BERKELEY – Cal’s offense was “better today, the energy was better from the start, the focus was better,” according to head coach Sonny Dykes during his comments to the media following the Golden Bears’ sixth practice of the team’s 2013 training camp at Memorial Stadium on Sunday.
Dykes went on to praise both sides of the ball later in his comments saying “the mentality on both the offense and the defense was really good today; I thought it was a competitive practice.”
The Bears are scheduled to be back in action at Memorial Stadium on Sunday at 4 p.m. PT but first here are a few highlights and notes from Saturday …
*In reference to the many position battles going on in camp and the camp performance of Hardy Nickerson at the middle linebacker position, Dykes said “all of those positions are up for grabs, nobody has anything locked down, whoever is the best player is going to play and he’s made the most of his opportunity.”
*Dykes also praised Cal’s true freshman as a group in his post-practice comments, pointing out specifically the recent performances of Jacobi Hunter, Khalfani Muhammad and Johnny Ragin III. Hunter recorded 2.5 sacks during team sessions Saturday and told the media after practice that “the coaches are giving me lots of reps so I get to show what I can do” in what he called a “great experience” so far in camp.
*Dykes talked about the team’s prospects at kick returner and said the players in the mix right now for the role are Muhammad, Kameron Jackson, Bryce Treggs and Brendan Bigelow.
*Muhammad wowed the crowd during one kick return drill when he burst through a hole in the coverage and was off to the races. He had two other strong returns as well. Muhammad made his Cal media debut during post-practice interviews and said “it feels great to come out here as a true freshman and get some playing time, and especially start on something like that [kick returner]. That’s phenomenal, I’m happy right now, I’m ecstatic and I’m just really looking forward to the season.” Muhammad also said that his main goal was to “make that transition from high school to college” during his comments that were just about as quick (1:10) as his fastest 100-meter time (10.22) for the prep track star who is one of only three people to ever win back-to-back individual California boys state titles in the 100 and 200 meters during his junior and senior campaigns.
*Several hundred people were in attendance in what was arguably the biggest crowd of training camp on a gorgeous afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
*The three quarterbacks in competition for the starting job all had strong showings. Zach Kline and Jared Goff both had strong sessions during the second team period with Kline completing 3-of-3 passes for 20 yards and Goff completing 3-of-4 for 30 yards. In the third and final team session that Austin Hinder split with Goff, Hinder was 5-of-6 for 29 yards including three straight completions to Bryce Treggs after Treggs had dropped the only incomplete pass by Hinder on the previous ball when Jackson delivered a crushing blow for a pass breakup. Goff was 3-for-4 for 29 yards and a touchdown to Raymond Hudson during the third team session.
*The Bears fourth and fifth quarterbacks also got some works with Joey Mahalic and Jake Geringer both getting reps towards the end of the final team session.
*Kyle Boehm scored for the offense on a five-yard touchdown run.
*Former Cal player Mike Manuel was spotted at the practice. Manuel, who graduated from Cal last December, is now working for the Pac-12 Networks as an intern in productions and broadcasting with the hopes of becoming an on-air television talent.
*The Bears had an inspirational and educational team meeting following practice when they heard from team chaplain Kevin Knox as well as director of career development Ron Coccimiglio and his former Cal teammates Mike Ahr and Fred Williams. Knox encouraged the players to “be not afraid” and invited them to a voluntary team chapel service Sunday morning. Coccimiglio, Ahr and Williams educated the Bears on personal finance issues such as budgeting and establishing good credit.
*Coccimiglio, Forbes and Dykes all commented on the importance of the post-practice team meeting.
“Bringing in these guys is really important because they give us life lessons that other people don’t get growing up … It’s the life goals that you need to have, the important life skills that will put you in a better situation … It is so meaningful as a player to have a coach that cares about you off the field … It tells us that these coaches mean what they say and it instills trust throughout the program.”
“We had a great meeting tonight with Ron, Mike and Fred giving our players a presentation on the value of making good financial decisions – budgeting money and credit and its effect on people’s lives. It was really educational. I learned something and I think our players learned a lot. That’s part of our goal to try and develop everything that we can about our student-athletes. On the field stuff is obviously important, but off the field issues are equally as important. It’s an opportunity for us to teach and to educate our players to make good decisions. Part of our goal is to develop the full person, all the different aspects because those are issues that are important and going to make big differences in the lives of our players. It’s really critical for us to try and teach them every possible way that we can and this was a great opportunity to do that.”
