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Football: Wednesday night update

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.”

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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  • abe

    sublime.

  • Bear Klaus

    I’ve tried to remain neutral and dispassionate during this preseason — having learned from the last 36 — but it’s getting harder and harder. This is looking good. Very, very good. The D looks solid, Riley is looking like his old self, and now the only remaining question is the O line.

    Alright. I’m officially excited. There are those who say that the test of a coach is when he has no talent to work with. I don’t think so. The REAL test is when he has an *abudance* of proven talent and Tedford has that on this team; more so than any other since his tenure here began. This is the make or break year for JT, and I like his chances.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    After reading this 21 points is too much. That’s a blow out and I doubt it very much. Scott is a punnishing runner and Turner wins big games but your OL is green and inexperienced so a blitzing D isn’t exactly what you want to see your first game. Here read…

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/02/AR2009090203614.html?sid=ST2009090204196

  • rollonubears

    i love how all of a sudden, within the last week, people are starting to talk about the maryland aggressive D and the inexperience at the o-line. we-re deep at o-line, and while experience counts, when you look at every other position, oe -line is probably the one where you can get away with inexperience, as long as you have raw talent and athleticism (and half a brain). we’ll be fine there. an aggressive D against this bears team is a HUGE risk. guess wrong on one side, and best goes for six. full attack not executed to perfection, and riley finds an open man for 6. also, their D is inexperienced and this is a new system. bears will win this one by 28.

  • H8sRed

    I’m with you Rollon. The fact that last year’s starting LEFT tackle (Teofilo) is a second stringer to start the season is a great indicator of how talented and deep the O line is. Still, 21 points may be a bit much.

  • Davidson

    21 pts is about right. I was nervous for Tennessee. Nervous for Michigan St. But I think the odds makers have this one right. Barring anything freakish, this will be a blowout.

  • GoldenBear 77

    I’m with you too Rollon, except on one point — the comment about half a brain. I will bet as a group that the offensive linemen are the most intelligent on the team (can’t tell that is what I played). Twenty one points would be great, but having rooted for the Bears for more than three decades, I do not feel comfortable until it is 21 points, and three minutes to play. Go Bears.

  • Bears

    OL are very smart, especially at a place like California.

    I think this OL group can be something special.

  • ToparchiBear

    Don’t forget. Maryland is playing between 10:00 ~ 1:30 AM on their time. So, the second half will be Cal’s second team’s roll. And, maybe by that time, It’s mansion’s stella performance drive up the score.

  • FREDTERP

    Davidson did you think Cal would blow Maryland out last year. Tedford’s “excuse” this year will be the game is too late? FREDTERP

  • rollonubears

    goldnbear, i agree. we’ve got some super smart o-lineman with the grades to prove it. poorly-worded, i guess. i was just trying to point out that you don’t have to be a genius to play the role well, but if you are, that’s even better, and since we’ve got that covered, too, we’re in great shape. go bears!

  • rollonubears

    if by some luck it’s a blowout in the 4th quarter, my guess is manion will be forced to hand the ball off on everything except 3rd and long, but we’ll at least get to see some of the depth at tailback (and o-line).

  • Golden Bear

    You know, I keep thinking about the difference between Cal’s Tucker and $C’s Wright. Some rude posters try to insinuate that Cal got Tucker into easy classes and that’s why he got the grades to be eligible. But if that rude assertion is true (and it isn’t — Tucker took four required courses, not easy electives) — then doesn’t that say Pete Carroll and the $C people are so stupid they can’t even get a kid enrolled in an easy class to keep him eligible? They know what classes are easy — just look at what Reggie Bush took — and they didn’t get Wright into those classes?

    Their inability to keep Wright eligible says so much about $C players and $C staff.

  • covinared

    Seems like a trivial way to sc bash. there always will be guys for whatever reason don’t cut it academically. Maybe he ran out out of easy courses and had to show progress towards a degree and failed one of two core courses. you just don’t know. these kind of comments give moren grounds to annoy. Let’s focus on Cal.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Golden Bear -

    1. Why can’t you get any posts on the SF Chronicle site to stick?
    2. Reggie Bush graduated with a 3.5 GPA in finance
    3. SC doesn’t need to keep players like Tucker or Wright eligible. One casualty means an opening for 3-4 5* players. It is a privilege to play at SC
    4. Why does your CB have to tatoo a whole sentence on his arm?
    5. Why can’t you talk any relevant football?
    6. Academics only matter if it matters to the player. At USC a starting position will mean a likely draft pick. Your players are not far behind. Stanford would be another matter.

    Covinared
    I am still waiting for you to throw down. Give us your score prediction. JO deleted mine so I have done my best. Let’s see yours.

  • covinared

    GB- see what I mean? You set him off.
    Moren- the score isn’t important to me. i just hope the bears play their best game and win fair and square, and neither team sustains a significant injury. its consistent with the teachings of my church.

  • Larry

    Covinared/Moron,

    Nobody sets him off, he sets himself off.

  • Golden Bear

    Moron: So bottom line — you say the $C staff doesn’t care if a player becomes eligible. They don’t care about the player.

    Cool. I understand now. Thanks for the clarification. Meanwhile, I’m glad that Cal does care about the student in student-athletics.

  • abe

    make no mistake about it folks. this season comes down to our offense as to whether we have another average season or one to remember and more specifically the O-LINE. not line backer, not fullback not receivers, not even qb, O-LINE. we have solid o-line play the sky is the limit, we don’t well sun bowl here we come. next to O-LINE the other position to worry about is the D-LINE. i know i know we got a great starting D-line but depth is required at this position like no other in football, especially if you are running the 3-4,(which means your dlinmen are taking double teams regularly hence fatigue real quick) and well we have no proven depth here. even if our starters remain healthy all the way ( an unlikely situation) we still need solid depth to have adequate rotation each game and well once again we will find out in a few games what D-line play will look like this year. as of now that is one heavily underestimated weakness.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Abe = right on! Best post of the year.

  • covinared

    I agree. games are won and lost on the line. I think we are strong on both sides. the issue is depth for the D line, but I have no doubt that our O line will be a strength. I also agree that its one of the most intellectually demanding positions on the field.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Next to Pete Carroll, Chris Peterson is the second best coach in the West.

  • Eran Salu

    I am Terp Undergrad and Bear Law Grad. I follow both teams closely, although I am a Bear fan first because of JT.

    What worries me is that this is exactly the time of game Maryland seems to win. On the road, huge underdog – Maryland comes up big. Maryland is also physically tougher on the lines. They killed the Bears on the lines last year (although the humidity was a factor – it was brutally hot!!!).

    That being said, I don’t see the Bears losing this game at home. Prediction:

    Cal 38, Maryland 28