Aug. 6, 2008
Berkeley - The California football team wrapped up its third day of fall camp in Memorial Stadium in shoulder pads on Wednesday, with continued emphasis in 11-on-11 drills, and defensive and offensive tutorials.
"Actually, we've been practicing so hard without them [pads] that there wasn't a ton of difference today, except for being able to have some collisions," said head coach Jeff Tedford. "They were getting after it pretty hard, especially yesterday, so it makes me feel a little better with the shoulder pads on today. They have been practicing very hard and very fast. There's no question they're ready to get the full pads on."
There were two installments of the 11-on-11s, including a two-minute drill in the early going. The wide receiver corps looked strong as redshirt freshman Michael Calvin used his size and strength to shake defenders and haul in several passes thrown his way.
"Camp's been going pretty well," said Calvin. "Every day I've been progressing; I'm getting a feel for everything and I'm in my comfort zone. But even when I'm getting out of my comfort zone, I'm feeling comfortable. I can work on everything - blocking, squaring up, sticking my routes, running the routes right, making good reads. I am ready for full pads, ready to get after it."
Junior wide out Nyan Boateng displayed great concentration down the sidelines catching a deep pass from Nate Longshore, while freshman Marvin Jones continued to impress in the early stages of camp, when he corralled a pass with one arm falling down in the 1-on-1 drills. Sophomore Kevin Riley also hooked up with LaReylle Cunningham on a couple of occasions, including a back of the endzone juggling grab by Cunningham in the second 11-on-11 session.
Longshore and junior Cameron Morrah both were clicking on the same page, as the senior signal caller found the 6-4 tight end many times.
"The quarterbacks were pretty sharp today. They had a lot of zing on their passes. They threw it with authority and they made good decisions. It was a real good day today for them."
Cal's running backs have been productive thus far as sophomore Jahvid Best continued to shake defenders, including a long scamper in the first 11-on-11 drill. "I'm real excited [to be out here practicing]," said Best. "I was thinking a week before camp started how much I can't wait to get out here. I haven't played real football in a while. It feels good to be back."
A new drill which has been added to the team's rotation this fall has been a circuit of turnover drills conducted at the start of each practice.
"When you look at the stats, we something like [28-2] when we win the turnover battle," said Tedford. "It's pretty evident that when we don't win the turnover battle, we're like [10-18]. So it's very evident that we need to win the turnover battle. We need everybody to know how to secure footballs, how to take footballs away, how to recover footballs, how to judge tipped balls. That's what these drills are about."
Defensively in fall camp, the linebackers have shown speed and strength in several of the drills. Junior Devin Bishop, younger brother of former linebacker and current member of the Green Bay Packers, Desmond Bishop, has been taking advantage of his opportunity this fall. "It feels real good to be out here," said Bishop. "I've been able to show the coaches what I'm capable of out here. And it gives me more room to improve on a consistent basis, and hopefully it will improve my chances of getting out on the field and contributing any way I can. We're a real deep unit. We're all competing out here, but we al get along. We're a real close unit [speaking about the backers] and it's good that way."
"We talk all the time," said Bishop [on talking to Desmond]. "He'll ask how I'm doing and how I can get better."