Monday, July 28, 2008

2008 Fan Appreciation Day: August 23, 2008

The following is from the San Jose Mercury:


Cal football capsule

By Jon Wilner

Camp starts: Monday

Location: Memorial Stadium

Public workouts: Aug 23 (fan appreciation day)

Season opener: Aug. 30 vs. Michigan State

2007 recap: The Bears beat Tennessee in the season opener, won a thriller at Oregon and rose to No. 2 in the nation. Then they dropped six of seven, starting with a last-second home loss to Oregon State. Cal rallied from a three-touchdown deficit to defeat Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl.

2008 outlook: The Bears were picked fourth in the Pac-10 media poll. They return nine starters on defense, have an All-America center (Alex Mack) and a favorable conference schedule. If the young receivers develop and the quarterbacks are solid, Cal could win eight or nine games. If the passing game struggles, the Bears could post the first losing season of the Jeff Tedford era.

Quarterback competition: Senior Nate Longshore and sophomore Kevin Riley will compete for the starting job. Longshore, a two-year starter, is a pocket passer with limited mobility. Riley is mobile and dynamic but has only one career start. Don't expect Tedford to pick a starter until the week of the season opener. 

It will be a successful training camp if ... Tailback Jahvid Best returns to his pre-injury form. The defense assimilates the new 3-4 alignment, which was installed during spring practice. Florida transfer Nyan Boateng emerges as a go-to receiver. Safety Marcus Ezeff makes the Bears forget Thomas DeCoud. Oft-injured defensive end Rulon Davis stays healthy.

Keep an eye on ... Tackle Derrick Hill, a 300-pound sophomore who could anchor the Bears' run defense. Tight end Cameron Morrah, who had 13 catches in '07 playing behind Craig Stevens. Receiver Michael Calvin, a former prep All-American who redshirted last season.

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