Cal Football Fall Camp 2013: Checking In With Brendan Bigelow

Ezra Shaw

In which we find out his new anti-fumbling strategy, and what it'll take to be The Man in the backfield.

Go to any one of Cal's open practices, and you'll see a myriad of different running backs touch the ball: Khalfani Muhammad, Daniel Lasco, heck, even Jonah Hodges and Darren Ervin.

The one guy you won't see too much of is the one everyone keeps talking about; presumed starter Brendan Bigelow has received reduced reps all camp, and didn't take a single one on Thursday. Interestingly enough, this is actually by design, as Sonny Dykes attempts to keep his biggest weapon healthy and ready for August 31st.

"Aw, no, it doesn't [bother me]," Bigelow said after practice. "You know, I missed spring and everything, so I have to gradually get back to practicing everyday and stuff. No, it doesn't bother me."

"At this point right now, I'm probably about 85%. I'm getting back - I'm pretty much healthy. I just need to keep that going, so I can get to that 100%."

As he gets set to take an increased workload this fall, the biggest key to his success, Bigelow said, is going to be "staying patient. More patient, and just paying attention to the little details, making sure I'm doing all the things I need to do."

Between he and running mate Daniel Lasco, the Bears will enter 2013 starting two backs that have a total of 56 career carries between them. If you talk Bigelow, though, his inexperience does little to dampen his expectations for himself: "It's either a first down, or a touchdown. Every play. That's what I try to do."

One thing that's already improved for the junior is his ability to carry the football - Bigelow had an inordinate amount of fumbles for the few carries he had last fall, but through a week and a half of fall camp, had only fumbled once, if that. He chalks this newfound ball security up to a change in mindset.

"Protect the ball...that's your family member, so you gotta protect that. Or, that's your mom. You wouldn't want anyone to touch your mom, right? That's how you gotta think of it."

It is no secret that Brendan Bigelow is the fastest player on the roster - he takes to the nickname Blaze for a reason - but with the arrival of track star Khalfani Muhammad, his dominance in the team's speed department seems to be facing a serious challenge.

"Nah, [we haven't raced yet]" he said with a laugh. "It's in the process. We're going to race, trust me. Soon, when I'm back to full strength - because I need to have everything when I'm racing that man."

And what does he think of EA ranking him the 3rd fastest player on the team? "Man, I was a little disappointed," he said, laughing again. "But, at the same time, it's just a video game."

"In real life...you know what's up."

Ohio State sure does. Next up is making sure the rest of the Pac-12 does too.

BONUS QUESTION:

I asked Bigelow for the name of one person who he thought was going to break out this season - besides him.

"Chris [Harper]," he said immediately, before deciding to add a few more names. "It's actually a couple people. Khalfani, Lasco, and I'm going to keep it right there..."

[Yes, he actually trailed off after that, and left the question open ended.]

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