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Football: Tuesday night update

The week of Big Game practices got going tonight at Memorial Stadium. One tradition about this week is the scout team players wear white helmets – a la Stanford – and mark them up with an “S” or the tree, along with statements aimed to provoke the player they are going up against in practice. Some of the things written can’t be reproduced here, but let’s just say they are aimed to motivate the players.

 

One of the first things that stuck out today was the presence of tight end Anthony Miller, who has missed the past two games following arthroscopic knee surgery. Not only did he return to practice today, he did so in full capacity. No red or yellow jersey, meaning he is already cleared to play Saturday. Jeff Tedford confirmed this after practice.

 

Nose tackle Derrick Hill, who hasn’t practiced in several weeks, was back on the practice field wearing a yellow jersey. So he’s still limited, but it’s an improvement over his complete non-involvement in practice in recent weeks. Tedford said Hill will be monitored throughout the week and is “possible” for the game.

 

Talked a bit with defensive coordinator Bob Gregory, who was happy with how Bryant Nnabufie performed in his first career start. Nnabufie will get another start Saturday.

 

Nnabufie looked athletic and talented enough to make an impact from the moment he arrived at Cal last year, but experience is starting to pay dividends.

 

“Energy is a big thing,” Gregory said. “There wasn’t always that energy that you like to have. He’s been practicing much harder and been playing much harder. That helps you make plays and be in the right position and execute your technique and all that.”

 

Tedford talked at length about Stanford running back Toby Gerhart during Monday’s media luncheon, but tonight was the first time to get Gregory’s thoughts on him.

 

“He’s like a big thoroughbred horse,” Gregory said. “He’s different because he’s so big and strong. He’s different than the other guys we have seen. I don’t know that you can stop him. I think you just have to try to slow him down a little bit. If you can do that, maybe you have a chance.”

 

Had a chance to also talk to Shane Vereen tonight. Vereen was moving around like a back who is coming off a 30-carry game. But he said he feels fine.

 

Vereen caught long touchdown pass from Kevin Riley in last year’s Big Game and will make his first Big Game start Saturday.

 

“I guess it adds a little bit to it but I’m going into this game the same way I went into the last game,” Vereen said. “The Big Game is big in itself whether you’re the starter or third string.”

 

Jahvid Best attended practice tonight for the first time since his injury. He was around last week, but only to get treatment and wasn’t present for practice. Best was on the sidelines for practice tonight and will hold his first meeting with the press tomorrow. It will be the first time Best speaks at length since his scary fall against Oregon State. The only comments he’s made so far came during the brief interview he did with Versus before last Saturday’s game.

 

 

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.

  • House

    Great update JO!

  • Sandy’s Man Blazer

    J to the Ohhhhhh

    I am back and in the best of moods. I’m here to remind the fine fans of this blog about my Emerald Bowl prediction back in early September. And now, Cal is in PRIME position for a return trip to the Emerald Bowl. I don’t think exclamation points do my excitement level justice.

    Let’s just put this in perspective: Cal will have the most Emerald Bowl appearances in history (2). This is great on so many levels – playing at home, the home town fans, playing a team from an elite conference (ACC). Plus it will be played in 40,800-seat AT&T Park (home of the San Francisco Giants). It is so cool to play in a baseball field – it’s like combining the best of both worlds! I am truly in heaven.

    As I stated back in September, this game will be televised on ESPN. And if I’m not mistaken, the game is on prime time and its the only bowl game on that night. That means more national exposure and landing the top northern california recruits.

    Now it is no means a lock that we’ll get the Emerald Bowl, but there is no other bowl I would rather see our Bears fight in than the Emerald Bowl.

    Fingers crossed!! Go Bears!! I bleed Blue and Gold (and emerald green)!!

  • abe

    Gregory is probably the only DC in the nation who goes into a game already conceding that his team won’t be able to stop so and so, etc. Anybody wonder why this defense turned out to be such a colossal disappointment for much of this season, looking very passive and all, well there is your clue. Defense is a about desire, you go out thinking you are going to smother your opponent and take the ball away, period. Gregory has had good seasons and mostly not so good ones, (though they may look good on paper thanks to Tedford’s potent offense that is designed to not only score but maintain possession), but he has always one shortcoming: he doesn’t have the aggressive, tenacious, brush attitude you want from your defensive coordinator.

  • Rich

    Wow, Cal is scared to play Stanford.

  • GoldenBear 77

    I still think that you are confusing statements made for public consumption, and what the coaches really believe, and tell their players.

  • rollonubears

    yeah, that’s a good point. probably a setup. if we play like we did last week, and get a break here or there, we’ll win it.

  • GoldenBear 77

    Thought I would repost this (it was lost in an earlier comment, and it is worth a read).

    Saturday will be Tedford’s 100th game as the Cal coach, a number only reached by 2 previous Cal coaches. Thank you for what you have done for the program JT, and good luck. If you want to know more about the man, and what he has done for us, copy and paste the following link:

    http://bleacherreport.com/tb/b1ysc

  • House

    Read this yesterday golden and it was an awesome article, strongly recommend everyone check this out ^^^^^

  • Calduke

    Once again(maybe too often) here are the odds that those professional gamblers are posting;

    Stanford is favored by 7 points

  • jpf

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlrMtIqsguA

    go to 0:29 seconds.

    That will be Gerhert on Saturday, yet again.