Happy Fresno State week! The offseason is but a distant memory as we move into our first week of the season.
Dan Camporeale has gone from walk-on to co-Scout Team Player of the Year to starter at outside linebacker, holding off challenges from both experienced upperclassmen and talented newcomers. In a surprise to many, Jeff Tedford says he expects Camporeale to start at OLB in Saturday's opener against Fresno State.
The walk-on defender could wind up earning a scholarship this season if he keeps on performing, and will get the nod next week over senior Ryan Davis and freshman Cecil Whiteside, both of whom could see significant time.
"He's been here for a while. You look at those other guys, and they're fairly new," Tedford said. "It says a lot about him. It says a lot about who he is and what he's worked to become. He's really done a nice job with that. He's building up his body, he's gotten bigger, but he's a great competitor."
A local product, Camporeale now has to scramble to accommodate all of the family and friends who are expected to go out to Candlestick Park to see his first collegiate start.
"I know my parents and some of my family and friends, they live over by Sacramento, and they're going to try to come down," Camporeale said. "A lot of people didn't really exactly expect me to start all of the sudden. I'll probably get a few calls from people about it."
Tedford has taken to calling the Lafayette (Calif.) Acalanes grad 'Campo,' which, as it so happens, is shorthand for the Dons' rival high school, Moraga (Calif.) Campolindo, the alma mater of placekicker Giorgio Tavecchio. When asked about the dissonant moniker, Camporeale (pronounced camp-o-REL-ee) pawed at the ground with his feet and laughed reflexively.
"Yes, it is," he smiled, acknowledging the inherent conflict. "It is kind of interesting. It was funny, because my first year here, most of the coaches couldn't pronounce my last name anyway, so I ended up getting used to 'Camp,' 'Dan' and 'Campo' a little bit, but that's kind of come on towards the end. Giorgio, who went to Campo, is always making fun of me, 'You see on the depth chart? You're Campo.'" Another local prep star -- Wilkerson -- has held his outside spot throughout spring and fall camp, and is expected to do some big things now that he's got a year of experience under his belt.
After the jump the Bears open as 10-point favorites over Fresno State, Cal-FSU tickets are half-off for a limited time, and the Fresno State running game suffers another loss.
- The Bears have opened as ten point favorites over Fresno State. I thought the Bears would be favored, but I was expecting the spread to be closer to 3 or 4.5.
- Cal-Fresno State tickets are half-off until 11:59pm on August 30th (or until the deal sells out).
- Candlestick Park will have a strong police presence during the game.
- Fresno State's starting fullback Kulitapa Taumoepeau tore his ACL and will be out for the season. Already replacing three starters on O-line, Fresno State's running game will be further limited with this injury.
- Kaelin Clay appears ready to return to practice at full capacity. If he performs well in this week's practice, he may earn a starting role in the season opener.
- JO reports on Camporeale's starting role. He also has some quotes from Camporeale.
- With the return of Tyler Rigsbee, Tedford talks about depth on the O-line.
- Tedford stated that it is unlikely Brendan Bigelow will play this season.
- Citing proximity to home and a solid business management program, Kenneth Walker III commits to Cal over UCLA, Washington, and Boise State.
- Not completely Cal-relevant, but Jon Wilner projects the BCS bowl games.