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Day 3: A Look at the Linebackers
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  08/10/2011

Aug. 10, 2011

BERKELEY - 2011 Cal Football: Outlook | Schedule | Tickets | Gameday Tee
On a sun-drenched Witter Rugby Field, the Cal football team continued practice once again in fall training camp Monday afternoon.

On a sun-drenched Witter Rugby Field, the Cal football team continued practice once again in fall training camp Monday afternoon. With the cranes currently working on Memorial Stadium in the background, the Golden Bears put shells on for the first time, as the squad had a little more leeway to collide with one another.

If there is a group of Bears on the field who are ready to start hitting, it is the linebackers. Led by fifth-year linebackers assistant coach Kenwick Thompson, Cal has a veteran group of linebackers with seniors Mychal Kendricks and D.J. Holt stepping in as two of the leaders of the pack along with fellow senior Ryan Davis.

It's a group that has Thompson very excited about the 2011 campaign.

"I'm really happy with the progress," Thompson said. "I think we're very athletic. The guys have done a great job in the weight room, so I'm really pleased with the physical aspects. We have some leadership from several of our seniors. So I'm really pleased with where they are right now."

As much as Kendricks and Holt will be called upon to do a lot on defense this season, Davis and many of the other linebackers believe it will take a combined effort from everyone for this group to do its part in keeping opposing offenses off the scoreboard.

"It's really about leading by committee," Davis said. "We have a lot of seniors on defense - myself, Mychal Kendricks, D.J. Holt, Sean Cattouse and D.J. Campbell, there are a lot of guys out there. The leadership is combined through all of us. Along with the younger and the middle guys, we all teach each other. That's how it's been since I've been here. It's very respectful. Everybody is able to teach everybody."

Perhaps the leadership role that Thompson is looking for guys like Kendricks and Holt to provide will come as being on-field mentors for some of the freshmen like Chris McCain and redshirt freshman David Wilkerson.

McCain, who singled out Wilkerson as somebody who has impressed him through the opening practices of camp, said he looks to the veterans for help and support.

"Mychal Kendricks stands out," McCain said. "He has the No. 1 voice out of the group, the middle linebackers. Everybody has a voice, but everybody looks to Mychal as a leader. We go to him when we have questions or need help. He has the main voice."

Kendricks enters the season on numerous watch lists and was named to the preseason first team All-Pac-12 team. A second-team All-Pac-10 selection a year ago, he registered 8.5 sacks (0.71 per game, No. 2 Pac-10, No. 26-T NCAA) and 15.0 tackles for loss (1.25 per game, No. 4 Pac-10, No. 28-T NCAA).

Holt also had a breakout campaign in 2010, his first as a starter. He ranked second on the club last year behind the departed Mike Mohamed with 85 tackles and paced the squad with three forced fumbles (0.25 per game, No. 4-T Pac-10).

With Kendricks and Holt leading the way, and a slew of talent behind them on the depth chart, Thompson has nothing but lofty expectations for his unit.

"I think this group has to be an integral part of what we do as far as making football plays," Thompson said. "The ultimate goal here is to win football games, and in order to be able to do this, the linebackers have to play a big part in that. I expect them to be at the forefront of making that happen - helping us win football games, stopping people and not letting people score. "

After playing the last 88 seasons and every home game at Memorial Stadium since the facility opened for the 1923 Big Game, Cal will host its home games outside of Berkeley for the first time in 2011 while Memorial Stadium undergoes an extensive renovation and retrofit. For updates on the progress of the renovation and retrofit of Memorial Stadium as well as the Memorial Stadium webcam, visit stadium.berkeley.edu.

Cal football tickets for the team's five-game 2011 regular-season home schedule at San Francisco's AT&T Park are on sale now. Cal will host Pac-12 opponents USC (Thu., Oct. 13), Utah (Sat., Oct. 22), Washington State (Sat., Oct. 5) and Oregon State (Sat., Oct. 12) at the venue after playing Presbyterian in its home opener on Saturday, Sept. 17.

Single-game tickets for the TicketCity Battle by the Bay at San Francisco's Candlestick Park against Fresno State on Saturday, Sept. 3 are also on sale now. The neutral-site season opener for both teams is not part of the Bears' season-ticket package.

Tickets can be purchased online for at CalBears.com or by calling the Cal Athletic Ticket Office at (800) GO BEARS.

2011 CAL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

Day, Date - Opponent (Time, TV)
^Sat., Sept. 3 - Fresno State (4 p.m. PT, CSN California)
Sat., Sept. 10 - at Colorado (1:30 p.m. MT/12:30 p.m. MT)
Sat., Sept. 17 - Presbyterian (TBA)
*Sat., Sept. 24 - at Washington (TBA)
*Thu., Oct. 6 - at Oregon (6 p.m. PT, ESPN)
*#Thu., Oct. 13 - USC (6 p.m. PT, ESPN)
*Sat., Oct. 22 - Utah (TBA)
*Sat., Oct. 29 - at UCLA (TBA)
*Sat., Nov. 5 - Washington State (TBA)
*Sat., Nov. 12 - Oregon State (TBA)
*Sat., Nov. 19 - at Stanford (TBA)
*Fri., Nov. 25 - at Arizona State (8:15 p.m. MT/7:15 p.m. PT, ESPN)
!Fri., Dec. 2 - Pac-12 Championship Game (TBA, FOX)

Home Games in Bold at AT&T Park, San Francisco, Calif.;
^TicketCity Battle by the Bay at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, Calif.;
*Pac-12 Game;
!Pac-12 Championship Game at Home Site of Regular-Season Champion;
#Homecoming

Cal Bears Football


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