Fall Camp 2010: Day 14

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When it comes to being a leader on the Cal football team, Derrick Hill's role isn't usually visible during a game.

"I'm that guy in the locker room ... the older guy you can come to, no matter who you are," the senior nose tackle said. "Anytime I have knowledge to give anybody, I'm quick to give it.

"I've become one of those guys who has learned how to balance life and problems, adversity, parenthood, all those things in one."

His mentoring extends far beyond the Bears locker room.

Having "become a grown man" throughout his years in Berkeley, Hill is helping younger -- and less fortunate -- kids learn similar lessons in maturity.

The Oakland, Calif., native has taken time to speak with inmates in the city's juvenile hall about getting their lives back on track.

"I talked to them for a good hour and a half," Hill said. "We were all on the same page, and I could tell when I left I definitely touched a lot of those guys ... I told them all it takes to end up where they are is one simple choice."

Hill's aspirations come from a life full of people who made the right choices.

His father has been in California jails for over 20 years -- a fate that Hill hopes today's inner city youth never see.

"I feel like the kids are our future," he said. "When they're young, they're ... very eager to learn ... I think that's when I (and other football players) need to come in and voice our opinion, and teach things that will help these kids stay out of trouble."

Injury and Depth Chart

--Hill sat out practice on Friday with the gout, which the medical staff discovered just that morning. The senior nose tackle's big toe -- "a really big toe", he joked -- swelled up before, but it was assumed to be a case of turf toe. .

Hill is expected to be back on the field within a couple of days.

--Shane Vereen participated with the team for the second consecutive day, taking part in some light hitting. He hopes to take further reps during Saturday's double day, which will include a session in full pads.

--Jeff Tedford noted yesterday that sophomore Josh Hill moved to over to safety. He will be competing with Chris Conte and D.J. Campbell to play alongside Sean Cattouse.

"He has a great understanding of what we're doing," Tedford said. "Directing traffic over there, a lot of communication goes on back there. He's been solid."

Marc Anthony takes Hill's place in the main rotation at cornerback, which includes Bryant Nnabuife, Steve Williams, and Darian Hagan.

--Richard Fisher, who took reps for the injured Matt Summers-Gavin at left guard, is out for a few days with a hip injury. It is nothing serious in the long-term, according to Tedford, who said that Summers-Gavin is also progressing. Sophomore Brian Schwenke played in Fisher's place.

Sights and Sounds

--Autzen Stadium it wasn't. Nevertheless, Cal upped the realism during Friday's early afternoon practice by turning on some simulated crowd noise.

--Notable plays included a pair of sharp completions from Beau Sweeney to Alex Lagemann. Both Kaelin Clay and Keenan Allen carried the ball on fly sweeps.

--Hill won't let his own individual performance get lost among last year's disappointing home loss against USC. He said that according to a friend, the Trojans' center he matched up with "didn't have a starting spot the next week."

His source's accuracy, however, is questionable. Kristofer O'Dowd started opposite Hill when USC blew out the Bears, 30-3, at Memorial Stadium last year, and in its following game against Notre Dame. The center did miss the next three games with shoulder and knee injuries.

--One Cal trainer had the perfect nickname for the team's post-practice walk up the stadium steps: Mount Vesuvius.


Contact Ed Yevelev at [email protected]

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