The Bears held their first practice of the regular season today at Witter Rugby Field, as they broke into scout teams and began installing the game plan for Fresno State.
One interesting change already from the past: During practices, Cal’s offensive players usually wear white and defensive and special teams players where blue. This year, coach Jeff Tedford is having his defensive players wear the shade that the opponent will be wearing in the upcoming game. And since Cal will be considered the home game against the Bulldogs, Fresno St. will be wearing light-colored uniforms. So it was reversed today, with the defense wearing the white uniforms (Sean Cattouse just doesn’t look the same in white).
Tedford said the two-deep depth chart still isn’t completely finalized. He also said that sophomore Dan Camporeale took the first reps at outside linebacker opposite David Wilkerson. There appears to be a big logjam at that position, with Chris McCain, Cecil Whiteside and Ryan Davis also in the mix. Tedford reiterated that he expects them all to get playing time but won’t decide on a starter until sometime this weekend.
Tedford also again discussed the true freshman that are going to play this season, and added defensive lineman Mustafa Jalil to the mix. He also said cornerback Kameron Jackson will continue to work with the defense rather down the scout team to provide depth in case anyone gets injured.
Tedford described wide receiver Kaelin Clay’s chances of returning for the opener as “iffy.” Clay, who injured his knee during the first day of training camp and had minor surgery thereafter to clean up his ACL, is back running. “We just have to see how change of direction and things like that come,” Tedford said. “It’s possible.”
The good news for Cal is it appears senior Coleman Edmond is ready to become the stretch-the-field, speed receiver it had hoped Clay would be. Edmond, who used to run the sprints at UCLA, came on during training camp and right now is the No. 4 receiver behind Marvin Jones, Keenan Allen and Michael Calvin.
“I hope (Clay) comes back tomorrow,” Edmond said. “But if he’s down, whatever the team needs me to do, I’ll be there to do it.”
After transferring from Pierce Junior College last year, Edmond caught just one pass last season as he was buried down at the bottom of the depth chart. Tedford said it took Edmond awhile to get used to Cal’s system, but spring practice and the offseason has apparently done him wonders.
“I think he can play faster because he knows what he’s doing more now,” Tedford said. “He’s catching the ball more consistently, running really good routes. You want him to come in and learn right away so he can contribute. He worked hard to learn it. Now, he’s finally got it down and he’s playing more.”
Other notes from today:
- After missing most of training camp with a deep leg contusion, offensive tackle Tyler Rigsbee returned to practice today. Tedford said Rigsbee looked good with his assignments and now it’s just a matter of getting where he needs to be physically. Rigsbee is projected to back up both tackle positions.
- Tedford, on why Allan Bridgford won the backup quarterback job over Brock Mansion: “He’s just been real consistent. He’s really done a nice job mentally with the game, understanding what we are doing. He had a consistent camp.”
- Tedford said earlier this week that C.J. Anderson was pushing Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson for the No. 2 tailback job. Tedford said today it was “very close.” When asked if the No. 2 job was now open again, he again said: “It’s very close.”
- Tedford, on Anderson: “He has really good balance. He’s strong. He catches the ball really well. He’s a physical guy. He breaks tackles. That’s been pretty impressive so far.”