Football: Tuesday practice update

The Bears turned the page and started looking ahead toward Colorado today. There are a lot of storylines with this one. Receivers coach Eric Kiesau and secondary coach Ashley Ambrose are less than a year removed from their jobs with the Buffaloes, as is current Colorado offensive line coach Steve Marshall from his stint at Cal. You’ll read more about that in tomorrow’s Cal notebook.

There’s also the topic of altitude. The Bears obviously aren’t used to playing in a mile elevation, and Cal is going to be conditioning extra hard this week to make sure it is ready.

Cal coach Jeff Tedford said the main thing is to make sure the players understand it is going to be different, and not to panic when they get fatigued more easily. The coaching staff had considered taking the team to Lake Tahoe for a practice during training campĀ –something they have done in the past — to give the players the experience. But Tedford said the main thing is to just prepare the team mentally.

“You may be short of breath but you will recover quickly, so don’t panic about it,” he said. “Going to Tahoe for one day isn’t going to get you acclimated to altitude. But it’s really a mindset more than anything.”

The Buffaloes are coming off a season-opening loss at Hawaii, which is favored to win the WAC this season. But Colorado will be playing its first game at home, and both Ambrose and Kiesau said the team always played better at home when they were there.

And, of course, the Buffaloes remember well their 52-7 loss at Cal last season, which was their worst defeat of the season.

“That was the worst loss last year for those guys,” Ambrose said. “They want to get back. A lot of those guys remember that. They want to try to get back at us. It’s up to us to not let it happen.”

After going primarily from the shotgun in the win over Fresno State, Tedford was asked if that’s going to become the norm now. His answer was expectedtly tight-lipped, as he rarely cares to tip off opponents about what may be coming.

“We have a lot of different plays,” Tedford said.

Kiesau, who also is Cal’s passing game coordinator, said the only times quarterback Zach Maynard went under center Saturday was to “just settle the snaps down and make sure we were getting the exchange.” But Kiesau also said the amount the Bears use the shotgun will depend on the opponent.

“It kind of depends on the game plan — who we are playing, the situation we’re in,” he said. “But I don’t think we can say it’s a set number.”

A couple of other notes from today:

  • Tedford said the running game slowed down in the second half Saturday because of some missed blocks, not because tailback Isi Sofele wasn’t hitting the hole hard enough. “We didn’t block guys we were supposed to block at times,” he said.
  • Tedford said Sofele got 24 carries because he wanted his experience on the field. When asked if backups Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson or C.J. Anderson could see more snaps at Colorado, he said: “We’ll see how the game goes. It’s always based on the flow of the game.”
  • Tedford said it’s hard to conclude much about Colorado’s defense from its game tape against Hawaii. “Hawaii runs two formations,” Tedford said.


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.