Aug. 9, 2006
BERKELEY - While the third day of practice did not feature full pads for the California football team on Wednesday afternoon at Memorial Stadium, it did feature shells and plenty of contact as the Golden Bears worked out for 30 periods with their most extensive 11-on-11 action of the preseason.
"They [the players] have been working out all summer long and there's only so much running and lifting you can do before you want to play some real football," Cal head coach Jeff Tedford said of the players' mindsets on the first day of contact drills.
A pair of seniors were among the defensive players with the first resounding hits of camp. Defensive back Tim Mixon took down a receiver with a hard blow while linebacker Desmond Bishop emphatically stuffed a running back on a rush up the middle. Senior Daymeion Hughes snagged an interception in the open field with a wide-open path to the end zone as well in seven-on-seven drills.
"We wanted to come out with high intensity; it was a good day," Mixon said. "We haven't had the pads on in a while, so we have been eager [to put them on]. We're anxious to get the full pads on; we want to keep going to get ready for Tennessee."
While the defense had the opportunity to make hits, the offense did not back off. Sophomore wide receiver LaReylle Cunningham made a leaping grab of a Steve Levy delivery for a 20-yard gain and redshirt freshman Kyle Reed found junior Noah Smith for a 44-yard connection for the offensive highlights of the afternoon session.
"Today the quarterbacks were not as accurate as they need to be," Tedford said. "But they're making real good reads and things for the first day with shoulder pads on. They'll get more accurate; they were just a little inconsistent today."
The Bears had practiced in just helmets for the first two days of preseason camp.
Cal opens the 2006 campaign on Saturday, Sept. 2 at Tennessee. That game will be televised live by ESPN. The home opener for the Bears is Sept. 9 against Minnesota at 4 p.m. For ticket information, call 1-800-GO-BEARS.