Cal Postcard (cont.)
Posted: Monday August 20, 2007 2:59PM; Updated: Tuesday August 21, 2007 6:36PM
Keep an eye on ...
Defensive end Tad Smith. Smith may be listed as a third-string defensive end in Cal's media guide, but if he continues to make plays like he's made so far in camp it will be hard for coaches not to start him.
Smith, a 6-foot-6, 250-pound sophomore, has yet to play a down for the Bears -- he redshirted in 2005 and suffered a knee injury in 2006. But coaches are beginning to see glimpses of the player that piled up sacks in high school. Despite spending most of camp in the offensive backfield, Smith admits he hasn't let any of the newfound attention get to him -- mainly because he hasn't gotten any.
"This is the first interview I've done since I've been at Cal," Smith tells me when I talk to him after practice. "It makes sense. I've been here for two years and I haven't played a game yet. The only thing I've been thinking the whole time is how badly I want to get on that football field and show everybody what I can do."
Factoid that may only interest me
Receiver Robert Jordan's cousin is Oakland Raiders No. 1 pick JaMarcus Russell. This factoid was news to Jordan himself in February, when he went to the NFL combine with his other cousin Marshawn Lynch.
"When I saw my uncle, I said, 'What you doing out here?' and he told me he was with my cousin JaMarcus," says Jordan, who has caught a pass in the last 30 games he's played in, the fourth-longest streak in the nation. "It was funny. I got a chance to meet him and then I went back to Alabama right before camp started and I got to see how we really were related."
Their bond grew stronger when Russell stayed with Jordan for about two months in Jordan's Oakland home after he was selected by the Raiders. "He took my room, but that's fine," Jordan says. "He got a new home in Oakland. So maybe he'll let me stay at his place after he signs."
Crazy hair seems to be the theme so far in camp. Beside Longshore's ever-changing do, linebacker Zack Follett is sporting a lion-striped design on his mane, and fellow linebacker and fine arts major Greg Van Hoesen incorporated the lion look into his hair. Follett's nickname is now "Ziger." ... After practice last week, the coaches lightened the mood by reversing roles and doing sprints while the players cheered them on. The team then took the next day off and went to see Rush Hour 3. "I have to give it a thumbs up," said Longshore. "The producer went to Cal." ... One of the more interesting drills in camp had the offensive unit lying on the field as if a play had just been completed and quickly running off to make way for the kicking team. Coaches wanted to see how long it would take to get a field goal off if there were no timeouts remaining. ... Not only is this one of the most talented freshman classes Tedford's ever had, it's probably his biggest in terms of physical size. "I feel if we all got in front of a height chart their average would be taller than our average height," says Longshore. "It's nice to get some height and size on this squad." The two most talked about freshman are defensive end Cameron Jordan, a 6-4, 260-pound pass rusher who has been routinely outrunning his fellow lineman by 20-30 yards during sprints, and Jahvid Best, a 5-10, 185-pound tailback who is probably the fastest player in the backfield. ... As if they needed any more reason to make noise, Cal will be passing out 50,000 mini-megaphones before the season opener against Tennessee at Memorial Stadium. "It's going to be loud," said Jackson. "Everyone's been waiting to play Tennessee. Just like Tupac said, it's going to be 'all eyes on me.' "
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