The Bears had a little extra bounce in their step as they resumed practice this morning. After taking their usual Monday off, it was the first of their final three practices before opening the 2011 season Saturday against Fresno State at Candlestick Park.
“As the zone of proximity closes in on gameday, people get a little excited,” Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. “They’ve done a great job all through camp and now there is just a little more pep as far as understanding the game is coming closer.”
As the game gets closer, so does wide receiver Kaelin Clay to playing. Tedford said Clay is “90 percent” and expects him to play unless there is a setback from his recovery from the knee injury he suffered on the first day of training camp.
If Clay is able to go, Tedford likes his depth at wide receiver. That wasn’t the case last year, when Marvin Jones and Keenan Allen were really the only ones providing production. Because of that, the duo saw most of the reps and the Bears avoided using a third receiver more than they have in the past.
Michael Calvin, the Bears’ No. 3 receiver right now, hopes to get on the field more this season.
“I feel like in spring ball and fall camp, I’ve given them a reason to have more confidence throwing a third guy out there,” said Calvin, who stayed healthy all through camp for the first time since his redshirt season in 2007. “Obviously, last year I wasn’t too consistent (13 catches for 147 yards). I didn’t get thrown out there a lot. I think that’s what they wanted to see, and now they have a lot of confidence that they can throw me out there.”
Tedford is downplaying his personal storyline about Saturday’s opener. Obviously, he has a lot of history with Fresno State from his days there as a quarterback and a coach.
“It doesn’t really mean anything,” Tedford said. “It’s not about me. It’s about this year’s team. It’s about the 2011 Bears and our first game. That’s it. It doesn’t mean anything besides that.”
A couple of other notes:
- Nose tackle Aaron Tipoti, who missed most of training camp with a concussion, is back practicing in full and will play Saturday.
- Tedford said the team plans to dress about 74 players for the game. Freshman Brendan Bigelow, who is from Fresno, likely will not be one of them.
- Freshman wide receiver Maurice Harris (knee contusion) is practicing in limited fashion but isn’t as close as Clay to returning.