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August 5, 2013

Cal Football Fall Camp: Day 1 notebook



The first word out of Brendan Bigelow's mouth after his first practice in forever?

"Tired."

And deservedly so. The junior running back put in a full day of work on the first day of Fall camp Monday in Berkeley, looking every bit recovered from offseason knee surgery.



See?

"It's alright," Bigelow told GoldenBearReport of his knee following Monday's practice. "I'm just getting back to being myself. The brace kind of hinders me, but I'm excited. I've been running these stadiums, I've been putting in a lot of work. I'm 85% right now, might be a little higher."

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No starting quarterback was named on Monday (surprise!).

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True freshman Jared Goff had an up-and-down day -- he struggled to find a rhythm early but finished with maybe the best series of the day.

Looking very close to the 205 pounds he's now listed at, Goff hit deep balls almost at will, but struggled with some timing in the short game -- something he chalked up to a combination of first-day rust and some new offensive wrinkles.

"It was fun, obviously we were a little but rusty," Goff told GoldenBearReport.

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Zach Kline had a similarly up and down day. He looked sharp at times, but took the most sacks of any quarterback and made a handful of ill-advised throws.

"It was an okay first day, it wasn't bad," Kline said. "I took a few too many sacks, but I was happy with no turnovers. I thought we did well for a Day 1 practice. Day 1 is the hardest -- the most growing pains. Hopefully we'll have it all down buy the end of the week, as soon as we put pads on we want to be executing perfectly."

Both Kline and Goff acknowledged the microscope they're under along with redshirt junior Austin Hinder -- who may've had the most consistent day of the three. Hinder did this a lot:



"We're all Elite 11 quarterbacks, highly recruited ... but I didn't sit and do hand signals for a year so I could sit and do hand signals for another year," Kline said. "We all want the job."

"It's the most polarizing and important position in all of sports," Goff said. "And it's up for grabs."

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Brennan Scarlett and J.D. Hinnant both wore no-contact red jerseys on Monday. "There are a couple of guys we're bringing along slowly," head coach Sonny Dykes said. "We'll have some guys in red jerseys."

Viliami Moala, while not red-ed up, was also a limited participant in an effort to "make sure he's good to go," according to Dykes who added Moala will also take some time off this Fall camp to work on academics.

Austin Clark was the only guy not suited up for Practice No. 1, he did some cardio work (including the infamous sledgehammer/giant tire station) during the practice.

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Bill Tyndall did a TON of work for a guy coming off of an ankle surgery. He definitely looked the part of a guy who could play week one if he gets through camp injury-free.

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Dykes said both true freshman Johnny Ragin III, transfer Trevor Davis, and true freshman Khalfani Muhammad all "did some good things".

Here's Khalfani doing one of those things:



"Davis was really impressive, that's kind of what we expected," Dykes said. "Khalfani showed some flashes."

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Another frosh who looked good Monday? Jacobi Hunter. He got to the quarterback virtually at will in one-on-ones -- he's big, he's strong, and he's unabashed.

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This is no exaggeration: Chris McCain looked the best he's maybe ever looked in a Cal uniform. Stronger. Faster. And with body language you just didn't see in the Spring.

He'll have to work his way back into the starting unit though. McCain played with the 2s on Monday along with Harrison Wilfley (who had his moments), Gabe King, and Antoine Davis.

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Aaron Cochran is a giant human being... who still has about 30 pounds to lose. That said, he's already trimmed a ton of weight.

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The starting offensive line on Monday? Brian Farley, Alejandro Crosthwaite, Chris Adcock (at center, not guard), Jordan Rigsbee, and helmet-less Freddie Tagaloa.

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Richard Rodgers -- who lost close to 30 pounds since sitting out the Spring following shoulder surgery -- is in the best shape he's been in since arriving in Berkeley. He told GoldenBearReport following practice he hasn't been at his current weight (250) since Cal played USC his freshman year.

He also had some noticeable burst in his new weight class.

"You can only go so quick at 275."

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Dan Camporeale and Todd Barr both were in the starting unit at the ends, even though Kyle Kragen and McCain both maybe had better days.

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There was a new face on the punt return unit on Monday. Joining Chris Harper and Bryce Treggs who both got work on punt returns in the Spring? 4-star freshman defensive back Darius Allensworth.

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Kicker Noah Beito got some work on the punting unit and let's just say it didn't go super well. Cole Leininger on the other hand? Impressive.

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While freshman running back Austin Harper didn't dress on Monday, he did patrol the sidelines with two former El Cerrito teammates -- Cal offeree Adarius Pickett and Cal commit Jalen Harvey.

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Remember those sacks Kline talked about? Camporeale, Deandre Coleman, Nathan Broussard, and Kragen were all responsible for them. Suffice to say, it wasn't a day the offensive line will be writing about in their dream journals.

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Spencer Hagan did participate on Monday, but couldn't really get open. He's still got some work to do.

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And finally, Chris Harper took part in one series of the Spring favorite throw the ball in the trash can in the corner of the end zone QB drill at the end of practice and nearly hit one.



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