Tailback Dasarte Yarnway thought he’d be a starter by now — or at least a valuable backup — but here he is, entering his third year in the Cal football program. His stats last year? Eight carries and 29 yards.
There’s a chasm between those numbers and what you see in person, because what you see is a 215 pounds of muscle sculpted on a 6-foot frame. The redshirt sophomore is one of the most physically striking players on the roster, a four-star recruit who carved out nearly 5,000 yards in three seasons of prep football.
A true freshman in 2009, he might have seen a few snaps behind Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen. A torn tendon in his foot meant he was redshirting. Last year, a torn ACL robbed him of half the season as well as spring practice. Given what he’s been through in the past, however, it’s been easy for him to take these setbacks in stride.
“When they told me, I was like, ‘When can we get the surgery?'” he said of his latest injury. “‘When can we get this started so I can get back?’ That was the attitude I had.
“Bad things don’t really happen to weak people.”
Juniors Isi Sofele and Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson are near-locks for the top two spots, respectively, but No. 3 is still unsettled. If he can beat out the bevy of new backs Cal has brought in — five in the 2011 recruiting class, including two JUCO transfers — that itself will be a small victory.
He’ll have three more days of camp to do it, including a scrimmage on Monday. Besides, this the first season in recent memory that Cal hasn’t returned an experienced lead back. It won’t be surprising if more of a committee approach ends up happening.
“Everybody that can play will be utilized in some way,” Yarnway said. “Especially this year.”
—Coach Jeff Tedford was pleased with the team’s practice in shells at Evans Diamond, the last one the Bears will have on a baseball diamond. Like at AT&T Park earlier this week, the coaching staff wanted players to get accustomed to the transition between grass and infield dirt. As long as the San Francisco Giants are still in season, Cal will have to play on such a configuration; if the Giants don’t make the postseason, only Cal’s game against Presbyterian will be affected.
—With Eric Kiesau and Jim Michalczik back in the fold to guide wideouts and the O-line, respectively, Tedford said that there was more clarity on offense. Because all three were at Cal from 2002-05, the day-to-day workflow has become easier.
“You don’t have to explain every little detail because they already know it,” Tedford said. “You don’t take anything for granted, but there’s a real comfort level in the experience that we’ve had working together.”
He added that play-calling will be done together, with changes made depending on the game and situation.
—The Bears will have another scrimmage on Monday at Witter Rugby Field, with the depth chart shaking out closer to Wednesday.
—Left guard Brian Schwenke rested due to tendinitis in his knee. Outside linebacker David Wilkerson sat out with back spasms, while senior Mychal Kendricks was missing from the inside with an ab strain.
—Backup offensive lineman Tyler Rigsbee remains sidelined with “probably the ugliest (shin) contusion” Tedford has seen. He may or may not return for Monday’s scrimmage.
—True freshman wideout Maurice Harris will be “out for a while” with a bone bruise in his knee.