By Jonathan Okanes
Sunday, September 21st, 2008 at 10:26 pm in Mid-week.
Usually, Sundays are reserved for short conditioning practices, just a chance for the Bears to get stretched out the day after a game. But since Cal was on a bye this week, the Bears held a more conventional practice tonight, albeit shorter than one during the week.
Cal began putting in its game plan for Colorado State, which beat Houston on Saturday to go to 2-1 on the season. That puts the Rams already far ahead of where they were last year when they hosted Cal. Colorado St. was stuck in the middle of an eight-game losing streak dating back to the previous season at the time, and went on to lose 13 in succession.
There’s a little bit of a sense of renewal after a bye week. Players come back, many of them from going home for the weekend, feeling refreshed and rested. Of course, the Bears also are eager to put the loss to Maryland in their last game in the past.
Cal linebacker Zack Follett said after practice tonight that the Bears haven’t forgotten about the Maryland loss, mainly because of the way they are being coached.
“(A loss) rubs off on the coaches, the way they coach us,” he said. “We’re still feeling the effects. The little things are magnified more. It’s not a bad thing. They’re just one us more. It’s a little harder getting through practice.”
Results of wide receiver Marvin Jones visit to the doctor were encouraging because Jeff Tedford still is characterizing his injury as a sprained knee. The way Jones crumbled to the turf last week after suffering the injury during practice, it wouldn’t have been too surprising if it was more severe. Tedford didn’t have a definitive timeline on how long Jones would be out, other to say he wouldn’t play this Saturday.
It’s not like Jones had got that many reps anyway, but his absence will result in one less receiver fighting for playing time. Cal’s wide receiving corps still is very much a work in progress, and Tedford said tonight that the team will take the same approach with Colorado State as it has during the first three games — many different receivers will get reps.
“Nobody has really separated himself,” Tedford said. “They’re all contributing and they’re all playing hard.”
The Bears ended up racking up a lot of yards in the passing game against Maryland, but much of that came in a hurry-up situation, which isn’t ideal for evaluating performance for an entire game. Tedford said the best thing about the aerial attack against Maryland is it simply got several different young receivers the experience of catching balls in an actual game.
The Bears still are waiting for redshirt freshman Michael Calvin to make the impact everyone expected before the season. Calvin has just six catches for 81 yards, and Tedford admitted he’s essentially been playing at “three-quarters speed” as he continued to recover from a sprained toe. Calvin didn’t practice last week to try to heal up, and Tedford said he felt better today.
The Bears will go back to their usual schedule, taking Monday off and getting back at it on Tuesday.
Tomorrow, the Pac-10 should announce the start time and television coverage for Cal’s game against Arizona State on Oct. 4.