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 camp –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.

  • cal85

    Is the team leaving any earlier to Colorado to acclimate? It seems like Tedford is taking the transition pretty lightly, but it does take a full day to make the altitude transition.

  • Bears

    These guys are young and in great shape. It’s not like they are playing above 10,000 feet. Both teams will have to deal with the same conditions.
    Our team will be there with at least 24 hours to adjust, do the walk through and hydrate.
    Weak teams let external factors beat them.
    This is an interesting game, we’ll learn even more about our team from this first road trip.
    Can’t wait!

  • RandyBear

    JT is making a HUGE mistake by not taking the altitude more seriously.

    It has nothing to do with how ‘young’ or what ‘great shape’ we’re in. And it’s definitely NOT psychological. It’s a red-blood cell issue! When you train at sea level, your body doesn’t have sufficient red-blood cells to deliver oxygen at altitude. When Colorado goes No-Huddle in the 2nd Half, we’re going to be gassed! I wish we were leaving TOMORROW to get up there and get acclimated.

  • Rollonubears

    This is what happened against Colorado state. I hope they get there early, too. There is no way one running back can carrie the load up there. Hopefully our depth at most positions will help. We need to set the tempo in this game, that’s for sure. One day in tahoe last summer wouldn’t help now. You’re right, they should be up there tomorrow at the latest. Aren’t charter flights cheaper on Thursday anyway?

  • Eric

    Remember Maryland?

  • Larry

    I was in Ft. Collins, CO a few years back and the first day I was there went on a hike. I got light headed and almost passed out. I was in great shape. The altitude will get you if you aren’t prepared for it. Rotating in players will be key. DL should really be at an advantage. I bet we’ll see more DeBoskie and Anderson this game.


  • Larry

    I wish I could forget Maryland. I was there at that game. One of the most humid and sticky days of my life. We got our ___ handed to us. The heat and humidity definately was a factor in that game. I was miserable just sitting in the stands, I couldn’t imagine running around in that heat.

  • rollonubears

    should be in the low 70s and mostly sunny in boulder on saturday afternoon. other than the lack of oxygen, that’s about as good as it gets for weather there.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Yes I remember Maryland. LOL.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    And let’s not forget Knoxville. 105K hostile fans with heat and humidity too. 35-0 at halftime with a final score that I called perfectly.

  • Kevin

    Randy, when we played air force in 2004 the team flew out friday afternoon and smoked them. Ditto for Colorado state in ’07.

    If the team is good, they’ll take care of business.

    And everyone, please stop recalling your high-altitude hiking stories. These are (pretty-much) professional athletes at their peak physical conditions. And this is football, not a marathon. There are downs (read: stop and go’s) and our 2-deep has more athletes and than the buffs.

    Again, if the team is good, there is no issue.

  • SteveNTEXAS

    Are we not forgetting we got our revenge on Tennessee the next year. Didn’t morencoming’s parents forget birth control?

  • MoreSanctionsComing


    Do you remember saying you would leave if everyone voted you out? Then do you remember the post where everyone did?

    How empty is your life that you choose to spend it on a site where you are unwanted and universally hated?

    Don’t try to join in the conversation – nobody cares what you think. If this was a conversation happening in person we would all turn our back to you.

  • Altitude-shmaltitude. Colorado is a bad team. The Bears and most every other P12 team playing in boulder should win. We’ve got incredible depth on defense at all three levels, there is no need for anyone to get gassed. I don’t think Colorado gets to 20 points. Can we? Definitely. 38-17 CAL!

  • MoreSanctionsComing

    The Moren needs to be banned from this blog for being a moron just like USC was banned from bowl games for cheating.

  • eric

    Moron – as for Tennessee, I was there. It wasn’t hot or humid – the weather was quite pleasant. We got beat down hard, from the kick-off when Stevens was knocked out to the end. And so we took our revenge the following year, again with beautiful weather, with DeSean’s EA Sports-level punt return and Follett’s complete destruction of the QB.

    But do you remember the exquisitely beautiful weather the day the NCAA announced sanctions on U$C? Or the light trade winds the day the NCAA denied U$C’s appeal? Remember?

  • bobsac

    The hiking stories should not be forgotten. All of us hikers know that we perform better after two nights at elevation instead of just one night. The team should fly to Colorado on Thursday. If it is a close loss Saturday, the blame should go to whoever made the decision to fly Friday instead of Thursday. Hopefully, the team will moot the issue this year by winning.

  • Bears

    I hike at elevation very often, I’m not in good shape. Give me 24 hours and plenty of fluids and I’m just fine. No fluids or not enough that’s a problem.
    If a team allows external factors like the weather, elevation, press or internet to get in their head they are not very good.
    Can’t wait for Friday to fly out there!

  • ScottyBear

    Another note, Tedford’s play calling was much more aggressive last Saturday than last year. Lots of passes and different routes, plus it was great to see ZM rolling around on pass plays then running with the ball. Keep going! Go Bears!

  • milo

    Cal depth and rotation on D will be the difference considering how porous Colo’s o-line is. I see double-digit sacks.

    The offense needs to stay on the field, create some drive and score.

    5,000 feet is a factor but it’s not 10k or 15k. An elite athlete should be able to handle it if monitored.

  • rollonubears

    Momma Lynch gave me a big hug at the Tennessee game as I was proudly donning my #10. And despite the loss, that was the best night out at the bars I think I’ll ever enjoy. Their fans were awesome, too.

    “We’ve got a lot of respect for your boys out there. It should be a good game. Here, have a nip of corn liquor and join us in a few verses of RockyTop.”

  • pdxoski

    An Ode To Willie Mack Garza

    While $C tries to fix the plumbing
    Unanticipated news is most numbing
    A sudden resignation
    Could be a designation
    Of even more sanctions forthcoming

  • 2xGldn

    Ignore MoreNCS. It lives for the engagement. Download the GreaseMonkey script for FireFox (didn’t try it for IE) and be free forever.


  • Daniel

    The altitude won’t affect both teams. One team lives at that altitude, the other lives at a slightly hilly sea level. I’ve lived in mountains enough that my doctor asked about it because my blood was “thick” to carry extra oxygen.

    Cal should fly earlier and acclimate longer, but we never do. Time changes, heat, humidity, altitude, pollen…I don’t care. Give the kids time to get used to it…if you want to win. For those saying it doesn’t matter, could you remind me what our road record is over the last 5 seasons?

    Elite athletes are way more likely to notice a difference than Joe Sixpack. Running a 4.7 40 vs. a 4.5 40 is huge. Weekend Warrior only cares that he got to the end of the trail eventually, and made it back.