By Jonathan Okanes
Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008 at 9:02 pm in upcoming game.
Cal held its first practice since bowl week officially kicked off, bussing from the San Francisco Marriott back to Memorial Stadium. Coach Jeff Tedford, linebackers Worrell Williams and Zack Follett and center Alex Mack then left a little early to head back to the city for a press conference at AT&T Park.
Nate Longshore took every first team rep at practice Tuesday, but Tedford wouldn’t say he is the starter… yet. There have been instances when Longshore and Kevin Riley have alternated entire practices taking first team reps, so it’s conceivable that Riley could be the No. 1 guy tomorrow. But don’t be surprised to if Longshore is out there again with the first team.
Tedford reiterated at the press conference that he wouldn’t name a starter until Thursday, but if Longshore gets all the No. 1 reps again Wednesday, it seems as though it’s a done deal.
Safety Sean Cattouse is getting more and more first team reps and now is listed as a starting safety over Brett Johnson. I’m not sure if that’s a definitive change. We usually talk to defensive coordinator Bob Gregory on Thursday, so I’ll have an update then, if not sooner.
Practice can get tedious sometimes this late in the season, but one moment drew hollers from the Bears on Tuesday when wide receiver Marvin Jones somehow hauled in a jump ball over Chris Conte during one-on-one drills. He made an acrobatic play just to catch the ball, and then held on to it when he landed.
The press conference was an informative affair. Miami brought coach Randy Shannon, offensive lineman Jason Fox, quarterback Jacory Harris, linebacker Glenn Cook and kicker Matt Bosher. Fox and Harris each talked about the strength of Cal’s defense. Fox said the Bears’ linebackers probably are the best the ‘Canes have seen all year. Both said Cal’s defense was one of the best they’ve played against.
You can tell the Bears are impressed with Miami’s personnel as well. Both Williams and Tedford said Miami would be one of the top teams in the Pac-10.
Williams and Follett said there is no lingering frustration over not traveling somewhere far for a bowl game. They said once they got on the bus Monday, crossed over the Bay Bridge and checked into the hotel, the bowl experience was in effect. They also said most players don’t really go to San Francisco that much anyway, so there will be a lot of new experiences. Both teams visited Alcatraz on Tuesday night.
Williams was excited over Grant-Sacramento’s win over Long Beach Poly in the CIF state open division title game on Saturday. Williams and cornerback Syd’Quan Thompson are Grant alums.
Follett said he checked out the field at AT&T Park and it was “beautiful.” Follett played baseball at Clovis High School and called himself a “crazy right fielder.”
“I was diving at every ball,” Follett said (I believe him). “I had no fear out there. I got ejected because I was coming home and the catcher had the ball and I just ran over him like a running back (I believe that, too).
“I wouldn’t mind saying I was Barry Bonds for a day and taking BP.”
Cal will practice Wednesday afternoon and then have a team dinner together to celebrate Christmas Eve.