Cal Postcard (cont.)
Posted: Monday August 20, 2007 2:59PM; Updated: Tuesday August 21, 2007 6:36PM
2. The Cal running game will not miss a beat without Marshawn Lynch. Tedford might have a reputation for developing quarterbacks, but after grooming workhorses such as Adimchinobe Echemandu, J.J. Arrington and Lynch, it's apparent that he has expanded his backfield expertise.
After biding his time behind Arrington and Lynch, Justin Forsett is ready to be the team's featured back this season. Most within the program think Forsett could prove to be the most explosive back the school's had since Arrington ran for over 2,000 yards three years ago.
"I've been waiting to show what I could do for a long time," said Forsett. "If the guys ahead of me were jerks I might have left, but they were like brothers to me and I wouldn't have it any other way. I learned so much from all the guys who came in before me."
3. Cal's camp may have started in August but this group has been preparing for this season for much longer than that. There are rules preventing coaches from holding practices too early, but there's nothing against players getting together and preparing on their own. That's exactly what many of Cal's players did this offseason. Longshore and Forsett took up Pilates together.
"It's not the 15-minutes, girls-in-spandex Pilates you see on TV," said Longshore, who practices Pilates five times a week. "More goes into it than those cute little TV shows. I have so much more flexibility and I'm able to play smarter and stay fresh. I do a little routine before I come out and I'm loose and everything feels good."
It was Longshore who helped corral some of his teammates for impromptu workouts. Soon they began to grow in size and started looking like team practices sans the coaches and whistles.
"I feel like summer is a good opportunity for us to get closer," says Longshore. "No coaches are allowed to be out here and so it gets to a point where you decide that we're going to do this and put in our work so we're ready to play. We hit a point where everyone started showing up and everyone was working out and doing everything that they could so we could be successful this season. That built some team trust that's going to carry on into the season."
Syd'quan Thompson is tired of hearing about the infamous cast on his left hand that was featured prominently during last season's opener at Tennessee, during which he was beaten for a couple of long touchdowns. While it is true that the sophomore cornerback played all of last season with the cast, he never blamed the injury for any of his shortcomings.
"It feels good having two hands now, but that was never an issue," he said. "The Tennessee game was a crazy atmosphere but it helped me grow and helped me to have a short memory."
Fast forward one year and Thompson is once again being counted on to be a shutdown corner for a Cal secondary that lost Dameion Hughes. "He had a very good season last year," said defensive coordinator Bob Gregory. "That first game maybe was on me more than anybody because he was a little bit out there by himself at times."