California hit the practice field again on Wednesday in Sydney, Australia, and faced a persistent rain (it is winter, after all, in the southern hemisphere), but that didn't dampen the spirits of the Bears, who take the field on Saturday (local time) at noon to face Hawaii.
"It was cold, it was wet, but, you know, it's one of the best things to practice through," said center Addison Ooms. "Like coach [Brandon] Jones said earlier, if you can practice in this, if you can play in this, you can play in anything. It really prepares you well. For a lot of guys, it was a shock, because they didn't realize that it's winter time. It was a good shock, because, now, we're ready for anything."
Defensive tackle Tony Mekari described the day as "knock-down, dirty football," with a smile on his face. He admitted to rolling around in puddles and splashing his teammates.
"We had a little bit of rain today, a little cold, a little rain," said head coach Sonny Dykes, downplaying the inclement weather. "The guys came out here and worked through it. Luckily, we had a field turf field here, and got some work done. It wasn't the best weather conditions, but I thought we got some work done."
Quarterback Davis Webb wore a glove on his left hand to steady the ball on snaps, but threw without a glove on his right hand. During fall camp, Cal didn't play a single day where it wasn't at least 68 degrees and sunny.
"Any time you travel 14 hours to play a football game to a different continent, there's going to be some obstacles you've got to overcome," Dykes said. "Our guys have done a pretty good job adjusting. We've had to adjust to some things, here and there. Luckily, we've handled it pretty well. We're going to have to keep doing that, I'm sure."
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1695497-northnagel-worstel... Longsnapper Bradley Northnagel, who was put on scholarship during fall camp, called the practice "interesting."
"We come out in the specials group -- kickers, punters and snappers -- with a game plan every day," Northnagel said. "A practice like this, you've got to kind of switch it up, stay active and be on point. We've got to stay smart, because the rain brings distractions, but we were able to get out there and get our work done, and had a productive period during special teams."
For Northnagel and Ooms, ball security was key, given the wet conditions.
"From a longsnapping standpoint, snapping in the rain is not one of the funnest things you can do," Northnagel said. "It comes down to technique, slow it down, you've got to sacrifice your speed for accuracy, because you don't want to throw back some wobbly spirals there for the punters."
"I've played center now for a while, so it's kind of second nature," Ooms said. "It is tough. You have to grip it harder. If we're ever playing fast, or the the ref's putting the ball down a certain way, I have to be more precise with where I'm putting my hand on the ball. It's little things that people don't usually see, but make a big difference."
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1690378-countdown-to-kicko... The Bears got another walk-through in on Wednesday night, and Dykes said that, "mentally [our guys] are starting to get to a good spot."
The walk-throughs, which usually happen at the team hotel, will be complicated by the limited banquet space available at the Westin Sydney.
"It’s different, because everything from the team hotel’s a little bit different, because there’s not as much banquet space in European-style hotels, like the one we’re staying in," Dykes said last week. "There’s not as much banquet space, as a result of that, and so we’ll have to make some accommodations on meeting space and what we’ll do with our team and how we’ll do it. There’s small, little nuances that certainly don’t offset the experience.”
Cal will have a walk-through on Thursday, Sydney time, and then another good walk-through on Friday to nail down timing.