by Jonathan Okanes
BERKELEY – Even after four years of sporadic play, a promising training camp cut short by injury and a coaching change, Jackson Bouza’s vision never got clouded.
Now as the Cal wide receiver prepares for his senior season, the skies are looking pretty bright.
Bouza is making an impression during the first week of training camp. He’s competing with Richard Rodgers and Stephen Anderson for a starting role as an inside receiver, and is legitimately in the mix for significant playing time in 2013.
“I’ve always had this vision of how my career would turn out and I just had to trust the process,” said Bouza, the son of former Cal and NFL wide receiver Matt Bouza. “I was always really confident in my ability. I knew I could play. It just took some time.”
Bouza started getting significant reps during training camp in 2011 but a broken finger derailed his attempt to get into the rotation. With All-American Keenan Allen and a deep freshmen class in the mix last season, Bouza played almost strictly on special teams in 2012.
With Allen off to the NFL and new head coach Sonny Dykes’ system benefitting wide receivers, Bouza is having a renaissance this August.
“I think it fit my style of play,” Bouza said. “I feel like I have a knack for open space. When you play slot in this offense, it’s so up-tempo that there’s a lot of space to attack. I feel like I have a good feeling for that.”
Bouza said that while his father played at Cal, he didn’t necessarily spend his childhood coming to every game. Still, presented with a scholarship offer from Sacramento State or a chance to walk on at Cal coming out of De La Salle High School, he decided to keep it in the family and come to Berkeley.
“He’s been really, really consistent,” Dykes said. “Right now, he’s been one of the more consistent receivers. When he’s had opportunities, he’s made the most of them.”
Bouza, who redshirted his freshman season, has been through major transition during his time at Cal. He has seen firsthand the construction of the Simpson Center for Student-Athlete High Performance and renovation of California Memorial Stadium, moving from Memorial Stadium to Witter Field for practices while calling Memorial Stadium, the Simpson Center and the surge facilities at Strawberry Canyon all home for football’s facilities.
With a new coaching staff and an upgraded Memorial Stadium, Bouza feels fortunate to have seen all the transition through to the end.
“It was hard, but I always had this vision that it would all work out,” Bouza said. “I really did just have to trust everything and keep working hard.”
Cal fans can see Bouza and his teammates throughout the team’s 2013 training camp during at open practices at Memorial Stadium. Fans attending Cal football practices should enter Memorial Stadium through Gate 1 at the north end of the facility, with available seating in sections A, AA, B, BB, C, CC, D, DD, E and EE. Fans are asked to refrain from taking photos or video during practice.
Cal is slated to work out every day at California Memorial Stadium through Saturday, Aug. 24, when training camp will conclude with Golden Bear Day presented by Bug Zappers Pest Control. Fans will have opportunity meet the team at the free event at Lisa and Douglas Goldman Plaza at Memorial Stadium from 2 to 4 p.m. PT.
Golden Bear fans will also have an opportunity to get an all-access inside look at Cal football during the 2013 season through The Drive, a new television series featuring the Cal and Arizona State football programs that will air in 14 episodes on the Pac-12 Networks this fall. The show will debut with an hour-long special on Wednesday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. that will focus on training camp and the first two games of the 2013 season. For the subsequent 13 weeks, the program will be 30 minutes and debut with two airings of a new episode every Wednesday across all seven networks at 7 p.m. and following the conclusion of Wednesday night Pac-12 Networks women's volleyball action at approximately 9:30 p.m. Check the Pac-12 Networks TV schedule (pac-12.com/tv-listings/pac-12-national) for additional repeats of the show. Visit pac-12.com/switch for information on how to get the Pac-12 Networks.
Cal will host seven games at Memorial Stadium in 2013 beginning with three in a row against non-conference opponents Northwestern (Aug. 31, 7:30 p.m. PT, ESPN2), Portland State (Sept. 7, 2 p.m. PT, Pac-12 Networks) and Ohio State (Sept. 14, 4 p.m., FOX). Cal will also play Pac-12 home games against Washington State on Homecoming Weekend (Oct. 5), Oregon State (Oct. 19), Arizona (Nov. 2) and USC (Nov. 9).
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