“Having this type of education makes the players realize we care about the entire makeup of a student-athlete, not just how good they are on the football field. They’re going to leave here and represent themselves, the University of California and any company they join by what they learn here … The hope is that if we can reach 10 guys this year, 20 guys next year then you get 10 years down the road and there’s a team of 500 and they’re doing exactly what I’m doing now. It can perpetuate itself into being a great thing for our future Bears.”
*Fans can check out post-practice interviews with Dykes and selected players after each of the team’s workouts during training camp on the Cal Athletics You Tube channel (youtube.com/calathletics). The links to the interviews will also be distributed via the @CalFootball twitter account and normally available on CalBears.com. The links below are for the most recent interviews with Dykes, Hunter and Muhammad following Saturday’s workout
More Notes …
*The countdown to Cal’s season opener at home against Northwestern on Saturday, Aug. 31 is now at 21 days. The game will be televised nationally by ESPN with a kickoff time scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PT.
*The Cal football team is scheduled to hold its first scrimmage of the 2013 training camp at Memorial Stadium on Monday, Aug. 12 (4:30 p.m. PT). All training camp practices are scheduled to be open to the public. Fans attending Cal football practices during the 2013 training camp 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 Memorial Stadium through Saturday, Aug. 24, when training camp concludes with Golden Bear Day presented by Bug Zappers Pest Control. Fans will have an opportunity to 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 for additional repeats of the show. Visit pac-12.com/switch for information on how to get the Pac-12 Networks.
Fans can visit CalBears.com and various award-winning social media pages for comprehensive coverage of Cal football with a wide array of engaging content.
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2013 CAL FOOTBALL TRAINING CAMP PRACTICE SCHEDULE
DAY, DATE (GATE 1 OPENS) ... NOTES
Sunday, Aug. 11 (4 p.m.)
Monday, Aug. 12 (9:30 a.m.) ... Freshmen Developmental Practice
Monday, Aug. 12 (4:30 p.m.) ... Scrimmage
Tuesday, Aug. 13 (4:30 p.m.)
Wednesday, Aug. 14 (9:30 a.m.) ... Freshmen Developmental Practice
Wednesday, Aug. 14 (4:30 p.m.)
Thursday, Aug. 15 (9:30 a.m.) ... Freshmen Developmental Practice
Thursday, Aug. 15 (4:30 p.m.)
Friday, Aug. 16 (9:30 a.m.)
Friday, Aug. 16 (4:30 p.m.)
Saturday, Aug. 17 (4 p.m.)
Sunday, Aug. 18 (4 p.m.)
Monday, Aug. 19 (4 p.m.)
Tuesday, Aug. 20 (4 p.m.)
Wednesday, Aug. 21 (4 p.m.)
Thursday, Aug. 22 (4 p.m.)
Friday, Aug. 23 (4 p.m.)
Saturday, Aug. 24 (11 a.m.) ... Pregame Simulation
Saturday, Aug. 24 (2-4 p.m.) ... Golden Bear Day
All times Pacific; Schedule and visiting policies subject to change
FAN PRACTICE INFORMATION
Fans attending Cal football practices during the team’s 2013 training camp should enter Memorial Stadium through Gate 1 at the north end of the facility, with available seating in sections EE, F, FF and G. Fans are asked to refrain from taking photos or video during practice.
California Memorial Stadium Location – California Memorial Stadium is located on Piedmont Avenue in Berkeley between Bancroft Way and Hearst Avenue. It is adjacent to the Simpson Center for Student-Athlete High Performance at 2227 Piedmont Avenue. Parking in the vicinity of Memorial Stadium is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please be sure to read all signs at each parking location for further important information. There are also public transportation options. See below for some suggestions.
Public Transportation – Public transportation is highly recommended when visiting Berkeley. There are multiple public transportation options that lead to Memorial Stadium. BART has a station in downtown Berkeley about a half-mile west of the venue. Visit bart.gov, actransit.org or 511.org for more information.
Recreational Sports Facility Garage – Located on the north side of Bancroft Way between Dana Street and Ellsworth Street.
Street Parking – Paid and limited street parking may be available on streets near Memorial Stadium, with most options to the east, south and west along Bancroft Way, Channing Way, Piedmont Avenue, Prospect Street, Stadium Rim Way and Warring Street.
Underhill Garage – Located on the corner of Channing Way and College Avenue.
Witter Lot – Located near the corner of Centennial Drive and Stadium Rim Way.
More Information – For more info on directions and parking options, visit berkeley.edu/map.