Thursday, September 06, 2007

San Jose Mercury: High Expectations for Cal's Forsett

Here is the link.


By Jonathan Okanes

The last time Cal running back Justin Forsett played at a football stadium in high elevation, he amassed the fourth-best rushing total in school history. Fort Collins, Colo., is about 1,000 feet higher than Las Cruces, N.M. Does that mean even more yards are in store for the Bears senior? "I hope it continues," Forsett said. Saturday, the Bears visit Colorado State, where the altitude is about 5,000 feet. In 2005, Forsett rushed for 235 yards at New Mexico State, where the elevation is just under 4,000 feet. The Bears aren't concerned about the altitude. Several of them played in Cal's 2004 season opener at Air Force - in Colorado Springs, elevation 6,035 feet - and helped the Bears win 56-14.

"In the first quarter, you definitely feel it," senior cornerback Brandon Hampton said. "But it's not going to cause you to quit." Since it was the season opener, Coach Jeff Tedford took the team to Lake Tahoe for one day during training camp in 2004 to prepare for the increased elevation. There was no such luck this season, but Tedford said, "There are enough guys on our team now that remember the lessons that were learned then. You will feel gassed a little bit, but don't worry, don't panic, because you will recover. That's something we've already talked about in camp. We will make sure and cover it again."

• Tedford said he wants his players to wake up early this week. Saturday's game begins at 11 a.m. Pacific time, meaning there will be a wake-up call between 6:30 and 7.

"We acclimated our bodies to 6:30 wake-up in camp," Tedford said. "It's really important this week that the players continue to wake up early so their body clocks continue to stay the same."  

• As expected, the Bears downplayed the fact that they are ranked No. 10 in the Associated Press poll this week. Cal began last season ranked No. 9 in the preseason, and that didn't work out all that well (a 35-18 season-opening loss to Tennessee).  "It doesn't matter right now," Forsett said. "We can't get caught up in that. Hopefully at the end of the season, we'll be in the top 10. I'll worry about it going into January."

• Much of the talk in Fort Collins is whether the Rams should punt to Cal returner DeSean Jackson. Although Colorado State Coach Sonny Lubick intimated that they will, CSU special-teams coach Dave Arnold wasn't so sure. Arnold's special-teams unit had some problems during the Rams' overtime loss to Colorado on Saturday, and then he had to make an emergency visit to a hospital after the game because of heat exposure and dehydration. According to the Denver Post, Arnold returned home that night in time to watch Jackson's electrifying 77-yard punt return for a touchdown against Tennessee. "I told my wife to take me back to the hospital," Arnold told the Post.

• Cal wide receiver Daniel Lofton has transferred to the University of Hawaii. Lofton will sit out this season and have three years of eligibility left. He wasn't expected to receive much playing time this season.


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