Aug. 4, 2008
BERKELEY - The University of California opened its preseason football camp on Monday afternoon at Memorial Stadium, conducting a spirited helmets-only practice which focused primarily on individual drills, along with some late-practice 11-on-11 action.
"We had great energy; the guys are really flying around and doing a nice job," Cal head coach Jeff Tedford said. "I'm really pleased with some of the young guys. Consistency is the thing, as you go through camp there's a lot of information and keeping up with the learning curve is going to be really important for some of the young guys. Overall, I was really pleased with the tempo of practice and the way they all worked together."
Included in the new batch of receivers were freshmen Marvin Jones, Charles Satchell and Jarrett Sparks, as well as juco transfer Verran Tucker. All four had solid opening days with Jones collecting an early highlight-reel catch on a deep pass down the left sideline.
"The young receivers did a nice job today," Tedford said. "It's going to be a process. They're going to make mistakes but we're going to stay positive with them and like I said, they all have talent and they all have size and speed. The guys who can keep up with the learning curve are the guys that will probably be the contributors. [Wide receivers coach] Kevin Daft will do a tremendous job in coaching them and getting them to understand the concepts and what we're looking for."
In addition to those receivers, another receiver preparing for his first Golden Bear action is junior Nyan Boateng, who took part in team drills the last two springs after transferring from Florida. Boateng was the first offensive player on the field for practice and gave good effort throughout.
"Nyan seems to be more hungry [this year], he seems to fit in really well with the team," Tedford said. "I think he might have come here with the idea that he was from Florida and he was something different than these guys. But now he's found his place here and been accepted and he can just focus on what he needs to do. He doesn't have to put on a show to prove himself. He knows he just needs to fit in by working hard with everybody else."
While the receivers were the focus of the day one media questions, the defense also had a solid opening day.
"It was great to be back on the field today," senior safety Bernard Hicks said. "It was great seeing all the guys together and taking one play at a time. [In the secondary], we have some good experience - Chris [Conte] has a year under his belt, Syd [Thompson], [Marcus] Ezeff and myself have all played a lot. And we have some young guys that are really talented. So I'm excited. We're all supporting each other and that's the main thing."
Cal returns to action on Tuesday with another helmets only practice.