Football: Wednesday practice update

As game day gets closer, there is one pretty good development for the Bears — their health.

Cal is pretty whole as it prepares for Saturday’s season-opener against Fresno State. Freshman running back Darren Irvin really is the only player sidelined. Whether he would have been playing as a true freshman is up in the air, but he was getting good reviews from both Jeff Tedford and running backs coach Ron Gould before getting hurt.

Aaron Tipoti is back from his concussion and should share time with Kendrick Payne at nose tackle. What will be interesting to watch is whether Viliama Moala slips in there and gets some plays as well.

It appears to be all systems go for wide receiver Kaelin Clay as well. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to play a whole lot, if any. Michael Calvin and Coleman Edmond have both been coming on strong, and considering Clay missed all of camp, you’d have to think he’s No. 5 in the pecking order right now.

Today was Cal’s last padded practice before the game. Thursdays are always a day to just go in shells and get players rejuvenated for the game. Then it will be off to Candlestick on Friday for the walk-through.

“We have to make sure we get them fresh. We’ve had two hard days of practice,” Tedford said. “We have to get them fresh and ready for game time. They’re ready to play. They’re ready to suit up against somebody else and get the games started. They want to play against somebody else.”

Tedford was asked if this is his biggest season-opener since he’s coming off his first losing season.

“Every opener is big,” he said. “There hasn’t been one yet that hasn’t been big. Last season was last season. We can’t do anything about last season now. We can just prepare to play this game. We don’t run around talking about last season. There’s some motivation because last year wasn’t what we wanted. It wasn’t good enough, obviously. There’s motivation to do better, absolutely. But last year is over. This is about right now.”

In addition to Tefdord’s history as a quarterback and coach, Cal has some other connections with Fresno State. The most notable is linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who went to Hoover High School, which is right down the street from Fresno State’s campus. And heralded incoming freshman running back Brendan Bigelow also is from Fresno.

“They have really good high school programs there and junior college programs throughout the area,” Tedford said. “I think they feel like they are Northern California more than they are Southern California.”

Former Cal linebacker Zack Follett also is from Fresno, among others.

It’s a big game for Kendricks, who said he expects a lot of family and friends at the game. He grew up following Fresno State but wasn’t recruited heavily by the Bulldogs. Kendricks said it was probably because he started getting offers from BCS conference programs. I’ll have more on Kendricks and the Fresno State story line later in the week.


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.

  • rob bear


  • SteveNTEXAS

    Great to see we are pretty healthy. I’m always worried about it. I still feel bad over how Jason Kidd’s injuries in his final year at Cal kept us from a real chance at winning the NCAA’s. We’ve had some tough football injuries over the years too.

    As healthy as we are – we will beat FSU, and hopefully pretty easily.

  • covinared

    what about Ladner?

  • Scibear

    Any word on whether Kaufusi will be in the mix at DT?

  • Juancho

    Just throwing this out there. If anyone has 2 tickets for the Presbyterian game they don’t plan on using, let me know. I’ll take ’em.

  • rollonubears

    Best thing of all, college football starts TODAY!! Can’t wait to finish up work, grab a beverage, and enjoy the first kickoff. And I love that we’re playing in the evening on Saturday. Time to relax the nerves get pumped watching a bunch of other games, and then cheer on the Golden Bears. College Gameday Baby!!!

  • notsofast

    How many times has CAL won against Fresno State? Anyone?? Anyone?? look at the numbers and you wont be happy. Both teams have new quarterbacks and new personel issues, but Fresno State has more players that have game experience. Throw in FS always gets up for in state games and Cal wont be 10pt favorites by the end of the game. This will be a close game, probably marred by numerous mistakes on both sides, but given Fresno State’s track record, they beat cal 27-21.

  • Jan K Oski

    Cov, Ladner is injured, so why dwell on a backup who hasn’t contributed in a meaningful way through his career at Cal? According to Owusu at Fan Appreciation day, Rodgers “is going to be a good one”. I’d prefer he learn the system through hard knocks during games for his frosh year than have him watch from the sideline in Miller’s last year. The time is now to develop Miller’s heir apparent, not cross our fingers for an injury-plagued player.

  • nickle

    Good post.

  • covinared

    Jan, I am sorry to inquire about a player to which you give little worth. In the future, I will be sure only to ask about those you value, so long as you let me know who is on your do not inquire list. I only asked because he was in on about 75% of the offensive reps last year, and JO assessed the overall health of the team as good, and he has been practicing recently. I’d prefer a red junior four star recruit in the game with a year’s starting experience under his belt to a true freshman three star, even though I was at Cal when his dad played db. I believe he was number 5.

  • covinared

    red shirt

  • covinared

    he also contributed as a very good blocker last year in a meaningful way. There is more to the game than catches and carries, especially when the qb’s were as inaccurate as ours last year.

  • Jan K Oski

    Cov, no one said you can’t ask the question, but you asked it in reply to a couple of JO’s entries. I get paid to notice redundances, so sorry if I noticed yours. Oh yeah, I recall that brilliant blocking by the line and TEs last year, when the 1,000 yd rusher consecutive streak ended. Rodgers already outweighs Spencer by 5 lbs, so Owusu, who has seen more of practice than JO and every other Reporter combined, should know a little more about Rodgers. By the way, when Owusu made the statement, I asked for a clarification and he was impressed with Rodger’s “complete package”. Why would a defensive-end be sololy talking about receiving? And, when does a TE have carries? Also, how many players in the Tedford era skip blue-shirting if they aren’t ready to make a significant contribution? The answer is very, very few. Rodgers will amaze, but what do the players know about opposing players in practice? The Star system is so perfect, how dare they challenge the all-knowing recruiting services? How dare Mike MO, a 2-star recruit, get drafted in the 6th round of the NFL draft! By the way, I hope Ladner does recover and contribute. I’m just not convinced he can stay healthy at this level. I’ve seen the young man thriving in pain too many times in Old Memorial…

    Go BEARS!

  • covinared

    my inquiry was at 8am. his post on his surgery was later. all previous ones were that he had begun practicing. I know all about the unreliabilty of stars to predict performance, but the point is, I don’t think this team is at the point of writing off the year to consider immediately playing raw talent in key positions, and very few true freshmen are ready to contribute immediately at this level more than one of Ladner’s ability and experience.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Why don’t the two of you take it outside so that rest of us can talk about the season. Does anyone have a prediction for the game on Saturday other than FSU fans buying more tickets than Cal state fans.

    I would hope that we would do more of that this year. Let’s hear your game predictions but I won’t be sitting around my computer waiting for GOGO Bears and/or his many aliases.

  • RandyBear

    What’s the big fuss about the Tight End pecking order … WE DON’T USE THEM ANYWAY!!! Just put an athletic Guard in there and let him block since we only go to the TE once a game.

  • BlueNGold

    moron you have never been, and are not now, here to “talk about the season”. Your only purpose in being here is to talk trash, spread unconfirmed gossip and stir things up. Why don’t YOU take it outside?

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    And still not one single prediction for the final score and outcome of the game. I swear this group of posters to be the biggest cowards. One would think you guys don’t have much faith in your team.

    Maybe I should ask for your prediction for the final score and outcome of the Blue Hose game.