BERKELEY -- Stefan McClure has bounced back quicker than the California coaching staff had hoped, and while head coach Sonny Dykes wouldn’t commit to saying that the veteran safety would definitely play on Saturday against Colorado, he didn’t rule it out in his final media availability before the Bears’ Pac-12 home opener against the Buffaloes.
“He looked OK today, so we’ll see,” Dykes said. “He’ll be a game-time decision, whether or not we feel like he’s ready to play, so we’ll kind of see how it plays out on Saturday. A lot of it will depend on how he feels on Saturday.”
McClure practiced partially on Tuesday, but has seen his workload ramp up as the week’s gone on. Having McClure in the mix will help greatly control the passing game led by Nelson Spruce and Shay Fields.
“Spruce has played really well,” Dykes said. “He’s a good player, just really consistent. He’s a good route runner. He and the quarterback are on the same page.”
The 1 p.m.-kickoff contest on Saturday will be Cal’s first shot at erasing the 36-point fourth-quarter collapse against Arizona last weekend, though the process of flushing that game started as soon as the Bears (2-1, 0-1 in Pac-12) got off the plane.
“Sunday was tough, like we talked about early in the week,” Dykes said. “Guys came in, and it was somber, but they got through practice, and by the time they were loose, they were focused on Colorado and got over it, learned from it. We’ve practiced well. Today, I thought, was really good. I thought we had a really good Thursday practice. I thought the focus was there. I thought the intensity was there.”
The Bears went a bit longer on Thursday than normal, in order to get some more game situations rehearsed. Former Cal receiver, longtime NFL coach and current quarterback Austin Hinder’s grandfather -- Jim Hanifan -- was in attendance on Thursday, a day after current Seattle Seahawk Marshawn Lynch paid a visit to practice, and instead of diddling around on the sidelines, Lynch mingled with players during drills.
“It was good to have Marshawn out at practice,” Dykes said. “It’s always good seeing Marshawn. He kind of came out to practice, walked around, talked to some of our players. He was good. He was just kind of visiting with them a little bit. He loves Cal, and [said] ‘Keep playing hard; we’re excited about what’s going on.’”
The defense will be without linebacker Edward Tandy on Saturday. The linebacker was concussed on Saturday against Arizona while covering a kick, and will not dress.
Wide receiver Darius Powe is “a little banged up” with a shoulder issue, and has practiced sparingly. He’s questionable for Saturday.
“We’ll see how he does,” Dykes said of the junior, who has nine catches for 188 yards and one touchdown. “He’s got a little bit of a shoulder injury, so we’ll see how he progresses. We’ll see what he can do on Saturday.”
Cornerback Joel Willis, who has been battling a shin injury, will be available, though it’s uncertain in what capacity.
“We’re getting him back, more and more,” Dykes said. “He’ll be available Saturday. He hasn’t practiced probably enough to make much of a contribution, so we’ll see what he can do.”
Running back Jeffrey Coprich -- who scored a big honor on Tuesday -- isn’t quite ready to be back in competition, but he’s not far away, either.
“I would guess he will be limited next week, maybe the following week, so probably two weeks away,” Dykes said.
Last week, Colorado played a familiar face for Cal fans – former tight end and inside receiver Spencer Hagan, who is now coaching for Hawaii. Asked whether he has pinged his former player for a scouting report, Dykes smiled.
“We’ve talked to some guys this week, as we always do,” Dykes said. “We’re just trying to figure out the best way to defend them, and score points against them. It includes a lot of guys.”
Following in the footsteps of Mike Mohammed (finalist, 2010) and former Cal center Alex Mack (winner, 2008), current Bears center Chris Adcock was told on Thursday that he is now one of over 160 national semifinalists for the Campbell Trophy (formerly the Draddy), or the Academic Heisman.
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“It’s exciting,” Adcock said after practice. “They just announced it after practice. It was a little bit of a surprise, but it’s the culmination of all the work I’ve put in, in the classroom, so it’s nice to be recognized for that, even at this level.”
Adcock, who wants to go into medicine when football is over, was recruited while Mack was at the height of his powers in Berkeley.
“That was one of the biggest selling points that they were telling me about,” Adcock said. “They said, ‘You might end up playing center, and our center, Alex Mack, just won this huge award,’ and that was one of my goals, to reach that, again, for Cal, and it’s cool that it’s finally starting to happen.”
The finalists for the award are invited to a ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. The award recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation, and up to 16 of the candidates will be named recipients of a prestigious National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete Award, also presented by Fidelity Investments. Launched in 1959, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete program awards $18,000 scholarships that can be used for the honorees’ postgraduate educations.
Adcock went on a mission trip to New York in middle school, and stopped over before making his way to Africa to help build a high school in Ateiku, Ghana, but that’s his only experience with the Big Apple.
“It’s a great honor,” Adcock said. “150, 160 guys are honored, and out of all the guys that applied, I’m honored to have been chosen, and we’ll see where it goes from here.”