The California Golden Bears kicked off fall practice yesterday, and one of the biggest pieces of news concerned Cal football freshman running back Brendon Bigelow. The Cal running back situation is crowded but surprisingly tenuous for the first time in Ron Gould's tenure at Cal. The departure of Shane Vereen to the NFL and the New England Patriots has left Isi Sofele as the de facto starter at this point.
However, there was good news from the start of fall camp. Bigelow, who was injured for most of his final two seasons in high school, is back up to speed. Ryan Gorcey of Bear Territory reports.
"Everything's good," said Bigelow, who had a light wrap on his ankle. "It feels really nice. It feels good to be back, to actually put on the helmet and everything. I'm just happy to be back."
Head coach Jeff Tedford was pleased with Bigelow's first practice, and said that his potential star tailback is "100 percent."
"He looked good, he looked really good," Tedford said. "He was smooth. Didn't do a lot in team, but in drill work, we were watching him really close, and he looked very smooth. He looks 100 percent."
Watch Bigelow on tape and it's hard not to think of Jahvid Best when you see him explode through the first hole. He has that sort of game-changing, game-breaking speed that makes you immediately harken back to Best's jaw-dropping runs in open space. It would be interesting if Bigelow played extended minutes this year, because the last true freshman to see playing time as a running back at Cal was, well, Best.
For more updates on Cal football, head to the California Golden Blogs.