“You have to run into it a couple times to realize that it’s soft,” said head coach Jeff Tedford, who slammed against the padding twice at the behest of his team. “You can run into it. It’s no big deal.”
So ended the Bears’ only preseason practice at their 2011 home Tuesday, the team familiarizing itself with an end zone that will end near an eight-foot fence. Although the location made for a good photo op — broadcast reporters made an appearance, and Cal also shot their annual team picture — Tedford took the chance to test more practical matters.
Since the Giants have plenty of baseball left to play, the helmets-only practice will likely be the team’s only chance to experience their home field outside of games. Cal took it light for the most part, with the seven-on-seven drills sparing the grass and dirt too much damage.
The transition between the two surfaces was one thing the players started to account for. On dirt, it is easier for players to slip and for the ball to take an unusual bounce.
“We need to know what the field’s like,” Tedford said. “Is it slippery? Can your cleats fit in? You know, what happens with it. We’re not used to that. We’re used to just practicing on our stadium field.”
Added O-line coach Jim Michalczik: “The biggest difference about dirt is just not letting it affect you. Just go play the game … The human body naturally adjusts to the environment. You walk on a rocky road, you walk a little differently.”
Before the Bears boarded the bus home, senior punter Bryan Anger showed off some leg, booming punts into the water of McCovey Cove.
The preseason All-American started just off home plate along the third baseline, sending balls into right field. After landing a 55-yarder — around 65 including the friendly roll — Anger took over where the ball landed and sent two shots shots into the bay, delighting teammates and media.
Senior fullback Will Kapp wore a boot over his leg after a minor ankle sprain.. Kapp has taken over the No. 1 spot after junior Eric Stevens tore his ACL last week. John Tyndall and Nico Dumont are behind him on the depth chart.
True freshman tailback Darren Ervin is out with a quad contusion.