As Larry Fedora approached the assorted gaggle of media members on a cloudy Wednesday afternoon, a smile planted on his face, he extended his arms chest-high.
The action was light-hearted and amusing, but the message was clear: Do not stand too close to the field while his players are still on the field running. As the head coach continued to walk toward the press representatives, his arms stayed extended and the crowd backed up with as much obedience as any one of his players would have.
Everyone involved laughed. Just like that, media availability was underway for the first time since the completion of training camp, which ended on Sunday night at 9:30 as the team trotted out of its last meeting. As Fedora, and later some of his players, met with the assembled reporters, there was an unmistakable mood in the air — one of optimism.
“I think our guys are doing a great job of preparing themselves,” Fedora said. “This was really our first day of installation for Cal. Split the teams up, started working against what we’re going to see. I think the guys are doing a great job of preparing. So we’ll see as we go through, we have a mock game this Saturday, so that will give us a lot of ideas of where we are.”
Defensively, Fedora sang the praises of his linebacking group, a unit led by senior Cole Holcomb. But when discussing his personnel at the position, the coach did not mention Holcomb, instead focusing on some lesser-known players who have raised some eyebrows this fall.