Cal takes on FCS opponent Presbyterian Blue Hose at AT&T today, in what is likely to be a lopsided victory by the Bears. Some may question the level of competition, but it is important to note that this game was scheduled as a last-minute fill-in for the home opener. No other FBS (or FCS) opponents were available for this Saturday’s date, due to circumstances beyond the Cal AD’s control, including: the renovation of Memorial Stadium, the need to avoid scheduling conflicts with the SF Giants, and the quirks of the new Pac-12 schedule. As the outcome of the game will be fairly certain, the 3 goals for the Bears this game are:
1. Respect the Opponent
The Bears need to play hard all game, despite the opponent. The coaches have been on the whole team during practice all week, reminding the players to focus and pay attention to detail. While this game may be more of a “tune-up” considering the level of competition, the team will have a chance to run real plays and work on fixing the mistakes made in the first 2 games. The coaches want the the team to be hitting on all cylinders today, before Cal opens Pac-12 play on the road vs. Washington next Saturday.
2. Build Depth in the 2nd & 3rd Units
Backup QB Allan Bridgford should get plenty of live reps in this game, as Cal will probably take a comfortable lead early in the game. This will be his first real game action since high school – a span of over 2 years. Freshman RB Brendan Bigelow will also be seeing his first snaps as a Golden Bear, initially on special teams and then later on offense. Similar to Bridgford, it will be his first real game in almost 2 years (he missed his senior year in HS due to injury). In general, this game should be a good opportunity for the 2nd & 3rd team guys to get playing time. This includes freshmen and other younger players who haven’t played much yet this season, such as: Hinder, King, Forbes, Harris, Rodgers, Scarlett, Jackson, Sebastian.
3. Stay Healthy
Cal will have several players back at full speed for this game, including starting FB Will Kapp. Keeping the team healthy – avoiding injuries, particularly at thin positions such as OT & CB – will be a key priority today.