March 15, 2012
BERKELEY - The Cal football team opened 2012 spring practice under a steady rain on Thursday afternoon at Witter Rugby Field in Strawberry Canyon on the Cal campus. The workout was the first official practice for the Bears since the team's 2011 season ended with a spot in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl.
"It's always great to get out here," head coach Jeff Tedford said. "They run around with smiles on their faces, they're happy to be out here. It's great to be out here and be able to coach them football - fundamentals, techniques and schemes. It's always fun for the coaches to get out here with the players."
The start of the team's 2012 spring practice sessions was postponed by two days due to inclement weather Tuesday that caused standing water on the team's practice field on the day the Bears were scheduled to begin the spring workouts.
"The conditions were rainy today but the good thing about it is that the field wasn't puddled up," Tedford said when asked about Thursday's conditions. "The other day there was a lot of standing water [on the field] and it was puddled up everywhere. We were able to get the water off of it a little bit today, so it was safe and even though it was a little bit sloppy it wasn't like we were practicing in puddles."
Thursday's workout in helmets and shorts put the Bears through a routine series of stretching and individual drills as well as a pair of team sessions that were highlighted by interceptions returns for touchdowns by sophomore linebacker David Wilkerson and sophomore defensive back Kameron Jackson.
"It's so nice just coming back out here, getting all of the spider webs off and getting loose," said senior tailback Isi Sofele, who posted the sixth-best single-season in Cal history with 1,322 rushing yards in 2011. "We were all just praying for this rain to stop so we could get out here and get this first day out of the way to get a feel for everything."
"The first day back was a good day," added senior quarterback Zach Maynard, who passed for 2,990 yards as the Bears' starter a year ago. "Unfortunately it had to rain but we got a lot of good work in. I just want to get better mentally, with protections and concepts, reading and dissecting the defense - focus more on the mental game than the physical. The physical is there, you just have to apply it."
Cal `s 2012 spring football practice sessions are scheduled to continue through April 21 as the Bears prepare for a return to a renovated Memorial Stadium in 2012, opening the season at home against Nevada on Saturday, Sept. 1. Cal's seven-game home slate will also feature Pac-12 contests against Arizona State, Oregon, Stanford, Washington and UCLA, as well as a non-conference tilt against Southern Utah. Cal plays on the road at Ohio State, Oregon State, USC, Utah and Washington State.
2012 CAL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Day, Date - Opponent (Time, TV)