OK, technically training camp ended Monday when the Bears held their final live practice. But today is the day that it always feels like camp ended. It’s the last practice before the first practice of the first game week, and it was also Fan Appreciation Day.
Even though the Bears started implementing their game plan for UC Davis on Thursday, it will feel much more like game week when they return to the practice field on Monday. The season begins one week from today.
“Monday you get into game week. It feels more like camp is over today,” Cal coach Jeff Tedford said.
The Bears are still in the preliminary stages of game planning, and today was the first time Tedford answered a question about the Aggies. He said they still have a lot to get into as far as preparation goes, but the fact that UC Davis was competitive with Boise State last season and beat Stanford back in 2005 has his attention.
“It’s going to be very important that we’re ready to play, that we’re prepared and that we play our best,” Tedford said.
The Bears got good news today when linebacker Dave Wilkerson and defensive end Gabe King were cleared by the NCAA. It’s more significant for Wilkerson, who was on pace to be Keith Browner’s backup at rush linebacker before he was forced to sit out practice for several days. King is expected to redshirt.
Keeping with his theme to make things more fun and competitive, Tedford had the players run a sprint competition at the end of practice (they’ve done this before this fall). The team splits in half and then players line up at different yard lines based on position, one team going one direction and the other team going the other direction. The first set of players sprints to the end zone, and the next group of players can’t leave until the group ahead of it reaches paydirt. In a twist, Tedford makes the linemen run the farthest and last.
The teams split the first two races, forcing the third and deciding one. Guard Brian Schwenke led the last group of linemen into the end zone first, forcing the other team to do push-ups while the winners whooped it up.
It was a pretty good turnout for Fan Appreciation Day, despite howling winds at the beginning. The winds were so strong that three tents set up for autographs were knocked over right before the event started. Hopefully, it will be a little more calm next Saturday. At this point, according to weather.com, it’s supposed to be sunny with a high of 69 degrees for the opener.