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Game week is here

By Jonathan Okanes
Monday, August 25th, 2008 at 9:47 pm in Training camp.

There was something different about practice Monday night. With a game now imminent, there seemed to be a renewed focus, but still a lot of enthusiasm.

The Bears are getting healthier. Tight end Cameron Morrah returned to practice, and right guard Noris Malele was back taking reps with the first team. Cornerback Syd’Quan Thompson has graduated to a yellow jersey.

Wide receiver Michael Calvin still isn’t practicing, but coach Jeff Tedford said he expects him and Thompson to be ready by Saturday.

Cal’s media relations department released the first depth chart of the season and there were a few notables. Darian Hagan is listed as the starting corner opposite Thompson over Chris Conte, but Tedford said after practice that the position is still being evaluated. It’s hard to tell anything from practice because, with Thompson limited, both Hagan and Conte are running with the first unit.

As expected, Calvin, Sean Young and LaReylle Cunningham are listed as the starting wide receivers.

Derrick Hill is listed as the starting nose guard over Mika Kane, and Tedford confirmed that Hill is the man. Tedford said Kane isn’t ready because he’s missed most of camp with an ankle sprain.

Tedford said kick and punt returners are still up in the air.

The Bears voted on team captains for the season and they chose center Alex Mack, fullback Will Ta’ufo’ou and linebackers Zack Follett and Anthony Felder. Tedford said there are four or five others that will rotate as team captains throughout the season.

Tedford said the status of junior college transfer Kamaron Yancy is still up in the air. Yancy has been working to get his coursework in order before he joins the team. Tedford said defensive back Gary Doxy still could return to the team. Doxy was dismissed early in camp to focus on his studies.

Cal will hold its first weekly press luncheon of the season tomorrow. I’ll have a lot from the session afterward.

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  • MoreNCsarecoming

    JO

    I heard that the game is still not a sell out and that the AD is discounting the cost of tickets to fill up the stadium. Do you think this is the result of last seasons poor performance?

  • Davidson

    I have a very strong feeling about this year. My anticipation level for this opener is much higher than last year against Tennessee, and that is saying a lot.

    Some tidbits from FAD:

    -Our receivers are HUGE! Meeting MC, MJ, NB, LC, SY, I can definately say that these guys are much bigger Tha10, Hawk and Jordan. I remember meeting Tha10 last year, and thought to myself…”dude, he’s smaller than me!”

    -Kevin Riley got his own tent in the corner. They brought it over for him. He seemed friendly and even laughed when my friend brought up the OSU game.

    -No Longshore. I think he’s sorta butt-hurt from losing out on the job. However, I wouldn’t want a million questions/comments all day like, “so, how’s it feel man?”, or “it’s okay man”, or “next time, tiger”.

    -No names on Jerseys! I knew the player’s numbers for the most part but some of them did throw me for a loop. All day, we were like, “who’s number 10, man??” It was devin bishop.

    -Beau Sweeney looked like a kid. No, really. He wore number 9 and we kept joking about going up there and pretend he’s Longshore. Little did I know that he was a QB…Hm, Allan Bridgford anyone?

    -Tedford’s line was too long.

    -Best looks like a beast. He looks noticeably bigger and I asked if he was faster than last year. He didn’t hesitate when he said, “yes”.

    -Defense looked solid man. Worrel, Follett, Felder all looked huge! A #5 was sitting with the defense and I couldn’t believe how much bigger SQT looked in person. Too bad it was Morrah.

    -SQT was a cool dude.

    -Did I mention our receivers look huge? Boateng, Calvin and Jones are really tall. It’s a breath of fresh air, since our last trio were undersized (but good). I’m not saying these are the starters, but they have the most upside.

    -Asked CB#28 if he would play this year, he only shook his head and said, “we’ll see”. It sounds like a no. Had high hopes for him to be awesome, but he doesn’t look that impressive. Could be that he’s very young. I like our trio of backs though–Best, Vereen, Slocum. (Montgomery who?)

  • JSL

    JO.

    How are the Bears viewing this first game? Are they focused and hyped enough to face an opponent that has been focusing on this game for a quite a while now?

    If you read the Spartan articles and blogs, you see this game is a big deal for their players. Like the Tennessee game was a huge deal for us last year. I don’t get the sense that the Bears have the same level of intensity.

    Bears better get up for this game because the Spartans certainly are. They’ve focused this Cal game for quite a while. They will be hyped and ready to play.

  • Jan K Oski

    I’m surprised that Will T is a team captain. I hadn’t heard anything about him in spring on here or elsewhere. JO, has he shown leadership in the weight room or practice, or was this a surprise to you, too?

    Go Bears!

  • dball

    Hey Jan, maybe I can help answer your question about Will T. When I attended the fantasy camp in June, it was pretty clear that Will T is regarded by his teammates as a leader. He’s funny, charismatic, and vocal. While the fullback doesn’t usually stand out in the statistics, Will is a favorite among his teammates and when you hang out with him for a while, you can see its because of his personality.

  • Jan K Oski

    Thanks Dball! I still need to make one of those camps.

