Football: Wednesday night update

Everyone involved says Mike Mohamed will play Friday night, and I have no reason to believe he won’t. But anytime a guy misses an entire week of practice, you have to wonder.

Granted, if there is anyone on the roster who could probably afford to miss the reps during practice and still play effectively in a game, it’s Mohamed. This is only his second year as a starter, but he might as well have been on in 2008 when he backed up all four linebacker spots and probably saw more playing time than any of the starters. Even in 2007, as a redshirt freshman, he played a lot as a reserve.

One thing is for sure: The Bears need him to play in this game. They need him to play in every game, but especially this one. Not only does he have the speed to counteract Nevada’s pistol offense, he has the experience and intelligence to digest what the Wolf Pack are trying to do on offense.

The Bears not only need him to play, they need him to be 100 percent. Nevada is not the kind of offense you can face at half-speed. And that will be something to watch because a sprained toe can really limit a player. It may not seem like much, but athletes will tell you that a sprained toe is one of the toughest injuries to play through because you need it to push off. All of Cal’s defensive players will need that burst to be on top of what Nevada will throw at them.

“It’s not something you want to aggravate,” Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. “We just want to make sure we rest it.”


Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast spoke to reporters¬† today about the challenge of taking on Nevada’s offense. Here’s a sampling of what he had to say:

On Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick:

“He creates a lot of problems. He’s a very smart quarterback. He’s obviously a general out there on the field with communication. He runs their offense well and he sees the field well. He has very good speed and can make people miss. He has an extremely strong arm.”

On preparing for an offense like Nevada’s:

“It’s just about going out and executing what you do better than what they do. That’s our goal every week regardless of the offensive scheme. We try to run our defense better than the other team runs their offense. That’s what we preach week in and week out. This will be no different of a challenge.”

On whether he senses heightened excitement from his players:

“They know what kind of challenge it is. We didn’t have to bring it to their attention too loudly. They know what is at stake. They know we’re going to have our hands full with a very potent offense. We have to go in there and play our 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.

  • Minotstatebeav

    To say Cal really needs Mikey Mo in this game..disagree…they need him more for Pac10 games..starting next week. Those count…vs Nevada..it only counts in the polls. I’d rather win the pac10.

  • Fair Weather Fan

    Cal needs Mohamed to shadow Kaepernick just like he has done versus Oregon. Without Mohamed at full speed, things could get ugly.

    Watch for Mohamed (or whomever tries to replace him) to shadow Kaepernick the whole night. If he has a good game, Cal will win. If not, it could get ugly.

  • CalBear91

    Fingers crossed, and toes too.

  • How’d replace Mohamed? Would Kendricks slide over to ILB and Price replace Kendricks at OLB?

    Or would Mullins or Forbes step in at ILB?

  • Minotstatebeav

    Well…they COULD play that Frosh LB David Wilkerson inside…or Fanua. I know they were real high on Wilkerson in the summer. Either way..Cal rotates a lot of guys in the game..we do have depth.

  • JSML

    A few things I like to see:

    Against the pistol, I want to see blitzing from the outside. Get in their back field as fast as we can.

    If Nevada plays man coverage, Riley needs to throw it long. Notre Dame last year had several huge plays where Clausen basically threw it up for grabs and let his receivers out position and out jump the DBs.

  • TrumanHugh

    I appreciate your optimism, Minostatebeav. So unlike most Cal fans!

    I’ve already written this, but, I don’t think there is anything more to this than what Tedford has shared: not a big deal, simply resting a player who can realistically sit out a few days of practice.

    Obviously, we’ll know all about it tomorrow night. I think we’ll be just fine.

    Go Bears!

  • Blue Doc

    ?? Can anyone say “Turftoe” ??
    Cal seems to to have had more problems with synthetics than ??Most?? schools…
    Grass is the answer–
    cost?? –natural wins out …

  • thisiscal

    This game is coming at the perfect time. It allows the younger Bears to see what playing on the road is like against a good team in a hostile environment. It’s great practice before traveling to Arizona to start Pac-10 play AND the Bears will have an extra day of rest before doing so. UNR will be a tough test for our defense, but I like Cal to win 38 – 20. Our offense will just be too much for their D to handle.

    GO BEARS!!!

  • BlueNGold

    The reporting on Mohamed’s injury has been less than clear. JO originally (Monday) reported it as a sprained ankle, but now its a sprained toe. Nowhere has anyone said anything about turftoe, though, so I don’t know where Blue Doc is getting that information. Hopefully JO will be able to clarify all this during his live chat today.

  • Meep.

    More importantly, I think this is a great game for Cal to prepare for Oregon. They’re just a slower, less explosive version of the Ducks, and we need our defense to see the spread option in action by a real team as many times as possible before the Ducks swing by.

  • H8sRed

    If Mike Mohamed is such an integral part of Cal’s defense, why do we risk injury — let alone just wear and tear — by playing him on kick-off coverage?

  • Blue Doc – tough for Cal to go back to grass with no practice facilities… Having turf in stadium means they can practice there too.

  • BlueNGold


    If ‘risk of injury’ was the basis on which decisions were made regarding which players are played, who would you have on the field?

  • Charlie, Clancy Pendergast said it could be as many as four people who take Mohamed’s reps. Unfortunately, the part of practice I saw this week wasn’t in sessions when the defense was lining up as a unit. I sitll believe he will play, but we’ll see.