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Football: Training camp ends (again)

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.

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.

  • Calduke

    Richard Rogers, 4-star TE, has made oral commitment
    to Bears.

  • covinared

    his dad handled the ball in the play. right?

  • Calduke

    I believe so.

    Didn’t everyone?

  • BlueNGold

    This morning’s (8/30) CCTimes carried Jon Wilner’s ‘College football kickoff’ feature, which does not seem to have made it to this website. Under ‘Breaking Down The Pac-10′, Wilner predicts Cal to finish in 7th place, but opines “The potential for an upside surprise is high, but only if QB Kevin Riley elevates his game and the defense stops impersonating a turnstile”.
    My question to JO or anyone else who cares to offer any constructive (i.e., that disqualifies you, moron) comments, as training camp ends and the season is upon us, is there any sense that either of these two improvements might actually happen? Also, regarding the defense, was his criticism aimed at Gregory’s strategy and/or coaching style, or is Wilner saying that the defensive unit itself last year was inept and played like it?

  • BlueNGold

    P.S.- Good news about Wilkerson!

  • Meep.

    BlueNGold – Gregory’s defensive style wasn’t necessarily bad per se, it was just highly dependent on star play. We’ve always had great safeties and defensive backs, so no one really noticed this until we lost our pass rush and Sydquan was the only guy we had in the back. Pendergast’s schemes focus a little more on blitzing through different schemes to confuse the QB and the offensive line. That’s a good thing, but it also usually puts our DB’s into man coverage because it’s too easy to get burned in the zone. We’ll really have to just wait and see if our defense gets better.

    As for Kevin Riley… he’s not bad. I’ve seen him miss open targets, but I think that’s more of a case of his internal clock being completely haywire than it is him “sucking”. The offensive line could not protect him last year and it was a miracle that we somehow managed to have a great running game (the miracle’s first name is Jahvid). The result was that even when Riley did have time, he was rushing things and overthrowing wide open receivers. The first step to better QB play is always better O-line play.

  • Calduke

    What’s the news about Wilkerson??

  • BlueNGold

    Calduke- he and Gabe King were cleared by the NCAA to play (see JO’s comments above).

  • Bears

    Jahvid is a sick player and great at Cal but Shane is not chopped liver. He could have a big big year. The yards Cal gained on the ground last year were not a miracle. I think what they do as an offense this year could be special.

  • NorCalScott

    “Bears” you are correct. I firmly believe that Vareen will have a VERY, VERY good year. He is as good as Best. Just look at what he did after #4 went down in the OR State game.

    3 Keys to the March to Victory:
    1) Riley has a career year
    2) The Defense lives up the the “Aggressive” hype
    3) Special Teams: FG’s & Kick-off field position killed us last year.

  • CalBear

    Meep, can I buy whatever u are smoking? I went to the Oregon game, and left with my son and two others thru “the walk of shame” back to the bus. Gregory was should have been fired that day. He made NO half-time adjustments, and should have been blitzing the weak side safety or corner the whole game. Did u ever see Masoli throw a pass more than 12 yards? Why did we need safeties 30 yds down the field? Watch what happens to Boise State this year. Their AD must be rolling the same stuff u have.

  • CalBear

    ok, ok …I missed editing out “was” after Gregory. But this comment is about those who feel Vareen (who will NEVER be Javid) is going to be the highlite star this year. I believe the rushing yds/per/carry and, maybe even yds/after/catch will go this year to the second string tailback. While he will have less than 500yds, and less than 10 handoffs per game, the downfield threat of Isi will surely be applied by Ted, particularly in the 2nd halves. With his 20+ additional lbs, he will no longer be in the slot, but, “hidden” as a deep-threat tail back, running Best routes on second and short for very long gains.