Live Practice Thread (members)
BERKELEY -- After making his appearance at California practice in Week 0 -- all the way in Australia -- former Golden Bear, retired Seattle Seahawk and budding entrepreneur Marshawn Lynch arrived at the team hotel. Before the team dinner, head coach Sonny Dykes got up in front of the room.
"If you're not a player, get out," he said.
Trainers, managers, coaches, doctors and graduate assistants exited. The doors closed. Lynch began speaking.
What was said in that room has stayed in that room, but players across the spectrum -- from every background, from starters to walk-ons -- have told the coaches that it was just what they needed.
"One guy came up to me and said, 'We should have had that during the 1-11 season,'" said running backs coach Garret Chachere. "The feedback I got from guys was tremendous. I heard from guys who are starters, I heard from guys who are walk-ons, I heard from guys who are from other parts of the country, and they all said the same thing. I didn't even ask the kids what he said. You've got a scholarship starter kid saying something, and you've got a walk-on, backup kid saying the same thing. He's reaching across to everyone."
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1690319-marshawn-lynch-fro... Whatever Lynch said, it worked, as the Bears rolled to a 51-31 win over Hawaii at ANZ Stadium.
Unannounced, Lynch decided that Tuesday was time for another go-around, this time a bit closer to home, as he rolled into California Memorial Stadium for Cal's afternoon practice, as the Bears prepare for their Saturday tilt against San Diego State, with Tre Watson likely to receive more carries after playing second fiddle to Khalfani Muhammad in the opener.
During blaster drills, Watson looked over to Lynch for approval.
"He just tries to push me to be the best I can be, every day," Watson said. "He tells me to run hard, to run like Beast Mode. It's cool to have him around to encourage us and feed us different things that he did ... He was telling me to dip my shoulder and drive through it, and he was talking about planting off of both feet, when I'm coming out of my breaks."
Lynch retiring in February has allowed the "first-ballot Hall of Famer," according to offensive coordinator Jake Spavital, to be around the facility much more, and that's perfectly fine with Watson and the rest of the running backs, who, two years ago, got to learn from another Cal great -- Jahvid Best.
"He's been around and been involved, and it's ben cool as heck to have him with us, just like Jahvid Best, when he was here," Watson said. "We've been around great running backs. Shane [Vereen] comes back, Justin Forsett comes back, so it's just a blessing to be in a situation where we have these guys that are greats -- legends -- they come back and they feed us what they did and teach us the way to the NFL."
During practice, Watson burst through the middle for a gain of seven to start the full-pads team period, setting up a 22-yard bomb from Davis Webb to Chad Hansen, and then a 30-yard strike to Vic Wharton.
Not satisfied with hanging around the running backs, Lynch joined the quarterbacks during footwork drills, betting that each signal caller would hit the square on the accuracy net, before finally taking the ball himself and trying his hand.
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1696089-beyond-the-commitm... "You know, he's still got it," said Spavital, who coaches the quarterbacks. "I don't see why he's retired right now, but that's always awesome. It was one of those spur of the moment deals. We were over there, he was messing around in the end zone, and we started doing our quarterback drills, and he popped in and we got him a rep. I think all the quarterbacks enjoy having him here."
Having Lynch in Australia was a big help for a team just getting its feet, Spavital said.
"He just speaks to what Cal means to him, and what he expects and how he played the game with passion," Spavital said.
While Lynch is a close confidante of running back commit Biaggio Ali-Walsh, it isn't on the recruiting trail where Lynch's involvement plays the biggest role.
"I'll be honest, I don't know how much that plays on the road [recruiting]," Chachere said. "It's a nice thing, but everybody has nice things. I think what it does for our kids, is the real important thing. I think more than anything, they know Marshawn as just a guy, a friend, an ex-running back, who has advice, someone that they've befriended, and someone who's befriended them. In Australia, he sat with them after we ate, and while we were eating, and shot the stuff. The relationship now is not so much, 'Oh, Marshawn.' He's here, almost like an older brother, or like a guy who just finished a couple years ago, who's coming back, and of course, he's got advice."
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1703272-key-to-the-game-su...That advice is, naturally, dispensed in Lynch's own, unique way, in a manner that speaks directly to the players, on their own level, rather than as a coach talking to pupils.
"They love that," Chachere said. "He doesn't make the advice too complicated, or too detailed, but it's not very cut-and-dry and simple. Most of his words, they're not too many, but to-the-point, and he picks the right words. Our kids have really become drawn to him -- all of our kids -- and he's become drawn to them. He hangs out with them. If he's comfortable, he's a different guy. He's comfortable here at Cal, comfortable with the running backs, and he's comfortable with all the kids. I think that's the big thing for him. He likes coming here, but I think he enjoys the atmosphere, and how he's just one of the guys."
Left tackle Aaron Cochran practiced almost full-go on Tuesday, and spent some time with the first-team line during 11-on-11 work, after working with both the first- and second-team line earlier in practice. His understudy, Patrick Mekari, worked both at first-team left tackle and at left guard, spelling Chris Borrayo at times.
Cochran is a full-go this week, and may very well get some significant time on Saturday, but it still looks like Mekari will take the lion's share of the reps.
Defensive tackle Luc Bequette had a very strong day both in one-on-one pass rush situations, and in full-team 11-on-11, dropping Patrick Laird for a loss. James Looney was also effective in the middle.
One-on-ones were a festival of drops early, with Veasy, Bug Rivera and Wharton proving to be the most secure pairs of hands. Freshman Demetris Robertson had an early drop on a deep route, but made up for it later with a shake-and-bake juke to get open for a long gain.