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Football: Back on the clock

Hi, everyone. I’m back from vacation and we find ourselves just over a week away from Cal’s Pro Timing Day (next Wednesday). Then after that, it will only be a couple weeks until the start of spring practice (March 29).

As many of you know, four former Cal players participated in the NFL combine during the past week, with safety Chris Conte on the field in Indianapolis today for his workout. Today is the last day of the combine.

By all accounts, running back Shane Vereen helped his cause. He had the most bench press reps among tailbacks (31) and was second overall among running backs, if you include fullbacks as well. He also ran a 4.5 in the 40. Before the combine, his projections seemed to be anywhere between the second and fourth round. It would seem his performance in Indy has at least put him firmly in the third round. But there are still some evaluations to go.

It will be interesting to see if Vereen runs at timing day next week. He has to decide if he can improve his 40 time, which was very good. If he were to run slower, it could hurt his stock. As you might recall, Jahvid Best elected not to run at Timing Day last year because he posted the fastest 40-time among running backs at the combine.

Defensive end Cameron Jordan solidified his spot as a mid-first round pick at the combine. Jordan really saw his stock skyrocket at the Senior Bowl. He didn’t necessarily put on a spectacular show at the combine, but he certainly didn’t hurt his cause, either.

While I was  gone, most of you know that Cal finalized its 2011 schedule (although it hasn’t been announced yet by the school). The Bears will play at Colorado on Sept. 10 and host Presbyterian College on Sept. 17. The addition of Presbyterian caused some snickers among Cal fans, but really it’s no different than some of the other FCS schools the Bears have played in recent years. The difference is Presbyterian is a small school and isn’t on the West Coast, and I think that unfamiliarity led to some of the negative reaction.

Some of you may have noticed that posts on this blog may not have been as frequent as in recent offseasons. That’s because I am working more on the production side during the offseason, doing such duties as copy editing and page design. But I can assure you that during this time that I will be active on here when my workload allows it, and that I of course will be on top of things when stories arise.

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.