(BERKELEY) - The day started under chilly and cloudy conditions Sunday morning for the Cal football team as the Golden Bears huddled inside a large outdoor tent that served as a photo studio for team head shots.
Every single player in attendance at training camp dutifully and happily showed up to take their picture that will be seen all across the country this fall, from the living rooms at home during television broadcasts to the big screens at AT&T Park, Candlestick Park and stadiums of all six teams the Bears play on the road.
The players were mostly business and fully cooperated with instructions to remove any earrings or other jewelry for the shot and wear their polo shirts in a similar fashion to show unity, falling in line with the team's "Everything Matters" and "Team Matters" slogans that were adopted following the 2010 campaign.
Although there wasn't much individualism on display in terms of dress code, there were plenty of clever, entertaining and funny moments.
Marc Anthony giving the right answer when asked what the first thing he was asked to do was, before going on to explain his "get there early" strategy for photo day and flash his "mean mug" that he used for the photo.
Brendan Bigelow claiming he was smiling for his head shot and trying to show what he would do if he "mean mugged" it but cracking up before he could finish.
Mark Brazinski explaining that his beard is not in honor of San Francisco Giants' closer Brian Wilson.
D.J. Holt pulling off the most interesting outfit of the day when he showed up for his head shot with his Transformers pajama bottoms still on.
Former player Ed Johnston doing just about everything now as a member of the equipment room staff.
Marvin Jones making the best and most veteran move of the day, dropping his time commitment from about five minutes to 28 seconds (there's video to prove it). Cal players take two separate head shots on photo day, one with a jersey on and another with a polo shirt. Players will typically take one of the pictures and then step back a couple spots in line to change outfits and do it again. But after taking his first head shot in a polo, the crafty veteran to the surprise of everyone took off the polo and ... pow ... flashed his famous No. 1 jersey underneath. CalBears.com used some of the time he saved to interview him about the trick that freshman Stefan McClure picked up and also employed.
Fifth-year senior quarterback Brock Mansion and his understudy, redshirt freshman Austin Hinder, explaining and employing their head shot strategy. The duo waited until late in the session and waltzed right in to quickly take care of business, without being the infamous "last guy" who will remain anonymous but probably be the first one there in 2012.
The sometimes camera-shy Anthony Miller being "just glad it's over."
The 75-year-old Dog Miller wanting to update his photo, dressing up in his coat and tie, and claiming he "looks better now" than he did when his last head shot was taken about eight years ago.
Viliami Moala and Puka Lopa having some fun playing around for the CalBears.com camera and somehow putting mean mugs together for the camera for literally about one second before breaking up laughing.
Avery Walls posing for the "green screen" without a green screen.
David Wilkerson made his new look official, taking his 2011 head shot with a significant amount of hair on his head and a little more on his chin, after coming in with a virtually shaved dome as a rookie last year.
First-year head equipment manager Todd Hewitt explaining his role in photo day. To see what some of these guys had to say about their antics, visit CalBears.com. Lunch and meetings followed photo day and by the time the Bears hit the field for their mid-afternoon practice, the morning cold and clouds had given way to a stunningly beautiful, bright and warm day at Witter Rugby Field.
Vivid and vibrant colors abounded in Strawberry Canyon, with the sun illuminating the green turf and the green trees that blanket the hills surrounding three sides of the team's practice field. On the other side, four large cranes stood tall and proud, rising from the floor of an under-renovation Memorial Stadium that will be home to the Bears again in 2012.
Something else that looked sharp was the play of this year's group of talented wide receivers, including the dynamic duo of Marvin Jones and Keenan Allen. The group will continue to learn and develop under the tutelage of passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach Eric Kiesau, who has returned for his second stint with Cal football in 2011.
"I like my group a lot," Kiesau said. "Everybody talks about Marvin and Keenan who are obviously the top two guys, but I need to get more out of guys who may have underachieved the last couple of years like Michael Calvin and Coleman Edmond. I have to get the ball in their hands somehow, some way."
"The whole group is a really good group, and I need to develop the entire group so other teams can't just focus on Marvin, or just focus on Keenan," Kiesau added.
Kiesau was asked about who he felt would lead his talented group of players.
"Leadership comes from within," Kiesau responded. "I think Marvin will definitely be that guy, but I'm also challenging some of the younger guys to not be afraid to lead. Just because you're the senior doesn't make you the leader. Leaders come in a lot of different sizes and shapes and fashions. If you have the ability to lead, make some plays, back it up and work hard, I don't care if it's a true freshman. Every organization and every team needs true leaders and wherever they emerge from if it's a natural leader just let them lead."
Kiesau also talked about his return to coach at Cal.
"It's awesome, I love it, I really do," said Kiesau. "I love the coaching staff, and there are obviously great coaches here. I'm excited. It feels like I never left. I kind of stepped right back in and got to work. It's very similar [to my previous stint at Cal], and I mean that in a positive way. That's one of the reasons I was so intrigued in coming back. When I was here the first time, it was awesome, it was great. I learned so much, and I was around great men. When you leave that then you don't realize how good you have it until you leave. Coming back was a natural fit. A lot of things that coach Tedford does around here, structure-wise, offensively, are things that I believe in, so to step back into the situation was almost a no-brainer."
Jones also met with reporters after practice and added his take on several topics.
On the duo that he and his fellow receiver Allen have formed ...
"Last year we thought that we were one of the top tandems in the nation, but now with him having a year of experience under his belt and me being a senior, I think he and I can definitely be one of the top tandems in the nation."
On the chemistry between himself and starting quarterback Zach Maynard ...
"I have a feel for him. I had a feel for him this spring. We had a good spring together. They [Zach and Keenan Allen] are brothers but on the field it's all about going through progressions. You can't go wrong when you have me and then Keenan on the opposite side."
On the return of passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach Eric Kiesau ... "It's been great, it's been vital to the little success we've been having. We have a great connection with him. In the film room, he breaks it down to a tee, it's all about details and on the field it shows."
Allen seconded Jones' thoughts.
"He's been a great coach, introducing new drills and stuff you can work on," Allen said. "He's been a great help to my game and all the other receivers as well. He's always fired up. He always wants to make a big play and for us to encourage our teammates when they make a big play. He wants us to stay focused, come out and do our best, give it our all, have fun and win some games."
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. PT)
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, FSN)
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