  • Jeff

    Hey, how do I watch Cal games in LA?

  • Steve in Concord

    Davidson–

    Thanks for your report from the Fan Day event. Sounds like you had a good time.

    Regarding the size of our receivers: In football size is usually a good thing, but sometime it’s over-rated. Our “little guys” all had very productive careers at Cal, even getting to the NFL.

    Addressing the “durability” issue, so far, DeSmurf Jackson has done just fine playing with the big boys in the pros, catching passes over the middle (something he didn’t do much of at Cal) and taking some hard hits in he process. Conversely, The Raider’s
    WR Drew Carter, listed as 6’3″ 200lbs, had a season-ending knee injury Saturday night. Just a few minutes before that, their FB Oren O’Neal, 5’11″ 245 lbs, also went down for the season with a knee injury. Size is no protection against these kinds of injuries; nor sprained ankles and thumbs, pulled hamstrings and muscles, broken or dislocated fingers, concussions, turf toe, tendonitis, and so on. Those are the most common types of football injuries. The BIG HITS that make the highlight reels don’t usually cause major injuries, just big bruises that the players have to play with.

    It is true that a taller receiver has some advantages against a DB when contesting a high-thrown pass and presents a larger “target” for the QB. I guess we have those scenarios covered now.

    Over the long haul, I’ll take Heart over height any day. We know our receivers have height. Now let’s hope they have the Heart to match it. I’ll guess they do.

    Oh, and it was kind of cool to see that Devin Bishop was wearing number 10, the same number his big brother Desmond wore at Cal.

  • bearfan21

    yea syd’s a cool dude but hes shoulder is worse than hes letting on the trainers arnt wort a you know what and if your in la get vs and fox sports bay area maybe as much as 40 bucks more but vs but you will get every game

  • dball

    Jeff, ya gotta get DirecTv and either order the Premier Package with the Sports Pack, or try and order the Sports Pack separately a la carte. Sports Pack will include the Comcast SportsNet channels, on which most of the Cal games are being broadcast this year.

    I can’t recall which games are on ABC/ESPN but a few are confirmed, like this first one at 5pm Saturday, and I think a couple are pending (depending probably on what our record is later in the season).

  • MIKE

    Jeff – or just head to the Bars on Saturday. O’Briens in Santa Monica (2226 Wilshire Blvd.) has a solid Cal contingent and always has at least half the TVs on Cal. Also, you can usually get them to put a Cal game on at Barney’s Beanery in West Hollywood, Santa Monica, or Pasadena. I know there are more options too…but depends on the game. Calling ahead is always a good idea.

  • Jeff

    Thanks DBall. As much of a fan as I am I don’t think I can afford those DirecTV packages. I was curious if anyone knew about bars in the LA area where local Bears fans can go and watch the game without the risk of the bartender changing the channel because they think there is a better game on. I will definitely be watching the nationally televised games.

  • Jan K Oski

    Jeff! Do a search or take a glance at the different forums on scout.com or bearinsider.com for that. They’re a far better place to ask such questions to the general Bear population, and you’ll receive many responses. I’m almost positive I’ve seen the exact question on bearinsider.com before they split from scout.com. Go Bears!

  • dball

    What’s wrong with my answer to his question, Jan? lol, ok ok I realize you’re giving advice but it came off like my answer wasn’t good enough for you. Could someone post a better answer here though, if there is a more succinct list of which cable channels (specific to the LA area) will carry which games this year?

  • MIKE in LA

    Jeff – or just head to the Bars on Saturday. O’Briens in Santa Monica (2226 Wilshire Blvd.) has a solid Cal contingent and always has at least half the TVs on Cal. Also, you can usually get them to put a Cal game on at Barney’s Beanery in West Hollywood, Santa Monica, or Pasadena. I know there are more options too…but depends on the game. Calling ahead is always a good idea.

  • dball

    To summarize what we know so far (and to some extent to repeat my answer) about games on tv, there are 6 games currently scheduled: http://calbears.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/sched/cal-m-footbl-sched.html

    8/30 Michigant St: ABC, 5pm
    9/6 at Washington St: Comcast Sports Net (DirecTv channel 698?, have to purchase Sports Pack from DirecTv)
    9/13 at Maryland: ESPN or ESPN2, 9am
    9/27 Colorado St: Comcast Sports Net
    10/4 Arizona St: no broadcast scheduled
    10/18 at Arizona: Comcast Sports Net
    10/25 UCLA: no broadcast scheduled (but you have to assume this will get picked up by some station)
    11/1 Oregon: no broadcast scheduled
    11/8 at USC: ABC
    11/15 at Oregon St: no broadcast scheduled
    11/22 Stanford: no broadcast scheduled (again, this should get picked up by someone)
    12/6 Washington: no broadcast scheduled

  • Jonathan Okanes

    JSL, I think the players are definitely ready to go. There shouldn’t be any concern about disinterest or lack of motivation.
    Jan, I’ve heard several players say that Will has stepped up as a leader. I wouldn’t know about the weight room, though. He rarely asks me to spot for him.