By Jonathan Okanes
Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009 at 10:11 pm in Mid-week.
Tonight was the first good example of how the new media policies affect our jobs. On the day that we started having our access limited, there seemed to be not much question that Giorgio Tavecchio was the kicker. He was working with the first unit and first holder and seemed to be the most consistent.
Since then, we haven’t seen much kicking at all, maybe a two-minute drill here or there at the end of practice. We didn’t have much of an idea that Vince D’Amato had emerged and ultimately overtaken Tavecchio.
That is what made the news tonight surprising that D’Amato had won the field goal job. Tedford said the competition was close but D’Amato has been a little more consistent.
“I feel like he has great range,” Tedford said. “Either one of them can do the job, but Vince edged him out for the spot.”
It seems as though David Seawright was third in this three-man race, although my hunch from what I have seen this fall is that it was close between all three.
D’Amato also impressed Tedford with his poise under pressure. It’s clearly not like a game, but they try to recreate pressure situations at practice and D’Amato came through.
One defining moment came near the end of one practice where Tedford told the team that they would have to double their post-practice gassers if D’Amato missed. He calmly nailed a 42-yarder, sending the team into a frenzy.
“Those kind of pressure situations, you kind of zone everything out and think about your kick,” said D’Amato, who is built more like a linebacker. “It went in, so I felt pretty good about that.”
Wednesday is the day that Jahvid Best is available for media interviews. Because of all the demands from the press, both locally and nationally, Cal’s athletic department has made Best available just one day per week (they did the same thing with DeSean Jackson in 2007).
Best appears to be getting healthier and healthier. Just watching him walk around after practice, he seems to be moving as well as he has in a long time. There have been times he’s walked with a noticeable limp at the end of practice, but he was walking with a bounce in his step Wednesday.
“I’m feeling good,” Best said. “This is probably the best I’ve felt in awhile. It just got better with time.”
Best said he’s been taking hits in practice without any incident. He’s been told he will return kicks Saturday.
Quote of the day goes to quarterback Kevin Riley, when asked if there was anything different about a 7 p.m. start.
“Every night game we’ve had seems a little bit more wild,” he said. “It’s probably because they’ve been. … hanging out longer.” When asked for a translation of “hanging out longer,” Riley smiled and said “Tailgating longer.”
Safety Marcus Ezeff (ankle) has returned to practice in full capacity. Cornerback Darian Hagan was held out Wednesday, but Tedford said that was just for rest. Hagan has had recurring knee soreness. Tedford said Hagan is expected to start Saturday.