A very good sign today for Cal was the sight of wide receiver Kaelin Clay running very fluidly during practice.
Clay still isn’t participating in contact drills, but he appears to be recovering at a brisk pace from minor knee surgery less than three weeks ago. He doesn’t appear to inhibited at all running in a straight line and looked pretty good doing drills off to the side that tested out his cutting and lateral movement.
Clay doesn’t appear far from being able to return to practice in a full capacity. How quickly he can do that will determine if he will be ready for next Saturday’s season-opener against Fresno State.
“Kaelin is running around really well,” Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. “There’s a possibility he could play on Saturday.”
It’s one thing for Clay to be physically healed, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s game ready. Clay would have to practice all next week in order to play. He needs to take all the different reps and feel comfortable with the offense after getting hurt the first day of training camp.
“Game ready is a different thing,” Tedford said. “You can’t miss all of camp and then think you’re going to be OK on Thursday and play. He’s where he needs to be right now as far as running around and feeling good with no pain. But now we have to put him in and let him play next week. If he’s going to play, he needs to practice.”
Clay is at a little bit of a disadvantage because he was on scout team last year so this past spring was the first team he actually took reps with Cal’s offense. But Tedford said he did a good job with the mental side of things during the spring and has been taking mental reps all through camp.
“I know he’s been paying attention,” Tedford said. “He’s in every meeting. But it’s one thing to see it on the board and break the huddle and do it. We’ll find out next week if he is in fact ready to go.”
Clay figures to play a big part of the offense this season, even though he won’t start. Clay gives the Bears a speed dimension its other receivers don’t have.
A couple other notes from today:
- Ryan Davis was lining up with the first team at OLB opposite Dave Wilkerson during the media access portion of practice.
- Tedford said Chris Adcok and Justin Gates are the backup guards at this point with Mark Brazinski backing up Dominic Galas at center.
- Tyler Rigsbee continues to recover from a deep leg contusion. He and Bill Tyndall are the backup tackles right now.
- Cal will practice tomorrow morning at Witter Rugby Field and then head on over to Underhill Field for Fan Appreciation Day, which starts at 12:15. More information about the event can be found here.