Wednesday night update

Cal has been practicing on the Witter Rugby Field instead of Memorial Stadium this week to get acclimated to natural grass, which is featured at Maryland’s Byrd Stadium. It’s a little bit of a different vibe practicing in a small venue with fences around it compared with an empty 70,000-seat stadium.

It actually has provided a chance for some of Cal’s coaching staff to reminisce. When Jeff Tedford first took over in 2002, Witter Field was the team’s practice facility.

“It’s brought back a lot of memories,” Tedford said. “This was our home. I was walking through the stands (of Memorial Stadium) to get here and I was just reminiscing that it seems so long ago having to walk up these stairs every day to get to practice.”

The biggest news to come out of practice Wednesday is that backup defensive lineman Kendrick Payne will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery Thursday to repair the meniscus in his left knee. Tedford described the surgery as minor and expects Payne back in two weeks. Tedford said Payne suffered the injury during Saturday’s win over Washington State.

There were a few other players wearing yellow and red jerseys Wednesday, including linebackers Anthony Felder and Charles Johnson, but Tedford said there are no other players expected to miss Saturday’s game at Maryland.

Tedford said the plan to get his players acclimated to the Eastern time zone starts tonight with an early lights-out and an early wake-up call. The Bears will have a team meeting at 6:30 Thursday morning. The team will then be instructed to have lights-out at 10:30 p.m. Thursday night then be woken up by 5:45 a.m. to catch their charter flight to Baltimore.

The plan is to have the Bears in bed by about 11 p.m. Eastern time on Friday night. That is 8 p.m. Pacific time, but the hope is the team should be acclimated by then and be tired enough to fall asleep pretty promptly. They will be woken up at 7:45 a.m. Saturday morning.

“Even if they don’t get to sleep until midnight, they’ll still have almost eight hours sleep,” Tedford said. “You can’t stay on this body clock and get there and have four hours sleep. It’s 4:45 wake-up call here.”

Tedford said the only thing the Bears have done differently practicing on natural grass is during conditioning drills. The players have been doing a lot more drills involving changing direction, stopping and starting, etc.

Some other tidbits:

–Cal linebacker Zack Follett has been named the Lott Trophy IMPACT Player of the Week.

–Here’s an update regarding tickets to the Big Game:

Cal Fans Eligible for More Big Game Tickets

Golden Bear Football Fans Have New Opportunity to Purchase Stanford Game Tickets


BERKELEY With the release of seats originally held for season-ticket holders, additional tickets are now available for the 2008 Big Game between Cal and Stanford to be played on Saturday, Nov. 22 at Memorial Stadium.


Current season-ticket holders and donors at the Coaches Club level and above who are not season-ticket holders can purchase up to 10 tickets for the perennially sold-out contest. All other donors below Coaches Club Level and non-season-ticket holders can buy up to two tickets to the game.


With six home games remaining, season tickets are still available for the 2008 season. Once purchased, buyers become eligible for the 10-ticket maximum to the Big Game.

–Here’s what the folks at Maryland are saying about Saturday’s game.

–Maryland is off to an uninspiring start, but the Terps are staying the course, so far.

–This is old news by now, but here’s recapping the end to the tree-sitters saga.. … and reaction from the Bears.

Jonathan Okanes

Jonathan Okanes is in his fourth year covering Cal's football team. Previously, he covered Cal's men's basketball team for four years. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OkanesonCal.

  • Matt

    I’ll be at College Park in my Cal jersey and a huge smile on my face when UMD gets their heads handed to them in their own house.

  • George

    So are Payne, Felder, and Johnson out this week, or only Payne?

  • Jan K Oski

    Good point, George. JO was certainly a little vague in describing their situation. I hope Felder is ready to go, since he has been a beast thus far. Johnson backups Young, so it isn’t a loss of a starter. But, I’d want to see all of these guys getting tons of reps before the meat of the schedule.

    Go BEARS!

  • Jonathan Okanes

    George, Payne is definitely out. Felder and Johnson are on the field and suited up.