July 30, 2010
BERKELEY - The Cal football program hosted another fun women's huddle on Friday night at Memorial Stadium. Jeff Tedford brought the idea to Cal shortly after he became the team's head coach in 2002, and the annual evening that happens on the final Friday each July about a week before training camp opens has turned into one of the most enjoyable Cal football events of the year.
"The women's huddle is a fun event for everyone," said Tedford. "We enjoy this every year."
The 2010 event was certainly no different.
The first of a group of approximately 500 women that ranged from first-time participants to veterans of several previous women's huddles began arriving under a warm afternoon sun in Berkeley. Official activities began at 6 p.m. when the women assembled in the north end zone stands.
Coach Tedford took to the microphone to introduce his 2010 coaching staff. Defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi seemed to be the ladies favorite.
But the cheers became much louder when each of the Cal players in attendance introduced themselves to the group of cheering ladies. Jeremy Ross was the first to say hello and was followed by Keith Browner, Josh Hill, C.J. Moncrease, Chris Conte, Ernest Owusu, Darian Hagan, Keenan Allen, Mitchell Schwartz, Giorgio Tavecchio (to a very loud cheer), Michael Calvin, Donovan Edwards, D.J. Holt, Bryant Nnabuife, Josh Hill, Vincenzo D'Amato, Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson, Robert Mullins, Solomona Aigamaua, Bryan Anger, Chris Guarnero, Garry Graffort, Spencer Ladner, Brock Mansion and Kevin Riley.
Riley thought he was the last player introduce himself before Michael Costanzo walked up and gave Riley a hard time saying that "quarterbacks always seem to want the spotlight." Costanzo then introduced himself before Derrick Hill wrapped it up. But Tedford called Browner back to the mic to make sure he recognized his mother, Charisse, who was participating in the event.
The entire group then lined up in the North Tunnel and ran out onto the field (just like the players do on gamedays) to begin a clinic and series of drills that ran nearly two hours and was occasionally "interrupted" by the early start of a social hour that was scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.
The women were divided into a number of groups that rotated through position drills with each of the coaches. A tackling drill run by defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast and a group of the defensive backs seemed to be one of the favorites.
"We learned football is hard," said Julie and Desiree, both first-time participants. "It's harder than we thought, but we'll definitely be back next year."
"I don't know why I didn't do this before," added Julie.
"The women's huddle was a great experience for me," said Ross. "It was definitely fun to be out there with the women of all ages. They were trying to see what football is all about and see what we do. It was good to see them going out there having a lot of fun. It makes it a lot more personal to be able to meet our fans."
Cal opens its 2010 season vs. UC Davis at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 4 (1:00 p.m. PT). The upcoming campaign also includes visits from Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA and Washington during a seven-game home schedule.
As Cal football prepares for its final season in the current Memorial Stadium, it is important to purchase season tickets this year. Cal fans that purchase season tickets and maintain their donation levels will have access to the best possible season-ticket seat locations when Cal football plays at AT&T Park in 2011 and returns to the renovated Memorial Stadium in 2012.
Call the Cal Athletic Ticket Office at (800) GO BEARS or visit CalBears.com to purchase your 2010 season tickets now.