Cal Heads Inland to Practice in Heat

BERKELEY -- With the Bay Area going through a heat wave, Sonny Dykes wants to take his team inland to prepare for September in Texas.

BERKELEY -- At the end of July, California head coach Sonny Dykes said during Pac-12 Media Days in southern California that he wanted to take his team through the tunnel to practice inland, before the Golden Bears head out to face Texas on Sept. 19 in Austin. That day is coming sooner than expected.

"We're heading over there tomorrow evening," Dykes said after a closed practice on Saturday. "We'll practice here in the morning, then head over there tomorrow night, spend the night, then practice over there on Monday and Wednesday next week."

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While the first week of camp has been relatively mild -- topping out in the high-70s at Memorial Stadium, before nearing 90 on Saturday -- Dykes is hoping for some wet Texas-type heat when the Bears hit the road.

"We're hoping over 100," said the Texas native. "That's what we're hoping for. We had good heat today, probably high-80s, maybe even hotter on the field. We've got to get our guys in some heat. I think it's good for us, mentally. It's something we've got to learn to deal with, and not let it affect us."

Dykes has noted that the team's conditioning has been markedly better, and that was apparent on Friday, when the offense went at full tempo at times, an the defense was not only able to keep up, but hold firm. Going through the Caldecott Tunnel to play in heat should test that, but it won't come close to how humid central Texas can get in September.

"It's hard to simulate humidity," Dykes said. "That'll be a little bit different, when we head out Week Three. But as I said, I think it's more mental than anything else. Your guys have to go: 'So what? It's hot. I've still got a job to do, and I'm not going to fixate on the heat or the humidity.' I think from a conditioning standpoint, we're a team that's in good condition, but I do think we do have to spend some time over there, just from a mental standpoint."

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The Bears went in just uppers on Saturday, but Dykes says Cal will at some point do a full scrimmage.

"We'll definitely start to scrimmage more on the back end, later this week," Dykes said. "I think we'll have a lot of situational stuff next Saturday, followed up by probably more stuff on Monday, so we're getting ready to start getting into the book of a lot of situational football, where right now, the basics, we're getting them in, we're repping them as much as we can, working some situations, third downs. Today, we did more situational stuff when we went team, and that'll continue as we progress."

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After limiting what starting tailback Daniel Lasco has done over the past three days of camp, the staff will start easing him into team work more and more.

"We'll bring him along, slow him down, bring him along, slow him down, bring him along, slow him down -- that'll be kind of what we do, just to give him a chance to recover a little bit, and stay healthy," Dykes said.

The same is being done with Mustafa Jalil, Jalen Jefferson (to a lesser extent), Nathan Broussard, Hardy Nickerson and Stefan McClure.

"We'll do that with a lot of those guys that have had some injuries in the past," Dykes said. "We're trying to bring them along. We just don't want to overload anybody or set anybody back. Same thing with Stef. The key is to get as much work as we possibly can out of them, keep them healthy, because they're not going to improve if they can't practice."

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Though practice was closed, Cal representatives provided these highlights:

Jared Goff completed 9-of-11 passes for 141 yards and four touchdowns during the first two trips down the field for the offense in 11-on-11 work. He threw a pair of touchdown passes to Kenny Lawler, while finding Bryce Treggs and Tre Watson in the end zone once each. Goff also connected for six-yard scores to end each of his 7-on-7 drives by hooking up with Darius Powe and Treggs in the end zone.

Kyle Kragen highlighted the defensive play during 11-on-11 work with a pair of sacks, while Kennedy Emesibe registered a tackle for loss and quarterback hurry, Zeandae Johnson and David Garner split a tackle for loss, and Malik Psalms had a pass break-up.

The defense was also strong during the team’s third-down periods by stopping the offense from gaining a first down on eight of 12 possessions while working on third-and-five situations. Hardy Nickerson had an interception during the third-down period while other big plays on defense came from Puka Lopa (pass breakup) and Kragen (quarterback hurry).


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