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Hearing From the Newest Bears: Frosh Cal OL Bastian Swinney

March 27, 2021
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6-6/305 early enrollee offensive lineman Bastian Swinney has been thriving since arriving in Berkeley in January to start his collegiate career at Cal.

Part of a large group of spring enrollees (9), Swinney and his fellow early arrivals have been building strong early bonds with their shared experience being new on campus.

“Yeah, 100%,” said Swinney. “I remember one day, me, Kaleb (Higgins) and Ryan Lange -my roommates- we all walked into town and met up with Ray (Woodie) and got to know him and grab a bite to eat, just building that team community so we can all get to know each other.”

So far, the Minneapolis native has enjoyed his transition to the Bay Area and being a new part of the Cal program.

“It’s awesome,” said Swinney. “It’s great here. Community’s really important here, which I love, and I’m really glad to be a part of a class that’s bigger than myself.”

The former 4 star OG/OT has appreciated being taken under the wing of his more experienced teammates and learning the myriad of things you need to know to be successful in the transition to the collegiate game.

“You know, I’ve learned a lot from them lately, particulary Brandon Mello and Brian Drisoll,” said Swinney. “We work together a lot.

“They have me playing a little bit of center right now and Brian played center as well last year for a couple games so him and Mike (Saffell) have taught me a lot about technique, reading allignments, assignments, feet, hands, finish, obviously snap of the ball, as well. So they’ve been helping me a lot with that stuff and just daily stuff, as well, whether that be time management, managing our schedule, stress...all that stuff.”

You don’t see a lot of 6-6 athletes at center but OL Coach Angus McClure is a big believer in cross training his OL corps, starting at center, learning all the intricacies of being essentially the captain of the offensive line -something Swinney appreciates.

“Oh, 100%,” said Swinney. “I think it’s very important for an offensive lineman to be almost like a plug and play athlete. 

“I good example I’ve been looking up to lately and studying is Elgton Jenkins on the Packers. I think he played every position but left tackle this year for the Packers, or he played every (OL) position -one of the two. But I’ve really been studying him and what he does. He’s an amazing player. He really does his craft well. 

“Obviously, when you play offensive line, there are going to be different things with each position but when you get down to the base and the root of it, it’s all the same concepts with footwork and stuff like that.”

"I like to start all the young guys playing a little center to see if they can do it, see if they can handle it,” said McClure. “And Bastian's a good athlete. He could play anywhere across the board and he's getting plenty of playing time at guard also, but we're working with him inside at the center position, too.

“I've worked with some tall centers, and some of my better centers I've ever had were 6'4. It just depends on the type of schematics that you run and other variabilities."

“Bastian's looking at a guy who's one of the best in the business and one of the leaders in our program and he's learning from him every day,” noted McClure. “And when you have that type of culture, it's only going to be really positive.”

The Bears have a strong NFL legacy for Bear linemen look up to and aspire to as they progress in their collegiate careers.

“Patrick Mekari, Mitchell Schwartz, Tarik Glenn -all of the guys have been really big,” said Swinney. “Really big shoes to fill, in a way, just seeing the standard they set for my offensive position group. Meeting those standards is really the goal for me, personally. And obviously as an offensive line group as a whole, that’s what we want to do. And Mike Saffell, being Pac-12 Scholar Athlete of the Year, he’s a really good role model for all of us guys, whether it be me or Ryan or Dylan (Jemtegaard) coming in during summer. We all really look up to him.”

Swinney’s relationship with his new OL coach has been strong from the beginning and has only built since his arrival at Cal.

“Oh, it’s awesome,” said Swinney. “It’s great. It’s a super-healthy relationship. A lot of learning. He tells me a lot. We’ll always just chop it up on the phone or zoom, going through plays and stuff like that. Just getting down to football. And obiously, there’s a personal relationship, as well. You can’t just be strictly football with a coach. You gotta know them as a person and they need to know you as a person. There’s almost like a certain bond that’s almost like family. I feel that with Coach McClure, we have really stepped towards that in my time here.”

Swinney came to Cal already a noted workout warrior, regularly posting workout vids on Twitter. So far, he’s thrived under new S&C Coach Brian Johnson and staff at Cal.

“It’s awesome,” said Swinney. “Coach B’s program is amazing. It’s been a blast working with him and the staff. Just being around the guys, working out, having fun. Getting bigger, stronger, faster and getting ready for the season, it’s been a blast.”

Swinney’s goals his first semester on campus and simple and straightforward.

“Just do my best and fulfil my role, whatever that may be,” said Swinney. “Learn a lot, do the best I can, no days off. Just get it done.”

Other stories:

Brus Talks About Upcoming OV to Cal, Future Plans

Hearing From the Newest Bears: Frosh Safety Hunter Barth

McClure Talks Offensive Line, Spring Ball Progress

Discussion from...

Hearing From the Newest Bears: Frosh Cal OL Bastian Swinney

2,643 Views | 5 Replies | Last: 10 days ago by 01Bear
01Bear
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I, for one, am stoked to have this young man--and his fellow first year players--suit up in the blue and gold! Welcome to Cal, young man! You've made a great decision and have started on your journey to greatness on the field and off!

Go Bears!
calumnus
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I like this kid. Think he will be a great one. Go Bears!
dimitrig
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"Just do my best and fulfil my role, whatever that may be," said Swinney. "Learn a lot, do the best I can, no days off. Just get it done."

Go Bears! Get it done!


GivemTheAxe
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01Bear said:

I, for one, am stoked to have this young man--and his fellow first year players--suit up in the blue and gold! Welcome to Cal, young man! You've made a great decision and have started on your journey to greatness on the field and off!

Go Bears!


I love his hashtag. "Chop wood" fits in very well for a team that has an "Axe yell".
01Bear
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GivemTheAxe said:

01Bear said:

I, for one, am stoked to have this young man--and his fellow first year players--suit up in the blue and gold! Welcome to Cal, young man! You've made a great decision and have started on your journey to greatness on the field and off!

Go Bears!


I love his hashtag. "Chop wood" fits in very well for a team that has an "Axe yell".

He'll be chopping down that freaking demented Christmas tree and everything associated with it!

Go Bears!
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