After returning home from the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl – which he sat out because of a sprained ankle – California offensive line commit Erik Bunte has been hard at work on the field and on the hill, preparing for his arrival in Berkeley.
"It was rolled for the game, but it's all good now, and it's all healed up and good to go," Bunte said. "Even right after I got back from that week, I was just doing upper body, but I haven't stopped. Every single day, except for Sundays, six days a week."
Bunte starts working out at around 4:30 every day, warming up, stretching, running and then hitting the gym with his personal trainer, Chad Smith, who runs a workout called "Juggernaut," for local football players headed to Pac-12 schools. For an hour and a half to two hours, Bunte lifts weights, focusing on muscle confusion.
"One day it will be how much you can bench, and another day, it'll be how many reps you can get," Bunte said. "It's an incredible program. I've been doing it for two months now, and I'm still sore. I don't really know how that works. You think you would get less sore, but he keeps working you and he doesn't let you plateau. Every day, it's higher weight or higher difficulty."
When Bunte was finished with his workout on Wednesday, he got an in-home visit from Bears head coach Sonny Dykes and new offensive line coach Zach Yenser.
"It was pretty awesome," Bunte said. "Coach Dykes and coach Yenser came down. Coach Yenser has been coming down pretty often. I'd say he's been in my house the past four or five weeks, and it was great. We're starting to build a really solid relationship, talk some football, but also just talked about school and how everything's going."
Over a heaping helping of his mother's white chili -- which, Bunte said, he'd never had before -- the trio discussed just about everything under the sun.
"I actually asked them how their transition went," Bunte said. "We talked about football and we just went on building the relationship, talking about how my school was going and, then, of course, we talked about me getting my paperwork done for Signing Day."
Despite Yenser's youth -- he graduated from Troy in 2006 -- Bunte has already placed the utmost trust in the first-time offensive line coach.
"It's been really awesome," Bunte said. "I didn't know how fast we were going to be able to construct a relationship, but it has come along so great. He's a young, awesome coach, and I love having that aspect about him. He feels like he has something to come and prove. He's coming in highly motivated, as I am, and I think that's something we both have in common. It's just really clicked for me and him. I'm starting to feel like he's going to be a great mentor with the years that I'm going to spend with him at Berkeley."
The fact that Yenser was an assistant offensive line coach at Louisiana Tech, and played under current Cal offensive coordinator Tony Franklin back at Troy is a source of excitement for Bunte, as well, given Yenser's familiarity and experience with the system.
"I actually like the fact that he's young, because I feel like he just came out of it, so it's fresh in his brain," Bunte said. "He's good to go, and the fact that he's young doesn't bother me, at all. If anything, I like him more. He's going to be on the field every morning, ready to go. He's not going to be tired and worn out. He's going to have a lot of energy."
While there was of course much gabbing with the garrulous Bunte, the highlight of the visit -- at least for Yenser -- was the food. As with J.D. Hinnant's in-home visit, any time you get offensive linemen together, it's all about the chow.
"I saw coach tweet about that, and it was pretty good," Bunte laughed. "She made some white chili that I've never had before, but it was really good. We were all digging in, and coach was wiping his plate clean with the bread."
Bunte will take part in a Signing Day ceremony on Wednesday at Mission Viejo (Calif.)'s gym.
"It's going to be really cool, with cameras, everyone taking pictures, you're behind a table -- it's really cool," Bunte said. "They make this huge presentation for Signing Day."
In-Home Recap: Erik Bunte
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