As mentioned in an earlier post, the biggest news today was that Marc Anthony will start Saturday at UCLA. Granted, Anthony has been a starter since the beginning of last season, but with the development of true freshman Stefan McClure, it seemed as though Anthony may have a battle on his hands to get his starting job back.
But coach Jeff Tedford doesn’t believe Anthony should lose his starting job just because he was injured, so he will be back in there Saturday. Anthony, who dislocated his shoulder against Oregon on Oct. 6, returned to practice today.
“I don’t feel 100 percent but I’m going to go out there and give my best effort to win this Saturday,” Anthony said by phone this afternoon after wrapping up classes for the day. “I talked to the medical staff and they wanted me to try it out today at practice. Everything felt good.”
Tuesdays are Cal’s only full-pad practice each week, and Anthony said he got in some hitting without incident.
Anthony said he did whatever he could to help McClure while he was injured.
“For a freshman to get thrown into the game like that, he did excellent,” Anthony said. “He got beat a couple times but he’ll learn from that. I believe he did extremely well for the circumstances he got put into.”
Anthony said he never feared for his starting job despite McClure’s play against USC and Utah.
“I had no idea about my position,” he said. “I don’t care who is starting. As long as we win football games, that’s all that matters to me.”
Tedford said McClure would continue to get playing time, filling in for Anthony and Steve Williams on certain possessions.
Cal safety Sean Cattouse said the secondary is in a better position now because Anthony is back and McClure has experience.
“It’s always good to get Marc back,” Cattouse said. “Stef stepped in and stepped up huge. He had his share of tough plays, as anyone has this season.
“A lot of guys are excited that Marc is back. Stef got a taste of it. We’ll be good either way.”
Cattouse said even when McClure first replaced Anthony at Oregon, the team was confident he could do the job.
“Stef is the next guy in line at corner,” Cattouse said. “He’s going to be solid. We can throw him in there and be confident at this point. When he first went in there the first game, we felt good about him. The experience definitely helps. He’s more confident now.”
More from today:
- Tedford, on quarterback Zach Maynard’s performance against Utah: “I thought he took a big step last week. I thought he was composed and played at game speed. Sometimes you’re trying too hard and you’re moving too quick. The game slows down at some point for you. The more experience you get, the game slows down. Not that you slow down, but you just start seeing things a little better.”
- Cattouse echoed what Tedford said at the beginning of the week regarding UCLA’s suspensions — that it could make the Bruins rally together and become tougher. “They’re in a tough situation down there so we would anticipate them coming out with not too much to lose. We have to be ready for anything and everything from them. We definitely have to be on our toes more than ever and be ready for any possibility.”
- Cattouse, on linebacker Dave Wilkerson, who had a breakout game against Utah: “I love Wilk. Wilk is a beast. I’m looking forward to watching him when I’m gone. We have a lot of young guys out there making plays.”
Cattouse, a fifth-year senior and one of the more thoughtful players on the team, was interesting to talk to about recent reports that the NCAA may vote on a proposal boosting student-athlete grants by $2,000. He said many players on the team don’t feel like their scholarship money is enough to really allow them to deal with all of their expenses. Cattouse said he was “all for” the proposal.
“It’s a comfort level, not to splurge or anything,” Cattouse said. “It would have made me a lot more comfortable. It took me to this fall semester to really kind of figure everything out, but I’m still struggling.”
Cattouse said many players can’t afford some of the basic things not covered in their scholarship money. He said he receives a little over $900 per month for housing and other expenses (not counting tuition). He pays $700 in rent.
“Food is something we shouldn’t have to worry about very often, but a lot of guys do,” Cattouse said. “Food and transportation are probably the biggest things. That should be the least of our concerns.”
Cattouse pointed out that football players don’t have the time to get part-time jobs during the season, while other students could supplement by doing so.
“This is kind of how we get paid,” Cattouse said. “Other students can go and work. It’s kind of how we make our money. If I could work, it would be nice.”
Cattouse also said a petition signed by over 300 football and men’s basketball players from a handful of schools never circulated to Cal. The petition calls on the NCAA to make some of the money being generated by lucrative television contracts available to the student-athletes.
“You’d think we could get a little bit more,” Cattouse said. “I don’t know a number, but we get peanuts to what college sports makes.”