Freshman linebacker Chris McCain is making a strong statement during the first week of camp. After absorbing the playbook during spring practice, McCain is putting his physical tools to work during fall camp.
"It's been a couple months since spring ball and I really thought from the first play, that I didn't even really do that well," said McCain, who's gained about 20 pounds since arriving in Berkeley. "I saw plays that I could have done a lot better, but I feel, from spring ball, I feel like a new man. I feel like spring ball was just a process, where I came in and was still learning the playbook. Now that I've got the playbook down, I know my assignments better. I know what to do now.
"I still need to put on a little more weight, but I feel a lot stronger and a lot faster. I feel like I'm doing what the coaches ask me to do, whatever they want me to do, I feel I'm getting the job done. I just have to continue to eat right, continue to study the playbook and get bigger, stronger and faster."
One thing McCain doesn't need to work on improving is his range. The 6-foot-6 defender's arms are so long that head coach Jeff Tedford likened him to extend-o-armed Inspector Gadget.
"I think he's doing OK. He's so wiry. There's been players who've been built big like that that are wiry, but just good football players. He's got leverage. He's got long limbs," Tedford said. "I call him 'Gadget.' His arms, you try to throw it in the flat or do something, he'll be right there, you think you have him, and then zoom, there goes that arm and bam, he knocks it down. He's got really long arms and he really knows how to use his hands to keep leverage."
After the jump we're flooded with practice reports and men's basketball releases the full schedule.
- JO reports from practice. In injury news, Nick Forbes will return in a week or two after recovering from ankle surgery, Spencer Ladner should return next week from a knee injury, and Kaelin Clay underwent minor knee surgery and may return in time for the Fresno State game.
- Trajuan Briggs is not among the 105 players who reported for camp. Tedford's comments seem to suggest that there were simply too many tailbacks to include Briggs.
- Crumpacker relays Tedford's praises of LB Chris McCain. His physical tools--a long, rangy, 6'6" frame--can be put to use now that he has a much stronger grasp of the playbook.
- Keenan Allen is on the Paul Hornung Award watch list. The award is given to the most versatile player in college football.
- Don your silly-looking glasses: the Cal-Oregon and Cal-USC games will be broadcast on ESPN 3D.
- Mychal Kendricks comes in at number 16 in Ted Miller's top-25 Pac-12 player rankings. Keenan Allen and/or Bryan Anger might be part of the remaining top-15.
- The 2011-12 Cal basketball schedule was released. Highlights include Georgia, Missouri/Notre Dame, San Diego State, and UNLV. Unfortunately, the Bears open conference play with home matchups against UCLA and USC. Taking place the weekend of New Year's Eve, those matchups will undoubtedly have small turnouts and exceptionally low student attendance.