who is traditionally in the playoffs and in the hunt for the Del Rio League title year in and year out.
Then long time coach Jim Arnold stepped down and the Condors suddenly had to not only find a way back to the post season but also do it with a brand new coach. Cal interviewed several candidates but when the dust had cleared it was former Sonora OC Kyle Trudell that landed the job.
“I probably wasn’t well received initially – not by the school but by the fans and bloggers,” Trudell said. “I mean I’m an Orange County guy from a school that probably nobody had heard of. A lot of people were thinking ‘who is this guy/’. I even got a text message saying ‘congratulations on being the fifth choice.’ But that doesn’t bother me at all. I like the challenge.”
Trudell has been at Sonora for the last eight years as an assistant and this is his first head coaching position.
“I’m not a guy that moves around a lot. I’ve been at Sonora for the last eight years. But another coach told me to apply so I decided to,” Trudell said. “I really didn’t expect them to hire a 30 year old guy that was a lifetime assistant. But I’m glad they did. I like the program and I like our team.”
Trudell is joining a league that features the Southeast Division Champion in La Serna and two other schools- Santa Fe and El Rancho that Cal failed to beat last year. That will have to change in 2014 if the Condors are to return to the post season.
“I know how good La Serna is. They do things the right way and they have a great program. That’s where we aspire to be,” said Trudell.” And Santa Fe and El Rancho are solid too. Whittier has a good team as well. I don’t much about Pioneer but I know they can compete too. This is a really tough league. But I like our program. We have good numbers, and we’re working hard every day five days a week. And we’ve built a solid coaching staff of nine.”
Line coach Patrick Winchell was a coach on La Serna’s CIF winning title team last year and DC Louie Zamora has coached at Arroyo and Los Altos.
Trudell plans on bringing a no huddle, hurry up offense with a double wing, spread option. “I think we have the personnel to do it. Who knows? I may scrap it week three but for right now that’s what we’re going with,” Trudell said.
Defensively the Condors will line up a standard 4-3 under Zamora. “I think we’ll be fine because our front seven guys are all returning. Our whole secondary is new but our front guys are all coming back,” Trudell said.
Trudell, who will double as OC, will be looking to returning quarterback Adam Satti to run the offense. Satti, a southpaw, started for Cal last year and is ready to lead.
“His dad is a coach so he knows the game. He has no problem picking up the plays and how to run them,” Trudell said.
Nathan Lowden and Nathan Gudino will be the guys carrying the rock while Richard Salinas and James Contreras will also see time. Trudell really likes his receivers Traie Kastl-Givens, Jake Mata and Bubba Martinez.
“Kastl-Givens is a basketball player. He’s 6-5 and a really great athlete,” Trudell said.
The line features Zach McHale, David Burrell, Jacob Olivas along with Andrew Salcido, Dominic Sanchez and Brendan Simpson. Roberto Salazar and Jorge Luna will line up at tight end.
“Salcido has been exceptional this summer. He has been dominating everywhere we go,” Trudell said.
Defensively Thomas Veilma anchors a solid linebacking corps and Kyle Reyes will patrol the secondary at safety.
All the pieces seem to be in place for a bounce back year for Cal – with the main piece being the high energy first year coach Trudell
”It was always my goal to become a head coach. I’m really excited for the opportunity,” Trudell added.
And whatever happened to Arnold? Oh, he’s coaching the freshman team.