I love Cal football. I miss Cal football when there is no Cal football. When there is no Cal football and I get to watch Cal football because somehow there is Cal football, I REALLY, REALLY LOVE Cal football.
But how is there Cal football when there is no Cal football?
Because there is Cal football because of Sonny Dykes.
Thank you, Mr. Dykes. Thank you.
Spring Practices are my new most favoritest thing. One of my most favoritest things ever. Football. It's football, Cal football, right in front of you.. er, in front of me.. It's in the 50s in March and baseball isn't quite here.. I'm supposed to have forgotten that football exists because it's soooooo far away.. They play basketball and hockey, not football- no, there is no football. Golf, sure, there's golf, but there's no football. But what is that there right in front of me? Live!? In different brilliant combinations of blue and gold and white...? IT'S FOOTBALL!! CAL FOOTBALL!!
When I first heard [on CGB] that these practices would be open to the public I was really excited. I don't think I really had any idea what it would be like but I was really excited. To be honest though, I imagined myself at Witter Field watching guys hitting dummies and throwing balls through hoops. (This is what I imagine Tedford practices might have been like)
But it's sooooo much better. And I love it.
What in the oh holy fucking goddamn unbelievable shitballs in the name of Christ-in-Cleats Almighty madness!?!? Cal football in March [February too] .. Thank you, Mr. Dykes. Thank you for the following:
1. Transparency The "Fuckin' A, I Don't Give A Fuck" Philosophy
"I don't know why you wouldn't want (fans) there," he said. "This is not my program. This is Cal's program. They should be engaged and they should be able to check it out."
These practices are run by the coaches and not driven by the playbook or offensive/defensive schemes.. they are driven by the ideologies that the coaches preach. After a couple practices, I could give a fuck if every Pac-12 coach was sitting in the stands because it's more about how the players perform within the context of the myriad situations the coaches are putting them in and how they react to them than some forced 'realistic' situation the players may or may not find themselves in. These practices have more to do with how the players execute what they're trying to do in the context of the practices themselves than what they are going to do in a given play.
Now I am the first to admit that though I am a huge football fan, I can't pontificate on the benefits of the 4-3 over the 3-4, let alone the 4-2-5 Nickel, but I recognize pure athletic skill and I appreciate putting it towards a scheme in which it can flourish, instead of forcing it into some scheme where its success is questionable.
2. Community GO FUCKING BEARS!
Tonight's crowd was a little smaller than Friday's...understandably. Friday offered a very interesting dilemma, however.
Do you clap during practice?
This is so new to us, none of us were really sure. There were moments (Lawler's great catches, Kline's great throws) where we didn't know if we were supposed to contain ourselves or if our boys are supposed to be commended for their achievements. Regardless, the atmosphere is wonderful. Why would you not want your players to see and hear (literally see and hear) the admiration people have for them. On the other hand, if a DB gets beat, shouldn't he hear it from his fans as well as his coaches? He's pissed, don't you think it might fire him up a bit if we are too? We should mean to him as much as he means to us. Let me say that again.. we should mean to him as much as he means to us. That's how I would feel as a player. That's how I felt as a player when I played for my mediocre high school team. This is a much higher stage, clearly, and I think these players are benefiting so very much from having fans there to watch. The sense of community, even if it's a few dozen of us, has got to mean a lot to these boys. I think they love the fact that we're out there supporting them when they are busting their asses in the dead of whatever in-between-bay-area-season this is.
3. Southerners Southerners
It legitimizes a football coach the way a British accent legitimizes (whether truly or not) a professor.
God it's good hearing the f-bomb thrown around liberally. It's fucking football after all. I'm sure Tedford et al threw em around but it's fucking football and fucking f-bombs get fucking said. So fuck, hit that fucking guy.. or as was said tonight, "RUN TO THE FUCKING ENDZONE!"
4. Excitement A New Brand of Football
I couldn't have imagined the 'high-paced, multidimensional, WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE DOING NEXT / WHERE IN GOD'S NAME ON THE FIELD AM I SUPPOSED TO BE' approach that the coaches instill among the players. It's situational.. it's exciting and it's fun (and I think the players feel the same way).
I attended my first practice on Friday, I brought a buddy along. I gchatted him in the morning and said that I was interested in checking out practice, so we stopped by the club and picked up some Trainwreck then made our way up the hill and parked near the stadium. I was so happy we went.. I was so happy I went again tonight and will go every single time I am humanly capable of going.
I love this. I love being able to SEE the players and their numbers and not have to study 'em only on CGB. I love this so much I just wanted to share it with all of you. If you haven't gone, go. If you have no one to go with, ping me. If you were unsure what it would be like, I hope now you know. This is wonderful. This is Cal football.
I said tonight, "I don't think there could be higher expectations of a 3-9 team." The nice gentleman of my graduating class that writes for Rivals agreed. It's a great time to be a Cal fan and I hope everyone who can appreciates this and enjoys this for what it is. It's new and it's the fucking bomb.
Go Bears and here's to Sonny wearing a different hat every practice. Are there really 15 different Cal hats out there?
-Berk (with the Ancient Age that no one would swig from)