With help from an improved O-line and a talented young corp of receivers, Riley expects an improved passing game this season. The most substantial improvement should come from Riley, who has been working extensively on improving his game.
"It's going to be the best season I've ever played," Riley said. "It's gonna be unbelievable ... I'm gonna make the best of it, that's for damn sure."
With a work ethic that drawn praise from teammates, the Portland, Ore. native is honing every element of his game in order to overcome last year's inconsistency.
Riley is paying particular attention to his pocket presence this off-season. He has learned from the best -- studying tape of Peyton Manning and Drew Brees -- and from himself.
"I looked at sacks last year, see if there was anything I could do to fix those and limit the sacks," Riley said. "There's a few where I step up in the pocket, which was a good thing at first, but I keep on stepping up into an O-lineman and that created pressure."
"(I've) worked a lot on my strength too. I lifted, really for the first time, hard in my life and I think that's going to make a difference as well."
After the jump Cameron Jordan looks forward to his final year, Sofele and Williams stand out in their roles, Wilner complains about the media-free practice policy, and the press gives us updates on practices seven, eight, and nine.
- Cameron Jordan is hoping end his Cal career with a spectacular season. He's very happy with Pendergast's blitz-heavy defense, as it prevents offensive lines from consistently double-teaming him. Tedford said Cam's work ethic is much stronger this year than in past years.
- Wilner rants about the closed practices at Stanford and Cal.
Practice 7 (Friday): Riley threw some nice long passes, though he had bouts of inaccuracy on short routes. Sprinting competitions helped bring together offense and defense, two units which Yarnway said were less integrated last year. Mark Brazinski and Jeremy Ross praised the drills, which they agree helped unite the team.
Practice 8+9 (Saturday): The defense excelled in a series of red zone drills. Simple mistakes kept the offense from converting some crucial plays, but Keenan Allen helped the Bears get a TD. It sounds like the Bears are having success with short passes, which have been limited in recent years. Tavecchio had a decent performance as he nailed a 50-yard field goal. After extensive workouts and practices, some guys have had trouble staying awake during meetings. Coaches seem to understand, but still give them punishments like up-downs or rolling across the field. The unusually cold weather seems to be contributing to the number of minor injuries, and the Bears will move to a warmer practice facility (in Danville) to prepare for hot-weather games. Minor injuries keep piling up, but nothing too serious in recent days. The RB competition just got more intense as Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson has returned to practice. Kendrick Payne has two goals this season: become a household name, and live up to his name.
- Steve Williams hopes to lock up one of the starting cornerback positions. If he keeps playing as well as he has during the first week of camp, he should easily secure one of the starting roles.
Isi Sofele also hopes to secure his role, even if it is a backup role. Though they're locked in a fierce competition, Sofele, Yarnway, and Briggs have a strong friendship holding them together.