By Katie Dowd
People walking by Memorial Stadium on Saturday morning kept stopping to peer inside because, for all the world, it sounded like football season had started. In the quiet of Strawberry Canyon, Memorial was alive was blaring crowd noise, referees' whistles and, occasionally, the hard plastic thud of pads.
In the morning session of the Cal football team's double day, the Bears spent a good chunk of their two hours on the field doing situational 11-on-11's. Unlike a scrimmage, the ball was placed at strategic locations and the first, second, third and fourth strings battled it out in each scenario under the watchful eye of a team of referees and with the added challenge of recorded crowd noise.
"There's obviously some things that were learned," coach Jeff Tedford said. "As much as we can, (we) put them out there on their own and get them used to that. It's as simple as backers manipulating the umpire in there, receivers communicating with the linemen, so on and so forth."
No official score was kept, but it was pretty obvious that the defense had won the day. In many ways, however, the offense was self-defeating. The wide receiver corps -- and almost everyone else who went out for a pass -- had a case of the drops. Several nicely-thrown balls by quarterbacks Kevin Riley and Brock Mansion were dropped on would-be first downs.
A sample of what situational drills looked like today: