Year after year Cal has seen great linebackers like Zack Follet, Mike Mohamed, and Mychal Kendricks. The man who Cal fans can thank for developing these young linebackers is Coach Kenwick Thompson. He has an extensive knowledge of the role of a linebacker and also transplanting that knowledge to Cal’s ambitious young talent. Thompson has proven year in, year out that he has the ability to bring out the best in any player. With a plethora of freshman talent this season, Thompson will have a great amount of work and great amount of expectations on his plate. However, we can expect positive results because Thompson has a knack of understanding how to implement the correct fundamentals into each and every player. For example, if our outside linebackers had trouble getting around certain types of offensive tackles, he would know what kind of move or strategy he needs to coach the players. Everyday, Coach Thompson comes out with great energy and fire, which is something that the players absorb as they ready themselves for the next game. The players trust Thompson’s coaching because he has an ability to see what is causing each player’s issues on the field and also capitalizes on each player’s skills to fit every defensive scheme. Thompson has kept out linebackers focused one game at a time, one play at a time.
Thompson was a very good player himself when he was young. He attended Harding College where he was Defensive Player of the Year in 1990 and set a school record of 30 career sacks. After his college career, he began his coaching career first with Harding, then to Texas Southern,then to San Jose State, and finally to Cal. At Cal, Thompson has been one of Cal’s best recruiter in finding recruits in the talent-rich state of Texas. His ability to relate and inspire young football players convinced countless number of players to commit and play for Cal.
With young talents like Chris McCain, Cecil Whiteside, David Wilkerson, and Nick Forbes, Cal will rely on Thompson to groom them into future stars. Video of Thompson and Cal linebackers during fall camp.