Jeff Tedford seemed pleased with Cal’s week of practice, especially because the Bears had to labor through a couple of unseasonably hot days.
“Tuesday and Wednesday were really hard,” Tedford said. “It was good, hot weather and we pushed through some really hard days. Now it’s time to focus in and get ready to play the game.”
After Saturday, the Bears will be one-third of the way through the season. It’s the second year of Cal’s switch to morning practices, which Tedford has been generally pleased about.
Tedford made the switch at the beginning of last season because he believed it would allow players to better maximize their time. They are done with football between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. each day and have the rest of the day to attend class, study, attend tutorial sessions and maybe even have some free time. Tedford felt when they practiced in the afternoons, players would typically set up their schedules so they could sleep in, attend class and then go to practice. That didn’t leave much time for studying or anything else in the evenings.
“There are plusses and minuses, just like anything,” he said. “I think the players really like it. As much as anything, it helps with their academics. The football part of it would probably be better always in the afternoon, but as far as managing their time and giving them time to go to class, study, see tutors andn things like that, I think it’s been beneficial to us.”
The Bears will fly to Seattle on Friday morning and have a walkthrough at Husky Stadium. Tedford said freshman safety and special teamer Avery Sebastian should be available after missing last Saturday’s game against Presbyterian.
Even though Sebastian doesn’t play much, he is an example of a guy that could still benefit from not redshirting the season. Tedford has no problem playing some freshman in limited fashion because it will help them the following season in terms of practicing with the offense and defense instead of the scout team. Guard Brian Schwenke is an example of that. He played sparingly as a true freshman in 2009 but earned a starting job last year.
Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast spoke to reporters today. A coupe of points he touched on:
- On Washington quarterback Keith Price: “He does a nice job seeing the field. He tries to keep plays alive when a play may break down. He does a nice job of getting out of the pocket and keeps his eyes down field. He scrambles to throw instead of scrambling to run. (Truth be told, Price would probably run more if he hadn’t suffered sprains to both of his knees).
- On whether true freshman like Chris McCain and Cecil Whiteside can be more than just passing down players: “Our package is very expansive. We’re trying to eliminate some of the mental things for them so they can focus on one thing. We want them to be first, second and third down players. Not that they can’t do that now, but I’m trying to get them to match the harder part of the package first. As the season progresses, you’ll see those guys playing more and more.”
Defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi also spoke with reporters today. He was asked a few questions about defensive end Trevor Guyton, who is from the Seattle area, among others. The highlights:
- On Guyton’s season so far: “Trevor Guyton has been playing solid for us. He’s been our production leader. I know he’s excited, as far as going back to where his family is living.”
- On what he means by Guyton being the “production leader”: “He’s making the most plays, whether that be in pass rush or run game, tackles, tackles for loss, sacks, tipped balls, sacking the quarteback. … the guys get graded on a daily basis, practice and games. He had the most production after the first two weeks of play.”
- On NT Viliama Moala’s development so far: “I’m very pleased with his development. He’s been earning more reps week by week. He’s coming along real well. He’s putting a lot of effort into technique, instead of just being a big, strong body. He’s trying to take his game to the next level by really honing down on his technique.”
- On whether Moala will play more Saturday: “It will always be dictated as we go through the game. We’ll see, depending on the situations and what Washington’s offense presents us. He’s going to be geared up to play a good amount. I know he’s excited for the opportunity.”
- On redshirt freshman DE Gabe King, who hasn’t played much yet this season: “He’s been progressing as well, week by week. What our guys know is up front is that it’s an extremely competitive environment and it’s their goal to get on the field every week. As they show improvement in both the technical aspect as well as knowing their playbook, they’ll have the ability to gain more reps on game day. I’m excited about Gabe’s future here and this year. By no means is it shut down that he won’t be playing this season. He’s competing and trying to get on the field each week.”
- On competition among the defensive line: “Our guys know if there is any one day that you come to work here and want to take a day off or sleep through a workout, you’ll get passed up literally that day. There are a lot of guys starving here to compete and get on the field. That’s the environment that we want and promote here. You don’t have the luxury of even thinking about not coming with the right attitude to practice because you’ll get passed up that day.”