BEARS SOPHOMORE IMPROVING WITH EVERY GAME
By Jay Heater
For the family of
Cal Coach Jeff Tedford doesn't have to worry about saving the furniture. He saw a naturally gifted linebacker who could become an impact player for the Bears. ``He is a tough, hard-nosed, competitive guy,'' Tedford said of his sophomore. ``He is becoming a great leader.'' And he already has old-school passion. ``Today's linebackers are quicker, faster, stronger,'' he said. ``But I don't know that they play with the passion that the old linebackers had.'' Passion is the lead ingredient for the 6-foot-2, 240-pound player, who is tied for seventh in team tackles with 23 despite not being a starter. He has earned more playing time each week and has registered 2 1/2 sacks and three forced fumbles. ``I love his willingness to sell out every play,'' said
There was, however, a difficult moment in his freshman season. In a scene caught on camera, Follett head-butted USC tailback LenDale White, who had lost his helmet. Follett admitted he made a mistake but didn't realize how big that mistake was until later that night when he was out having dinner and saw himself on ``SportsCenter.'' ``Here I was on this huge plasma TV. They drew a big circle around my face and pointed an arrow (toward White). Coach Tedford had told me, `It's your (butt) if this ends up on national TV.' ''
Follett was suspended for the first half of the next game. ``I learned my lesson,'' he said. The incident made Follett seem like one of those ``crazy'' linebacker types.