By Ron Kroichick
Cal safety Marcus Ezeff delivered a spirited speech after Sunday's practice at Memorial Stadium. Ezeff lectured his teammates to become more mature - "We gotta grow up and step up!" he shouted at one point - and reminded them of their goal to win the Pac-10 title.
The speech resulted from an unspecified off-the-field incident during the first weekend of training camp. Coach Jeff Tedford called it "a team thing," and Ezeff suggested it was merely playful misbehavior. "It was just guys being guys during camp, having fun," Ezeff said. "Maturity wise, we've got to be better. ... I believe the guys got the message. I haven't really been that passionate since high school, but coach Tedford is still looking for leaders." Ezeff, a senior from Santa Rosa who started all 13 games last season, counts as a logical candidate. He's not exactly outspoken, in the mold of since-departed defensive standouts Rulon Davis, Worrell Williams and Zack Follett, but he also recognizes the importance of players holding each other accountable.
"We're kind of a quiet group - we don't have vocal leaders like we had last year," Ezeff said. "Every team needs a vocal leader. We need one person who can hit that spot." Best report: Running back Jahvid Best spent a sizable portion of Sunday's practice stretching on the sideline. Best sustained a mild sprain of his left ankle Saturday, prompting him to miss the last stretch of that practice and then part of Sunday's session. He also was nursing blisters on his foot. Best returned to the field for 11-on-11 drills and seemed to move well. "Everything's fine," he said afterward. "I didn't feel it at all." Best was named Friday as one of 30 candidates for the Walter Camp Award, honoring the nation's top player. He's one of eight running backs on the "watch list."
Briefly: Wide receiver Verran Tucker and tight end Spencer Ladner hobbled off the field with leg injuries; Tedford was unsure of their severity. ... Wide receiver Nyan Boateng missed practice because of a death in his family. Boateng is expected back in camp today. ... Cal players wore shells (helmets and shoulder pads) for the first time Sunday. They will don full pads for the first time Tuesday.