Covering Cal Just Got a Bit More Difficult

I recently received an invitation via text message from Pete Carroll…

The USC coaching vet encouraged me (and the rest of his followers on Twitter) to visit the Los Angeles Coliseum and see the Trojans' second fall scrimmage, a show that was sure to impress.

Is true freshman Matt Barkley the next chapter in USC quarterback lore?

Did the NFL draft wipe out the Trojan's defense, or has SC simply reloaded once again?

And is this the year that Joe McKnight is given the chance to live up to his superstar billing that he acquired as a senior in high school four years ago (McKnight returned a punt 78 yards for a score in the scrimmage, by the way)?

So many questions and Carroll offered to oblige.

378 miles away and the California Golden Bears football team prepares for its first scrimmage of camp, but the Bears' initial fall game will be noticeably more low key.

Jahvid Best will likely sit Tuesday out with a sore toe.

Kevin Riley has all but settled the battle under center.

And the Bears' defense appears solidified. In fact, Cal's receiver rotation is really the only question mark on the depth chart and even then, Marvin Jones and Nyan Boateng look like shoe-ins for two of the three first-team slots.

Suffice to say, unless you are Dasarte Yarnway, who should see the most carries Tuesday with Best and Covaughn Deboskie-Johnson out and Shane Vereen receiving minimal action, the Bears' scrim session could prove more a formality than anything else.

And that lack of a story line isn't the only thing that separates Cal and USC's respective fall festivities.

Unlike the Trojans, who welcomed over 2,000 viewers Monday, the Bears will play in front of a bare Memorial Stadium.

And that's just the way Jeff Tedford likes it.

On Monday, the Cal football administration effectively banned the media from the majority of the Bears' future practices, allowing only small viewing time slots at the beginning and end.

All of a sudden, covering this team just got a bit more difficult.

Instead of picking out the day's top performers on our own, I guess we'll just have to base our assessment of practice on who's getting the high fives and who's in the doghouse.

We'll have to judge performances based on what coaches tell us, and everyone knows that Tedford isn't exactly the most forthcoming with his team's information.

But hey, if bland is better, then sign me up.

If holding Best out of practice every day because his toe got wedged underneath Derrick Hill's (just a guess) means the country's most electric back will be good to go on September 5, then by all means.

If Tedford wants to close Cal's all but meaningless scrimmage from the public, go right ahead.

And if the coaching staff feels that the media is giving away their secrets to success, then do what ya gotta do.

After all, at least the Bears' recognize that explosiveness, fans and hype matter only on select Saturdays.

So, if you're planning to sneak up to Tightwad Hill to get a glimpse at any future Cal practices, then get in line…

Maybe next time, just for fun, I'll take Coach Carroll up on that offer…at least I'll have my own seat.

Cal Sports Digest is the new home of lead writer Jon Doss' award winning Daily Cal column "Who's the Doss". Jon will weigh in on hot topics pertaining to Cal and the Pac-10 conference throughout the season.

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