August 15, 1997
Bears Finish First Day in Turlock
The Cal football team went through a pair of long practices in its first day in Turlock Thursday. The temperature reached almost 100 degrees, but coach Tom Holmoe had practices over two-and-a-half hours in the morning and the evening.
Several players were missing from practice, remaining in Berkeley for final summer school exams, but all are expected by Friday night. Among those not present were tailback Tarik Smith and offensive line standout Jeremy Newberry. Smith should be in a uniform Friday morning, with Newberry at practice Saturday morning. Almost all of Cal's freshman class is scheduled to arrive Friday, including Andre Carter. A number of players missed the morning practice while finishing finals Thursday morning, but arrived in time for after noon practice.
Among those practicing for the first time in the afternoon were quarterback Justin Vedder (who looked extremely sharp in his first practice), offensive lineman John Welbourn and safety Don Lonon. Several players looked sharp the first day, including linebacker Matt Beck, receiver Kofi Nartey, kicker Ignacio Brache and tight end Brian Surgener.
Holmoe indicated that this year's camp would be much more demanding than those of previous years.
"We'll go harder and longer than we have in the past," Holmoe said. "It's going to be a physical camp. We'll get a lot of our conditioning by scrimmaging and hitting, more than running 100-yard dashes after practice. It's all a part of becoming a tougher football team."
Holmoe also indicated that one of the major objectives of the camp was to establish an offensive line two-deep.
"We're going to look at a lot of different combinations, and there are lot of things that could happen," Holmoe said. "You have to look at Newberry and Welbourn as sure starters, and the way Kevin Swillis looks, he may be hard to move out of the staring lineup. Beyond that, we're going to have to have a lot of competition."
Swillis came into camp in excellent shape at 317 pounds. Others in the hunt for extensive playing time include Kursten Sheridan, Brian Shields, Yauger Williams, Caleb Brown, John Romero and Cate McCalllister.
The biggest fashion statement of arriving players was made by linebacker Nate Geldermann, who dyed his hair yellow with a blue band of hair surrounding the top. He also had a blue beard.
Among the players who were missing the first day was incoming freshman defensive back Robbie Robinson, who is reevaluating his desire to play football and has delayed his enrollment decision until January. Also, defensive end John McLaughlin continues to work on his academic problems and isn't scheduled to begin practices for 8-10 days.