Football: It ends on Christmas

Today was the last practice of the 2008 season. And it was a cold one at Memorial Stadium. Jeff Tedford kept his ears warm by wearing a Santa hat all through practice.

The biggest news really wasn’t much of a news flash — Nate Longshore will start at quarterback Saturday. Longshore had taken every first team rep this week, including Thursday, so it wasn’t a big surprise when Tedford announced Longshore as the starter after practice. Tedford said Longshore has simply been practicing too well not to have him play.

“He’s just had a couple of really good weeks of practice,” Tedford said. “He’s really sharp throwing the ball and has a really good command of what we’re doing. He’s really done a nice job.”

Tedford said the shoulder injury Longshore incurred against Oregon has been lingering, but he finally appears to be completely healthy.

“I think his shoulder is finally healthy,” Tedford said. “He has a lot of zip on the ball, a lot of command of the offense. He’s really throwing accurate.”

Tedford added that “He’s really had two of the better weeks I’ve seen Nate have at practice.”

It was a very lively last practice — perhaps the players were trying to keep warm — with a lot of hooting and hollering and tons of enthuasiasm as the team huddled on the field afterward. Tedford spoke of the seniors getting emotional, with wide receiver Drew Glover breaking down as he talked about it being the seniors’ last practice while the team stretched to begin the session.

It was also the last practice at Cal for offensive line coach Jim Michalczik, who is moving on to Washington after the Emerald Bowl.

The team had Christmas breakfast together and Christmas dinner together. There will be a pep rally at Yerba Buena Gardens tomorrow at 11 a.m and the team will hold a walk-through at AT&T Park later in the afternoon.

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.