April 1, 1999
Berkeley - Cal head coach Tom Holmoe indicates he is pleased with the first two days of spring football practice and indicates that the pace will begin to pick up with padded practices scheduled to begin on Friday and Monday.
Cal went through two-hour workouts on Monday and Wednesday in shorts, but will endure heavier action in coming practices. The focus of the spring is on the offensive side of the football where new coordinator Steve Hagen is installing a new offense and there are many questions to answer who will fill the quarterback and wide receiver spots.
"I've been excited about the tempo we have on offense," said Holmoe. "We're getting a lot accomplished in a short amount of time. There's been a ton of 7-on-7 and 1-on-1 drills. We've been able to put in a large portion of our offense in just two practices and the guys are picking it up quickly. The coaching staff, and Steve Hagen in particular, has put high expectations on our players to learn the offense and I've been very happy with how few formation errors we're seeing."
Fields is up almost to 215 pounds while Muhammad looks much quicker than he did a year ago. Helfman, who briefly left the team last season, before re-enrolling this January is a big surprise. He's nearly 6-6 and up to 240 pounds with the soft hands you would expect from his days as an accomplished prep basketball player.
Hagen indicated he, likewise, is pleased by the early progress of his offense. "We're doing some things well and some things not so well," he said. "Generally, I'm happy with our progress but we have a long, long ways to go. Our quarterbacks our throwing the possession routes well, but we need to be more accurate on the longer passes."
Holmoe said Cal's defense is "picking up right where it left off last year," He singled out Chidi Iwuoma, who is gearing for a big junior season at cornerback after putting on 10 pounds of muscle in the off-season, and Jamaal Cherry, who looks sharp at linebacker.
While Cal will practice in pads on Friday, Holmoe said that the team would have more contact drills during Monday's padded practice.