Tedford still concerned by helmet rule

Penn State transfer linebacker Khairi Fortt will redshirt this season, as he continues to recover from knee surgery in the spring.

BERKELEY, Calif. – Those in charge of the NCAA rulebook likely were not thinking about Rudyard Kipling when they ordered that anyone who loses their helmet must miss the next play starting this season, but it seemed like an extraordinary number of California players were losing their heads Saturday night against UCLA, figuratively anyway.

Maybe it is the attention coming to the issue, especially because referees are announcing who must sit out, but head coach Jeff Tedford noticed the rising numbers too.

"To me it looks like there is more of them. In every game I watch I see them, every game," Tedford said.

"Before it goes off, the guy picks it up, puts in back on, and you go play. Now he has to run off the field, and everybody is watching it."

There was even a sequence where the Golden Bears had to change centers for one play, as Brian Schwenke lost his helmet and had to exit. Chris Adcock moved over from right guard, while Geoffrey Gibson came in to replace Adcock.

"We were ready for that," Schwenke said. "Adcock does a great job with that. He was right there, and we just brought Geoff in. No big deal and we got back past it."

Schwenke said, in his case, it is a constant battle to keep his headgear on.

"My helmet always does that, I don't know why," Schwenke said. "It will come unbuttoned if I hit someone. It's so tight, all the pressure just pops the buckles off. You'll see me running down the field trying to keep it on. I couldn't tell you why."

But that's exactly the way it should be, Tedford said. He voiced concerns over the new statute at Pac-12 meetings, noting that helmets need to give way at certain times, such as if the facemask is violently grabbed.

"It's just the speed of the game and some of the collisions. And thankfully they do come off. At some point, if you get hit hard enough, your helmet needs to give or the neck gives," said Tedford, comparing it to breakaway bindings skiers use to avoid knee injuries.

Fortt To Redshirt
Junior linebacker Khairi Fortt will not play this season as he continues to recover from knee surgery in the spring, Tedford announced Tuesday.

"I'm pretty confident in saying Khairi will not play this year," Tedford said. "It hasn't responded the way he or we would have hoped. We're going to make sure he is right."

Fortt, who transferred to Cal from Penn State in August, underwent a procedure to repair a lingering problem with his right kneecap and could have another soon, Tedford said.

Fortt can redshirt and will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.

M.A.S.H. Unit
Cornerback Marc Anthony (knee) practiced Tuesday, but Tedford did not know if he would be available to play against Washington State.

"If he's not 100 percent, then Kameron (Jackson) can play and do a nice job, so it just depends on how Marc feels," Tedford said.

Offensive guard Dominic Galas (pectoral) also practiced, but his return is still uncertain.

"He's on his way back," Tedford said. "I can't really say when he'll be ready. It's kind of hard to be able to go from zero to game speed."

Tedford did not immediately know if defensive end Todd Barr (calf) would be available to play this week.

We Play To Win The Game
Jackson's three interceptions against UCLA are the second-most by a Cal defender in a game, a scan of school records revealed.

Herm Edwards had four against Washington State in 1974 to set the school record, but Jackson only knew him as a commentator for ESPN.

"I didn't know he went here to Cal to be honest. That's cool though," said Jackson, who was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week on Monday.

Dan Greenspan is the publisher of Cal Sports Digest and writes about the Pac-12 for Fox Sports Next. Follow him on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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