BERKLEY, CA (AP)-- Kicker used to be the only place you would find a soccer player on a football field.
An Italian soccer legend, Marcello Lippi, has taken the Cal defense and revolutionized the way the Pac-10 plays against the spread offense.
"The defense in a-football, she is a hit-hit-hit, like-a scooters in a-traffic of Rome! All the time this bumping bumping like a mambo!" Lippi said from his hotel suite in nearby San Francisco, a stunning white space filled with art moderne furniture. Looking stylish in a white suit with skinny black tie, Lippi sipped three espressos, smoked a cigarette with a curious grip, and and bantered in rapid Italian with a mysterious woman of fickle affections and undeniable sensuality.
Lippi, first contacted two weeks ago by Cal coach Jeff Tedford, sees a counter-intuitive solution to the tough riddles of Chip Kelly's spread option: when they speed up, the Cal defense likes to slow things down.
"In America, there is too much of the hustle. All the time, going after the ball, the hitting, she is too much."
Instead, the Italian national men's team coach suggested that the Cal defense borrow some of the tactics of the successful Azzurri, known for scoring early, playing stout defense, and slowing the game down any way they know how.
Does this include faking injury?
"No, no, no, the injury, she is never fake. This, I could not stress enough. Football is the mean game! Did she hurt your heart by going so quickly at you, and making the heart go fast and the legs so tired? A team should be emotional, and sometimes that emotion is hurt."
Lippi snapped his fingers at a nearby urchin. The urchin brought him pornography to peruse as he spoke.
"I can only tell them to be emotional, not where to be emotional. Say the leg, he is hurting with the passion and the hurt. Then lay down, the world she is wanting to see your passion!"
"A coach cannot control the passion, where she goes. He can only apply the spray, and hope the passion goes way, preferably long enough to reset a defense, catch the breath, and keep the head level."
A check of the Cal injured list released this week listed no players out due to "passionate thigh muscle."