In Buffaloes, Cal Faces Its First True Challenge

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Now that last Saturday's game against UC Davis is over and done with, it's not worth much more than a scrimmage. The Cal football team simply got seven-touchdowns worth of practice reps - good preparation before playing an actual game this week against Colorado.

"Davis is a good FCS team, but in all honesty, they can't compete with us on the football field - as you saw," quarterback Kevin Riley said. "The team is very aware for that. But it was good for everybody just to get out there, play a game and get the kinks out."

There weren't many of those on Saturday, as the Cal offense put on what will most likely remain their most explosive performance of the season.

In Tuesday's press conference, coach Jeff Tedford said he was pleased that the Bears avoided any "first-game jitters," incurring only two false-start penalties and one delay of game.

The Buffaloes will be bigger and faster than the Aggies were a week ago. Those 158 yards of offense freshman Keenan Allen reeled off? They likely won't come so effortlessly against starting corners that actually measure over 6-feet.

Still, he and the rest of the young talent has impressed thus far, regardless of competition. Riley, for one, wouldn't mind some more time at Cal.

"I remember in fall camp I was talking to Beau Sweeney," he said. "He was like, 'Man, don't you wish you had another year after this one too?'"

As to whether or not Colorado's impending entry into the conference puts any added weight on the upcoming nonconference game, the team mostly shrugged it off.

"They're not in the Pac-10 yet," senior defensive end Cameron Jordan said. "I won't even be here, I'm pretty sure, when they do join the conference. I wouldn't like to say 'I don't care' that they're joining the conference, but they're an opponent that I'm facing."

A Little Taste of Defense

The much-anticipated debut of Clancy Pendergast's defense finally came and went, limiting UC Davis to 81 yards of offense and a late field goal.

Sure, it was the first time the Bears held an opponent to under 150 yards since 1994, but considering the level of competition, it's hard to say how much the new defensive coordinator's schemes played a role.

"You saw a little taste of it," Jordan said. "You'll see a little bit more this week."

Odds and Ends

-Tedford surpassed Pappy Waldorf on Saturday as Cal's career wins leader in the modern era with 68. Riley also tied Mike Pawlawski for seventh on the all-time list with his 40th career touchdown pass.

-Eric Kiesau, the Buffaloes' offensive coordinator, served as Cal's receivers coach from 2002 to 2005. While there are enough differences that it likely won't provide a competitive advantage on Saturday, there are still some influences from Kiesau's old job.

"Conceptually, there are some things that they do - not all of it," Tedford said. "Over the last few years, it's obvious that he's grown and had some new ideas about things. There are some concepts there that I think he took from his time here."

-Allen's half-brother, Zach Maynard, will be transferring to Cal in the spring as part of their packaged deal. The former Buffalo quarterback is currently attending Contra Costa College and will compete for the starting job after Riley graduates.

"He'll be here in the spring, hopefully, if he gets all his academic work done," Tedford said. "He's already played quite a bit at Buffalo, so it's nothing to him."

Tags: KEVIN RILEY, JEFF TEDFORD, CAL FOOTBALL


Jack Wang covers football. Contact him at [email protected]



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